Most businesses have traditionally used video surveillance for security, but the pandemic has prompted business owners to look at their security cameras in a new way. They’re learning that video surveillance, especially their older analog cameras, can support them as they navigate a new remote world. Digitalisation has also set this market in motion – under the influence of cloud and AI adoption, camera security is quickly becoming a business priority because cloud video surveillance can provide insights into their organisations and help increase profits.
Enterprises looking to make the most of cloud-driven video surveillance should begin by ensuring that they approach their cloud, digitalisation, and data strategies as a unified whole. As business leaders evaluate whether or not to implement this technology across their operations, there are three important things they will need to know about cloud video surveillance.
Today’s smart cameras deliver much more than video
Beyond surveillance and monitoring use cases, today’s security cameras are capable of delivering far more than just a video/audio file. Combined with video analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, smart video surveillance systems are bringing new insights to the factory floor and office buildings, to say nothing of the real-time alerts it provides to those responsible for managing busy traffic intersections or commuters on public transport networks.
Harnessing evolving events to deliver real-time intelligence, smart cameras now make it easy to search for objects, or to precisely detect specific human activity, or receive live alerts when certain pre-set parameters are triggered. For example, smart video surveillance systems are capable of monitoring the compliance of workers to COVID-19 distancing guidelines, or fully automating smart building management and monitoring activities 24/7.
In factories and distribution centres, AI-powered solutions are also enabling firms to optimise their manufacturing and warehouse operations and undertake predictive maintenance. Meanwhile, in healthcare facilities, clinicians are using smart surveillance solutions to assist in caring for patients. While carefully ensuring privacy, clinicians can receive alerts the moment a potential hazard or unusual behaviour is detected.
In terms of citizen safety on the streets, intelligent systems can detect loitering and other suspicious behaviours, capture the incidents, notify authorities and track the movement of individuals or vehicles in real-time so that patrols can respond fast to critical incidents.
The shift to the cloud is accelerating
COVID-19 accelerated the cloud ambitions of enterprises in every industry sector as they were forced to fast-track digitalisation plans in the face of national lockdowns. As a result, more and more organisations began to adopt cloud-hosted video surveillance services, taking advantage of video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) that eliminates any need for up-front investment in costly on-premises storage servers.
As well as making it faster and easier to implement an end-to-end video surveillance solution at scale, across multiple sites and locations, the shift to the cloud opens up a host of powerful new opportunities for organisations of every size. Whether that is undertaking AI-powered edge analytics or leveraging similarly data-heavy alert and scheduling functions and other specialised services.
Our own customer research, based on a sample of 100,000 cameras worldwide, highlights how the cloud is becoming increasingly popular even for those with existing analog cameras. In fact, the number of analog cameras connected to our cloud systems increased from 6 percent in 2019 to 9 percent in 2020.
Why? The pandemic is one major reason. As it set in early in 2020, businesses realised they needed remote monitoring. They also realised that they could get remote access by connecting their existing analog cameras to the cloud. And those business owners received a bonus: not only did they now have remote monitoring capabilities, they also had a high performance cloud video surveillance system.
In addition, the enhanced bandwidth and scalability of the cloud is stimulating more organisations to utilise audio recordings in addition to visual images; our research found the number of surveillance cameras with audio recording functionality jumped more than 200 percent between 2016 and 2020.
A fast evolving regulatory landscape
Around the globe, regulators are providing guidelines and imposing codes of practice that highlight the importance of being able to manage data privacy at scale. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – and UK-GDPR in the UK – sets out clear responsibilities for businesses with regard to the processing of personal data derived from video surveillance, consent, and data protection.
Video data needs to be completely protected from persistent attackers, so securing cameras, sensors, devices, networks, and all data access points is now a top priority. Camera security in the financial services and healthcare sectors is already tightly regulated, but as video management systems combined with AI become increasingly indispensable for today’s modern organisations, expect the regulatory landscape to evolve at pace.
To stay on top of this, business leaders will need to work closely with IT counterparts to initiate a “secure by design” strategy that reduces the risk of compromise, ensures individuals’ rights are protected, and that data is appropriately managed according to local best practices.
Looking to the future
As organisations expand their integration of video surveillance with other business applications, expect this technology’s contribution to enhanced data-driven decision-making to increase. In the coming years the adoption of IP-connected video cameras is set to proliferate as organisations strive to capture a growing number of actionable insights from their day-to-day operations.
One thing is for sure. The integration of AI, motion detection, cloud management, and machine learning is fuelling demand for intelligent video surveillance systems that can assist organisations to better manage their every action.