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Why Video Redaction Software Is a Necessity for Any Modern VMS/EMS

Why Video Redaction Software Is a Necessity for Any Modern VMS/EMS
March 28, 2023
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As video surveillance becomes increasingly common in today's world, it has become more critical than ever to protect sensitive information captured by surveillance cameras. From footage from criminal investigations to workplace surveillance, many videos need to be censored or masked to preserve privacy or sensitive information. Video redaction software is the perfect solution to streamline a previously tedious, laborious process. 

Video redaction software is a powerful tool that enables users to blur certain parts of a video, often faces, license plates, or sensitive information, while leaving the rest intact. This is particularly beneficial for law enforcement agencies, but it is also used in various other industries. In this blog, we’ll discuss why redaction tools are necessary for any modern VMS or EMS, and more. 

What Is a Video Management System? 

A video management system (VMS) is a centralized platform for managing and monitoring video surveillance systems, making it an essential tool for organizations that rely on video surveillance for security and safety purposes. Besides security and surveillance, a VMS can be used in retail, manufacturing, and transportation, where cameras are used to deter crime or execute business operations.

A video management system typically includes features such as:

  • Live video viewing
  • Camera management features such as adding, removing, and configuring cameras
  • Video analytics capabilities such as facial, object, and license plate detection on video footage
  • Record and replay video footage
  • User management to enable administrators to manage user accounts and access levels
  • Integration with other systems like alarms, access control, and smoke detectors

VMS Applications and Industries

A video management system organizes and manages footage from CCTV, IP cameras, and digital video recorders. The system lets users access live and recorded video, control cameras, and store and manage video footage.

While VMS software is used by many industries, it is extensively used by law enforcement and public safety agencies. The software is used to monitor and record video from security cameras, assisting law enforcement in their investigations of crimes and preserving public safety. 

VMS Applications and Industries

Law enforcement agencies use VMS software to keep an eye on high-crime locations including airports, train stations, and public spaces. They can monitor and spot possible dangers, suspicious behavior, and illegal activity. This assists them in both detecting already-committed crimes and preventing them from happening in the first place.

VMS is also used to help emergency responses by enabling authorities to monitor and act quickly if an emergency, such as a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or riot, occurs. The movements of individuals, cars, and other objects can be monitored in live video footage. 

What Is an Evidence Management System?

VMS software may be utilized to monitor public events and spaces as a public safety measure. Law enforcement can monitor large gatherings to help identify questionable activity, allowing them to more quickly intervene. Video captured can also be used for reviewing how events transpired and what parties were involved. 

VMS software is also helpful in the healthcare industry, where it is used to monitor patients and ensure appropriate access to secured locations. In retail, a VMS allows business owners to deter theft through live monitoring and to report evidence when a crime has taken place. Hospitals and other businesses may collect video footage for their records, including movements of citizens, documentation, and other potentially sensitive information that needs to be stored and shared per privacy regulations.

What Is an Evidence Management System?

An evidence management system (EMS) is software that helps organizations, such as law enforcement, manage and track physical evidence and property obtained in an investigation or other legal process. It provides a secure and organized platform to store, track, and organize evidence from witnesses, victims, crime scenes, and suspects.

An EMS enables authorized staff to generate and store digital evidence records, such as videos, photos, audio, etc. An evidence management system can help prevent errors and lost evidence. It also offers a safe chain of custody, which makes it more likely that evidence will be accepted in court.

EMS Applications in Law Enforcement and Public Safety

Evidence management systems are vital to the investigation process in law enforcement and public safety. The investigating officer or officer who responds to a crime scene needs to collect and record any evidence that can be useful in the investigation. These pieces of evidence can be tangible objects, like weapons, or digital, such as CCTV footage. All evidence needs to be safely stored until it is required for use in court.

EMS Applications in Law Enforcement and Public Safety

An evidence management system streamlines this procedure. With the help of an EMS, police can easily keep track of evidence, its chain of custody, and any tests done on it. Reports and alerts help ensure that evidence is properly stored and maintained. 

While EMSs are most often utilized by law enforcement and public safety agencies, they are also used in other fields, like legal.  Attorneys and their teams need to be organized with evidence being provided in casework and investigating evidence or witness testimony which very well be recorded as a video. 

Why Is Video Redaction Software Necessary for Modern VMS/EMS?

Video redaction software is necessary for modern video and evidence management systems for several reasons:

  • Identity protection: In certain situations, it could be necessary to conceal the identity of individuals in video footage, such as witnesses, victims, or undercover police officers. A quick and effective solution to safeguard their identities is through video redaction software.
  • Efficiency and accuracy: Manual video redaction takes a lot of time and is prone to mistakes. The procedure is automated using video redaction software, requiring less time and effort to redact videos. Moreover, it guarantees high levels of accuracy, lowering the possibility of mistakes and omissions.
  • Compliance with privacy laws: Due to the proliferation of privacy laws and rules, it is crucial to safeguard sensitive data, including faces, number plates, and other personally identifiable information, that may be caught on video. By automating the process of redacting this sensitive information, video redaction software lowers the risk of non-compliance.
  • Chain of custody: By keeping track of who accessed, watched, or edited the redacted videos, video redaction tools will assist in keeping the evidence's chain of custody intact. By doing this, the evidence is preserved and made admissible in court.

Video redaction is essential for modern VMS/EMS systems since it helps to ensure compliance with privacy regulations, safeguards sensitive information, improves efficiency and accuracy, and upholds the chain of custody of evidence.

Tip: Try before you buy, with a free trial from Redactor. 

Top VMS and EMS Providers

For those looking for comprehensive VMS or EMS software, the following companies are worth checking out.  Providers are listed in alphabetical order and may or may not offer video and audio redaction.

Integrating Sighthound Redactor Into a VMS

Sighthound Redactor can be integrated into a VMS through APIs (application programming interfaces) provided by both the VMS and the redaction software. APIs allow communication between various software applications and provide a seamless integration to improve end-user experience.

There are several ways to integrate Redactor into a VMS:

  • Fully-automated redaction: The VMS can use Redactor’s APIs to load, redact, and export a video to a specified location, all without any need for a user interface or any manual interaction. The redacted video can then be made available to the user for download or loaded back into the VMS for archival.
  • Push videos into Redactor for editing: The VMS can import videos into Redactor and leverage Redactor’s standard UI to allow users to quickly redact the previously loaded video. This avoids the need for users to export videos from the VMS and then load them into Redactor.
  • Embed Redactor’s Editor into the VMS: A more advanced option is to utilize Sighthound Redactor’s Javascript library to display the Redactor editor inside the VMS application. More control is given to the VMS for branding and functionality.

Regardless of which integration option is chosen, the redaction software may be used to remove personally identifying information, including faces, license plates, and other sensitive information, from video footage. This helps to preserve confidentiality and adhere to data protection laws.

Sighthound Redactor - Video Witness Statement with Face Redacted

How Sighthound Redactor integration can work: 

  • Selecting files: Within the VMS interface, users choose the video files they want to redact.
  • Tagging files for redaction: When the files have been chosen, users may give them labels or tags that indicate the need to be redacted.
  • Opening video and selecting redaction profiles and features: The videos are loaded into the redaction program and users choose the redaction profiles and features they wish to use, such as concealing faces, license plates, or other sensitive information.
  • Automatic redaction: The program automatically applies the redactions to the video when the redaction profiles and features have been chosen.
  • Redacted video is saved: The redaction software creates a new copy of the video when the redactions are complete and save it under a new name that can be retrieved through the VMS interface via another Redactor API endpoint.

The video redaction process is streamlined, and the combination of the VMS and video redaction software makes it easier for users to obscure sensitive information in their video footage.

Next Up: Best Practices for Video Redaction

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