Although Cisco had already been involved in the video-surveillance market, they made a key acquisition in May 2007 of BroadWare Technologies. This acquisition brought many new and highly developed tools to Cisco’s solution. With these new products available, Cisco developed a strategy based on a different security product suit that builds on Cisco’s Medianet integration.


The two main components of Cisco’s video-surveillance solution are hardware and software products. Hardware products include Cisco Video IP Surveillance Cameras, encoders, and physical security management and storage servers.


Software products are used for monitoring video surveillance and controlling different aspects of the monitoring tools. Other solution elements include the Cisco Physical Access Manager and the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (Cisco IPICS).


The Cisco Physical Access Manager appliance is a physical intrusion-detection solution using Cisco Physical Access Gateway devices to connect conventional wired sensors, along with other physical security elements through a converged IP network.


The Cisco Physical Access Manager appliance is a hardware and software solution that provides advanced configuration and management of the Cisco Physical Access Control system.


The Cisco Physical Access Manager desktop client is used to define access control rules, enroll users, manage badges, and configure the Cisco Physical Access Gateway modules, among other tasks.


The Cisco IPICS is a complete IP-Based dispatch and incidence-response solution with several capabilities. This solution provides an enhanced dispatch console; UHF and VHF radio interoperability; emergency first-responder notification; and integration with IP phones, cell phones, PCs, and mobile devices.


A Cisco end-to-end solution can be broken down into three categories:

Threat detection can be categorized by the physical security elements in a surveillance solution, such as cameras, motion sensors, and access control.


Threat monitoring is based on real-time and recorded threat-monitoring services. Such services may include door sensors and badges, fingerprint scanners or other biometric sensors, video-surveillance monitoring software, and other media management and storage components.


The third category of the Cisco end-to-end solution is threat response. This service includes the IPICS allowing integration with existing communication devices, whether that be a Voice over IP (VoIP), public switched telephone network (PSTN), or video collaboration solution.




The Cisco video-surveillance solution can be divided into four service domains:

Input and output devices



Interactive view



The Cisco IP cameras include standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) capabilities. They communicate using IP and standards-based interfaces and protocols such as MPEG and H.264. Cisco IP surveillance cameras also include embedded security and networking, motion detection, and video analytics.


As mentioned before, Cisco Medianet offers the features PoE, automated provisioning, bandwidth optimization, storage optimization, and enhanced network security.


There are four series of cameras to choose from in the Cisco solution. Each has different capabilities to cater to the various needs of the customers. Some come in a box model, and some come in the dome model. The 6000 series comes in both box and dome models. The figure below shows box and dome cameras.






The Cisco Video Surveillance Manager Software (VSMS) is the management and control plane for the Cisco video-surveillance solution components. Cisco VSMS is a software suite that includes the Cisco Video Surveillance Operations Manager, Cisco Video Surveillance Media Server, and Cisco Video Surveillance Virtual Matrix.


The Cisco Video Surveillance Media Server software is the core component of the network-centric Cisco video-surveillance solution. This software is responsible for the recording, storing, and streaming of video feeds.


The Cisco Video Surveillance Storage System complements the Cisco Video Surveillance Media Server software. Video can be stored in direct-attached storage (DAS), NAS, and SAN storage systems. The way it works is that each

IP camera or encoder sends a single video stream to the Cisco Video Surveillance Media Server.


This software is responsible for simultaneously distributing live and archived video streams to viewers over an IP network. In case of multiple view requests, the software replicates the unique input video streams to multiple output streams, based on request. For archive viewing, the Cisco Video Surveillance Media Server continuously receives video from the IP camera or encoder, as configured per the archive settings.


The software sends video streams to the viewer only when requested. In environments with remote branch locations, this process becomes efficient because traffic needs to traverse the network only when requested by remote viewers. Video requests and streams are delivered to the viewer by using HTTP traffic (TCP port 80) or over HTTPS (TCP port 443).






Many storage components can be used. Those that have already been mentioned include DAS, NAS, and SAN storage. The Cisco Video Serveillance Multiservices Platform has also been mentioned. In addition, the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR)-based Cisco video surveillance elements can be deployed.


The Cisco Video Surveillance Multiservices Platform is an easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy server suite. It offers scalable storage in a 1-RU to a 4-RU server platform, storing up to 24 TB.


As mentioned before, it supports video encoding with the optional encoder cards. There are four products in the Cisco Video Surveillance Multiservices Platform available. The virtualized applications for the Unified Computing System (UCS) offer the same high security as other offering, along with other benefits in a virtualized environment.


The physical footprint of an organization is reduced, and the installation process is simplified, by elimination the need for extra cabling, complexity, and power consumption.


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