According to Wayne Arvidson, vice president, Intelligence, Surveillance and Security solutions at scale-out storage company Quantum, recent developments in camera technologies mean increased data storage requirements.

Technology enhancements such as advanced video surveillance capabilities are helping to limit delays and keep transportation hubs like ports safe and operating efficiently.

Better quality cameras, increasing data retention times and more advanced analytics are transforming surveillance as we know it. They’re enabling forward-thinking organisations to use video surveillance to drive better business processes for an increased return on investment, as well as to improve security.

Shipping companies and port authorities are just a couple of businesses that can now benefit from the use of video analytics to monitor traffic flow and improve the efficiency of movement in and out of ports.

Tracking suspicious movements before and during a security incident - or while assembling evidence - requires a surveillance system that gives users greater visibility with detailed video images captured over a broad viewing area. High-definition, multifunctional cameras have replaced analogue units for new installations, and transportation use cases almost always involve high-motion environments. This typically results in cameras recording continuously. Combined with the number of cameras required to capture video over large areas, shipping organisations and port operators are faced with the need to manage massive amounts of data.

With new threats and tightening budgets, video is being integrated with other IT systems and advanced analytics capabilities as organisations look to find new ways to increase efficiency, reduce congestion and improve safety.

Longer video retention times improve the ability to perform sophisticated analytics as trends and patterns emerge from accumulated data. As analytics applications develop and new use cases for video are identified, holding on to data will become even more important. There are also legal mandates on how long data should be stored for that need to be adhered to.

However, as retention times increase, so do the challenges of managing storage capacity. On-board camera analytics and data compression help by reducing the volume of streaming across networks, but more storage capacity is still needed. From a scalability perspective, the storage system must have the capability to grow intelligently as more and more data is captured and retained. Because organisations are increasingly collaborating with local police and security agencies such as border control on investigations, the ability to easily share data is critical.

As the reliance on video increases, files need to be easily retrievable by users across an organisation, without requiring IT support. Traditional video storage can result in silos of information that make it difficult to find the right video to support analytics and investigations. And because these videos might not be stored on site, retrieval can be slow, causing unnecessary delays.

A lot goes into protecting property and people, and technology is only one small part of it. But one thing is certain: it all requires money. And there are many competing priorities. Surveillance solutions and supporting storage infrastructures need to be implemented so users can meet their needs while keeping within a budget. If given the ability to manage the movement of data quickly and seamlessly between different tiers of storage without IT intervention, shipping companies and port organisations can lower the cost of capturing, managing and retaining video over the long term.

A high-performance data management solution and storage architecture must be able to handle full-resolution video streams integrated with real-time analytics, all running at full capacity around the clock. A multi-tier storage solution for video surveillance provides a flexible, scalable platform capable of delivering the total usable capacity required by today’s video applications for less of the overall budget.

Organisations are keeping as much as 40% of their inactive data on their most expensive infrastructure. Intelligent tiered storage can automatically migrate video to the most cost-efficient tiers of storage. This effectively balances performance, capacity, and cost across the entire infrastructure, providing an economical approach to long-term data retention. Regardless of whether video is stored on high-performance disk storage, object-based storage, file-based tape, or cloud-based storage, it can be retained based on various policy requirements, within budget.

An incremental approach to delivering the capacity needed for today’s video applications should also be followed. As more cameras are added, image resolutions increase and retention times become longer, the surveillance solution must be able to scale to handle the need for more capacity. The solution should also be capable of handling high volumes of streaming video from many devices without impacting on performance. And by delivering multiple tiers of storage in a single file system, data management is as straightforward as accessing a document on a computer’s C: drive. Regardless of where the data resides, the user sees a single view and doesn’t need to depend on IT support to find information.

The advantage of implementing an open solution into this transportation environment is that it will support all major platforms, operating systems, and networks. It will also integrate seamlessly with other systems like video management and analytics software. This enables users to integrate it into their ports’ existing IT infrastructure without being locked into a single vendor or platform as well as to configure the file interface to receive input from a variety of devices and systems.

While specific results will depend on multiple things – the size of the port, how many ships dock or launch or how much camera coverage is needed - implementing a multi-tier storage approach for video surveillance will typically deliver major security, operational and business benefits to transportation organisations.

Quantum describes itself as a leading expert in scale-out storage, archive and data protection. The company’s data management platform and tiered storage approach provide a unique combination of high performance, low-cost capacity and easy access that enables security and law enforcement professionals to address the challenges created by more cameras, higher resolutions, and increasingly sophisticated analytics.