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Integration Matters: Streamlining Operations with Video Management System Integration

A video management system (VMS) can be a force multiplier for any application requiring visual monitoring or inspection. In this respect, the integration is almost strictly in one direction, namely using video and events from the VMS to help the operational systems work more effectively. Every camera deployed on a video management system can be an extra set of eyes that don’t blink, nod off, get distracted or require personal breaks. Going beyond the traditional security roles of deterrence and forensic, video management systems are used to assist with industrial process monitoring, custodial tasks, crowd management, livestock and crop management, property management – even fish and wildlife management. 

The current trend is artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) with potential applications for all organizations. AI/ML offers faster and better recognition of patterns, trends and anomalies in processes, physical surroundings and activities, enabling organizations to make more informed decisions. It can be used to detect safety violations, detect foreign objects and defects in manufacturing processes, reduce logistical errors and detect security threats – looking for specific activity or individuals and detection of suspicious patterns of activity. 

Successful integrations involve a great deal of configuration, fine-tuning, and working closely with the end user to achieve the desired results. It is rarely a simple or quick task. Time – and money – must be allocated for this in the scope of work of the project. Unfortunately, this rarely happens resulting in incomplete deployments, unhappy end users, and integrators spending more time on the project than anticipated and budgeted for – eventually losing money. 

Another challenge is defining what the integration is supposed to accomplish. A question often asked, “Can this integrate with product ‘xyz’?” Virtually anything can be “integrated”, but what is the end user’s vision of this integration working in their operations? Without a clear definition, it is impossible to measure the success or effectiveness of an integration. 

An excellent example is a residential property management company located on the east coast of the United States who uses VMS integration to assist with dispatching maintenance crews to fix problems in their buildings. Specializing in the renewal of low-income housing, this company uses the VMS and various camera-based analytics to not just improve security and deter crime but also to identify and quickly rectify those maintenance issues that have an enormous impact on resident’s daily lives. The upfront investment in deploying a VMS system to a newly acquired property allows this company to cost-effectively renovate the property and improve residents’ quality of life – while maintaining rent levels.  

Other examples can be found in the energy and chemical production industries where video is used to monitor processes by watching analog pressure gauges to detect pressure spikes using simple motion detection or to detect or verify leaks and spills. Worker safety can also be improved by using video to detect unsafe conditions such as workers getting too close to moving machinery such as forklifts and ensuring workers are equipped with proper PPE such as hard hats and safety vests. 
Video surveillance isn’t just for deterrence and detection. The millions of deployed cameras can be used for many other purposes. Think of them as extra eyes or as sensors. The term “camera” does not do them justice as they can do so much more. Keep that in mind when discussing an integration with the VMS and you can take your deployment beyond security into enhanced business intelligence. 

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