Video management systems (VMS) are an integral part of modern security surveillance. Many camera manufacturers provide their own VMS, but third-party software from companies that focus purely on it provides unprecedented control over the system.
This article explores the new developments that we may see in the VMS sphere in the coming year. With comments from two of the largest VMS companies, we take a closer look at the expected features, new hardware integrations, and trends.
New features coming up in 2022
2022 is looking to be a promising year for automation and intelligence. Video analytics and other video automation capabilities are becoming more and more commonplace and present a significant area of innovation for VMS.
As VMS becomes capable of ingesting more data in terms of variety and quantity, analytics can filter out that data to provide qualified information.
Increased relevance and insights
The next step is to make that information more relevant or easily digestible and to trigger actions in the system, according to Laurent Villeneuve, Product Marketing Manager at Genetec.
"Rule-based correlation engines, workflows, and other processes in the back end that help trigger alarms or present just the right amount of information at the right time will be key to that transformation to smarter video management systems," Villeneuve said. "We expect the visualization layer to also get more intuitive and adaptable as we see operations evolve and new personas using the systems."
More mobile applications
Genetec also expects significant improvements in web and mobile applications. They should be able to present the same kind of rich information beyond traditional video sharing and playback. Whether through map or dashboard interfaces, they are becoming powerful tools for live response and investigation tasks.
"The feature gap between those and the thick desktop clients is reducing quickly, and soon we'll see that users will be able to perform just as many operations on a phone or remotely on a laptop as they would in a control room," Villeneuve said.
Ease of use and accessibility
Benjamin Low, Regional VP for the Asia Pacific at Milestone Systems, added that new features we can expect from the VMS software would probably center around usability and accessibility for stakeholders.
"With the growing demand for more cameras in the pipeline and greater integration with other third-party systems ranging from access control to advanced analytic systems, direct users and operators will need to choose the right VMS – a unified, intelligent, scalable, and centralized video management system capable of high performance and long-term data protection," Low said. "Importantly, the need for a user-friendly interface amid increased functionalities with third parties will be key to ensuring the operator is confident and capable of bringing the best out of the VMS."
Easier integration of applications
As surveillance environments become increasingly complex, VMS will have to evolve to become more open in nature – moving towards being the main engine of video technology with a host of additional information as we see that it is now capable of adopting video analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and other automated solutions.
From a developer's standpoint, integration points must become simpler and easy to use. This will encourage more developers to work on building useful applications utilizing the VMS. By providing easy-to-use interfaces/ APIs, even developers who might not be familiar with VMS can easily come up with video-related use cases.
What new hardware integrations to expect?
One of the critical areas of development for VMS is the addition of new hardware. Security is no longer just about cameras and access control. Every year, new solutions and devices enter the market that helps customers ensure safety and business insights. So, what new hardware integrations can we expect from VMS companies in 2022?
Non-security hardware and data sources
An essential capability in the new generation of security platforms and VMS is the ability to ingest data beyond traditional security sensors. This allows customers to be more creative and expand the scope of their video management deployment.
"Next year, we're probably going to see more and more hardware and data sources integrated into VMS for operations that go beyond safety and security," Villeneuve explains. "Building sensors is a big one - there are so many devices that could be integrated for monitoring and efficiency purposes, or for example, to help manage energy consumption or production facilities."
Genetec foresees that it will expand beyond traditional sensors. Customers will start integrating water, temperature, lighting, HVAC, elevators, and other IoT devices that can help them better understand and control their environment and facilities.
Higher resolutions and more data
Low explained that as users become increasingly aware of the benefits of video to enhance their surveillance and operational activities, we are now witnessing greater demand for higher video quality (from full HD to 4K) for better understanding and prediction of events.
There will be more demand to obtain deeper insights from the frames. More complex forms of metadata will be generated from discrete data points such as shapes and sizes of objects to temporal data information such as the behavior of persons.
"These trends directly result in a stronger need for better performing hardware with advanced processing and efficient storage capabilities to meet these software demands," Low added. "Hence, we would likely see hardware players producing new server/storage hardware solutions to adapt to these trends, and we would be sure that these hardware solutions will need to be well integrated with the right VMS that can best optimize the high volume of data being continuously captured and stored, to provide a holistic experience for our customers."
Verticals in demand and trends driving it
The pandemic has changed the way societies operate and how individuals interact and work. We have seen the acceleration of advanced integration of security and safety functions in many aspects of our lives, from hospitality, health care, education to smart cities.
As more people realize the value that video can provide in high-density areas, there will be greater demand for integrating business systems with video to solve pain points like social distancing, access control, traffic issues, workforce shortages, and so on.
Complex smart cities
Recent advancements in video technologies are not only delivering a heightened level of security in high-density areas. Still, they are integrating with analytics to provide critical operational insights that business owners can use to drive efficiencies and sustain revenue.
"For example, smart cities deploy high performing video recording systems integrated with data analytics to manage traffic flow, mitigate jams and improve road situations," says Low. "Video analytics, such as object/facial recognition, heat mapping, sound detection will increasingly be deployed with video cameras to enable faster reaction, trend analysis and better management of incidents in verticals such as Hospitality."
Low added that different verticals have very different videos needs for their applications. This is also why it has become increasingly apparent that VMS solutions need to be driven, developed, and customized according to specific customer needs in their respective verticals.
The growth of 5G
5G infrastructure is growing, and more interconnectivity between 5G and IoT devices is possible now. This is undoubtedly exciting for the VMS players as 5G allows "slicing" of the network to offer dedicated portions of the network capacity for various video-based related applications such as behavioral analysis, license plate recognition, etc., in city-wide implementations.
"This enhances the performance of such applications for wide-scale usage as these dedicated portions of network capacity need not be shared for other purposes," Low said. "Not to forget, the rise of 5G also increases the possibility of having Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) realized for more end-users through better support of uploading video to a centralized location instead of local systems."
As the market evolves and video technologies are increasingly deployed as solutions, businesses also need to work with local regulators to protect citizens' privacy, much like how sustainability has become a key part of business strategy.
Tech companies who find themselves with data need to work together with regulatory bodies and technology partners to maximize the value of data while respecting individual privacy and at the same time complying with local data protection regulations.
Increased adoption of cloud and hybrid-cloud technology
Another important market trend is the migration to the cloud and hybrid cloud technology. Many VMS solutions are now built on a hybrid-first mindset.
"We offer the best of both worlds, maximizing ownership and control over their system and data when required, with a line of cloud applications that help them expand their operations," Villeneuve says. "Whether it's with a cloud portal to manage video evidence or long-term cloud storage for the VMS, they can migrate to hybrid-cloud at their own pace. This combined with a general movement towards RMR will encourage customers to opt for open VMS solutions that never limit the buyer's choice and ensure long term viability."
A hybrid cloud deployment makes a lot of sense for many customers. It adds greater flexibility and disaster recovery, makes it easy to manage remote sites on a single platform quickly, and is probably the best way to comply with any retention policy. It offers a great balance between the performance and feature set of on-premises systems and the ease of deployment of cloud solutions.
The year 2022 could see VMS bringing in more applications from segments outside security while offering greater integration with the cloud. The use of analytics will continue, but efforts to gather more value from data will also be made. In short, we are all set to see accelerated growth on both hardware and software fronts.