The Changing Nature of the Surveillance Industry
Special Focus on Storage
The surveillance market has changed dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. Whereas once, all that was needed for people to secure their business was a simple CCTV system to give you that much needed peace of mind, today the needs and possibilities are far more complex.
One of the biggest factors for this increased complexity is that criminals have become a lot more sophisticated and companies are losing out as a result. A recent report stated that retail crime is now costing the industry over £660 million a year. Unsurprisingly, organisations in turn are looking for more sophisticated systems to keep their businesses and staff safe.
How is Technology Advancing?
This desire for increased sophistication has already started to be recognised in the industry, with a lot more companies using IP surveillance cameras, allowing for the transfer and recording of video through a computer network system. What’s encouraging however, is that whilst the surveillance industry is becoming more complex, surveillance technology is also evolving, becoming ever more tailored to meet each business’s needs and requirements.
Nowadays, organisations are looking to advance video analytics systems that can monitor customer behavior using video cameras and data analytics software, meaning their businesses can not only monitor customer behavior and reduce crime, but also mine the data for marketing purposes. For example retail businesses are able to analyse where certain types of shoppers go in the store, where and what they’re likely to buy and how much they are likely to spend. Using this data, companies are able to better target their customers, all whilst keeping their business safe and secure.
It’s not just fixed surveillance cameras that are advancing the market though. Once thought to be little more than a toy, the potential of drones is increasingly being realised, becoming one of the surveillance industries most ground-breaking tools. Seagate is already taking on the challenge of drones through the partnership with DJI to create the Fly Drive, allowing drone users to efficiently back up their photo and video content on location, thanks to an integrated and easy to use MicroSD card slot.
21st Century Surveillance
One of the key drivers behind the advancement in technology such as drones is that the surveillance industry needed to change to keep up with the demands of the modern world.
Criminal behavior continues to evolve which means the wider surveillance industry, including its technology partners, has had to respond by improving the capabilities surveillance systems offer, moving to a truly 24/7, real-time, always-on model.
Because of this, using a single camera and tape recorder just won’t cut it in the modern era of 21st century surveillance, and businesses need to be considering a whole lot more than they previously did just a few years ago. To implement the sophisticated surveillance systems of today, businesses need to fully understand what they aim to achieve and know what technology and hardware they need to get the job done. The biggest opportunities will be in adopting to new technological practices, particularly around the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud storage.
The Explosion of Connected Devices
Recently, Seagate and IDC released a whitepaper looking at the future of data and the factors that will contribute to worldwide data exploding to 163ZB by 2025. One of the biggest reasons for the increase in data is the increase in connected devices because of the IoT. Specifically within surveillance this occurs already, thanks to drones and other wearable security devices becoming connected and coming online. With so many more transactions being created and tracked it’s crucial to think about how the surge in data will be managed.
Companies need to start looking at how these connected devices (whether they’re cameras or sensors) will interact with people too – and what opportunities can be created as a result. During past events Seagate talked about the rise of smart cities, such as Singapore, and how using the data from connected devices and cameras relayed in real time would help provide feedback to emergency services or planning officials on where public services are required. Similarly, there’s huge potential for retailers to use heat mapping sensors and data from cameras to track real time footfall in order to manage the layout of their store better and provide a more enjoyable, safer shopping experience.
Video in the Cloud
However, as already alluded, the rise of connected devices is also generating a substantial volume of data. This poses the question of where and how this data can be stored; and conversations are already taking place around storage and access to video in the cloud.
As consumers people have become very familiar with the cloud – maybe without even realising it – thanks to subscription services such as Netflix and Spotify. Cloud storage is also becoming a hot topic within video surveillance too and there are many benefits to consider. Firstly, the data is stored in a central, shared system so users can access the content quickly and easily from wherever they are. Secondly it’s possible to improve a cloud-based product on an ongoing basis, often in real-time, and once improvements have been made they are immediately visible and available to customers.
A key driver of the shift to cloud-based, fast-access, and truly mobile data usage is that data has increasingly become a critical influencer for not only our businesses but also our lives in all aspects. Seagate’s research with IDC revealed that data usage is changing and it now has to be analysed by its level of criticality. Going back to smart cities, real-time data from traffic cameras and traffic light sensors is crucial for ensuring people don’t end up in accidents or cause huge traffic jams for example. Rapid access to data through a cloud-based service could make a significant difference in effectively delivering these kinds of hyper-critical solutions.
What’s apparent is that the surveillance industry is changing in a much more sophisticated and complex way than in previous years. For businesses to take advantage of the increased benefit that surveillance can give them, they’ll need to take in to account a lot more than what surveillance camera they’re going to use and look further in to the hardware that’s required for the specific job at hand.