Digital evidence management software for the 21st century


AWS, Spring, Kotlin

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Colin Stanford


"Professional consistency made for a very calm and enjoyable experience for us. At no stage did we have any doubt on the complete success of this rather extensive development project."

Pinnacle Response is world-leading security camera company who design, develop and manufacture body-worn cameras for a range of industries, including transport, retail and policing.

In addition to their hardware, Pinnacle also provide DEMS software to manage the evidence produced by their cameras. Instil was hired by Pinnacle to redevelop this software with the aim of setting a new standard in the DEMS industry.


Digital evidence management systems are used to download, catalogue, tag, manage, and securely store digital evidence in the cloud. It is a competitive industry and although Pinnacle's product worked reasonably well, it had become clear that it had fallen behind their rivals - they needed to start afresh.

The new software had to address a number of challenges:

  • Redaction: Privacy and security is at the core of Pinnacle's business, so being able to redact people and objects from videos should have been an easy task.

  • Performance: It wasn't clear that the existing software could scale to meet the increasing demand and volume of data that Pinnacle was generating.

  • Reporting: It was difficult for Pinnacle to know exactly what was going on in their previous solution - who was using what parts of the system and were customers getting the most out of it?

  • UX: Their existing software felt old, clunky and far from intuitive. Today, customers expect a modern, responsive web experience.

  • Support: Pinnacle's support team were overloaded with support tickets, most of which could be solved by implementing better user and account management.

  • Cloud & On-Premise*: The new system had to support both cloud and on-premise installs for Windows, macOS and Linux. *The product has since evolved to be cloud only.


This was a fixed-priced delivery. Often, this will mean fixing scope at the beginning of the project but this rarely benefits the customer. We had to find a way of working that kept the project in budget and on time, and yet enabled change, iteration and tight feedback loops.

We therefore crafted an approach that had all the trappings of an agile project (sprints, planning, retrospectives, etc) but that worked within the constraints of a fixed price. This meant collaborating closely with the client, constantly trading priorities and scope so that the project could remain on schedule and in budget.

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The initial customer requirement for a platform that worked both in the cloud and on-prem resulted in a solution that is equally at home on both. From an architectural point of view, the DEMS platform was broken into 3 parts:

  • A backend API built using Spring/Kotlin and deployed to AWS.

  • A web front-end built using TypeScript and Angular.

  • A Kotlin/TornadoFX desktop application for uploading videos from the cameras.

The backend cloud platform taps into a wide range of AWS services to enable efficient processing and encoding of videos whilst ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.


DEMS replaced Pinnacle's existing DEMS software on day one of its release. The software has become a serious value-add to their core business - it not only enables but also enriches the capabilities of their cameras in the field. The impact of this has been:

  • Time to market - the team delivered on schedule, delivering to ambitious deadlines set to avoid licence renewal costs on their existing software.

  • Best-in-class user experience - the software works seamlessly with Pinnacle's body-worn cameras, ensuring that the process of capturing, editing, and working with evidential videos is a breeze for all users.

  • Improved scalability and performance - the cloud solution can easily scale to handling significantly higher volumes of video content: processing over 5000+ videos and terabytes of data a day.

  • Reduced operational costs - the software is easier to run and operate, resulting in lower day-to-day costs.

We'll leave the last word to Colin Stanford, CEO of Pinnacle, who described his experience of working with Instil as follows:

All key deliverables were met on time, often exceeding expectations. Communication was excellent. Professional consistency made for a very calm and enjoyable experience for us. At no stage did we have any doubt on the complete success of this rather extensive development project.

Colin Stanford (CEO Pinnacle Response)