SAMS marries logical and physical security data

Technology to bridge the silos of information for logical and physical security is evolving, and helping to moving these two disparate areas closer together.

Hopkinton, Mass-based EMC Corp has developed a system to convert analogue video from surveillance systems into digital streaming video, and to integrate the data within an organization’s existing security infrastructure.

The Surveillance Analysis and Management Solution (SAMS) is a combination of hardware, software and professional services that can store, search and analyze petabytes (1,000 terabytes) of data derived from surveillance cameras and access control systems.

The use of surveillance cameras is on the rise, driven by fears about terrorism and other criminal activity, says Gregory Therkalsen, vice-president of Business Continuity and Security Solutions at EMC.

“SAMS unifies different flows of data,” he says. “We’re grabbing a new class of data and applying the same rigor, platforms and software tools that we apply to any other class of data. There is a need to integrate different technology feeds such as camera, access control, behavioral and identity recognition across the spectrum.”

The system is structured to put all data in a central repository, says Dick O’Leary, SAMS Program Director at EMC. The system addresses two types of business problems, he says. In the media category, the system enables real-time access to video data and its storage for long-term archiving. In the data category, it enables the integration and analysis of pockets of security data from access control and intrusion detection systems, and other silos of security data that may exist in an organization such as RFID.

The system offers organizations new capabilities to tackle security problems, says Therkalsen. For example, SAMS can match information from surveillance cameras with access passcard information to determine the identity of an unauthorized person entering a restricted area who has shielded his face from surveillance cameras.

It allows investigators to quickly respond to incidents by allowing real-time access to current and retroactive video information, and the ability to share it with teams in different locations — a major improvement over the time-consuming process of searching through analogue video tapes and making copies.

SAMS also has intelligent analytics that allow customers to save costs by setting surveillance triggers, for example, motion detection that turns the system on in areas with little traffic and thus no need to run cameras continuously.

SAMS can be implemented in phases, says Thekalsen. “You do not need to rip out your existing surveillance or access control infrastructure to work with it. If you have 1,000 cameras to cover, you can do 200 in the first six months, another 200 in the next, and so on,” he says.

These features attracted the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, which began its implementation of SAMS about a month ago. The state agency spent a year in strategic planning and reviewed various systems before settling on SAMS, says Deputy Commissioner Michael E. Dossett,

The agency’s mandate is to provide safety, services and treatment to youths who’ve run afoul of the law. With its legacy systems, the agency had no means to capture interactions, be they positive or negative, to monitor a youngster’s progress through the system. There was also no concrete information available to determine if staffing was appropriate to deliver services.

“A major goal is the ability to develop an overlay on our legacy system that will allow us to stream video, search and flag events through SAMS’ archival and analytic solutions,” says Dossett. The agency plans to deploy the system to its 30 residential programs over the course of the year.

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