The term “digital surveillance software” refers to a broad category of computer based sets of instructions that provides the instructions for either a computer or a computer based device to operate, control, and/or process binary (digital) data used or created for security and surveillance purposes. To narrow this definition down a little for the purpose of this article, digital surveillance software is the collective set of programming used to create digital video images for security and surveillance purposes.
Since the words “digital surveillance software” refer to such a broad definition, it may be easier to explain what it is based on how it is used and what it does. There are basically three broad categories of digital surveillance software. The first applies to standalone digital video security and surveillance systems; the second applies to personal computer based digital video security and surveillance systems; and the third and final category, for the purpose of our discussion, applies to smartphones and similar type devices used with digital video and surveillance software.
Standalone Digital Video Security Systems
A standalone digital video security system is a set of devices that are used for security or surveillance purposes to create digital video files that may or may not be recorded. The term “standalone” indicates that these systems do not require any additional assistance from exterior devices such as a computer. The digital surveillance software used in these systems can include the operating system of the Digital Video Recorder’s or DVR’s and any additional programs used on that system to control the various devices of the standalone system
A standalone digital video security and surveillance system in its basic configuration includes one or more digital video cameras, a DVR unit with a Digital Signal Processor or DSP, and a digital based monitor. In a standalone system, the cameras send their digital video data to the DVR where the DSP compiles the data using a CODEC or COmpression/DECompression utility to create digital video files. The files are then viewed on the digital monitor and or stored for later use on a hard disk drive on the DVR.
The digital surveillance software in this system can include:
1) The operating system of the DVR/DSP unit;
2) The CODEC utility program; and,
3) Any other specialized set of instructions to control the equipment.
For example, Security Camera King offers three major types of DVRs; our Elite mini series, or Elite series, and our Ultimate series. These standalone systems have a highly specialized DSP that creates digital video files and coordinates the functions between the three major devices of the system. This is usually referred to as the “operating system” and all of our units use a Linux based operating system.
The CODEC utility is a specific software program that is used to compile the video data into a digital video file. Digital video is actually several digital photographs taken in succession. Different rates may be used but a general standard is 29.9 frames per second or fps. This means the camera takes 29 digital pictures in one second so in one minute of video, the camera takes approximately 1800 pictures. You can see how the file size can become enormously large in a very short period of time.
The CODEC uses mathematical algorithms so the file size is a fraction of the original total size. This piece of digital surveillance software does this with very little loss of quality. There are many different types of CODECs such as MJPEG, MPG, H.264, etc.
A standalone system may also contain digital surveillance software that operates the equipment, including specialized functions. For example, Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras can move horizontally, vertically, and can enlarge objects. These movements may be controlled by digital surveillance software.
Personal Computer Digital Video Security Systems
There are digital video security systems that utile a personal computer to take the place of the DVR, DSP, and or monitor. Normally these systems contain a PCI card or similar printed circuit board that performs the bulk of the systems needs including storing the digital video files, controlling devices, and displaying the video on the computer’s monitor.
Any of the software associated with these functions, in essence, can be considered digital surveillance software.
Smartphones require small programs in order to adapt or interface with different systems and devises. These programs are called applications or “apps.” An app can also be of a digital surveillance software type.