Various Challenges to Sharing Video Across Jurisdictions
For example, if police request access to video feeds from a school, there are challenges in several areas.
First and foremost are the political implications of classroom feeds that go to a real-time crime center. While these feeds are an obvious force multiplier in classroom safety, they are often met with opposition, especially from families.
Additionally, operational issues come into play for agencies that have concerns such as who does what, who pays for what and where the lines of demarcation are.
Conventional wisdom is that privacy or operational challenges are the most difficult to overcome. However, it is the technical difficulties that often slow the move toward video sharing in government due to a lack of centralized control or governance of video security systems.
Technical Challenges Surface in Addressing Different Needs
Large cities and counties rarely have a one-size-fits-all approach to video security, access controls and alarm systems. What may work well for firefighters may be missing key features that are sorely lacking at the water utility.
Law enforcement’s citywide surveillance platforms may be too complicated and feature-rich for simply protecting parks and recreation offices. Therefore, most large jurisdictions have a wide variety of cameras from various manufacturers, which often are controlled by disparate video management platforms. In such situations, each department selects its own toolsets.
At the heart of the problem is the fact that some video platforms are closed systems and do not allow any ability for cross-platform sharing. Any agency that wishes to share video with law enforcement or across departmental boundaries must exclude these solution sets from consideration.
Other solutions may offer access to sharing but might not control camera functionality such as pan-tilt-zoom. Agencies may approve these solutions for consideration, but buyers must be aware of their limitations. Some solutions allow for full absorption of access and control by another solution, often referred to as federation of video platforms. Such an environment is the most desired for interoperability but is the most difficult to achieve.
Comprehensive Planning Can Overcome Sharing Obstacles
Regardless of the fundamental differences among video management platforms, a more common challenge regarding video interoperability is typically associated with cybersecurity and network access and resources. Technology governance is nuanced from agency to agency, even when there is a central authority regulating its use.
Agencies often have individual compliance measures in place that differ from each other, and in many cases information security responsibilities are internal to the subdivision and not the network security department.
Developing an enterprisewide approach to video management and related network and hardware infrastructure is the first step to creating an environment conducive to interoperability. Developing even a modicum of overall governance with respect to video and the Internet of Things in general is essential to realizing the benefits of modernized technologies.
A comprehensive planning approach should include best practices for network sharing and security of live video feeds as well as reference system-to-system interconnection architectures. This comprehensive planning, securing, operating and engineering policy coupled with an approved options list of solutions will help make interoperability and video sharing achievable.