Hosted video surveillance, or cloud video, has been utilized in small markets over the past few years and is just now really being pushed as a viable alternative to traditional onsite DVR’s. Most of the major surveillance companies are marketing cloud products. Some of these cloud products represent true hosted video surveillance and others are a play on word with ‘cloud access’ being the marketing ploy. True cloud or hosted video streams real-time video from the customer site directly to a safe location. This is usually delivered to a secure cloud video provider. The data is instantly stored safely offsite where it is nearly impossible to be compromised. According to ControlByNet CEO, Ryan Strange, there are four key obstacles to overcome for potential customers; education, ease of installation, quality of video and reliability.
True cloud or hosted video streams real-time video from the customer site directly to a safe location
1) Education – With any new product, the consumer must go through the process of understanding how the product works, its strengths and weaknesses, benefits to the business and getting answers to key questions. With hosted video still considered as a new market, there is a lot of miss-information out there to be battled. It is essentially the ‘anti-DVR’ solution, so not only is the customer having to learn about video in the cloud, that customer is also having to listen to CCTV solution providers trying to convince them why it’s a bad idea.
The education process is the same for integrators that have considered offering cloud video as a solution to their customers. Those integrators must understand the solution is not meant to take away DVR revenue, but instead, to add an additional source of recurring revenue and provide another alternative solution for their customers. Learning about cloud video and how it can improve relations with customers and offer some safety to video is a big opportunity for today’s CCTV integrators.
2) Ease of Setup – For end-users and integrators alike, ease of setup is a huge issue to keep the bottom line profitable with any installation job. Moving video to the cloud may sound difficult as it invokes fears of network configuration by techs. The ability to preconfigure cameras and do a quick install onsite is beneficial in the hosted video market. Cameras can be port-forwarded out of the customer network or they can even be configured to automatically connect to the server with no onsite network configuration necessary. This is a huge benefit, as the onsite requirements stay minimal without any real configuration.
3) Quality – Expanding on the education area is a fear that hosted video may not have the quality of a DVR. A legitimate argument can be made that you probably won’t be recording a streaming video at 5 megapixel or 30 frames per second. But even with an onsite system you’re probably wasting resources if you are maxing out every feature. There are very good IP cameras out there today and the cost of bandwidth is ever shrinking. Hosted video may not be for every application (airport runway, mall parking) but who needs a picture of your lobby visitor at 3 megapixels? The customer or integrator must keep in mind that video size impacts drive storage and most importantly the time it takes to view the video. These things are usually thought out during the planning stages to get what the customer requires and understand all that is affected by those choices.
4) Reliability – The last area of understanding for a customer is the reliability of an offsite video system. Most of the normal activities of customers are already done online whether it is banking, email or social media. Video is slightly different as you want it to always be functional even when you’re not looking to utilize it. Internet connections these days are extremely reliable. Most are 98% uptime during the course of a year. With the advantage of using an onboard SD card on many cameras, worrying about loss of video shouldn’t be a concern any longer.
Making the move to a cloud, or hosted, video surveillance system shouldn’t bring on worries of loss of information, confusion or difficulty of setup. For most, it’s a smooth transition and provides a release of worry the other way…..if the onsite system is working. Hosted solutions allow instant safety of video, instant retrieval of video and no more worry about the onsite solution; it’s in someone else’s hands safe and sound.