Cloud Sprinkles More Data Into Video

The rise of Cloud-based solutions is allowing security systems to evolve and help business sectors in a time of need.

Cloud Sprinkles More Data Into Video

In today’s competitive business landscape, tight budgets, shrinking workforces, and vanishing profit margins are common challenges across almost all sectors.

From hospitals grappling with critical nursing shortages to brick-and-mortar retailers battling fierce competition — everyone must now do more with less. To address these challenges, new open-platform, data-driven video technologies and Cloud-based video system deployments are emerging as game-changers for many businesses.

The integration of video analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning has transformed traditional video systems into advanced management tools that offer company-wide actionable, proactive information.

Video management in the Cloud allows for fast, scalable, and even as-needed deployments that are easy to use and cost-effective. Together, these technologies empower organizations to make data-informed decisions, streamline operations, and enhance the customer experience by optimizing existing resources.

Data-Driven Video Is Helping

There are many examples today of organizations expanding their video systems beyond security concerns to act as a force multiplier for management and employees.

This new approach to video management is realized with data-driven video technologies that can efficiently ingest, process, and present vast amounts of data from various cameras, sensors, analytic software, and existing facility systems. Video management systems have become the data platform for consolidating the cumulative intelligence.

For example, attracting consumers has become an increasingly complex challenge in the retail sector. Physical retail stores, online superstores, and omnichannel chains are all vying for market share and striving to maintain or improve their profit margins. Amid this new retail ecosystem, brick-and-mortar stores are under immense pressure to perform and deliver.

To address staffing shortages while simultaneously enhancing customer service and satisfaction, physical retailers are exploring innovative solutions. Video technology has evolved beyond its traditional functions of safety, security, and loss prevention, now offering a growing array of capabilities to help retailers positively impact their business outcomes.

For years, video data has been employed to analyze in-store traffic patterns through heat maps, enabling optimization of product placement and endcap performance. More recently, video analytics has been utilized to manage a range of aspects, including staffing, inventory, parking management, and general maintenance needs. Yet, the potential of video surveillance systems remains vast and largely untapped.

Store managers today are looking for ways to optimize their operations, inventory, and staff without compromising customer satisfaction or brand loyalty. Many stores have already adopted self-checkout systems, and as staffing shortages extend to other departments, video technology is set to play an increasingly vital role in retail.

Similarly, manufacturers use data-driven video to monitor production processes, identify inefficiencies, and maintain quality control. The transportation sector uses smart video technologies to manage traffic flow, optimize public transportation routes, and gain immediate situational awareness for flagged events. Today’s hospitals and medical facilities are leveraging a wide range of cameras, sensors, and analytics to monitor safety, prevent drug and equipment theft, improve staff performance and regulation compliance, and optimally manage the in-room patient experience.

End Users Need Easy Solutions

As organizations grapple with limited resources and reduced employee rosters, video systems are being transformed to accommodate a broader range of users, including those with non-security and nontechnical backgrounds, such as teachers, nurses, and retail staff.

VMS platforms are now designed with intuitive user interfaces that prioritize ease-of-use and functionality. These systems often incorporate features such as drag-and-drop camera controls, customizable layouts, and guided workflows to streamline system navigation and operation.

The aim is to minimize the learning curve for nonexperts, enabling them to use VMS software with confidence and efficiency.

Additionally, advanced VMS solutions are increasingly integrating with third-party applications and services, such as point-of-sale, access control, and business intelligence systems.

These cross-functional integrations facilitate a more holistic approach to security, facility and operations management, allowing users from different departments to access relevant data and make informed decisions based on real-time information.

By making VMS software more accessible and user-friendly, the security industry is broadening its reach and empowering a diverse range of users to harness the potential of video technology.

In small- and medium-sized Cloud deployments, with new Cloud-based VMS’, intuitive user interfaces designed specifically to minimize the learning curve and allow employees with minimal technical expertise to successfully operate and maintain the system are essential.

Cloud-Based Video, a New Norm

On the enterprise level, open platform video deployments on Cloud providers like AWS are revolutionizing the security industry by enabling organizations to scale and enhance their existing video systems effortlessly and cost effectively.

With minimal capital investment and affordable pay-as-you-go Cloud services such as storage and on-demand access to video analytics, businesses can now easily monitor and manage multiple sites with extreme efficiency.

The primary reasons for adopting a Cloud provider like AWS include the ease of overseeing multiple locations, the convenience of remote monitoring capabilities, and very scalable and affordable in-Cloud video data storage.

For example, consider a financial chain with banks in multiple cities and regions. Using a Cloud-based VMS, the company can monitor all locations simultaneously and access and analyze recorded footage anytime, anywhere, for any number of reasons.

This centralized approach not only streamlines operations but also reduces the need for local storage and compute infrastructure, cutting down on costs and ongoing maintenance.

Moreover, the unification of Cloud-based video and access control is gaining traction, with both systems operating on a single platform. This integration simplifies management and strengthens security by providing a comprehensive view of the premises.

AI is the driving force behind this convergence, as it enables sophisticated analytics and automation, further enhancing the capabilities of these security systems, even beyond security.

For many years now, the Cloud has brought both challenges and opportunities for our industry, but as infrastructure and bandwidth concerns have diminished — thanks to substantial U.S. infrastructure investments over the last decade — and moving video management to the Cloud has become an increasingly viable and valuable solution.

Cloud-based video systems are an excellent addition to an organization’s Cloud-First initiative and are now being seamlessly integrated with other enterprise systems, providing a unified platform for security, operations, and customer interactions. This integration improves compliance and offers advanced encryption and data protection measures.

Additionally, the Cloud ecosystem enables users and integrators to quickly test and deploy specific video analytic tools very economically.

Cloud systems also offer leading-edge cybersecurity in datacenters, reduced hardware costs and continuous access to video data, and these systems can be easily scaled up or down, accommodating businesses with rapid growth or seasonal fluctuation flexibility.

Doing More With Less

The rise of Cloud-based, data-driven video technology is redefining the way businesses across all sectors operate and achieve their financial goals. The innovative fusion of video analytics, AI, machine learning and Cloud-based video management has unlocked a new realm of possibilities for organizations, allowing them to do more with less.

As businesses navigate an increasingly competitive landscape, they must embrace these advancements in video security and management to stay ahead of the competition and meet business objectives. The integration of the Cloud with other enterprise systems and third-party applications enables a holistic approach to security and operations management.

This convergence of technologies allows businesses to access actionable, data-driven insights and make informed decisions to help drive growth and success.

The future of video technology is undeniably bright, and with continued innovation in Cloud-based and data-driven video management technologies, businesses across all sectors will be better equipped to thrive in today’s rapid, ever-evolving marketplace, and face the challenges of tomorrow.

Tim Palmquist is vice president, Americas, for Milestone Systems.

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