What technology will impact the electronic security industry most in 2011?
Anything that is going to have a big impact in 2011 has to be showing good growth in 2010. So, it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I would peg the biggest shift taking place due to be the growth of IP video. However, to be more specific, the growth of megapixel cameras, especially those based on the high-def [HD] standard. If you want to be even more specific, these megapixel cameras will most likely use H.264 compression, they will be compatible with either the PSIA or ONVIF standards, and they will likely include an option for storage in the camera.
What significant technology do you believe is on its way to obsolescence?
It’s too soon to say that analog cameras are heading toward obsolescence, since we have many more good years ahead for traditional cameras. However, analog wireless systems are well on their way to obsolescence, and we’ve seen the peak in CCD image sensors. CMOS will continue to grow, and in five years or so, it is going to get harder and harder to find CCDs in new cameras.
There was a lot of chatter about cloud computing at ASIS this year. Can you explain the top advantage(s) you see in the physical security space for cloud-based systems?
There are three main advantages to security-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, which are generating strong interest. First, Web user interfaces. This is the most significant of the improvements. It requires no software applications to run on a user’s PC, so they can use a Web browser, which makes it easier and more familiar to use.
Second, hosted services. This can mean helping manage the equipment, installations, video storage, software updates and a host of other headaches that most small business managers would like to forget about.
Third, centralized video storage in the cloud. There is more confusion about this feature than anything else. Trying to store all video in the cloud makes for a poor solution in most cases, except when quality of video is not important. However, it is helpful to have critical event video and regular snapshots or video clips be stored centrally, so they can quickly be accessed via the Web interfaced, and provide secure redundant long-term storage.
There are also some other benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Mobile access through your mobile phone, mobile alerts and easier system installation and configuration.
Is cloud computing also being overhyped as a differentiator in the physical security space, compared to its impact in the IT world?
The term ‘cloud computing’ is hype. There is a major transformation taking place in the IT world around cloud computing, but it doesn’t really apply to hosted video or access systems. Most systems are still recording video and access data at the local site because the bandwidth to stream lots of cameras across the Internet is too restricted. If you can live with 1 frame per second and CIF quality video then it can work, but as soon as you have a network interruption, all video is lost. This makes for a poor solution for most applications.
Even when video and access data is stored centrally, this should be called cloud storage, not cloud computing. The key technology that is driving hosted video and access is not cloud computing, but something called M2M — machine-to-machine communications, cameras and DVRs talking directly to Web servers in the Internet cloud. That’s the key technology making SaaS work.
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