F.A.Q.s about VSaaS

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Q: Why is ETS in the Video Security business?

When the North Hall Data Center (NHDC) was commissioned, the video system was installed but due to contractual and service changes, there was no longer a UCSB provider to run the system. As we worked to deploy a system to monitor NHDC, we decided to craft a solution that other campus departments could also use. Our goal is to provide a managed, supported, scalable, secure and cost-efficient "one-stop" service. 

Q: What are the UCSB Policy considerations involving Video Surveillance?

UCSB Policy regarding Video Surveillance can be reviewed at the link below. The VSaaS Customer is responsible for ensuring they are in compliance with UCSB policy. In general, there is no expectation of privacy, that would preclude video monitoring, in public spaces. However, the definition of "public space" is situation dependent. Notice should be provided that video surveillance is in place.

http://www.policy.ucsb.edu/sites/www.policy.ucsb.edu/files/docs/policies/cameras-surveillance-advisory.pdf

Q: Who owns the equipment?

The customer owns and maintains the cameras. If the customer's departmental network is used for video transport, they also own and maintain the network. If UNET is used for video transport, ETS owns and maintains the network. ETS maintains the video recording appliances, supporting network equipment and services. 

Q: Why do I have to sign up for three years? 

Our VSaaS partner, Cloudastrcuture, requires a 3 year commitment. To obtain volume pricing discounts for all to enjoy, ETS consolidates all UCSB customers so Cloudastructure has one financial entity to work with. ETS maintains camera subscription agreements with Cloudastructure. Your department's cameras are placed in the agreement closest to when your service starts.

Q: Why should I sign up for camera preventive maintenance? 

Camera PM's ensure that your camera has the latest required firmware, cleans and inspects the camera to remedy issues before the camera fails, and the ability to purchase a replacement from our camera spares inventory thereby restoring your recording capability as quickly as possible. 

Q: Why shouldn't I go directly to Cloudastructure?

Because it will cost you more as you will not obtain the volume discount the VSaaS service does. Plus you are on your own for system design, support and management.

Q: Who can see my recorded video?

Only those with the userid and password issued to your camera group, and ETS staff that manage the video system. 

Q: Can the system retain more than 30 days of recorded video?

Yes, for an additional annual fee up to 90 days of video can be retained.

Q: Can I export video from the system?

Yes, when you select video on the timeline, you have the option to play it in your workstation's media player, or download it in an archive file. 

Q: Can I view real-time, live video?

Potentially yes. Our recommended cameras support two video "streams". One stream is dedicated to the recording function. The other is available for real-time, or live, viewing subject to some constraints. First, the camera needs to be reachable from the workstation where you wish to view the live stream. This has implications for network security. Second, the camera's live stream is a real-time feed and can be a substantial amount of network traffic. Viewing live feeds from multiple camera's will definitely be a performance hit on the workstation doing the monitoring, and potentially the network serving the workstation. Finally, some camera have a PTZ function - Pan, Tilt, Zoom - that allows you to aim the camera. But the camera only has one lens. So if you steer the camera to look at something else, that is what will be recorded. This may not be a good idea if you want constant 24x7 video of a specific location. 

Q: I don't see feature "X" on the service. Does that mean I cannot get it?

It depends. While our service has a set of features based on the capabilities of Cloudastructure and ETS, it is possible that through another partner a custom solution can be built for you at a reasonable cost. For example, Facilities Management and the Library have used our base VSaaS service with an add-on "time lapse" movie feature provided by one of or partners. 

Q: Do I really need System Design Services?

It depends. If you need a single location like a Help Desk or Service counter monitored and we can demo a similar environment to you, that you are then happy with, probably not. If you need multiple locations monitored with different lighting conditions through the day, with an unknown network support infrastructure, probably so. The funds spent on a quality system design will save you money and time in the long run, and provide a result you are happy with that meets your business needs.

Q: What does the User Interface Look like?

You cameras are presented in a scalable timeline view, with the amount of video recorded in any interval indicated by the height of the bar. The image below is a screenshot of the cameras in our demo account with the timeline scale set at 1 hour. 

 

Q: What does recorded video look like?

The system records and uploads video in 10 second segments. Here is a segment from a camera in the North Hall Data Center.

 

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