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Convergence Channel: ‘Cloudy’ With a Chance of RMR

Much like the famous quote about time, technology also marches on. During the past two to three years, much has been made about “cloud computing” and what it will do to revolutionize the future. Let’s take a look at exactly what cloud computing means, what anything “as-a-service” means (e.g. software as a service, or SaaS) and what effect it may have on our industry.




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Remote hosting of different security services is starting to catch hold. More and more security companies are starting to realize their markets extend far beyond their local area. Capitalizing on these extended cloud-based markets will, I believe, be crucial to growth and success in the future.

There are two main growth remote services right now in the security marketplace: access control and video surveillance.

Remote, or hosted, access control solutions seem like an obvious choice. Access, when running properly, is designed to operate in the background, unattended, unless there is a violation of some kind. The data being transferred between devices and the access control server are very small, hardly impacting a network, including the Internet. If it is a full IP-based system, or even if just the control server can reside on the network, it makes sense the server software itself can reside anywhere, including across the Internet.

Day-to-day changes such as the adding and removing of users can be handled locally on a smaller client interface, but major changes and programming revisions, as well as 24-hour monitoring, can be handled very efficiently across the cloud.

Although slightly more complicated, we are starting to see many remotely hosted video services popping up across the country. The biggest limitation to the widespread acceptance of VSaaS applications is still what it has always been when discussing video - bandwidth utilization.

Unfortunately, the concept of sending video security camera images over common broadband connections has almost put us back at square one with networked video. Even with speeds improving all the time, we are a long way off from 10Mbps or, especially, 100Mbps network speeds over broadband as a standard scenario. I’m sure we will see them one day, though.

This hasn’t stopped some VSaaS companies and customers from finding each other. There are lots of options out there, and as long as you are willing to educate your customers on what they can expect to see across the Internet on their phone or PC, you can find success in this market. I believe remote video services will become a major force in this industry, as broadband connection speeds continue to rise.

Essentially, remote video hosting services consist of IP cameras (or analog cameras through encoders) that, instead of connecting to a local NVR or hybrid box onsite, send their video to a centrally located data center across the country. The folks taking advantage of these services understand that, due to lower available bandwidth, the image might be a lower frame rate and/or lower quality than if they had a box onsite, but the convenience quite often makes up for it. If the costs continue to drop, as I expect they will, this concept will become quite a formidable opponent to traditional hardware manufacturers, at least in the lower end of the market.

Silver Lining Awaits Providers

Every cloud has one, right? In our case, the silver lining is the opportunity that awaits us as the as-a-service model takes greater hold in our industry. More and more customers will realize the benefits of not having so much hardware to worry about onsite. As broadband speeds increase, so will quality and functionality.

This could revolutionize the entire industry and add a wealth of RMR far beyond traditional alarm monitoring. As with any change, however, there will be some resistance. And as I’ve mentioned many times in this column, the Convergence Wave doesn’t usually worry about resistance too much. It just keeps on going.

MCSE- and CCNA-certified Steve Payne has more than 15 years of industry experience and heads the consulting business WaveFront Security.

 

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Article Topics
Video Surveillance · Access Control · Systems Integration · Cloud Computing · Cloud-Based · Convergence Channel · RMR · SaaS · The Convergence Channel with Steve Payne · All Topics
Cloud Computing, Cloud-Based, Convergence Channel, RMR, SaaS, The Convergence Channel with Steve Payne, VSaaS


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