Is cloud-storage for security popular in India?
Source: Prasanth Aby Thomas, Consultant Editor
Cloud-based surveillance storage is increasingly becoming popular in many developed economies as it helps lower infrastructure costs and saves space. In India, the public cloud storage services market was worth US$1.4 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach over $4 billion by next year. While this is phenomenal growth for an emerging economy, the share of video surveillance storage in this is minimal.
In fact, in India cloud-based video surveillance storage is still an emerging technology that is yet to get wide adoption.
Challenges in selling cloud
Sumit Aggarwal, Founder of i2V Systems, points out that the residential sector and small businesses are currently the major customers of cloud-based video surveillance storage. Mid- and high-end customers continue to stay away from the cloud for a number of reasons.
- Bandwidth concerns: Internet connectivity in India is still not as good as that in more mature markets. According to Ookla, which monitors internet speeds across the globe, India ranked 69 in the world for broadband speed and 109 for mobile internet speed. Besides this, there are also issues of downtime. India’s infrastructure still has problems that cause internet outages due to natural disasters like cyclones.
- Security concerns: For mid- to high-end customers, the security of the data being generated is a major concern. Storing it on the cloud means that the data would need to be sent to a third-party storage system. While most global cloud-storage solution providers guarantee privacy and data protection, the theoretical possibility of data being accessed by unwanted third parties discourages customers from using it.
Having said this, there are several instances where customers have opted for cloud storage for the advantages it provides in the Indian context, according to Aggarwal.
What attracts Indian customers to the cloud?
Pawan Desai, CEO of MitKat Advisory, pointed out that most organizations outside the IT sector would benefit from cloud storage. IT companies would already have their own storage solutions on premises and would not need a third-party space. However, for companies in health care, transportation, hospitality
, etc., storage is yet another factor that they need to invest in.
“A wider adoption of cloud-based solutions is bound to happen, but it will take time,” Desai noted. “Lack of awareness and prevailing misconceptions are the major reason for reluctance at the moment. More efforts to educate the customers are needed”
Customers should understand that surveillance solutions are often data-hungry systems. With the number of cameras and sensors being integrated into security systems continuing to increase, the amount of data generated is on the rise. If all this data needs to be retained for reasonably long periods, customers will need lots of storage space, which will occupy a lot of physical space on their premises. Cloud solutions will solve this problem.
Investments in the cloud should be seen as a means to turn CAPEX into OPEX, Aggarwal pointed out, adding that when there are privacy concerns, some customers ask that the data be stored within the country, while others are fine with it being stored anywhere.
Apart from the benefits mentioned above, something that requires a specific mention is cloud-based video analytic solutions. There are several companies in India that already offer this solution. India has traditionally been a strong producer of software solutions and this appears to be translating into the physical security industry in the form of analytic solutions.
However, despite these technical advantages, the challenges of bandwidth and other concerns like power outages need to be dealt with, according to Aggarwal. The country is seeing an increase in the number of data centers and this could be yet another reason for further development in the cloud-storage segment. Eventually, this could attract more customers.
What can foreign companies do here?
In the residential segment, there are several international DIY camera manufacturers offering their own cloud storage for subscription fees. In homes, this is an ideal option since it does away with the need for complex installations.
Those seeking to enter the enterprise segment should be able to convince the customer of the cost benefits and alleviate privacy concerns. Bringing in their servers to India is definitely a step that would instill confidence among customers.