On March 8, US-based IP video surveillance solution provider IPConfigure released the latest version of its video management software (VMS) that makes use of secure real-time transport protocol (SRTP) encryption technology. Named Orchid 1.8, it is claimed to be the “the most secure and efficient VMS solution available.”
Most VMS transmit video and audio using HTTPS protocol, which was developed to secure web content, not specifically for video. SRTP encryption allows Orchid to send video as securely as through HTTPS, but with lower latency, higher throughput, and overall better quality.
Speaking to asmag.com, Cort Tompkins, VP of Engineering at IPConfigure, explained how their solution is different from the rest and why they believe SRTP gives customers an advantage.
“At a high level, data can be sent over an IP network using one of two basic protocols: TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol),” Tompkins said. “TCP is guaranteed to be reliable, but it incurs higher latency and higher overhead than UDP. UDP is ideal for video because of these low-latency and low-overhead performance characteristics, and because video transmissions can be decoded and displayed with very high fidelity even if a small amount of data is lost (that is, the 100 percent reliability of TCP is neither required not desirable for video transmission).”
Other VMS manufacturers use HTTPS to transmit encrypted video, but HTTPS is a TCP-only protocol. UDP has long been the standard transmission protocol for unencrypted video, and Orchid's implementation of SRTP allows all of UDP's benefits to also be available to users who require encrypted video.
"UDP has long been the standard transmission protocol for unencrypted video, and Orchid's implementation of SRTP allows all of UDP's benefits to also be available to users who require encrypted video."
- Cort Tompkins, VP, Engineering, IPConfigure.
With respect to the data encryption itself, SRTP uses the same high security SSL/TLS encryption methods as HTTPS, it just makes them available for higher-efficiency UDP transmission.
Orchid is also the first VMS that supports encrypted multicast for video surveillance applications, according to the company’s press release. Multicast is a transmission technique for one-to-many real-time communication over a network. This is particularly appealing for large surveillance deployments across campuses or cities where bandwidth is limited and/or there are a large number of concurrent viewers. Multicast over HTTPS is not technologically possible. Only SRTP provides an encrypted multicast capability for transmission of live video to multiple clients simultaneously.
Tompkins further put this development into perspective, pointing out the rising need for better security systems that can protect surveillance data. Any data sent over a public network is vulnerable to hacking attempts and video surveillance footages are no different.
“Security threats are a trending topic of concern within the video surveillance industry,” Tompkins said. “Any streaming video sent over the internet or over a widely accessible private network is subject to interception by a third-party via eavesdropping or a variety of man-in-the-middle attacks. Only encrypted video, such as that offered by Orchid's built-in SRTP server, can be guaranteed to be transmitted securely to a client over any network.”
Designed for small to medium video surveillance installations with up to 32 cameras per location, Orchid provides local and remote access to live and recorded video through a web browser interface, with the same user experience on both workstations and mobile devices.