At the lower end of the video surveillance market, home and small business owners have traditionally installed analog cameras and DVRs to cover their video surveillance needs. However, remote video monitoring and surveillance (RVMaS) solutions are now vying for a share of this market. The term RVMaS refers to network camera-based solutions that allow the end user to remotely view live or recently recorded video in security and monitoring applications, typically via a monthly subscription service. A recent report from IMS Research estimated that the global RVMaS market, comprising product sales and recurring service revenues, was worth more than US$300 million in 2008.
|RVMaS solutions offer a rich set of features and benefits unavailable with traditional analog solutions. Whilst DVR-based systems are constrained to using local storage for recording video, RVMaS solutions can use remotely hosted storage. This feature mitigates the vulnerability inherent in many traditional analog solutions as local storage is susceptible to theft or tampering.
|An RVMaS solution also provides end-users with the option to view live or recorded footage from remote locations. This enables customers to use their cameras for much more than security alone, improving the return on investment. For example, shop owners can remotely access video from multiple locations to ensure that staff are adhering to procedures, staffing levels are appropriate and the layout of the stores is correct. In residential applications, remote access to the cameras allows home owners to check on their homes in the event of an alarm, or for working parents to check that their children have returned home safely after school.
However, there are a number of factors that are expected to limit the initial uptake of RVMaS solutions. First and foremost, the cost of network cameras is relatively high when compared with an analog alternative and a typical RVMaS solution is therefore likely to cost three to four times more than a comparable analog solution. Also, RVMaS solutions are often more complex to install than traditional analog solutions. Whilst some RVMaS solutions claim to be “plug and play”, most require some basic level of networking knowledge. Moreover, there are still relatively few companies that offer subscription-based RVMaS services similar to the monthly service packages offered by alarm monitoring companies. According to Gary Wong, market analyst at IMS Research, “Telecoms, ISPs and cable companies are potentially disruptive players in this market and have the ability to bring RVMaS to the mass market. However, despite the synergy of RVMaS with their core businesses, a limited number have released services and they have yet to make any significant impact in the remote video monitoring market.”