Does Cloud-Based Surveillance Make Sense?

IT professionals all over the world are looking for ways to cut costs—how can technology be leveraged in new and efficient ways?  For many applications, “the cloud” is the answer to reducing hardware requirements and maintenance hours, as well as adding flexibility and scalability to an existing system or embracing a new application. But does that apply to video surveillance?

Surveillance is comprised of unique components that may not always work well in a cloud environment, and municipal surveillance has higher stakes than, say, home security. Video files are large, and depending on the hardware that is being utilized, can run into terabyte-level files in a surprisingly short amount of time. Depending on the cloud storage requirements for multiple camera’s worth of video, fees for cloud access could very quickly eclipse the cost of maintaining an NVR onsite.

Privacy issues are also a consideration, specifically for municipal surveillance systems. There may be restrictions or laws in place that govern the storage of video footage. Digital security is out of your hands, once the video is uploaded to the cloud.

Uptime and Reliability

There is an additional concern, specifically for high-security areas, of what happens when the cloud is inaccessible. When Amazon (a major cloud-storage provider) goes down, it’s breaking news globally within minutes. With the traditional DETECT system, we have tools in place to keep a finger on the pulse of your system. Not only is the health status of your network available at any time, a large portion of our strategy is dedicated to mitigating downtime.

Link: Uptime and Reliability



When Should You Consider the Cloud?

You don’t need high-resolution video. The trade-off for uploading at anything remotely resembling real-time (it’s not) is frame rate and resolution. It might be a sacrifice worth making, depending on what you’re monitoring, but video quality will noticeably suffer, and there is a delay in response due to internet upload speeds.

You don’t mind recording every motion, every time. This works well in indoor static environments where motion is limited and the environment doesn’t change. Outside, everyday movement like birds, shadows, trees in the wind—currently, these factors can’t be masked out.

You’re looking for a new system. It’s unlikely you can upgrade an existing camera network to work with a cloud surveillance system. If you’re facing obsolescence, if moving to a cloud system means better adoption and use, or if ongoing maintenance is unsustainable, you might consider the switch.

Cloud or otherwise, video surveillance is a great investment. It can be used for a wide variety of tasks: recording events, identifying intrusions or other anomalies, providing real-time intelligence to first responders, monitoring infrastructure, and much more. The key to choosing the right system for your needs is planning. A highly functional, municipal-wide surveillance system must be built with a solid understanding of the goals and metrics of the project—how will you know if it’s effective? If the system is planned strategically, it will improve the effectiveness of every agency involved.

Getting Started with Municipal Surveillance