A Business Owner’s Demand

A Business Owner’s Demand

New report offers guidance, flexibility as video surveillance is on the rise

Business owners are making the move to higher resolution cameras at a pace that defies the influences of the pandemic, supply chain challenges, and labor shortage, according to a new 2022 worldwide security camera report.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, business activity slowed and many products—including some security cameras—were unavailable. One might logically assume that the installation of high performance cameras would have decelerated during this time as well, but that’s not the case. In fact, the recently released Eagle Eye Cloud Video Surveillance Camera Worldwide Statistics 2022 report shows that organizations of all kinds installed higher-resolution cameras at an increasingly rapid rate in 2020 and 2021. The swift adoption of higher resolution cameras is just one of the metrics in the report that point to business owners’ preference for maximum flexibility in their video surveillance systems.

Offering a global view of how organizations are deploying security cameras, the report is based on a sample data set of 200,000 security cameras from more than 158 manufacturers connected to the Eagle Eye Cloud VMS. The report reveals security camera usage trends and how they’re shifting from 2016 to present.

Meteoric Rise in High Resolution Camera Usage
Over the past five years, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of high-resolution cameras (defined as 2 MP or greater) globally. Back in 2016, only 10 percent of cameras were 2MP or greater, but in 2022, a full 30 percent of security cameras were high resolution.

According to a Federal Reserve report, about 600,000 business establishments close annually. From March 2020 to February 2021, however, an estimated 200,000 additional establishments closed due to the pandemic. Interestingly, the adoption of higher resolution cameras accelerated in 2019 and did not decline–even as the pandemic hit in early 2020.

The report confirms that all regions across the globe are rapidly moving to higher-resolution cameras. Security professionals prefer the clearer images that come with higher megapixel cameras, and these cameras are much more affordable today than they were a decade ago.

In 2021 we saw the biggest increase in high resolution cameras in Asia followed by the Americas. We believe that is partly due to the fact that the Americas and Asia emerged from pandemic lockdowns faster than the rest of the world.

In terms of density, the Americas now have twice as many cameras with 2MP-or-greater resolution compared to EMEA, and four times as many as Asia.

Better Technology and New Use Cases for Video Surveillance
Most security resellers have witnessed increased demand for higher resolution cameras with their customers. In addition to affordability and the desire for better technology, the need for reliable video surveillance surged during the pandemic. Over the past two years security professionals have relied more heavily on the ability to remotely access and view their security cameras in multiple locations, and they’ve been using their security systems in different ways.

For example, for years, retailers have used video surveillance and analytics to understand and manage inventory, staffing and to reduce shrink. Now, they’re connecting new technology – such as body worn cameras – to their video surveillance systems to streamline curbside pick-up.

While the pandemic played a significant part in propelling the increase, the demand for higher resolution cameras is here to stay, and we expect the growth trajectory to continue in 2023 and beyond. Business owners increasingly expect to make their own choices about camera manufacturers, makes and models, and they want the option to upgrade to new cameras, and add new features – such as artificial intelligence or video analytics – without a lot of hassle or expense.

Enterprise Businesses Move to the Cloud
The cameras in the report are part of the Eagle Eye Networks true cloud video surveillance system. Customers can store all of their video in the cloud or they may opt for “cloud-prem flex recording,” where they can flexibly adjust the portion of video stored in the cloud and the portion stored on-premises, ranging from 0 to 100 percent.

In 2021, 60 percent of the sampled cameras used cloud-only video recording, and 40 percent used a combination of cloud and on-premises recording. This ratio has been fairly stable over the past three years. There was an increase (3%) in the number of customers using “cloud-prem flex recording” in 2021, which is attributed to an increase in the number of large enterprise businesses moving to the cloud in 2021. With more buildings and more security cameras in each building, large enterprise businesses often use more on-site storage because of bandwidth limitations.

Here again, we see the importance of flexibility to the business customer; a video surveillance system should be able to scale as a business enterprise grows and evolves.

Trend Toward Longer Retention Times in the Cloud
In 2021, the average video retention period for the sample set was 29 days, up slightly from 28.2 days in 2020. We begin to see some patterns in the preferences of industries and businesses that are rapidly adopting cloud. Of particular note is the 60- to 180-day band, which is currently driven by certain groups including highly regulated industries.

Cannabis is a classic example of a highly regulated industry that is moving to cloud video surveillance. Open, flexible platforms are a priority for cannabis operators. They need a video management system that can easily integrate with access control, intrusion, point-of-sale and other systems to ensure that operators keep an eye on operations during all phases – growing, processing, transporting and retail.

Cannabis business owners must also comply with changing state, local and municipal regulations, and ordinances. Regulations dictate the length of time and the specific resolution video must be retained. Off-site storage is often required as well. Cloud video surveillance allows cannabis operators a system that's flexibly configured to accommodate immediate updates and scalability both on-site and offsite. They favor cloud systems’ cybersecurity and the ability to securely access video in real-time in any location.

Other industries that are retaining video for longer durations include: medical groups, educational institutions, financial organizations, government entities, hospitality, and multi-unit residences. There are certain business activities, such as contract discussion recordings, that are required to be retained for up to seven years and are turning to cloud video surveillance.

In the 2022 report we see more businesses of all types moving to the cloud and retaining video for longer periods of time. There are a variety of motivators we see in the 2022 report, but there is one common thread – the demand for flexibility. Businesses included in the report want choice of camera manufacturers, the ability to quickly upgrade or adjust the video surveillance system and retention duration, and seamless integration with other security and business systems.

The desire for flexibility is leading security resellers and business customers around the world to adopt an open cloud video management system platform that can meet their security, compliance and business requirements.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2022 issue of Security Today.

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