Brandon Davito, Author at Verkada

Announcing Offline Mode: Hybrid Cloud with No Compromises

Verkada has pioneered the Hybrid Cloud architecture that has revolutionized enterprise video security.  Taking advantage of storage on the device and the accessibility of the cloud, Verkada’s Hybrid Cloud architecture cuts costs, simplifies deployment and management, and paves the way for advanced computer vision functionality.  However, customers have often faced a tradeoff – the simplicity of hybrid cloud vs. the (perceived) reliability of legacy systems.

Today, we are excited to announce the next major capability that is unlocked by our approach – Offline Mode.  Offline Mode allows customers to continue to securely view live video streams even when they lose their internet connection, ensuring that customers can confidently choose Hybrid Cloud without compromise.  Offline Mode works on web browsers (Chrome and Firefox) and AppleTV and delivers excellent reliability and video quality with low latency.

Key Benefits

• Reliability: For use cases that require “always-on” connections, such as patient monitoring, entry/exit monitoring, and video walls, Offline Mode provides a highly reliable, persistent connection to the camera.  

• Bandwidth usage: Offline Mode is built on Verkada’s Local Stream, transmitting data over the LAN without impacting WAN bandwidth utilization.  As always, thumbnails and metadata continue to be sent over the WAN.

• Latency: Offline Mode leverages Verkada’s Low-Latency Stream to deliver near real-time (~1-2s delay, depending on network capacity) viewing.

• Security: Offline Mode requires authentication to the cloud-based Command system, ensuring only users with appropriate privileges are able to view streams.  In addition, Offline Mode requires installation of certificates on the viewing device, delivering secure SSL connections between the browser and camera, even without an internet connection.

Offline Mode With Cameras On A Different LAN

How It Works

Offline Mode is built on Verkada’s Local stream, delivering great image quality, low latency, and limited bandwidth utilization.  Command establishes a connection to the cloud to authenticate the user’s session and then maintains the stream over the local LAN, even when the internet goes down.  When the Command application detects that the internet connection has been lost, it automatically attempts to fail over to Offline Mode. If a user were viewing live video in HD, for example, Command would fall back to the Local stream in Offline Mode without the user needing to intervene.  Command will notify the user that it has gone into Offline Mode, and some controls (History Page, Motion Search, etc.) will be disabled. Users can view live streams on all cameras that are accessible on the LAN, switch between the Sites, Cameras, and Grids pages, and Logout of the application.  Once Command detects that internet has been restored, it will automatically revert to normal operation.

Online Mode Restored

Setting Up and Testing Offline Mode

Offline Mode is easy to set up.  Now that Verkada has enabled Local viewing on all cameras, users simply need to install a security certificate on each device and browser they use to access Command.  For example, if a user accesses Command from a desktop and laptop via Chrome, he or she would need to install certificates on both devices. Note that Offline Mode is currently supported on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge for desktops and laptops, and on AppleTV.  Users can follow the prompts to install certificates in their Settings. For more information, please visit our Knowledge Base.

Offline Mode requires that the camera is on the same LAN as the viewing device and that security certificates are installed.  Users can confirm that devices will be viewable in Offline Mode using the “Test Offline Mode” feature in Settings. Users can confirm that they have properly installed certificates and check that cameras are accessible in Offline Mode.  Verkada strongly recommends regularly testing the accessibility of cameras in Offline Mode as part of your organization’s emergency response procedures.

If you are a current Verkada customer, this feature is now live in your Command software. To install security certificates, click on Settings, and then click on the “Install Certificates” button in the Offline Mode section. You can test the reachability of your cameras by clicking on “Test Offline Mode.”  Learn more about Offline Mode in our Knowledge Base.

Want to learn more? Get a 20-Minute Demo and see how Verkada can help your organization modernize its approach to physical security.

Announcing Audit Logs: Ensuring Compliance and Chain of Custody

For organizations that need to be able to track all user actions—be it for compliance, internal controls or chain of custody purposes—Verkada is pleased to offer Audit Logs. This feature tracks all user and camera actions within the Command platform, giving Organization Admins complete visibility into the usage of their system.

Audit Logs are maintained at two different levels. The first, in the Organization Admin’s Settings page, allows an Admin to see user activities, such as new user creation, role assignment, login attempts and logouts. Organization-wide settings (such as creating, editing or assigning cameras to Sites or Nested Sites) are also tracked. Organization Audit Logs are designed to monitor how users are granted access to the system, when users are logging in and who has moved cameras between Sites.

Second, each camera has its own full audit trail. This log maintains a record of all actions done to the camera—either by the system (such as a firmware upgrade or restart) or by the user (such as sharing a live or archived feed, or making a configuration change). In addition, all camera views and archives are recorded and tagged by user. A full list of the actions tracked in an Audit Log is available in our Knowledge Base.

The Audit Log feature will be useful for customers across industries where full record keeping and compliance documentation is a requirement. In particular, customers in the education, healthcare and financial services sectors can take advantage of this feature to meet local, state, or federal guidelines and to ensure proper management of digital evidence.

If you are a current Verkada customer, this feature is now live in your Command software. To access your Organization Admin Audit Log, click on Settings, and then click on the “Document” icon at the top right corner of your Organization table. You can view the Audit Log on screen or export to create custom reports. To view your camera’s Audit Log, go to that camera’s page and click on the “Settings” icon. Then click on “Additional Settings” and select “Audit Log” from the menu on the left to view or export your detailed camera history.  Learn more about Audit Logs in our Knowledge Base.

Want to learn more? Get a 20-Minute Demo and see how Verkada can help your organization modernize its approach to physical security.

Introducing Heatmaps and Bounding Boxes: Cameras as a Sensor

We are excited to introduce Heatmaps and Bounding Boxes as part of the Command software platform. With these features, your Verkada security camera becomes a sensor that can plot the location and duration of people and vehicles in a frame. Both of these features are layered on top of our History Player, giving users the ability to summarize hours of data quickly and jump to a specific segment of interest.

When combined with People and Vehicle Detection, Heatmaps and Bounding Boxes provide a rapid way of identifying periods of interest from a camera’s stream. Heatmaps enable a high-level overview of when and where human activity was detected within the History Player’s timeline. Then, a user can quickly scrub through footage using Bounding Boxes and the Motion Bar to pinpoint the precise time of an event. Once identified, users can simply click to view or archive high-definition video of the event.

Heatmaps

With Heatmaps, users can create on-demand visualizations of how their space is being utilized. This feature can be implemented on any Verkada camera over a configurable time period—providing retailers, healthcare providers, school administrators, and hospitality companies (among many others) with insights into space planning, staffing levels, customer behavior or advertisement effectiveness.

Verkada’s heat-mapping solution is unique in that it only plots the movement of people and vehicles. By eliminating background motion from lighting or weather changes, Verkada’s Heatmaps feature filters out false positives.

This feature is particularly interesting for users who need to assess staffing levels or consider the layout of their physical space. Examples of how organizations take advantage of it include:

  • Retailers employing Heatmaps to understand shoppers’ behavior and identify the highest-traffic locations in their stores. With that data, they can appropriately place products, create signage and optimize their store layout. Some are modifying cashier or even cleaning schedules based on Heatmaps data.
  • Users in the restaurant and hospitality industries applying Heatmaps to evaluate staffing levels across different periods of service and to design their reception and bar areas for optimal customer flow.

Bounding Boxes

Last year, Verkada released Vehicle and People Detection. We received so much positive feedback on the feature that we decided to expose how our computer vision algorithm is processing video streams to detect people, vehicles and other objects. In the Command platform, Bounding Boxes show by default. People and vehicles are outlined, making it easy to understand how the vehicle and people counts are generated.

How Do These Features Work?

Verkada’s computer vision models analyze the thumbnail images sent to the cloud to identify people or vehicles. When a person or a vehicle is recognized, that location is outlined in the frame with a Bounding Box. Selecting Bounding Boxes from the display shades people in green and vehicles in yellow for easy identification.

Heatmaps are generated from the same source data. Bounding Boxes are summarized and projected onto the ground. When a user selects Heatmaps, the Command software aggregates each person or vehicle detected to calculate the intensity of color displayed on the thumbnail preview. The colors range from red (where the human activity is most intense), to yellow (medium intensity), to green (least intense). Colors are normalized to allow for comparison across time periods. Heatmaps are generated for a configurable time window—from 20 seconds to 4 hours.

Enabling Heatmaps and Bounding Boxes

If you are a current Verkada customer, you can try out Heatmaps on the History Player page. Select the time period you would like to use and click on Heatmaps. There is no need to enable Bounding Boxes, they are viewable by default in History Player. Step-by-step instructions can also be found in our Knowledge Base.

We’re excited to launch the Heatmaps and Bounding Box features for our customers as a way to make it easy to summarize and display the complex visual data that our cameras process. We’re eager to hear how you use them to make your locations even more safe, efficient and productive.

Want to learn more? Get a 20-Minute Demo and see how Verkada can help your organization modernize its approach to physical security.

Introducing Motion Notifications: Video Security Got More Actionable

Building on the success of our recent People and Vehicle Detection launch, Verkada is happy to introduce Motion Notifications with smart filters.

Our latest feature proactively notifies Verkada customers when motion is detected within a defined area of the frame. The motion search interface in Verkada’s Command allows users to mark the area of interest for each camera. Then, they can add filters to trigger an alert only when people are in the scene or within a certain time window. This added intelligence ensures that users are only notified on actionable events—filtering out weather-related movement, lighting changes and other potential background motion.

Understanding how this feature works can help you set up more effective notifications.

How Does It Work?

Using onboard analytics, Verkada cameras with Motion Notifications enabled will constantly monitor the selected activity zones. When motion is detected, they will record high resolution video and send an image to the cloud for analysis. If the people filter is on, Verkada’s computer vision models analyze the image and will only trigger a notification if a human is detected in the frame. Finally, the system will filter out alerts that don’t occur during the specified time window.

Alerts are sent to all Verkada users with access to the camera who have turned on notifications in their settings. Notifications will be sent by SMS or email, depending on the user preference. Email notifications include a snapshot of the motion so that recipients can easily see a preview of what happened. Users can then click through to Command to view a 20-second clip of the motion event. Within Command, users can take snapshots, zoom, or archive the clip within their account.

Motion Notifications in Action

Motion notifications are already providing actionable information to Verkada customers across many industries without requiring active monitoring.

  • School safety leaders have implemented Motion Notifications to help ensure after-hours security inside and outside their facilities. They can enable notifications for cameras that monitor specific doors and set time-of-day alerts and people filters to watch for potential vandalism.
  • Customers in the manufacturing industry are utilizing the feature to assess inventory levels. Users are notified when stock drops below predefined thresholds and helps them proactively replenish or confirm that they have an adequate supply on hand.
  • Logistics companies use the notifications to inform yard staff about deliveries and keep track of warehouses and facilities during off hours. Others use the feature to notify security personnel to perform additional screening before allowing a vehicle to enter a facility.
  • Retailers and hospitality providers are employing Motion Notifications to observe cash registers and safes after hours. In addition, many have set up notifications with time-of-day filters to watch for unauthorized access to stock rooms and other areas with valuable inventory.

If you are a current Verkada customer, you can set up Motion Notifications in the Additional Settings of your camera page in Command. Click to enable notifications and add the appropriate people and time-of-day filters. Step-by-step instructions can be found in our Knowledge Base.

We’re excited to roll out the Motion Notifications feature to our customers and believe it is a powerful tool to proactively monitor your locations. By only notifying users of relevant and actionable events, Motion Notifications save time and increase the productivity of security and facilities personnel.

Want to learn more? Get a 20-Minute Demo and see how Verkada can help your organization modernize its approach to physical security.