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Oceaneering’s Video Vault - faster video retrieval

Friday, March 20, 2015

Oceaneering has developed the Video Vault cloud-based solution to make it easier to store, share and find the right piece of subsea and offshore video

Subsea engineering company Oceaneering has launched a cloud-based live video streaming and archiving solution called Video Vault to make it easier to store, retrieve, view, share and analyze the video you are looking for.

To simplify future video retrieval and analysis, video files can be tagged geographically, with comments or subtitles, or according to the time it was recorded. This means you can develop systems to quickly pull up video relating to a certain location or operational significance, and view both real time and historical data.

The use of video in offshore operations, for both subsea and surface monitoring, has grown massively in recent years, and brought a lot of challenges for finding the right video image from hours of video files, saysMark Stevens, Director of CommunicationsGDS, Oceaneering. Usually Oceaneering has about 100 simultaneous video feeds across the company.

The data files are getting larger all the time, with more high definition and 3D cameras and high-resolution video compression formats.

Meanwhile there are many limitations to physical media (such as DVDs, USB drives). It is hard to manage and share files.

Common Operating Picture (COP)
Oceaneering's core aim is to help oil and gas personnel create a 'Common Operating Picture'.

This is a term which originated in the military, which means a view of all of your operations on a (usually large screen) map, where you can drill in to see what you need.

The Common Operating Picture serves as a dashboard of all of your activity, showing the locations of all your vessels and rigs. When video is added to the COP, users can click on any of numerous monitored assets to see associated recorded video.

You can view a thumbnail of all your real time video streams, displayed in the appropriate position of the map, refreshed every 30 seconds.

You can say 'show me all the video in the Gulf of Mexico', then click on an individual ROV in that area and say 'follow'. Some oil companies (including Statoil) have their own 3D visualisation platform, and can view this data in the COP, as well.

Benefits of video
Oil and gas companies are using video in many different ways.

Subsea, companies use video for monitoring ROV operations, observing rotary brush cleaning operations, subsea X-ray imaging (digital radiography) and general long term asset monitoring.

The video is proving particularly useful in subsea cleaning work. You can capture videos before and after cleaning, to see how effective the cleaning was, and then work out a better cleaning schedule.

If the video is of a pipeline inspection, all of the video can be geographically tagged, so you can automatically bring up the video inspection image of a certain section of pipeline.

A lot of companies are asking for video of drilling data, particularly looking at the drill floor, to record the drill pipe going through the floor of the drill ship and back out again.

Viewing the data
In terms of viewing the data, about 30 per cent of clients use mobile devices.

'That continues to be the trend,' Mr Stevens said.

It means staff can monitor offshore activities from wherever they are, so less staff are required to be actually offshore.

To search for video on Video Vault, you start with a Google Earth or ESRI map interface.

You can see all the live video streams with a location on the map, or you can draw a box around an area and see all the video you have for that region.

You can browse the entire video library with advanced search, preview and indexing, using thumbnails to speed identification of interest areas, and then play back selected video with the convenience of fast- and slow-forward, fast- and slow-rewind, and pause capabilities.

Clients often ask to connect different files to the video at appropriate points (such as pdf documents and pictures), which you can do with metadata content management. You can provide usage data such as which employees were watching the video and how much bandwidth they consumed, as well as total bandwidth utilization across the organization.

There are tools to deliver a short video file to your desktop - so if you want to watch a 5 minute section of a 4 hour video, you don't need to download the whole thing.

Archival infrastructure
The Video Vault solution is made available as a hosted cloud service for a tiered, dailyrate or monthly price depending on application, including maintenance. It is also available as a bundled hardware solution for on premise installation. This means you can store the data on your local servers, or you can host it on a standard commercial archival service like Google. Clients never have to see any physical storage media.

If you are concerned about storing your data on standard commercial cloud services, you could use Video Vault with Amazon's 'GovCloud' service, designed specifically for more sensitive data.

Open standards / commercial systems are used as much as possible (including integration with Google Earth and ESRI) to give clients as much flexibility as possible. There are 'application programming interfaces' (APIs) enabling you to connect Video Vault with other software tools.

There are 10 software developers working on the project, out of a total team of 55 developers at Oceaneering.

Geospatial Data Integration
Video Vault's ability to integrate geospatial data means that the GPS co-ordinate of the asset being monitored is automatically embedded into the captured live video data stream.

For subsea monitoring, the GPS coordinates of the topside vessel is used. For some subsea projects, transponders have been laid on the vessel floor, which enable the gathering of location information from the seabed. Larger ROVs have an internal inertial map (NAV) system, which estimate the ROV's location based on how it is moving through the water.

'It can calculate to within inches where the ROV is,' Stevens says. In June 2014, Oceaneering acquired a company called PortVision®, which has a vessel tracking service and 5 year database of vessel locations around the world derived from automatic identification systems (AIS) data. Oceaneering is now connecting the vessel information with the video - if you know about the date and which asset the camera was recording, you can put this together with AIS data to work out the location.

Associated Companies
» Oceaneering
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