Data behind the data

All organisations have to face the costly challenge of the storage and management of their valuable data.  In the sphere of security, where visual data is indispensable, any avenues that make the capture, storage and retrieval of that information more efficient will command budget attention.

One of the inevitable costs of a comprehensive security operation is the money and resources required to store weeks of largely irrelevant security footage, and also the identification and retrieval of relevant material from archive when needed. What can make metadata economically attractive is being able to save on those resources.

In a major advance for the security industry, Sony has developed a network video monitoring system that uses metadata to deliver meaningful support to security staff.

The facts about data
Metadata – or data about data - may sound like yet another stream to manage but, on the contrary, it is actually the key to automating management, and allowing technology to make some decisions by itself. With Sony’s new network video monitoring solution, as well as the data that a security camera usually captures, the additional metadata enables the system itself to do much of the detection work that normally falls on the security operative. It can, for instance, highlight by displaying a coloured box an area of the scene which contain potential threats, making the job of the observer easier, and the ultimate response quicker and more effective.

On a more strategic level, the use of metadata also has an important role to play in keeping traffic off the network – an advantage that not only comes with substantial operational benefits, but also one that has significant cost implications. Sony’s new network video monitoring solution makes the most of metadata to optimise the effectiveness of its three main elements – ‘intelligent’ cameras, integrated software and end-to-end technological architecture.

On the front line, Sony’s groundbreaking new cameras can independently recognise visual security breaches, such as abandoned packages or suspicious movement, and are sophisticated enough to know the difference between moving people and normal environmental conditions, such as moving trees or splashing fountains. Such a capability means that those areas need no longer form a security blind spot as they do with current analogue CCTV.  

As a consequence, there is no more need to ‘mask’ problem areas within the field of view. The camera’s capabilities also enable many of the common time-consuming false alarm scenarios to be eradicated.  Once again, this is a function of the metadata, which provides operators with information on the video frame the cameras are displaying.

The intelligent Sony security cameras operate as an integrated part of a broader, intelligent network, and it is via metadata that they communicate their all-important detection information, which determines what happens next in the security process. This comes with technical benefits too. Bandwidth requirements are minimised because only legitimate threat images and data are sent and stored.  In a security environment where monitoring may be happening 24/7, the screening out of irrelevant data is a big step forward.  It makes a significant difference to the cost and management of the captured material, and it also makes for fast and accurate results when searching through historical data.

The application of intelligence
The new Sony software that analyses, assesses and responds to the images transmitted by the intelligent cameras is called Realshot Manager. This easy-to-use package gains additional information about the images from the cameras’ metadata. By then employing features that alert and direct operatives to the visible threats within a frame of video, Realshot Manager provides more than just a safety net – it delivers proactive detection.  
The software is designed with the practicalities of security work in mind.  An unmistakable on-screen highlight box locates a threat, captures the observer’s attention and leaves no room for error. Realshot Manager enhances the security decision-making process providing accurate information in time-critical situations, delivering essential decision support when it is most needed.

What allows the whole new Sony system to run so efficiently, with the metadata running alongside the video and audio data, is its development of Distributed Enhanced Processing Architecture (DEPA).  Having intelligent cameras on the same network as the servers that are running the security software opens up enormous possibilities and potential, and now means that a multi-camera security set-up doesn’t have to be complex and difficult to monitor; personnel can be guided by the software to the hot-spots and the right screens to watch.  They can be shown the detail of the threat before it becomes an incident, and may even as a result prevent it from turning into an incident at all.

A new era in security network video monitoring is underway. The return on investment from bringing monitoring cameras on to the network and away from the world of analogue CCTV, are clear. It is no longer necessary to run, manage and upgrade two separate systems. The same investment that allows a company to save money on voice over-IP can now benefit the security function as well. Use of the network also allows the possibility of additional hardware devices to function alongside the network video monitoring, allowing features such as triggered lighting or door locking. While it may not be immediately obvious, it is the use of security image metadata within the Sony DEPA network video monitoring solution that underpins the advanced nature of this offering.For further information visit  

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