This article will demonstrate that, from the development of a constantly evolving cloud platform, both integrators and end users will be able to reduce operating and maintenance costs and also contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint in their operations.
by Andrés David Varela Baquen*
Perhaps it is still thought that the products and applications of the Internet of Things is something distant for customers and users of the Latin American market, however, Bosch has bet on bringing this type of solutions as an added value included in a good part of its product portfolio. And you wonder, but what are the benefits of having cameras, recorders or detection panels ready to operate in the Internet of Things?
Bosch Remote Portal is at the heart of a suite of intelligent solutions that act as a bridge between installers, customers and their solutions. Software solutions can often seem intimidating: there can be layer after layer of holes to fall into conceptually.
Remote Portal is a completely different tool. It acts as a mature engineering solution: its whole focus is to bring people and technology closer together with the lowest possible contact rate. Everywhere you look, with Remote Portal there are operational features that make the lives of every stakeholder easier by improving the functioning of the system and the security of the place to be protected.
At a basic level, Remote Portal is a cloud-based solution designed to connect, maintain, and manage devices over the Internet of Things. While it is possible to handle a large number of cameras and other security systems, smaller applications are its forte. When applied to such solutions, including small and medium-sized businesses, it breaks down barriers between installers, end users and their devices in a secure way that extends value-added ties in all directions.
The best: These core elements of Remote Portal are free for installers and their customers, allowing access to devices through multiple applications and tools to provide equipment management, status reports, firmware updates, as well as provide remote operational capabilities for customers. Also, Remote Portal can be managed by installers, who can create and manage client applications, while authorizing access for technical support on the fly.
In addition to the benefits that are offered for free, or as an added value for the mere fact of buying a Bosch product, for example an IP camera, Remote Portal opens the doors for integrators and users to know a wide range of additional services that are activated by payment by periodic subscription, ... a real paradigm shift in the electronic security market, as the mentality of the actors of this business must be migrated towards the service economy, finding new ways to generate recurring income for companies and organizations.
For example, there is a subscription service from which installers can purchase a license for customers, providing them with a Camera Counter Report system that supports multiple cameras with data stored in a customer's private database and displayed "as a customizable chart." There are multiple instances in the counting module and they can be assigned to any camera connected to Remote Portal. The graph allows you to collect a dataset of information over a period; for example, you can go back and compare the number of customers who have entered the chain of stores.
Features and functions
Remote Portal is compatible with all types of Bosch cameras, including older models (FW version 6.40 onwards), which can be upgraded so that they can connect directly to Remote Portal.
There are other Bosch devices such as NVRs, intrusion alarm panels or fire detection centers that can be connected.
Bosch Remote Portal allows remote configuration of devices through any browser; this could mean that less skilled technicians could install the hardware and more experienced technicians start them up remotely, or it could mean the ability to install devices during periods of inactivity at the time and then set them up remotely from home or office, anywhere there is an internet connection.
It is also possible to run and manage procedures such as firmware updates; in fact, Remote Portal allows technicians to do most of the activities that are usually done on site, now remotely, except obviously for the actual installation of the equipment on site.
Importantly, Remote Portal also enables consistent management of an installation company's customers and a customer's sites and devices through the creation of customer accounts, meaning that camera groups can be classified and managed separately.
And installers can also monitor the status of these devices: they can receive alerts about faulty hard drives, failed power supplies, and notifications that the camera is disconnected. All this allows the installer to solve problems immediately and manage disparate solutions for multiple customers with maximum efficiency. Once this is understood, you begin to appreciate the robustness of this IoT solution.
Remote Portal also allows integrators to modify remote access profiles so that end users have remote access to particular cameras on computers or mobile devices (iOS or Android) using free apps. This whole process is very easy once the cameras are registered because there is already a secure connection to the cameras; you don't need to think about a fixed IP address. This secure connection is constantly maintained by Remote Portal, which always knows the IP address where a camera can be found, so that you do not have to be aware of special settings in network communications systems such as switches, routers or firewall.
Another great aspect of Remote Portal is that when you launch a camera, it keeps track of the camera's serial number, camera type, MAC address, model, firmware version, etc. What this means is that, if there's a problem with a camera on the site, you can see all those details through Remote Portal: you don't have to struggle with paperwork folders or go to the site to get the information in person. The time savings are considerable.
Another task that can be done is to take a backup of a camera's settings and restore them, for example, if a camera with complex VAT (Intelligent Video Analytics) is damaged. Simply change the old camera, connect the new camera to Remote Portal and download the settings; that's an excellent feature for busy technicians. Remote Portal also displays the status of cameras, recorders and services in real time with a green tick. Remote Portal will show you when an update is available for a device. Then click and the firmware will be automatically updated remotely. It is also possible to remove a camera from the system by making it private.
Working with Remote Portal
Step by Step...
As befits the product of a company like BOSCH, Remote Portal has a great simplicity that takes very little time to get used to. When it comes to setting up, there's a modular simplicity to the process. As a new customer, if you want to set up a Remote Portal, go to the Remote Portal app, then create a username and password, and sign up. (https://remote.boschsecurity.com/)
Once done, you can link the cameras to your Remote Portal account via the Video Project Assistant app, or go directly to the camera browser and do it there. Alternatively, you can perform this process through Bosch Configuration Manager.
Then, go to Remote Portal: there is an indicator that tells you if the camera can see the portal, and the camera will ping the portal to tell you if you can connect or not. the camera uses those details to securely connect to remote Portal and then informs you that you've connected, and thereafter it's about working remotely.
There are several ways to add devices: open the camera's webpage, go to the camera settings, go to the advanced page and within the page you will find "cloud-based services", enter your username and password, accept the terms and conditions, click connect and you will get confirmation of the connection.
If you use Configuration Manager, you can do it through the cloud in bulk— you could add hundreds of cameras. All of this can also be done with the Video Project Assistant app.
As an installer, when you add a client, you assign them cameras, and after you sign up, you can access the cameras by heading to your cameras that you can drag and drop into the viewfinder app.
One of the advantages of Remote Portal is that it turns multiple remote cameras into one system. You can install an SD/mSD card in each camera, add a counter, and without DVR or server, you have created a recording device that also supports recording and event analysis.
These qualities make Remote Portal ideal for application in the retail sector, not only to manage and maintain them, but also to monitor them.
When it comes to managing access to the system, you can create roles in the Remote Portal (administrators, technicians, customers): add the cameras to the account as an installer, assign rights to the client, and download free apps to view the cameras. To carry out this process, enter the customer's email address in Remote Portal and the customer sends an email asking them to enter a password to create a Remote Portal account. Customers can then download the Bosch Video Security Client (download it) from the Bosch website or view the cameras via the Bosch Video Security app (Android or iOS download).
There is also a technical role that can be assigned rights to a camera or a site so that they can enter and perform a more complex start-up, such as adjusting VAT (Intelligent Video Analytics) settings. Technicians with access through Remote Portal cannot watch live streams or play, but they can enter the relevant configuration pages and work on the camera setup. This also allows an installer to get remote help with a complex script from Bosch technical support.
Once customers are assigned, integrator company administrators can purchase licenses, add them to customer accounts, assign them to devices, manage the account: add new cameras to customer sites, create different groups, and associate devices with groups, including cameras and NVRs. All of this makes it very easy to see what's installed on a site.
Remote Portal is low-touch at multiple levels, there is no port forwarding or complex configurations, you can add or remove clients very quickly, and you can also add cameras in groups, which is very useful with larger applications. It's also great, when installers are uploading cameras to a site, while typing in the address that appears on Google Maps, which is built into Remote Portal. This integration also allows installers to search for cameras using maps with the portal: they simply go to the maps and click on the icons that complete it.
Bosch Remote Portal is a perfect solution for integrators who need to manage camera constellations. It is especially robust as a way to professionalize the management and maintenance of many compact video surveillance systems in retail and small and medium-sized business applications, where it allows integrative administrators to provide a high level of service to an entire list of customers, no matter how large or complex.
Remote Portal has a way to simplify what has always seemed intensely difficult, by bringing all devices into a secure ecosystem and then granting quick access to functionalities between groups of interconnected and trusted stakeholders: technicians, administrative integrators, and end users. If you've never seen it, take a look at it. This solution is highly recommended.
Among the main features we can summarize:
• Registration is simple and free of charge
• Easy to add users through portal features (administrator, technical, customer)
• Secure connection, strong encryption and authentication
• Overview of the installed base, connectivity status in the browser, access for configuration
• Simple management of customer devices for their viewing benefits
• Gateway to offer and get a more complete range of services with annual payment
• One password to maintain all sites
• Full status/database notifications: faster response times, help with SLAs, maintenance repairs
• Keep the latest firmware for security reasons, without visiting the site. Updating FW of Instant Notifications
• Backup/restore settings on camera devices.
* Author: Andrés David Varela Baquen - Product Marketing for Software Solutions and Video Surveillance – Bosch Sistemas de Seguridad