Network Health Monitoring: Opportunities & Challenges
Written by Joan Engebretson, SDM Magazine
Video Management Systems
Video management system (VMS) manufacturers have been adding more and more diagnostic and alert capabilities to their offerings. For example, Austin, Texas-based Salient Systems has put capabilities into its VMS aimed at preventing customers from viewing more simultaneous video streams than the network connection can support.
As Salient Chief Product Officer Sanjay Challa explains, the company also is working on adding a predictive capability that will advise integrators and their customers about the maximum number of cameras than a network connection can support. The goal is for the VMS to determine the recording resolution that a customer can expect based on how many cameras are added.
Salient equipment also has traditional VMS capabilities that send alerts to the customer and/or the integrator when a camera is not working. Thresholds can be set to avoid overwhelming recipients with too many alerts, Challa explains. For example, the equipment could be set up so that there is no notification if synchronization loss is detected but the system regains synchronization within one minute. In that situation, however, the synch loss event would be logged for future reference.
VMS alerts typically are sent to designated parties via email or text based on an end user’s preference. Alternatively, or in addition, integrators may want to offer customers the option of having signals go to the central station or to have the integrator address the reported problems. Security integrators can earn recurring monthly revenue by charging the customer for this service on a monthly basis or they can build it into a service and maintenance plan.
Salient and some other VMS manufacturers have integrated their systems with central station automation software from various vendors. Integrators also may opt to do their own integrations. Challa says Salient has application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it easy to integrate with the central station.
The company also has integrated with some video analytic systems, which can enable some additional network health diagnostics, such as an alert if a camera is bumped and no longer aimed as intended.
There are limits on the network health monitoring capabilities that a VMS alone can provide, however.
“Where we see it get tricky quickly is on the network side, especially on very large deployments — the VMS isn’t in charge of the network,” Challa says.