The need for quality, cost-effective video surveillance is growing with each passing day. More commercial customers, government facility managers and homeowners are looking for better ways to prevent crime while recording criminals when they’re not dissuaded by the presence of cameras.

“We’re seeing very strong growth as more and more dealers are embracing the benefits and cost savings of cloud technology. End users are very comfortable with the cloud concept,” says Jeff Vollmar, co-founder and chief product officer with OberCloud LLC of Lindenhurst, NY.

For example, on the residential front, use of cloud video is being applied to video verification as well as other applications, such as video motion detection.

“The rise in demand of the video doorbell has been a strong gateway for smart home security adoption in 2020,” says Dave Mayne, vice president of product, Alula, St. Paul, Minn. “Over the past six months, during the pandemic, we have seen a spike in consumers adopting and investing in smart home security technology, especially video to help protect the perimeter.”

Homeowners are also using them for other purposes.

“Beyond security, cloud-based video is being used to check in on pets, kids, elderly family members and vacation properties,” says Coreena Schultz, senior manager with video product management at Resideo, Austin, Texas. “In the future, there will be more analytics on the edge — which is quicker and more private/secure. And some companies may choose to store directly in the cloud.”


Tips for Security Integrators


Entering a fairly new market segment is not an easy thing for anyone to do, no matter how learned they may be in the installation and service of onsite video. There are many unknowns that need to be considered, and that’s why it’s important for those new to cloud video listen to others who have already made the leap.

The following tips are based on comments made by three skilled security integrators who have already made the transition to cloud video. They bring to the table many years of network experience, which is an integral part of successfully navigating the sometimes choppy waters of remote management, data storage and long-term analytics.


Mike Reed, owner/manager of Safe Solutions, Hurst, Texas:

  • No one solution will fit all of your clients, so be prepared to listen to and ask the right questions to discover the concerns your client has and provide a solution to meet those needs. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help, and what the expectations are.
  • Spend time training with your vendors, learning and testing new products before deploying them in the field.
  • Reach out to existing clients and offer a proof of concept to build value. Ask your client, “If I can provide you proof of concept that meets your needs, reduces your deployment and licensing costs while providing increased efficiency with the latest features, is there any reason why you would not move forward?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then listen, partner with your vendor and ask more questions. If the answer is, “No,” then it’s time to get to work!


Sean Foley, vice president of Interface Security Systems, Earth City, Mo.:

  • Network expertise is an absolute must. Cloud-based video, like all security solutions, is an application that runs on a network.
  • In this critical period of rapidly evolving technology, there is simply no way to competently deliver cloud-based video without a comprehensive understanding of the network upon which it relies. Pick a partner with a sizable, well-funded and flexible development team. You’re going to need them.


Bryan Niermeyer, sales manager,  Alert Protective Services Inc., Chicago:

  • Focus on a service provider who brands the integrator name above their own.
  • Don’t be limited to a small selection of cameras from your cloud-based service provider. Customers want choice.
  • Partner with a service provider that offers the most choice on a camera-by-camera basis, not on a location-by-location basis.
  • Choice of guaranteed storage days, frame rates, resolution, bandwidth and live-view/playback options in the GUI should be critical in your selection.



Cloud-Based Video Trending

Perhaps one of the reasons for increased interest in cloud-based video is the fact that everyday people are now more accepting of the ‘cloud’ concept where in years past the idea of entrusting personal data to the cloud was not largely favored.

Today, however, cloud-based services are in use in almost every area of commerce and our personal lives.

“Now, more organizations are embracing the idea of cloud-based video and remotely managed services that remove the risks associated with ‘rolling trucks’ to address offline cameras or network connectivity issues,” says Chief Revenue Officer Nigel Waterton of Arcules, Irvine, Calif. “Cloud video is also having its moment in the spotlight as a result of a large subset of facility managers and security leaders who have made the shift to more remote work.”

According to Christian Morin, vice president of integration and cloud services and chief security officer with Genetec, Montreal, the current health crisis also has forced people to rethink how they work, and this has accelerated digital transformation on a variety of different fronts that were mostly ignored in the past. “One of those transformations is ensuring a comprehensive solution is in place that allows for collaboration, communication and efficient business operations remotely or onsite,” he says.

There are additional reasons for this, such as a choice in storage capacity; low upfront costs; little or no long-term maintenance; and a cauldron of features (See “Recent Developments in Cloud-Based Video online”) that on-site systems cannot compete with. In fact, almost every aspect of cloud network physiology can be adjusted up or down using a single online dashboard.

“Many IT services such as email have already migrated to the cloud,” says Anthony Novotne, marketing director with CheckVideo of Seattle, Wash. “Compared to server or NVR-based solutions, cloud-based video does not require special software or workstations.  It is broadly available. That makes it possible for users to remotely watch video from anywhere .”

According to Joanna Santander, head of business development, VideoLoft, Toronto, Canada, AI, machine learning and IoT are all having a big influence on the capabilities of the cloud video surveillance sector. “Rather than searching through hours of footage it is now becoming possible to find the video you need in seconds,” she says. “AI is enabling the industry to use video to learn what normal behavior looks like and spot the unusual or suspect behavior. It’s very powerful and feeds into all the sectors of the industry, such as proactive monitoring, false alarm filtering, detecting anomalies, etc.”


Determining Broadband & Cloud Network Requirements


The concept of offsite video management, analysis and storage is exciting and it certainly provides additional recurring revenue opportunities for security. But it’s crucial that corporate IT understands the impact that sending video to the cloud can have on their in-house networks.

“Integrators must be prepared to educate their clients on network requirements and cloud storage capacity to optimize their video solution,” says Sean Foley, vice president, Interface Security Systems, Earth City, Mo. “The end user needs to consider how much video they truly need in the cloud and how much they are willing to pay for it.”

Foley suggests that it sometimes makes more sense to use the hybrid approach consisting of the storage of crucial video clips in the cloud while keeping the remainder of the client’s data onsite, as the industry has for decades.

And then there’s the issue of encryption, not to mention the quality and integrity of the broadband connection that links the client’s facility to the online cloud data processing center. No one can guarantee a clean, encrypted pipeline all the time, not even the best of security integrators. But, it’s important to know enough about broadband providers in order to pick the best of the best right out of the gate.

“Video is only as good as the network upon which it rides,” Foley says. “To facilitate seamless access to mission critical video, some integrators are even proposing parallel network connections dedicated exclusively to the cloud video solution and other security applications.”



Evolution of Opportunities

Probably the most notable incentive for security integrators to become involved with cloud-based video is the residuals, or recurring revenue that can be earned by way of remote management, video storage and long-term data analytics.

“Cloud-based video varies from product to product, but we are seeing growth of recording at the edge using SD cards, CaaS cameras and more, which allows real-time video upload to the cloud while providing video backup and restoration caused by network losses,” says Mike Reed, owner/manager and integrator with Safe Solutions of Hurst, Texas. “As we move away from local storage, the ability to process video at a faster rate for verification and analytic response increases drastically.”

In addition to the residuals referenced by Reed, there are a host of other reasons to adopt cloud video with many more on the way, experts say.

“In Bosch’s case, we’ve enabled cloud-based video for several end-customer applications, such as video monitoring, video notification, event-based, counting reports and in-store analytics,” says Chris Larcinese, North American marketing manager - cloud services with Bosch Security and Safety Systems, Fairport, N.Y. Bosch’s vertical approach to marketing cloud video continues to serve them and their dealer base well and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

To those integrators who remain skeptical about sending video to the cloud for security reasons, according to John Larkin, senior partner with Electronic Systems Consultants LLC of Columbus, Ohio, “There’s an incentive for bad people to hack a central station computer in an effort to thwart detection during a big heist at a jewelry store or bank. Since I already trust my monitoring provider to protect the integrity of my client’s data, why wouldn’t I trust a cloud  provider to do the same?”

Cloud video can be an ideal solution for a client’s long-term deep learning analytics and storage needs while real-time, short-term requirements are readily performed on site using internal CaaS analytics at the network’s edge.



Recent Developments in Cloud-Based Video


There are so many new features available through cloud video that the possibilities are too numerous to include in a single article. Here are a few recent advancements from some of the leading manufacturers interviewed for this article:

Battery-Operated Cloud Video Cameras: Ease of installation and integration with cloud-based video data processing center. (Alula)

Counting Reports: Leverages at-the-edge camera counting to provide a tabular and graphic report on the counters defined in the camera with no complex programming required. (Bosch)

Enterprise-Level Camera Overview via Cloud Video: Introduction of an enterprise-grade management tool that provides a single view of all assets from a web browser. (CheckVideo)

Event-based recording: Either a standalone service or one that provides video redundancy via onsite recording. Video clips can be stored in the cloud upon the triggering of a camera-based video analytic event. (Bosch)

Hybrid Integration With Popular Brands of Onsite VMS: Sends cloud camera video and alarm data to the VMS for live viewing, recorded playback and evidence creation. (Arcules)

Placement of Integrator’s Logo on App: Custom mobile app can be customized to include the security integrator’s logo providing element of brand recognition. (OberCloud).

Remote Installation With Automated Enrollment: A cloud adapter bridge allows an integrator to add cloud to a client’s site without physically being there. (VideoLoft)

Video Monitoring: Allows a central monitoring station to receive alarms based on video analytics on the network’s edge. The camera triggers video clips to validate the alarm. (Bosch)

Video Notification: Push notifications can be sent to mobile devices from edge cameras with analytics. (Bosch)