There are several advantages to cloud video surveillance. For example, companies can enjoy a reduction in upfront cost. But several challenges exist as well, the biggest of which is the bandwidth issue.
Cloud video surveillance is gaining traction among business and enterprises. According to a research report by MarketsandMarkets, the video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) market as a whole is expected to reach US$2.4 billion by 2017, at a compound annual growth rate of 31.5 percent between 2012 and 2017. In a separate survey conducted by Eagle Eye Networks on companies’ ideal preference for the location of their video recording, 65 percent wanted at least some cloud video recording, while only 35 percent exclusively preferred on-premise video recording. Meanwhile, 44 percent wanted to deploy a mix of both cloud and on-premise recording.
There are several advantages to cloud video surveillance. For starters, the company does not have to invest so much in storage or other on-site equipment, thus reducing the upfront cost. Besides that, cloud video surveillance also allows greater flexibility and manageability. “The cloud can enable simultaneous access to live and recorded video from multiple devices, whereas mobile access through a local network typically limits the video stream to a single device. The benefit here is that security professionals can keep an eye on their physical assets, while colleagues in marketing or operations are using the same video for their own purposes,” said Dan Cremins, Global Leader of Product Management at March Networks, in a white paper.
Pricing of cloud video surveillance is most commonly broken down into two categories. “Some services charge by camera per month and others for data and storage used. Although a simple pricing plan may seem attractive, it might hide the fact that only low resolution video is stored in the cloud and limits cameras to certain bitrate,” said Martin Renkis, Founder and CEO of Smartvue Corporation, in a white paper. “Other solutions offer a ‘total storage required’ model that doesn’t charge per camera, but charges for total storage used based on your requirements. The trend in cloud services industry is to allow the customers to pay for exactly what they require and to adjust the total amount of storage up or down on demand.”
Several challenges are associated with cloud video surveillance, the biggest of which is the bandwidth issue, as most users don’t have the network infrastructure to upload huge amounts of video to the cloud. “If one location has 16 high-definition IP cameras capturing 1080p video at a rate of 10 images per second, it would need an astounding 32 Mb/s to upload all of the video and roughly another 14 Mb/s to download and review video from four cameras,” Cremins said.
The bandwidth issue can be addressed in several ways. “One simple answer can be achieved by storing the majority of the HD video files on a cloud server at the location and uploading to the cloud only important videos that need to be shared or backed up,” Renkis said. “Cloud storing only selected cameras or low resolution video, or uploading only during off hours may also provide viable solutions to bandwidth challenges.”