The ability to design flexible video solutions is becoming increasingly important as end users demand bespoke systems that exactly match their needs. This means that installers and integrators must be able to bring together a wide range of video options. Vicon recently upgraded its core ViconNet product to add increased benefits, as Benchmark discovered when it visited Mark Provinsal, European Sales and Marketing Director.
he biggest change for the security industry in recent years has been an increase in flexibility. Nowhere has this change been more pronounced than the video surveillance sector. It used to be possible to segment the market based upon systems and devices chosen for implementation, but increasingly the lines between applications with differing risks have been blurred.
One reason for this is that a more software-centric approach across the entire sector has seen integration and interoperability become an essential part of modern systems. In addition, video quality in most credible applications has been pushed upwards. Inevitably, if you end up struggling to deliver standards-compliant HD video on any system, you haven’t invested wisely.
Given that image quality is relatively consistent across the board, and bearing in mind the depth of compatibility out there, what constitutes a high-end solution as opposed to a low-end system?
By way of an example, a campus-type application with multiple buildings might opt for a VMS-based solution. It could theoretically handle hundreds or even thousands of HD video streams from a range of locations which might be nationally or even internationally dispersed.
The solution could utilise video analytics and integrate with access control and data handling systems. Video and alarm data could be shared amongst authorised personnel, via workstations or mobile devices, and the system integrity would be assured through the use of smart technology.
It would be generally accepted that such a system would be classed as ‘high end’. Vicon offers this type of solution in the form of its ViconNet 8 platform.
Now consider a much simpler application: a storage unit. It requires a quick, simple and cost-effective solution. Maximum requirement might be for two or three cameras, and the avoidance of any additional expense, such as installing fused spurs, would be preferable. In short, a 4 channel plug-and-play solution would be ideal.
In contrast to the previous campus-type application, this would generally be considered a low-end solution. Vicon offers such an option as a part of its HD Express system range.
Where the lines of classification blur is when the campus requires protection for a storage unit. Many would reject a plug-and-play system because it conflicts with the general ‘high end’ approach taken by the campus organisation. However, HD Express is still an ideal solution, which is why it should be used.
Through the ViconNet 8 platform, the HD Express system can be easily and quickly integrated with the site’s main solution. The end user is still dealing with one unified solution and has the additional security required. For the installer or integrator, they’ve delivered an HD quality system expansion quickly and easily. It’s also very cost-effective.
The inherent flexibility of ViconNet 8 means that it offers a robust, credible and cost-effective solution across the board. No matter what the site’s specific requirements, it can offer a solution that not only meets the needs but also ensures future scalability.
If, for example, a user has a ViconNet 8 system, they can expand it by either adding individual devices or adding a sub-system, including Vicon’s plug-and-play solutions. If a user has distributed sites with a standalone plug-and-play HD Express system at each, they can use ViconNet 8 to bring those together as a single unified solution.
Indeed, if a user has an HD Express system and wants to either expand it beyond its capacity or add non-compliant elements such as 4K cameras or third party devices, they can use ViconNet 8 to do this. They can also utilise ViconNet 8 to create sub-systems from a single solution should there be a need to grant control of specific system elements to other departments.
Access control systems can also be integrated easily via Vicon’s VAX access control VMS interface, which is used to link cameras to access points.
Devices which support edge recording, such as the Vicon HD Express and the IQeye cameras, can link with the system via a new playback option. This allows the user to replay video footage directly from the connected edge device via its own interface. The HD Express devices are even configured for this functionality as standard.
Before considering the core performance of ViconNet 8, its flexibility makes sense for many applications.
ViconNet 8 offers a range of enhancements over previous versions of the VMS. Many of these are designed to make management of the solution easier, thus enabling a better experience for users.
For example, ViconNet 8 includes a ‘connecting’ indicator in the video display tile. This ensures that the user is aware of the current status of the video, including if a reconnection is being attempted when a stream is lost. Also, the user can start a direct archive operation by selecting the relevant cameras, via an archive wizard, which simplifies the process of exporting video.
Other user enhancements include flexibility in creating and adding camera groups. The user can move groups up and down the list when adding new cameras to create a more logical listing. An interface auto-adjust feature provides the choice of whether the application will automatically fit to the full screen resolution of the monitor or keep its native resolution.
A new video clip export wizard allows for better resolution clips and faster exporting to a variety of formats.
ViconNet 8 is available in three versions: JUMP, ZONE and PEAK. It is scalable from one camera to thousands of devices. Installers and integrators can opt for the free-of-charge JUMP version which supports up to six cameras.
Larger applications can benefit from ZONE, which supports up to 24 cameras, while enterprise-level systems can deploy PEAK which features unlimited scalability.
For installers and integrators, ViconNet 8 not only offers additional functionality, but it adds a high degree of flexibility. This makes the creation of bespoke solutions a simple and cost-effective task.