S2 Security (S2), the leader in IP-based access control, video management and mobile security management systems, develops powerful, cost-effective solutions to protect people, property and assets. Recognized within the security industry as an innovator, S2 has developed products that push industry boundaries since 2002.
S2 is constantly exploring new ways to enhance the user experience. To this end, the company wanted to develop a sophisticated digital security surveillance solution more capable than anything on the market.
With a clear vision for an innovative cross-platform solution – S2 Magic Monitor® – S2 turned to Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS) to help turn the idea into reality. The largest user experience, embedded and desktop Qt consulting firm in North America, ICS paired complex video capabilities with exceptional design quality to build a compelling next-generation front end for a unified security management solution.
When the product launched early in 2015, S2 envisioned S2 Magic Monitor as an elegant solution that enables security, safety and informational content to be displayed in real time throughout an organization on multiple screens in various formats, from single displays to expansive video walls.
The first thing that made this project so challenging was the requirement that S2 Magic Monitor be capable of handling multiple – as many as 64 – simultaneous live video feeds. "From an engineering perspective, it's not that difficult to write a video player that plays one video stream at multiple forward speeds," explained ICS' Mark Antonelli, Senior Software Architect and manager of the S2 project. "There are a lot of free players that do that."
"What you will not see, and what is an engineering challenge, is a system that can play 64 high-definition videos simultaneously; combines live streaming and playback using multiple streaming protocols, file sources, and back-ends; plays down to frame-by-frame detail in forward and reverse mode; and does it all with an intuitive user interface," he said.
It was up to ICS to ponder, problem solve and engineer a product that met S2's exacting standards. Due to the project's scope, the ICS team encountered a number of perplexing challenges. The most puzzling: finding an elegant solution for streaming those 64 live feeds across a congested network, as well running all the video players continuously for months on end.
The challenges were amplified as the project evolved and S2 expanded its vision to include additional, increasingly powerful features, like dynamic content widgets for time-zone clocks, weather, traffic, news-scroll ticker and RSS feeds. Other requirements included the ability to create custom layouts for the visual content display, mapping capabilities that pinpoint where all security cameras in a given system are located and opt-in monitoring of the "health" of a client's security system using the S2 Cumulus cloud service.
These challenges only energized ICS' engineers. Among their solutions: creating a custom video pipeline and building a proprietary algorithm to increase bandwidth to deliver high-performance video.
"ICS' past experience in real-time video was very helpful in this project," said John L. Moss, CEO, S2 Security. "Because they understood and resolved the video and cross-platform issues so effectively, we were able to take that functionality for granted and instead focus on value-added features to create a new product that is truly revolutionary in the industry."
ICS has collaborated with S2 through several product releases. Versatile and responsive, S2 Magic Monitor delivers visual information to people where and when they need it – from security operations centers to public areas such as lobbies and cafeterias. Magic Monitor Forensics provides additional capabilities, including searchable review of pre-recorded video to identify perpetrators in incidents that may have occurred hours or days prior. The latest release, Version 3, recently became available.
"Version 3 really shows off what Magic Monitor is all about," Moss said. "It gives you real control over situational awareness in security and safety situations." In addition to a spectrum of powerful new features, including dynamic content widgets and remote content control, Version 3 also integrates with S2 NetBox access control and event monitoring system.
ICS past experience in real-time video was very helpful in this project. Because they understood and resolved the video and cross-platform issues so effectively, we were able to take that functionality for granted and instead focus on value-added features to create a new product that is truly revolutionary in the industry.
"ICS was excited to work with S2 from day one, when we first heard their vision for a new kind of video surveillance system," Antonelli said. "We have a great rapport with the S2 team that allows us to work with them as a partner, turning their ideas into reality."
And that partnership continues to grow. S2 and ICS are already hard at work on making versions 4 and 5 even more potent.
S2 Security is the leading manufacturer of IP-based access control, video management and mobile security management solutions. S2 products are the physical security management systems of choice for Fortune 500, education, healthcare, manufacturing and government customers around the world.