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INSIGHTS

Skillsets SIs need in transition to cloud video

Skillsets SIs need in transition to cloud video
​Cloud has become an irreversible trend in video surveillance. Amid this trend, systems integrators must equip themselves with cloud-related knowledge and skills to meet customer needs and demands. This article takes a closer look.
Cloud has become an irreversible trend in video surveillance. Amid this trend, systems integrators must equip themselves with cloud-related knowledge and skills to meet customer needs and demands. This article takes a closer look.
 
For most SIs, cloud video surveillance represents a paradigm shift. Integrators who are used to installing conventional, on-premises video surveillance systems now find themselves inundated with cloud inquiries and requests. Equipping themselves with related knowledge and skills thus becomes more important in the move to cloud.
 
“From an implementation standpoint, the same knowledge a SI has for setting up an NVR-based system still applies to setting up a cloud-based system. There is still the job of picking the right cameras, lenses, and locations, designing the on-premises network for the IP cameras, calculating storage and bandwidth requirements,” said Tom Buckley, Co-Founder of Qumulex. “The skillset issues an SI needs for cloud video surveillance revolve around billing and remote management, requiring more of a managed services approach to the customer relationship, as is the case with IT and Telephony integrators.”
 
“The integrator needs to provide guidance and support throughout the entire process, from the initial quote, through installation and any ongoing maintenance or updates. The system integrator should have the industry knowledge and skill sets to choose a system that supports third-party security techniques to integrate into as the end-user's business grows and develops. With cloud video, there is an increased need to understand networking to ensure data can flow to the cloud and to users without issues. Lastly, it is essential for the integrator to be familiar with local regulations or security concerns, depending on the vertical market,” said Alex Kazerani, Corporate VP for Cloud Video Security and Access Control at Motorola Solutions.
 
Below we further explore some of the skills needed by SIs in the cloud era, based on input from Katherine Balabanova, CRO and Board Director at 3dEYE.
 

Networking

 
Since the cameras are connected to the cloud, having an understanding in networking and bandwidth management becomes important. “SIs must have a strong understanding of networking fundamentals and internet protocols, including IP addressing, routing and firewalls. They need to ensure that cameras can establish secure connections to the cloud platform, and they should be able to optimize network configurations to handle video traffic efficiently,” Balabanova said.
 

System design and consultation

 
Closely related to networking is system design and consultation skills. “SIs should be able to assess customer requirements, understand their operational challenges, and recommend the most suitable cloud video surveillance solution. SIs should be capable of creating system architectures, specifying hardware requirements, determining camera placements, and defining workflows that align with customer objectives,” Balabanova said.
 

Cybersecurity

 
Integrators must be well-versed in cybersecurity best practices in the migration to cloud, which entails transmitting and storing sensitive video data. According to Balabanova, integrators need to understand encryption methods, access controls, authentication mechanisms, and secure transmission protocols, as well as being able to advise customers on implementing robust cybersecurity measures to protect their video surveillance systems from unauthorized access or data breaches.
 

Integration and interoperability

 
Integration with other security systems is key in today’s video surveillance, and SIs should know how to do it in cloud. “They should have knowledge of APIs, SDKs, and protocols used for integration. SIs should be capable of seamlessly connecting cloud video surveillance with access control systems, alarm systems, video management software, or other third-party solutions,” Balabanova notes.
 

Ongoing support and maintenance

 
Since cloud may be new to some customers, they may have questions or certain issues with the technology. SIs then should be equipped to provide ongoing support and maintenance services for cloud video surveillance systems, and this includes troubleshooting, system health monitoring, and performance optimization, Balabanova said, adding SIs should also be able to proactively identify issues, resolve them promptly, and provide timely support to ensure the continuous operation of the cloud-based solution.
 
Finally, for SIs who want to add VSaaS to their portfolio and generate a recurring monthly revenue (RMR), Balabanova suggests they should take the following steps: define value proposition; select and white-label a cloud platform; integrate cameras and devices; implement security measures; set up billing and subscription model; market and promote the service; and provide customer support.
 
Of these, selecting/white-labeling cloud platform and setting up billing/subscription model are especially important.
 
“Choose a reputable cloud platform to connect customers’ cameras and your video surveillance service. AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are popular cloud infrastructure options. Evaluate the offerings of different cloud providers and select the one that aligns with your requirements. For example: for pure cloud architecture that doesn’t involve any capex, connects camera directly to cloud, integrates camera-side and has its in-house cloud-based AI analytics – you have AWS-based 3dEYE platform; if you want to resell camera-bound solutions you can choose Verkada,” Balabanova said.
 
She added: “Define your pricing structure and subscription plans. Determine the features, storage limits, and support levels associated with each plan. Set up a billing system that can handle recurring payments and provide customers with an easy way to manage their subscriptions. Consider offering tiered plans or add-on services to cater to different customer needs and budgets.”


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