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Cloud video surveillance: How SIs can stay relevant in the business

Cloud video surveillance: How SIs can stay relevant in the business
We’ve established that the transition towards cloud video surveillance is happening at a rapid pace. Amid this paradigm shift, how has the role of SIs changed, and what can they do to stay relevant and valuable? This note takes a closer look.
We’ve established that the transition towards cloud video surveillance is happening at a rapid pace. Amid this paradigm shift, how has the role of systems integrators (SIs) changed, and what can they do to stay relevant in the business? This note takes a closer look.
With the rise of cloud video surveillance, its impact on SIs has become a topic worth observing. In particular, it’s often stressed that cloud allows direct camera connection and eliminates equipment long associated with an on-premises video surveillance system, for example NVRs and recording servers. Does this mean the user no longer needs SIs to set up their camera system? Has the role, and value, of SIs been reduced under cloud?
Well, that’s not necessarily the case. “If anything, the move to cloud video surveillance strengthens the SI’s relationship with the end user," said Tom Buckley, Co-Founder of Qumulex. "There are so many aspects of designing, specifying, and installing a video surveillance system that are independent of whether the processing and storage is on-premises or in the cloud. Additionally, the majority of users moving to cloud want to be able to use some or all of their existing camera infrastructure, rather than incurring the expense of removing their current cameras and replacing them with a single brand of cameras that only work with that camera vendor’s software. As such, the SI plays an important role in helping configure edge gateways to connect and manage existing infrastructure."
“There are a variety of types and sizes of cloud video security deployments. It may be possible for a savvy end user to install a system on their own; however, this is more common for a small business to set up a few indoor video cameras. Larger deployments, even with cloud, are more sophisticated and they often require specific configurations and integration with other systems. SI expertise is required to design the layout for camera placements and positioning, correctly installing and mounting video security cameras to prevent issues such as water ingress and to adhere to legal requirements by using approved installers,” said Alex Kazerani, Corporate VP for Cloud Video Security and Access Control at Motorola Solutions.

Evolving with cloud

While their role hasn’t diminished with cloud, how to seize the opportunity presented by cloud and grow revenue even further tests SIs’ business sense and acumen. Below we look at ways SIs can increase their value and relevance in the age of cloud video surveillance.

Partnering up with VSaaS vendor

For SIs seeking to enter cloud, it’s not so feasible for them to build a full-scale VSaaS (video surveillance as a service) platform. “Native cloud VMS is a whole different ballgame compared to on-premise solutions. SIs will be stuck with the responsibility of supporting, maintaining, securing, scaling, and developing the platform while juggling end-customer support and dealing with the cloud infrastructure provider,” said Katherine Balabanova, CRO and Board Director at 3dEYE. “Besides SI would need to create billing where cloud billing model is very different form VMS. Where traditionally VMS is license-based, cloud is usage-based and RMR, this will cause a lot of friction to create billing to fit existing clients.”
Rather, partnering up with an established VSaaS is more practical. “Becoming a reseller of an established VSaaS provider allows the SI to focus on servicing their customers and allowing the headaches of managing a cloud platform to be handled by the provider. As for RMR, most VSaaS vendors pay the SI on renewals, making RMR easy to achieve and a natural result of the SI becoming a cloud provider reseller,” Buckley said.

Becoming MSPs

According to Balabanova, some SIs are embracing the cloud trend and evolving into managed service providers (MSPs) for video surveillance. “As MSPs, they take on the responsibility of managing and monitoring the cloud-based video surveillance system on behalf of the customers. This includes tasks such as system administration, software updates, cybersecurity measures, and proactive maintenance. By offering managed services, SIs can provide ongoing value and establish long-term relationships with their customers,” she said.

Shift towards consultative approach

SIs are well-versed in all aspects of a video surveillance deployment. This makes them good candidates to provide consultative service. “SIs can offer guidance on system design, camera selection, network optimization, and integration with other business systems. They can help organizations assess their unique security requirements, recommend the right cloud-based solutions, and ensure a seamless transition to the cloud,” Balabanova said.
Also according to her, SIs can specialize in customizing and integrating cloud video surveillance solutions to align with specific customer needs. They can also differentiate themselves by offering value-added services and ongoing support to customers using cloud video surveillance systems. This may include providing training and education on system usage, assisting with troubleshooting and maintenance, conducting regular system health checks, and offering managed services such as remote monitoring or video analytics configuration.
In conclusion, cloud has become a transformative force for all stakeholders in video surveillance, including SIs. Under this trend, SIs are increasingly seeing their role evolving from hardware-centric installers to consultative, value-added service providers. Systems integrators who can catch up with the cloud trend and well leverage the benefits it brings will have a better chance winning out in the market.

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