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Worldwide surveillance industry on the cusp of major cloud acceleration

While a significant portion of surveillance companies still store footage on-prem, the industry’s shift to the cloud is beginning to gather pace

Video surveillance companies are struggling to modernise their businesses due to unique challenges inhibiting cloud migration efforts, but the launch of new solutions is thought to be accelerating the much-needed transformation.

Cloud storage is quickly being seen as a business-critical tool for video surveillance companies as they continue to face surging costs and cumbersome volumes of footage, according to David Boland, VP of cloud strategy at Wasabi.

However, surveillance firms have historically been overly reliant on on-premise infrastructure and are encountering issues such as struggling to find the right tools to enable a move to the cloud.

Speaking to IT Pro, Boland said the growing volume of surveillance video content in recent years - and their file sizes due to higher-resolution captures - has placed great strain on storage capacities.

The same is true for most businesses across the industry. The concerns have also been backed up by IDC’s recent Video Surveillance Survey which warned that resource demands are expected to be strained even further across the next three years.

“What we’ve seen in the past few years is an increase in the number of devices that are being deployed globally for capturing data,” said Boland. “That can be video data, or environmental sensors, or security data.  

“We’ve also seen an increase in the quality of resolution and framerates. So, this increase in devices, resolution, and framerate equates to an increase in the need for additional storage.

“The storage has become more of a hurdle or a hindrance for many of our customers.”

This is an issue expected to continue unless operators adapt and expand their cloud storage capacity, Boland warned.  

The cost of updating an existing technology stack to meet these demands is also proving to be a major challenge. A key factor in this has been an inability to move footage stored on-prem to the cloud.  

This lack of interoperability has meant many organisations operating in the global surveillance industry have been held back from embarking on digital transformation programmes due to the potentially huge costs - and risks - of migrating to the cloud.  

“The issue that many surveillance users have today is that they've been collecting video footage and keeping it on site and they’ve had no way to move it from on-site storage to the cloud because there's a lack of a gateway that is interoperable with their VMS package,” he said.  

Wasabi Surveillance Cloud  

This week, Wasabi launched its new cloud storage platform, Wasabi Surveillance Cloud - a product the company believes will help surveillance firms make their first steps towards completing a successful cloud migration.

Described as a ‘first of its kind’ hybrid cloud platform, Boland said the new solution will enable users to offload surveillance footage from their local storage environment directly to the cloud and break down traditional barriers to migration.  

Cloud storage offers marked advantages for surveillance companies in terms of both cost reductions and the ability to create a more seamless flow of data, which in turn will help operators boost organisational agility, Boland noted.  

“The real benefit comes in the storage cost savings for companies,” he said. “On-site storage is about 30% of the entire spend for a video surveillance customer, but what cloud can do is reduce that spend and save them money.” 

Early-stage cloud shift 

At present, the global surveillance industry is still in the formative stages of shifting to the cloud, but Boland expects this to accelerate rapidly in the coming years.  

Drawing parallels to the cloud shift in other industries, he predicted that we will begin to see rapid movement in this space as organisations realise the benefits that cloud can deliver.  

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“I think that we are in the very early stages of migrating video surveillance from on-site to the cloud. Around 90% of video surveillance footage is kept on-site just now, and over the next ten years I can see that changing,” he said.  

"In ten years from now, I see a situation where 90% is kept in the cloud, and 10% is kept on-prem. We are at the very beginning of the adoption stage and learning curve for most of the companies out there.” 

The initial adoption of cloud storage has traditionally been the first tentative step for many organisations who are grappling with the decision to make a complete shift, Boland said. And this is similar to what we've witnessed in the broader technology industry over the last decade.  

“A parallel example could be seen by looking at where the IT industry was five to ten years ago,” he said. “Data backup packages and software did not have a cloud interface, and so a gateway was required.  

“But over the past five years, we’ve seen that gateway being incorporated into data backup packages so customers can take advantage of cloud - specifically cloud storage.  

“Using cloud storage is usually the first step for many organisations to understand the cloud and get used to it before they move other applications to the cloud.” 

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