by Michael King, Vice President & GM Asia Pacific and Japan, Wasabi Technologies
The video surveillance industry is one that prides itself on being cutting-edge, yet strangely it has been notoriously slow to adopt newer technologies, a contradiction illustrated by its use of physical recording servers for home-security video storage. But all that is set to change as the pressures on data storage reach a tipping point, paving the way for a new solution – cloud storage.
Anyone who takes digital photos or records video will understand how data storage needs have grown in recent years, a result of the trend towards higher quality, higher resolution cameras and therefore larger video file sizes. According to a study by Omdia Research, the ongoing trend in the US toward higher-resolution cameras means that the percentage of network cameras shipped there which are under four megapixels – a size once considered huge – is forecast to decline by 14% between 2021 and 2026.
For the video surveillance sector, the trend is one of transitioning to cloud storage. This is the preferred option because it is cost-effective and makes accessing the cloud an easy, seamless process. The surveillance and security sectors are vast, covering industry and commercial spaces, public buildings and spaces, agriculture and recreation and more, including residential property. With its size, it’s not feasible to transition everything all at once – there will be no big-bang approach.
Education, local government, and healthcare to transition first
For the transition to the cloud, the first movers are likely to be education, local government and healthcare sectors. Given the cost-effective nature of cloud storage, video surveillance companies will be able to invest in newer technologies that will help improve the quality of their overall security services.
Although education and local government typically have tighter budgets than other sectors, there is an expectation that schools will receive additional funding to support physical security for student and staff safety.
Meanwhile, in the healthcare sector, increased video surveillance ranging from body cams for nurses and paramedics to cameras in waiting rooms, patient rooms and operating rooms is expected to drive demand for increased capacity. Violent crime in US hospitals has been rising for years, with the rate of hospital violent crime increasing to a record high in 2021.
For these priority areas and the other sectors in the pipeline, including residential, there are more and more video surveillance solutions coming to market that are known as “pure cloud” solutions. These are categorized as video-surveillance-as-a-service (VSaaS), the majority having video surveillance solutions, which are bundled together and sold using a licensing model.
Cloud-native solutions are best for smaller camera deployments
Typically, the camera comes with an SD card for storage, from which the video is sent to the cloud and managed by a cloud-based video management system (VMS), analytics and storage. It’s a combination of solutions that offer a one-stop shop with minimal physical footprint, making it an attractive proposition. But there are downsides. The majority of these cloud-native models only work well for smaller camera deployments (>100) and they can also lock users into their technology.
Many vendors want an open-source architecture giving them the ability to customize their solutions from end-to-end. With a hybrid-cloud model, this is completely possible. It’s very likely that larger camera installations will follow this model, while smaller camera installations with multiple locations – e.g., petrol stations, restaurants etc. – will be a good fit for the pure-cloud video surveillance solutions.
Rising security concerns, ranging from local violence to industrial espionage to international military threats, mean that video surveillance systems are being installed at an ever-faster rate. That’s expected to continue. By switching to the cloud, either completely or with a hybrid solution, will ease the video data storage burden currently weighing down on traditional storage infrastructures.
Organizations will need to increase their cloud storage adoption and work with providers that have a cost-effective pricing structure that is compatible with video surveillance data.