Video in the Cloud
Perspectives

Does Every Cloud have a Silver Lining: The State of Video and the Cloud

Tom Edlund, BriefCam CTO

It seems every sector of the technology world is racing to the Cloud except video surveillance, which has yet to fully embrace this new frontier. In this post, I want to explore the video surveillance industry’s main considerations in moving to the Cloud, the advantages of developing cloud-based video solutions, and the current state of the video space and the Cloud.

What’s holding video back from reaching for the Cloud?

The video industry isn’t one to shy away from innovation and is constantly developing new ways to optimize its value. But, when it comes to the Cloud, the video surveillance industry has many considerations to account for:

Bandwidth – uploading video to the Cloud requires a lot of bandwidth and relies on high speed, highly available network connections. Organizations and users must weigh the expense of using more bandwidth against the costs of maintaining the on-premise infrastructure, while keeping in mind the bandwidth limitations in transferring data to the Cloud.

Storage – do the perks of storing data in the Cloud – such as less IT and infrastructural maintenance – outweigh the conveniences and lower costs of maintaining the status quo and storing video on-premise?

Security & Accessibility – the Cloud makes stored video more widely accessible across organizations, but also creates vulnerabilities, such as Internet outages and security breaches. Organizations should evaluate whether they have the internal resources to protect their on-premise data or whether they better off relying on Cloud-based video service providers.

The advantages of the Cloud for video

With all these factors to consider, it’s important to stress the clear advantages and new opportunities for innovation and optimization that the Cloud provides:

  • The Cloud is an excellent platform for application developers to provide video-related value added services that benefit from remote access on mobile devices, big data fusion and a short development cycle.
  • The Cloud can be used to store data to help reduce the organization’s infrastructural needs
  • To significantly reduce the bandwidth and storage costs, video analytics solutions can pre-process the video on-premise and upload to the Cloud only the metadata and events of interest.

In fact, video solutions providers are already using the Cloud for these express purposes and others. Leading VMS players already leverage the Cloud: Genetec’s Security Center cloud services combine on-premise systems with a cloud-based offering for reducing hardware and reliance on corporate IT, while the Milestone Systems spin-off, Arcus Global, has been launched by Canon to support users that want to embrace video IoT in the Cloud.

Looking to the Cloud: what lies ahead for the video space?

There are many ways to leverage the Cloud to enjoy its benefits. That being said, there is still a ways to go before the Cloud is being utilized to its fullest potential. Cloud-based value added services will likely be significant drivers in Cloud adoption; however, many providers are hesitant to develop these solutions while adoption is still slow – likely because users are waiting for value-added services that justify moving to become available.

Looking ahead, a good starting point for the video space is to leverage the Cloud for home-based solutions or those designed for small businesses. With less video and less heavy content to store, this is a good test case for gauging the utility of the Cloud before moving forward with solutions for bigger enterprises seeking the flexibility and scalability the Cloud can offer.

Another possibility is to leverage the Cloud for video analytics purposes. Cloud-based applications for detecting motion in video already exist, and more sophisticated object extraction and indexing capabilities will likely develop over time.

As video technology becomes more sophisticated, cloud innovation will also advance – perhaps these industries’ joint progress will soon make moving to the Cloud a foregone conclusion for the video space.