As demand for security grows, so too does the demand for video surveillance. Stores, public spaces, and even transportation systems have cameras recording everything that goes on. However, the increase in video created also leads to an increasing need for storage. How do you store that video for the duration you need at an affordable cost? And once you’ve stored all that video, how do you search for and quickly retrieve specific clips?
The Challenges in Storing Video Surveillance
These were the questions we sought to tackle with Montebello Bus Lines (MBL) in Southern California. MBL currently operates 72 buses that serve over 8 million passengers a year, and each bus houses five cameras and a recording system. All videos were only recorded locally on the buses, which meant that transferring the data into the operations center at the end of the day took some time.
At the same time, MBL had to manually locate clips using timecodes, making it difficult to upload, find, and then follow up on reported incidents in a timely manner.
Further compounding the storage issue was budget. Budget limitations meant MBL couldn’t keep the video data for more than 60 days. If someone filed a case after the 60-day period, or legal action comes to fruition years after the incident, then the city of Montebello would face financial risk.
Finding the Answer in Object Storage
What MBL needed was the ability to wirelessly upload video in addition to storing the data locally. This would allow for immediate review by transit staff or law enforcement and would serve as an additional layer of backup to prevent data loss.
MBL first tried using a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system, but the problem with NAS is that the entry systems simply aren’t fast enough while the better performing systems are cost-prohibitive. Another challenge was the file structure, which did not allow graceful transfer over a wireless network. An interrupted transfer resulted in re-starting the process. Finally, NAS systems allowed limited metadata tagging, containing only the most basic information.
But this is where Cloudian steps in. By utilizing Cloudian HyperStore software (on a Lenovo DX8200C appliance) with Transportation Security Systems (TSS) IRIS, MBL is now able to add real-time metadata tagging on their videos. The metadata search also makes it easier to locate videos based on parameters such as time, location, vehicle, and more.
Large clips are broken into smaller pieces before being transferred concurrently, resulting in better reliability and successful use of wireless data transfers. Additionally, object storage is more cost-efficient, meaning it’s easy (and affordable) to scale up as more videos are stored.
David Tsuen, IT Manager for the City of Montebello, stated that “Cloudian and TSS together allowed us to solve a very challenging problem. We now have a path to significant cost savings for the City and a safer experience for our riders. That’s a genuine win-win.”