First there was on-site monitoring and CCTV. Then came the cloud. Now, Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) enables a slew of solutions that help security operators work more efficiently. VSaaS also helps security dealers and integrators offer more flexible and effective security options to their customers.

VSaaS applications include cloud-hosted video systems, video verification, remote health monitoring and live monitoring and proactive video monitoring (PVM). Integrators have found that their customers are more proactive about these services than ever before.

“Customers adopting more and more SaaS application in their personal lives has caused an increase in requests for cloud and hybrid options for businesses,” says Laura Armour, service solutions manager at San Jose, Calif.’s RFI.

It’s not hard to imagine why.

“VSaaS lets them focus on their business rather than worrying about how to manage recorders and hardware,” remarks Jim DeStefano, senior vice president of Unlimited Technology in Chester Springs, Pa.

Flexibility is another benefit. Armour recounts a nonprofit customer that was experiencing break-ins and was looking for a solution that utilized their existing security system. “We were able to position video verification using their existing cameras as an intrusion detection solution,” she says. “The customer appreciated a quick solution that did not require them to raise money for the capital cost to protect their current location.”

Vendors Tout VSaaS Innovations

We asked manufacturers what products and services they developed to meet the demand for VSaaS and what considerations went into the process.

“We recognize that not every customer wants or needs a traditional VMS with a thick client, so VSaaS allows us to meet the needs of our customers in a comprehensive solution that is designed and tested to work with our wide range of camera models and accessories.” — Aaron Saks, senior technical marketing and training manager, Hanwha Techwin America, Teaneck, N.J.

“We serve all market segments in every region, so it is important that we cover full end-to-end operational workflows to make the end user experience seamless. Our Software as a Service [SaaS] solution goes beyond video management and ensures maximal compatibility, scalability, and flexibility by unifying all core security systems together in one platform built on the same foundations.” — Laurent Villeneuve, senior product marketing manager, Genetec, Montreal

“Pro-Vigil provides Video Monitoring as a Service as well as cloud storage. We saw a real need for remote guarding as a substitute for traditional guarding and outdated methods like on-site monitoring with CCTV. We founded our company on the belief that we funnel all our video streams into the cloud and use the cloud to provide several security and business services. The cloud is a key piece to the VaaS puzzle. It’s the distribution point for monitoring; it all starts there.” — Jeremy White, founder, Pro-Vigil, San Antonio, Texas

“We offer cloud video, video monitoring, IoT cybersecurity, and smart parking services on the same platform. Putting surveillance in the cloud enables companies with multiple locations to have a unified view of all their locations in real time and gives them access to their footage forensically wherever and whenever they need it. With IoT cybersecurity, clients can not only scan all their IoT devices for ports that are inadvertently open to hackers, but also ensure NDAA compliance of all their surveillance equipment.” — Lauren O’Brien, chief revenue officer, Cloudastructure, San Mateo, Calif.

“We predict that 2023 will be a breakout year for LPR, a.k.a. ANPR or ALPR. While it’s been around for decades, LPR technology has advanced significantly this year. LPR used to be expensive, complicated to install and required high-priced specialty cameras. Now, LPR in the cloud can be implemented on standard security cameras, and it uses AI for very high accuracy. This makes it easy for security integrators to get into LPR and it opens a variety of lucrative markets that are include the $10 billion parking industry.” — Ken Francis, president, Eagle Eye Networks, Austin, Texas

“The pathway to VMS in the cloud is a hybrid journey that will span many years. We believe the first segments of the market to move are primarily the mid and mid-low business segments along with multi-site, lower camera count installations. In support of the unfolding journey from on-premise VMS to cloud-delivered VMS, we recently launched Kite. It is a cloud-delivered VMS with a condensed feature set that is targeted at the mid and mid-low complexity and associated device count part of the market.” — Tim Palmquist, Milestone Systems, Lake Oswego, Ore.

Fletcher Pinkham, president of Focus Tech in Santa Rosa, Calif., points out the improved security that comes with VSaaS. “VaaS in the form of video monitoring provides the greatest level of security currently available to our clients. Live talk-down from remote guarding agents to would-be vandals or robbers is extremely effective as a deterrent – and a great real-time aid to law enforcement if the criminals ignore the agents’ commands to leave,” he says.

Check Video

CheckVideo Cloud VMS is a cloud-based video management system. Combining smart cameras and gateways that can be configured, managed and monitored centrally, the solution eliminates the cost and complexity of servers and software on premise. // IMAGE COURTESY OF CHECKVIDEO

Who Needs VSaaS?

Though ease of use, flexibility and enhanced security are strong selling points to any customer, security operators with certain assets and requirements are particularly interested in VSaaS.

“VSaaS is helpful to our business model because it lets us keep skin in the game with clients. Without fail, a client will need firmware updates, password resets, camera cleanings, etc. over the years. When they are subscribed to oar VSaaS, we bundle it with these maintenance and troubleshooting services.” —  Fletcher Pinkham, President of Focus Tech

Justin Wilmas, president of Netwatch North America in Lake Forest, Calif., reports, “Industries that rely on heavy machinery such as vehicles and construction equipment need video monitoring the most. Additionally, as cannabis continues to be legalized in states across the country, we've found that cannabis businesses are taking a special interest. Such expensive equipment and stock make a juicy target for vandals and thieves.”

Michelle C. Johnson, North America marketing manager–video systems, Bosch Security Systems, Fairport, N.Y., remarks that businesses with multiple sites, such as retail chains, benefit from the simplified operations and reduced maintenance needs of VSaaS. “For these organizations, managing hardware across tens or hundreds of locations can be challenging and costly,” she says. “VSaaS offers a more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective solution by reducing the amount of hardware at each location.”

Pro Vigil

Pro-Vigil’s solution provides remote guarding as a substitute for traditional guarding. // IMAGE COURTESY OF PRO-VIGIL

Bill Hobbs, vice president of global sales at 3xLOGIC in Fishers, Ind., concurs. “One example is a regional bank chain with hundreds of branches across ten states. They needed to manage access control across all branches and home office locations from a central point. The redundancy and always on, always up-to-date cloud solution offered them reduced costs, both from a deployment cost and an on-going maintenance view.”

Anthony Novotne, marketing manager at CheckVideo in Falls Church, Va., gives another reason to implement a VSaaS solution: the ability to unify different systems into one. “For example, many universities have surveillance systems based on traditional analog, on-premise, CCTV technologies,” he says. “These systems are often not monitored, need repairs, include a mix of different systems across campuses, and are difficult to use and access. VSaaS lets educational institutions transform their old security systems into a managed cloud video security solution that creates a safer learning environment.”

3 Benefits of Live Monitoring

Kyle McAdams, vice president of marketing at Kastle in Falls Church, Va., shared some selling points of live monitoring.

  1. It significantly improves security. This is because you can easily access a video feed from a computer or mobile phone, and proactive notification systems send instant notifications when something important happens. Advanced video analytics can detect activity and stream video to an operations center, where operators can issue live loudspeaker intervention. In addition, video-confirmed alerts to law enforcement generate 5x faster police response than an alarm.
  2. It provides assurance of regulatory compliance. Live monitoring lets you prevent fraud and collusion through tracking as well as monitor for OSHA and other regulation compliance. It also lets you conduct safety inspections and audits remotely.
  3. Operational efficiency increases, at a lower cost than security guards. Video guarding costs 70% less than adding a single onsite guard, and it doesn’t require a large capital investment because we can use existing cameras. Plus, you know your hardware will continue to operate effectively (if a camera stops working, we will fix it or replace it) and automatic software updates ensure state-of-the-art performance and security.

How VSaaS Helps Integrators

VSaaS is a win-win for integrators since it alleviates burdens and risk of deploying physical solutions, such as reliance on local infrastructure.

VSaaS strengthens customer relationships too. “VSaaS is helpful to our business model because it lets us keep skin in the game with clients,” Pinkham explains. “Without fail, a client will need firmware updates, password resets, camera cleanings, etc. over the years. When they are subscribed to oar VSaaS, we bundle it with these maintenance and troubleshooting services.”

“VSaaS lets [end users] focus on their business rather than worrying about how to manage recorders and hardware.” —  Jim DeStefano, Senior Vice President, Unlimited Technology

VSaaS can also bolster integrators’ revenue and financial security. DeStefano notes that “VaaS has increased, and will continue to increase, the volume of RMR/RAR mix in our business, allowing us to be nimbler and recession/inflation-proof our business.”

An innovative model that provides more effective, efficient video surveillance operations, while maintaining price competitiveness and flexibility, VSaaS facilitates better security for end users and better business for security dealers and integrators.