The Internet of Things on AWS – Official Blog

Introducing the AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start; Connect, Stream from, and Manage Security Cameras Using AWS IoT and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams

In this blog post, we introduce the AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start, a solution created by APN Premier Consulting Partner Onica. The AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start automates the connection and simplifies the management of thousands of cameras through AWS IoT Core and enables video streaming to Amazon Kinesis Video Streams for storage, playback, and machine learning-driven analytics. We also discuss how AWS has partnered with leading camera manufacturers to make it easy for our customers to procure cloud-enabled IP cameras that leverage AWS IoT Core and Kinesis Video Streams.

Security cameras are common across physical sites such as office buildings, retail stores, airports, and even our homes. Cameras are key to maintaining the safety and security of people and property.

Traditionally, cameras operate in silos, distinct from corporate IT systems, and require a separate compute and data storage infrastructure. Cameras are also often managed through separate device management systems. The result is a patchwork of on-premises IT infrastructure that, while critical, is complex to operate, hard to scale, and inflexible. It’s a challenge to add new device features, manage a fleet, and perform management and video-based analytics.

What Customers Asked For: An Easy and Secure Means of Deploying Video Analytics

As customers move more workloads to AWS, they seek solutions that simplify the process of connecting cameras to AWS to more effectively manage them through the cloud. Securely connecting cameras is just the first step. You also need to capture, store, play back, and analyze the business-critical videos from cameras using specific services only available in the AWS Cloud.

Customers with existing or new enterprise security, surveillance or other IP cameras ask for the following capabilities:

  • The ability to discover and connect the security cameras on their local networks to AWS IoT services
  • The ability to monitor the health of each camera
  • The ability to securely stream video into the AWS Cloud for storage, playback, and video analytics

The AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start meets these requirements. It enables customers to manage their cameras as they do corporate IT-managed devices. In addition, the cameras can easily use the AWS machine-learning capabilities through services like Kinesis Video Streams and a variety of Amazon Machine Learning Services.

Simplifying camera connectivity to your AWS account requires tools to:

  • Detect and uniquely identify cameras on a user’s local network
  • Automate the creation of AWS IoT Core and Kinesis Video Streams credentials, and deliver them to identified cameras
  • Automate the configuration of the camera health monitoring features in an end user’s AWS account
  • Ensure the camera can stream video to Kinesis Video Streams

The Solution: AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start

The solution, built by APN Premier Consulting Partner and IoT Competency Holder Onica, consists of two distinct parts:

A provisioning application that discovers cameras running on a local network by using the popular ONVIF protocol, and requests and delivers AWS credentials to the cameras

An AWS Quick Start that automates the following:

  • Provisioning AWS credentials for the camera using Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, and the credentials provider to enable secure authentication and authorization of the devices
  • Configuration of camera health monitoring by using Amazon CloudWatch, Lambda, and AWS IoT Core
  • Configuration of Kinesis Video Streams to enable the camera to securely stream video to AWS for playback, video storage, and machine learning-driven analytics

How it Works

Start with at least one camera from a supported vendor (the AWS partners are covered at the end of this post). You need:

  • An AWS account and the ability to launch AWS CloudFormation templates that create AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles
  • A Windows, Mac, or Linux machine with access to the same network as your supported cameras

Next, run the AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start. The Quick Start provisions the resources needed for automating the provisioning of credentials and configuration of AWS IoT Core and Kinesis Video Streams.

Run the provisioning application that’s currently available for the Windows and Mac platforms. Run this application on the same local network as the cameras, and it will discover the devices running on the network using the ONVIF protocol. You can also choose to manually enter the camera IP addresses. Once detected, the provisioning app requests provisioning keys from AWS. The app assigns a unique thing name to each camera detected and sends it to AWS IoT. The AWS IoT credentials provider issues an IoT certificate for each camera detected and returns it to the provisioning application. The application then delivers the certificate to the camera.

With the certificate provisioned, the AWS IoT credentials provider requests temporary IAM credentials from Kinesis Video Streams. It delivers the credentials to each connected camera via the provisioning application.

Finally, AWS provisions Amazon CloudWatch to monitor the Kinesis Video Streams logs for delivery of video fragments from the camera to AWS. If CloudWatch detects a drop in delivery of fragments from any connected camera, it sends an Amazon SNS notification to AWS Lambda. The Lambda function will automatically update the connected camera’s device shadow state to “offline”. You can then query the device shadow to all of the cameras managed by the solution to show only the cameras that are online or offline.

With this solution, you can securely connect one or thousands of cameras to your AWS account in minutes.

Camera Manufacturers with Prebuilt Integrations

AWS partners help customers design, build, and operate their businesses on AWS. Our camera partners further simplify how you can connect, manage, and stream video from your cameras by providing IP cameras that include hardware that’s pre-integrated with the AWS IoT Core and Kinesis Video Streams SDKs.

Vivotek, Hikvision, Altek, Acer, Dahua Technology, Sercomm, and others have announced several camera models, configurations, and designs that work with the AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start. To see exactly which models are available from each manufacturer, please review the AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start documentation.

Summary

In partnership with Onica and our expanding ecosystem of camera manufacturers, we have delivered a solution that makes it easy for you to connect, manage, and stream video from your IP cameras using AWS IoT Core to Kinesis Video Streams.

Getting video to AWS quickly, securely, and reliably is an essential step to conducting video analytics using third-party applications or AWS machine learning services such as Amazon SageMaker. The AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start automates that step, so that you can focus on extracting insights from your video.

Learn more:

AWS IoT Camera Connector Quick Start

Deployment Guide

About Kinesis Video Streams

About AWS IoT Core