Approach the security department of any international airport and ask them: 'What is the single most important aspect of your security system?' and you will likely hear: uninterrupted system availability. Airports simply cannot afford any downtime. These are mission critical security systems where video from cameras and other critical data need to be accessible at any point, from any location.
For airports, it's a 'must-have-at-all-costs' mentality that leads them searching for just the right solution to accommodate this need. How is this done? First by choosing an open architecture security platform that allows them to freely and reliably expand their system as their business needs grow. Second by looking for a few key reliability features will help ensure higher percentages of availability; these reliability features include:
- Database high availability - ensuring continuous real-time monitoring despite hardware or software failure or system overload by automatically allowing the system to manage and balance computing resources;
- Redundant archiving - having a standby recorders archiving video from cameras on the same schedule to completely eliminate video loss;
- Uninterrupted video streaming - preserving access to live video streaming so operators can keep an eye on the cameras;
- Optimized network management - minimizing network traffic and optimizing bandwidth when multiple users are accessing the same live video source to prevent possible network crashes;
- Health monitoring - being automatically alerted via email to any suspected vulnerabilities.
SMAs and Service Contribute to Peace of Mind and Reliability
Features can be helpful, but when system failures inevitably do occur, airport authorities need to know that people will be there to help them do whatever it takes to get their system back online. The service and support they receive from vendors and integrators is equally of prime importance. Read about Genetec Software Maintenance Agreements.
The Question of Rising Storage Needs and Costs
Another question to ask is: 'What is the most costly challenge you face with your security system?' Unanimously, you will likely hear: storage. As more airports want to simultaneously expand video coverage and maximize video quality, there are more high resolution cameras being installed. New legislation and policies are also requiring transportation authorities to keep video for longer periods of time. With all of these factors combined, storage requirements and costs are on the rise, and airports are looking for solutions that will accommodate their growth with minimal economic impact. Some options include:
Off-the-shelf storage solutions - Microsoft® Windows® and NEC clustering solutions can be deployed in virtual environments such as VMware® ESX/ESXi to maximize storage capacity and reduce costs. See the full list of storage partners.
Cloud archiving - Although still in the early stages of adoption, larger organizations such as airports are recognizing value in leveraging cloud-enabled solutions for long-term archiving. This can complement on-premise servers, leading to a hybrid storage model. Read more about Hybrid cloud archiving.
Automatic archive transfers - Hardware costs are not the only concern. Longer retention periods require many hours to transfer video archives to longer-term storage. An automatic archive transfer feature helps simplify this task, allowing resources to focus on other more important jobs. (Available soon in Security Center 5.3)
There are many more challenges and opportunities within the airport environment, but these two are constantly top of mind for some of the largest international hubs in the world. Visit our newly revamped transportation webpage to read more about how our solutions help these airports in their day-to-day environment.