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Video surveillance has evolved from analog to cloud

First introduced to the public in the 1960s, surveillance technologies have been evolving over the years into the advanced systems recognized and utilized today by businesses, homeowners and law enforcement agencies. The recent demand for intricate and innovative integrated security systems has pushed the envelope for video surveillance even further.

Traditionally, many surveillance systems were centered around analog cameras. While the proliferation of web-based services has encouraged manufacturers to develop IP-based products in recent years, the majority of the market still consists of older models. In fact, a report by network video provider Axis Communications and surveillance management company Salient Systems said that approximately 70 percent of the global surveillance market is made up of analog cameras.

“While IP-based video surveillance provides vastly superior image quality, scalability, functionality and total cost of ownership benefits, analog continues to dominate the surveillance industry because of perceived cost and complexity – specifically in all the small camera count systems around the world,” Axis Communications general manager Fredrik Nilsson said.

Another study by NPD In-Stat revealed the global surveillance market is forecast to generate roughly $15 billion in revenue by 2014, largely driven by the proliferation of IP-based surveillance systems. Although the worldwide shipment of analog cameras is predicted to approach 44 million units by 2014, IP devices will soon surpass the legacy equipment, largely because of the IP camera’s ability to adapt to and communicate with other integrated security systems.

Cloud computing is also contributing the the evolving surveillance industry. Also known as Video Surveillance-as-a-Service, cloud-based surveillance solutions have the ability to consolidate footage from a handful of locations into a single, central data center. As a result, businesses leveraging VSaaS can enhance the accessibility of video footage, while reducing IT expenses and costs, Axis Communications and Salient Systems said.

A separate study by IMS Research revealed that the VSaaS market generated more than $500 million in revenue in 2011, up 25 percent compared to 2010. This growth is forecast to continue in the coming years, eventually pushing market revenue to exceed $1 billion by 2014.

“Growth in the VSaaS market is a result of increasing demand from consumer, small-to-medium businesses, and government end users,” IMS Research market analyst Sam Grinter said. “Also, an increasing number of entrants to the market has accelerated growth of service development, marketing presence and is also creating a more competitive environment.”

However, there are some inhibitors to VSaaS that may slow its adoption. IMS Research said the main impediment is price, as cloud-based integrated security systems remain relatively expensive, depending on the hardware. In addition to price, consumer and commercial users want VSaaS systems to be easier to install if they are to leverage the technology.

“Additional requirements for commercial users include new features and technologies, such as business intelligence functions, that increase the return on investment of using a VSaaS solution,” Grinter said.

Once these issues are dealt with, cloud-based surveillance and integrated security systems will likely be adopted more often, giving users the ability to utilize state-of-the-art technologies for an affordable price.

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