Security camera technology keeps improving every year with cameras that have higher resolutions and more powerful lenses. While important, having the best cameras is no longer the only goal of video surveillance. Instead, businesses are more concerned with seeing a return on investment in their video camera infrastructure.
This is because it's not the video itself that's important, but the context you're drawing from it. The value of a camera system comes from how it can help you solve business problems or improve operations. This is where solutions like an intelligent video management system (IVMS) shine, helping businesses gain insight from their network camera systems.
To note, the acronym “IVMS” is also used to talk about “in-vehicle management systems” and “in-vehicle monitoring systems.” These refer to telematics and dash cams. This guide will focus on intelligent video management systems, which are used in combination with network cameras for video surveillance. In this guide, we’ll review what an IVMS is, key features to look for, and the benefits of having an intelligent video management system.
What is an intelligent video management system (IVMS)?
“IMVS” stands for intelligent video management system. But before discussing what makes a video management system “intelligent,” let’s review what a video management system (VMS) is.
A video management system (VMS) is management software that’s part of a security network camera system. Simply put, a VMS allows end-users to view and interact with video footage. You can manage camera and recording settings, view multiple feeds at once, and create alerts. With video management software, you can also analyze and export your footage to investigate incidents, improve safety, and increase efficiency.
A VMS is generally more powerful and flexible than the software that comes with digital video recorders (DVR) and network video recorders (NVR). Here’s a quick breakdown:
DVRs are considered legacy technology (think CCTV) that use analog cameras and wired connections to operate. The software that comes with DVRs is generally very limited.
NVRs use both wired and wireless digital internet protocol (IP) cameras to capture video. Unlike analog cameras, each IP camera connects to the NVR via a single Ethernet cable, streamlining cabling. A VMS is sometimes packaged as the software component for NVR systems, or as a standalone product. Standalone NVRs sometimes include their own NVR software, but the capabilities are usually limited to onboarding, setup, and basic viewing. A VMS is generally more sophisticated and provides more functionality.
What is the difference between a VMS and an IVMS?
With an intelligent video management system (IVMS), you get all the basic features a VMS offers but upgraded with smart technology. An IVMS includes features powered by artificial intelligence (AI) functionality and intelligent search tools. For example, with older camera systems, you need to sift through hours of footage to find what you’re looking for. But with intelligent search, you can easily search camera streams by date, time, people detected, and more.
What features should you look for in an IVMS?
An IVMS should provide features to enhance live views and help you sort through footage faster. Here are a few key software features to look for in an IVMS:
Modern user interface
No matter how clear your footage is, if the system you’re working with is difficult to use or unintuitive, it will be a frustrating experience. Today’s modern user interfaces have a lot to offer. Many of them offer web-based access and leverage cloud platforms. This removes the requirement to be on-site to view camera footage—a pain point of older DVR systems and on-premise NVRs. Instead, users can access video streams remotely through any device with a web browser.
Then there’s the software itself. Look for a modern, user-friendly interface. A modern interface makes it easy for users to navigate and has drag-and-drop features for fast customization. Look for the ability to create both high-level visualizations for quick status checks and granular data views for troubleshooting. You can limit user permissions and change recording settings to save bandwidth.
Ability to export and share clips
When an incident occurs, you’ll want the ability to export and share clips of captured footage with internal stakeholders and external authorities. For example, if you detect an unauthorized person on your site, you can export the footage and notify your security team. You may also want to save the exported footage to your cloud library for access indefinitely, which managers can use for training purposes or record-keeping.
Features powered by AI
AI is what sets an IVMS apart from a traditional VMS. In this case, we use “AI” as a catch-all term for all the different AI-based technologies involved in modern video surveillance, including machine vision, pattern recognition, and machine learning. A few of the most prevalent uses for AI include motion, people, and clothing detection. You can use intelligent detections to filter out the things that don’t matter in footage and focus on the timeline activities you need.
Intelligent search tools
Previously, you’d have to sift through hours of footage to find what you’re looking for. When AI is integrated with search features, it eliminates this time-consuming task—helping you find the footage you want faster. Intelligent search helps you filter through footage by date, time, people detected, and more.
Respond to incidents faster—from device outages to security issues—from anywhere. Look for an IVMS that lets you set up customizable, real-time alerts. These alerts can be triggered by the AI detections mentioned above—activity, people, or clothing—and sent to response teams via text, email, or webhook.
Third-party camera integration
Maybe you already have an existing camera network. Upgrading or switching to another system shouldn’t require you to rip-and-replace the camera infrastructure your business has already invested in. Look for an IVMS that integrates with your existing network cameras, so they benefit from the new software without another large upfront investment.
Accessible technical support
An IVMS provider should be available to support you at every step of your customer journey. Look for a provider with robust support options that you can access anytime from any device. Ask yourself if they have a technical knowledge base, self-help videos and tutorials, and 24/7 support.
What are the benefits of an IVMS?
The added layer of intelligence that comes with an IVMS can significantly enhance worksite visibility. Smart technology enables scalability, workflow automation, and customized experiences—and it can better help you understand where to make improvements.
For example, if there’s an incident at a worksite, it’s necessary to move quickly and take action. In these critical moments, it’s cumbersome and inefficient to scour through hours of video playback to find what might be a few key moments of footage. An IVMS with AI features and intelligent search tools enables you to cut through the inefficiency to take action faster.
An IVMS offers three big advantages over a traditional VMS:
1. Answer safety and security questions more easily and accurately
With intelligent search tools, you can search for motion or people within a specific area of a camera stream, helping answer safety and security questions. For example, “Who was the last person to rack this pallet?” or “How was this piece of equipment damaged?” When you can easily find the answers to these questions, site managers can take action to correct behavior, put training in place, or implement new policies.
2. Find important footage faster
If there is motion or people present in a camera stream, an IVMS with AI can intelligently detect it. “Intelligently” is the key word, meaning the system won’t fire off an incident notification if an animal wanders across a parking lot because it’s been trained to distinguish different objects.
When this type of detection is combined with AI-driven search tools, it’s possible to find footage fast based on certain parameters. For example, you might search for footage between a specific date and time range, but only when people are present. Combining intelligent detection and search functionality helps find the exact footage in question quickly and easily when there’s a security or safety incident.
3. Take proactive action with intelligent, customizable alerts
In addition to intelligent search tools, an IVMS makes proactive notifications possible when an incident occurs. For instance, you can set up alerts that detect people or motion after hours or detect when people are in unsafe locations. Detection and alerts aren’t limited to people. You could also set up alerts for inactivity on a machine line or if a piece of equipment goes offline, allowing you to respond to the situation immediately.
How Logistics Warehouse uses Samsara’s IVMS to increase efficiency while decreasing downtime
Logistics Warehouse offers transportation, product manipulation, and warehousing services. They strive to provide quality services with exceptional efficiency to exceed customer expectations. Company president Ronnie Robertson used to spend five minutes a day at warehouse packing stations to understand workflows and identify opportunities to improve processes. However, his presence impacted employee behavior and rarely presented an accurate view of how the production lines operate daily.
Now, with Samsara’s cloud NVR and IVMS, he gets a holistic view of his factory operations anytime and anywhere through a web dashboard or mobile app. He can better review current processes and identify new workflows, contributing to better ROI. For one of their production lines, Robertson setup Inactivity Alerts, which allow him to define an area of interest on a camera stream and receive alerts if there is no motion for a certain time period. Now, if there is an unplanned pause in the production line, a site manager will be notified and a staff member can quickly perform detailed checks. As a result, they now produce 45% more per day—increasing their profit margins by 8%. “We kept finding new things to look at with the cameras, new insights and things to improve,” said Robertson. “The system just makes sense. We’re already seeing major improvements in efficiency.”
Try Samsara’s cloud NVR system and IVMS for free
Samsara’s Site Visibility solution is a reliable, flexible PoE security camera system that captures high-quality footage. Our cloud NVR allows customers remote access to footage anytime, from anywhere. Our intelligent VMS (or IVMS) brings powerful AI to any third-party IP security camera for enhanced worksite visibility. Search for specific incidents faster and spend less time monitoring footage using intelligent detections and alerting. With Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, you can:
Monitor all locations remotely with cloud-based technology.
Gain actionable insights with AI-enhanced camera streams.
Use intelligent search tools to spend less time investigating incidents.
Integrate existing, third-party camera infrastructure.
Track your fleet, equipment, sites, and more via a single dashboard via Samsara’s Connected Operations Platform.