Developments in the field of mobile video are increasing both its feasibility and practicality for the security industry. With that come new opportunities for video surveillance. The technology has been available for some time, especially in the consumer market, but network, bandwidth and compression issues have slowed its mainstream implementation in the security industry.
That’s changing. “Increased security of the network, greater available bandwidth and better compression are all drivers that are making mobile video and remote video applicable for video surveillance,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications Inc., Chelmsford, Mass.
For the smaller one- to two-camera market, another limiting factor has been price â€” especially when mobile video is IP based.
As Nilsson explains, the benefit of IP is with large systems like those required for schools or airports. When large amounts of cameras are needed, IP is very cost-efficient. However, for locations only requiring a few cameras, between the necessary and expensive on-site recording device and the need to go through firewalls to install the video feed, IP hasn’t been a cost-effective or easy solution â€” until now.
One of Axis’s partners, Secure-i, Des Plaines, Ill., has changed that.
Secure-i has eliminated digital video recorders and network video recorders by launching what it calls a hosted video recorder (HVR), an on-demand hosted video surveillance service.
Secure-i began developing the technology after continuously turning away small business owners.
“We saw an underserved one- to two-camera market,” said Eugene Szatkowski, chief operating officer of Secure-i. “So we started working through developing the technology that would help us meet the demand.”
Secure-i did that by launching Secure-i HVR™ â€” an on-demand video surveillance service aimed to reach the residential and small business markets via its Web site, www.secure-i.com.
As a hosted application, there is no special software for the user to install and there is no need for a dedicated on-site server â€” just the cameras. The service uses Axis AVHS network video cameras from Axis that simplify installation, configuration and use. When an AVHS-enabled camera is connected to power and a broadband Internet router, it auto-negotiates a connection to the Secure-i HVR servers.
“Secure-i is based on one-click discovery,” Nilsson explained. “You just click to install the cameras â€” you enter the serial number and the camera discovers it. This takes the installation from something that is very complex and turns it into something that almost anyone can do.”
After registering the cameras, users create a private account at the Secure-i Web site, choosing from among many service levels and video retention options. Within minutes of registering the camera, users have secure access to footage, both in real time and for later review, through any Web browser or Web-enabled phone.
Two distinct streams of revenue are available. Partners of Secure-i (alarm dealers and integrators) purchase cameras through distribution channels and purchase service from Secure-i, which they mark-up and sell to end users. Secure-i creates a reliable source of RMR for partners as they bring customers on to the system. Each partner is assigned a unique reseller code, which end users are required to enter when creating their account. Partners can choose whether they want the customer experience to be co-branded with the company’s logo and reciprocal links back to the partner’s own website or for their customers to manage their subscriptions on the Secure-i website.
Secure-i also provides a billing system and CRM tracking software online.
“There is a lot of buzz across the board about cloud-based services,” Szatkowski said. “Sources predict that Security as a service (SaaS) will be the norm by 2012. Hosted service is affordable, easy and effective.”
Nilsson sees the same thing. “There is tremendous interest and true potential long term in this type of technology. It will change the industry,” Nilsson said.