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Q: You just finished an installation for both a restaurant and retail food hall in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, a high-traffic, high-profile, historic location. Why did you choose an IP-based video security and surveillance system?
Kossifos: One of the main advantages of using IP as our platform for all communications systems — not just surveillance, but also telephony, video menu boards, hard-wired data, WiFi (both public and private), door access control, and all of the POS terminals — is we can do everything over a single cable utilizing a converged network design. This is really empowering and is very much needed when you deploy in a location like Grand Central Terminal, where installing infrastructure presents unique challenges due to the Terminal’s historic nature (we have to be very careful with each wire we lay and each hole we drill). The fewer infrastructural changes we need to make in order to support the plethora of systems utilized in such a large and diverse operation, the better.
Q: With multiple services and so much data, are you worried about bandwidth?
Kossifos: With the exception of real-time video chats, video surveillance is probably the most bandwidth-intensive service on a computer or communications network today. In the Great Northern Food Hall, for example, we use ultra-high-megapixel, 360-degree cameras, and yes, bandwidth was a real concern. But by using various Axis camera models with their Zipstream technology, we were able to compress the data and efficiently send it over the stream.
This solution is further enriched through our use of the Milestone video management software (VMS), offering a tremendous spectrum of control options with regard to frame rate, video quality, and recording metrics. For example, the recording of every pixel at full speed may not be necessary until there is some footage we actually want to see. We accomplish this by recording at a much lower frame rate until an event of interest occurs at which time the Milestone VMS is programmed to increase the frame rate which gets recorded as the event is taking place then throttled back down automatically for monitoring/viewing. This ensures the activity we are trying to capture gets prioritized with regard to image quality and frame rate while simultaneously lowering the demand on the surveillance system as a whole.
Q: When you upgraded to Milestone XProtect Corporate 2016, did you notice any performance improvement?
Kossifos: Yes, we did. Video viewing performance has been greatly improved over previous versions of XProtect, actually there has been a massive improvement. We run a CPU meter app after installations, during our “burn-in” period to monitor both the client and server performance before deploying live. When XProtect Corporate 2016 client was released, we performed a benchmark test. We ran an XProtect 2013 client next to a 2016 client and the difference was staggering. Previously, we would have CPUs spiking toward 100 percent capacity, and now we're seeing around 20 percent and even 10 percent on some client systems. There is definitely a large difference moving to the latest version. Another great feature is that the latest version of the XProtect client works no matter what version of the XProtect server you're running. You can run an older version of an XProtect server and the newer client still functions.
Read the entire case study here