The Year of the Cloud
- By Richard Sheppard
- Mar 01, 2019
People are always trying to predict industry trends,
but virtually all of the predicted trends I have read
lately are just a subset of the benefits offered by
cloud managed video.
Integrators and end-users alike are recognizing
the benefits and flexibility that cloud managed video can provide
for streamlining daily operations, improving cybersecurity, and creating
more accurate and actionable business intelligence. Although
this was possible before, it took a lot of complex integration, costly
localized servers, and well-paid network engineers. Now the cloud
can bring this same intelligence to users at a fraction of the cost and
with significantly less complexity. Here are six major industry trends
that cloud managed surveillance will champion in 2019:
Cybersecurity. With major breaches occurring in high profile companies
on an almost monthly basis, customers are turning to their
own networks and taking stock of where their vulnerabilities lie. IT is
now increasingly in charge of or must sign off on any video solution
deployed on their network. Bids and quotes regularly require completing
security assessments and thorough documentation of how a
recorder will function in a user’s network, what ports it requires, what
software is running on it, and what measures are in place to ensure it
will not be a potential access point for hackers. Requirements, which
are already common on RFPs and will quickly become mandatory,
include no open inbound ports, multi-factor authentication, encrypted
communication, single sign-on and centralized user management.
Cloud managed video surveillance can address all of these.
Intelligent alerts (analytics, machine learning, AI). Customers
want real time notifications, with video verification, of potential security
and operational issues. But this information is only useful if it
is accurate. False positives can quickly lead users to ignore alerts or
even turn them off entirely, resulting in critical events being missed.
Intelligent alerting can help solve this, the biggest trend in this area
is analytics and its potential to more accurately identify incidents
like motion caused by a person vs a shadow or leaves. Analytics also
promise to more accurately identify other common user concerns like
gunshots, directional movement, camera tampering, or loitering. But
intelligent alerts also extend to joining divergent pieces of data to
reduce false positives by taking a more comprehensive overview of
all available data associated with an event. For example, the system
can poll the on premises alarm panel and only send a door propped
alert when it is unarmed or alerting when a transaction takes place
and a person is not detected at the counter. Merging this data makes
alerts more accurate, unlocks the potential for new types of alerts,
and reduces ‘alert fatigue’ caused by false alarms.
Business intelligence. Business are increasingly looking at their
video systems not only as security tools to protect employees, customers,
and prevent theft, but as a way to improve their operations
and increase efficiencies. Video verification of events is an extremely
powerful tool that can help turn operational data into actionable
intelligence. Merging video with alarm panels, door sensors, Point
of Sale, or analytics, and allowing users to create rules and filters to
notify them in real time or retrospectively review events gives companies
a new tool to make changes that can directly impact their
bottom line. Cloud managed video surveillance puts these tools at
your fingertips and makes them easier to use, more powerful, and,
most important, more affordable.
Video surveillance as a service. Customers expect more value
than just physical installation of a system when contracting with a
security professional. With recording hardware becoming ever more
commoditized and the learning curve for plug and play PoE powered
systems lowering the bar for DIY installers, if you aren’t offering
more than just the equipment it is going to get increasingly difficult
to compete. With a cloud managed system, users can install less expensive
hardware on site and move heavy computing to the cloud.
This has the added benefit of being an operating expense which is
often more palatable to consumers, especially with large numbers of
locations. When combined with business intelligence reports, remote
management, and health monitoring, a managed service contract becomes
more compelling to end-user customers and as a result can
boost integrators recurring monthly revenue stream.
Integrated solutions. With mainstream consumer solutions that can
send a video clip to your phone when someone rings your doorbell,
users of higher cost professional solutions expect the same level of
functionality integrated within their business operations. This means
integrating frequently divergent systems such as access control, video
recorders, Point of Sale, and specialty sensors than can send a user
an alert, let them review video and even dismiss or escalate it with a
central station, all from their phone after hours. They want to review
historic data and trends with video verification, generate reports, and
share these with other users, all through one simple interface without
jumping between applications. This also means cloud-to-cloud integrations.
Users don’t want to manually enter or update connection information
into clients, sync data, or update clients whenever they change
their network settings or system user accounts. Cloud-to-cloud integrations
not only eliminate these time sinks, they also improve cybersecurity
and prevent connectivity and reliability issues.
Simplifying operations. IT and Operations have more than enough
to do day-to-day keeping systems operational and adapting to the
ever-changing landscape of cyber security threats. They don’t want
another system that requires them to constantly fix connectivity issues,
update firewall settings on remote sites, or send a service technician
on site every time credentials need to be updated on a recorder.
Cloud managed video will significantly reduce the burden on IT and
Operations by streamlining common everyday tasks like sharing video
clips of incidents, managing users, and resetting lost passwords.
IT will also appreciate that these systems virtually eliminate open inbound
ports, port forwarding, DDNS and other technologies which
frequently contribute to connectivity issues and service calls. The end
result is ongoing labor savings that can in many cases can pay for the
migration to a cloud managed surveillance solution.
For these reasons, and many others, cloud managed video will see
significant growth in 2019 and we expect by 2025 that it will eclipse
traditional video recorder channel sales. However, as security and
business intelligence are increasingly being pushed by the C-suite, the
features of cloud managed video are being used as the requirements
for the surveillance system of tomorrow. Combine this with HD analog
retrofit solutions, more accurate video analytics, and cloud managed
video solutions, of varying capabilities, from most major VMS
companies and you will see cloud managed video quickly become the
solution of choice.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Security Today.