What is Your Uptime Number? (And Why It Matters)

    [fa icon="calendar"] Mar 9, 2015 6:42:19 PM / by Mark McCourt

    While customers, integrators and designers rightfully focus on the cost of a new IP video system and work to reduce it, the other critical question that needs to be asked is what is the cost of maintaining and servicing system failures and downtime. For a case study that shows how important this question is you need only look at the City of Philadelphia audit of their surveillance system. The initial audit identified that only 43% of the cameras were working. Download the report here: Philadelphia_PoliceSurveillanceVideo-FollowUp_2013

    The mayor’s office disputed that finding claiming 90% of the cameras worked. So they had a follow up audit and a year later…. Well, they’ve got only 32% percent working. Yep, a year later, after this scathing report got the city to leap into action, a follow up audit found only 32% of the city’s cameras are working.

    Philadelphia is case study in how manual, inefficient processes just don’t work. And while the audit makes a scapegoat of the people and the departments they work within; the fact is that it’s not their fault. The job is impossible to do manually. So, while my blog is a self-serving rant on why Philadelphia should subscribe to Viakoo, the following are some real facts about why.
    At the time of the audit, Philadelphia had spent $14 million with Unisys, IBS, Carr & Duff and Federal Signal to install and maintain a surveillance system estimated to cost $3017 per camera. What is cost of a failing and impossible to manually maintain video system? Well, according to the audit the cost per camera was $136,000.

    What do I mean by manually inefficient processes? The Philadelphia police (if they manually) identify a failure log it on spreadsheets and email a daily camera report to the OIT (Office of Innovation and Technology). Those daily emails are supposed to be opened twice a week and the 7 reports merged and acted upon. Since 68% of the network is down, it’s a safe bet they were not.

    While all of the above is what Perry Mason would call circumstantial; the follow up audit has some terra firma for both Philadelphia and “why Viakoo” makes financial and technological sense.

    1. Viakoo would identify the 68% of those non-working cameras, where they are, why they are not working and what to do to fix them. Automatically through a trouble ticket that the city can assign to a service technician, measure progress and results and have an instant audit on service.
    2. Images are pixelated and unreadable. Viakoo’s quality of service metric Video Stream Delivery Index would alert the city that their frame rates and video quality was not being recorded or viewed as intended, instantly alerting the city to the problem and telling the technician how to fix the problem. As one city leader noted, “poor image quality gives a false sense of security about the system’s reliability.”
    3. Pan Tilt Zoom cameras were not panning, tilting or zooming. Viakoo identifies that the PTZ is slowing down indicated that the belt or motor is wearing out. Thus it can be replaced or services during normal maintenance cycles without the risk of camera failure and downtime while waiting for replacement or repair. Again, the trouble tickets will automatically generate, can be assigned to a technician and create a record for future auditing.
    4. Oddly, no audit of video recording compliance is in the report. But it would seem likely that the city has some missing video surprises hidden its failure rate. And yes, I blog on, Viakoo would eliminate missing video recordings for the city.
      The follow up audit states Mayor Nutter will not reach his stated goal of 90%. They are correct. And with the current lack of automation, they never will. But they can reach 100%, reduce costs and gain control of their video infrastructure through Viakoo.

    Topics: Blog

    Mark McCourt

    Written by Mark McCourt