Federal IT Workers See Benefits of Video Surveillance

The study suggests that working together is a critical piece of the plot, since agencies that require collaboration are significantly ahead.

federal it and video

An overwhelming 99 percent of Feds believe that video surveillance technology will continue to play a significant role in their ability to prevent crime, theft, and terrorism over the next five years, according to a MeriTalk and EMC survey of 151 federal decision makers, evenly split between physical security and IT managers.

Survey respondents now use video surveillance for monitoring suspicious behavior (57 percent), monitoring traffic (49 percent), and detecting anomalies (38 percent). Looking to the future, federal officials see vast potential in integrating video and big data analytics to enable instant event search, facial recognition, and inter-agency real-time surveillance.

At present, less than half of civilian agencies (47 percent) collaborate as part of their standard operating procedure. However, the Department of Defense ranks significantly higher on collaboration at 78 percent.

"Surveillance video is yet another fast-growing component of the big data opportunity. Federal IT practitioners are being asked to deliver a secure, always-on infrastructure that’s capable of collecting and intelligently parsing through massive amounts of information -- including video, audio, images, and traditional database information — from a variety of sources," Michael Gallant, senior director of video surveillance for EMC, told eWEEK.

Gallant explained that a federal data lake platform can enable federal IT workers to quickly gather and analyze video and other data sets, both in real-time and after-the-fact, for the purposes of situational awareness, predictive analysis and forensic investigation.

The report concluded that as a first step, Feds need a consensus on who is in charge, as 76 percent of physical security managers currently see video surveillance as a collaboration, but just one third of IT managers agree.

The study also suggested that working together is a critical piece of the plot, indicating that agencies that require collaboration are significantly ahead.

For example, they are more prepared for the influx of data (81 percent versus 24 percent); more likely to analyze at least 50 percent of their data (63 percent versus 47 percent), and more than twice as likely to operate an edge-to-core platform architecture for surveillance (92 percent versus 44 percent).

Nearly all federal IT workers say their agency’s IT infrastructure is not ready, identifying three key required investment areas. These are storage (91 percent), computing power (89 percent), and personnel (84 percent).

"The market for large-scale surveillance solutions is rapidly shifting from a proprietary, appliance model to more of an open, enterprise-class model allowing for flexibility and choice with cameras, video management software, video storage, and video content analytics," Gallant said. "The capability to cost-effectively record, transmit, store, and analyze video to increase safety is commercially available."

He explained that significant improvements will be realized with reasonable investments and closer collaboration among security professionals and IT professionals about the architecture requirements for video surveillance at scale. Teams also need to align skills and collaborate to share insights and take action, he said.