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Video solutions at the Edge

by Geny Caloisi
Large video surveillance systems installed in recent years are likely to be using network resources isolated from a company’s main network infrastructure, thus minimising bandwidth requirements and some of the associated costs. But is it enough?

Uri Guterman, Head of Product and Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe, talks to Benchmark to explain how Hanwha has arrived at the Edge and what new, innovative and sustainable video surveillance solutions are becoming available. He points out that system integrators will find the Edge provides them with the opportunity to offer their end-user clients innovative and sustainable systems.

Back in the days when there was just analogue-based CCTV, you would have needed a locally based video cassette recorder (VCR) if you wished to retain the video evidence captured by your security cameras. This meant having to buy a large number of videotapes to ensure the images could be stored for up to 30 days or longer, as each tape could only keep a limited amount of video before it needed to be swapped out. Organisations with multiple sites could also choose to remotely monitor images transmitted via PSTN, ASDL or expensive dedicated leased lines to a central control room. 

With the arrival of IP network-based video surveillance, users were given the option of conveniently storing large amounts of video data onto a network video recorder (NVR) or server. A significant benefit of this was that there was no longer a need to clog up the network by transmitting video footage of scenes where nothing important was happening. As a result, event-driven monitoring, also known as exception reporting, became an accepted method of bringing an incident to a control room operators’ attention. If and when required, operators could quickly and easily retrieve pre and post-event images of any incident.

The benefit of this became even more apparent with the introduction of multi-pixel cameras when there was a need for the captured video data to share the available bandwidth with whatever else was being transmitted around the network. Network sharing could bring the risk of mission-critical business data being disrupted. 

Processing power hunger

Hanwha Techwin has developed chipsets with sufficient processing power to enable the data to be recorded and stored via SD card slots built into its cameras instead of more expensively on an NVR or server. 

Cameras with dual SD slots that collectively offer up to 512GB storage capacity can provide security personnel with peace of mind in knowing that crucial evidence will be stored safely at the Edge. At full frame rate, the images continually captured by 2-megapixel high definition cameras, for example, will be stored for up to approximately 20 days before they are overwritten. The number of days of recording can be increased if a lower frame rate is acceptable and/or if a manufacturer has developed their compression technology that complements H.265 and, in doing so, minimises storage requirements and improves bandwidth efficiency.

SD cards will also help keep data safe at the Edge in the event of network disruption. The deployment of cameras featuring Auto Recovery Backup (ARB) will ensure that activity recorded on an SD card if a connection is temporarily lost will be automatically transmitted to a remote recording device when the connection is restored.

The benefits, however, of the Edge go far beyond storing data onboard a camera.

Edge-based Applications

Video surveillance cameras are increasingly being regarded as smart IT devices which happen to be equipped with an imaging sensor and a lens. In this respect, we are close to a point in time when the superb quality of the images captured by multi-megapixel cameras will be taken for granted in the same way as we now regard being able to make calls on a mobile phone. When was the last time, for instance, you saw an advert promoting a new mobile phone’s call functionality or quality?

There is so much more you can do with cameras now that they can run onboard video analytic applications such as heat mapping, people counting and queue management, and pandemic related face mask detection, social distance measuring and occupancy monitoring solutions. With the processing power, it makes sense to mine the captured information at the Edge and thus avoid transmitting large amounts of data over the network. 

The Edge provides the perfect opportunity for specialist third-party software developers to innovate by developing serverless solutions that meet the specific needs of individual vertical market sectors.  

Cost-saving and scalable solutions

For example, a serverless ‘small site’ ANPR solution is available, which automatically controls the movement of whitelisted cars through barriers via camera relay outputs and provides valuable car park management information, such as ‘time spent and occupancy rates. It does so without users having to incur the cost of installing and running the application on a server, as up to 4 cameras (1 master camera and three slaves) can simultaneously capture and transmit video analytics data to a convenient user interface.

Serverless edge-based solutions are scalable and thus provide users with the flexibility to incrementally expand their systems at any time without having to procure an expensive server. 

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