How Video Storage Demands Deliver Sales Opportunities

Security dealers and systems integrators can take advantage of Cloud-based video storage services in the residential and commercial markets.

A key consideration in providing a viable network video solution is data storage. Security camera resolutions continue to improve, and legislative requirements dictate that organizations retain video for longer periods of time. In addition, smarter devices, increased processing power and analytics are extending camera usage into business intelligence applications, also increasing storage demands.

Although advancements in compression technologies allow for increased storage capacity, higher resolutions require more storage and continue to drive demand. All these factors translate into new revenue opportunities for dealers and integrators.

These new opportunities are present on both the commercial and the residential sides. Increasingly more consumers are looking to store their video in the Cloud, and new applications and solutions continue to emerge at a rapid rate. Wireless communication, remote storage, IP cameras and innovative mobile apps have sparked a movement toward Cloud storage in the residential market. The manufacturers of residential security systems and their platforms enable this technology through companies like Alarm.com, a leading provider of Cloud-based services for video and smart home technologies.

Typically, there is a nominal monthly fee associated with accessing saved video from the Cloud. Companies like Alarm.com have a tiered approach depending on how many days or weeks of stored video you would like to access. Alarm.com’s services are available through Anixter’s channel of licensed dealers.

When offering video storage services in the Cloud, it’s important to keep in mind that streaming video, often considered “just another form of data,” has certain demands and characteristics that differentiate it from other data forms. Consequently, purpose-built storage solutions are an ideal way to meet the storage demands of network cameras as well as the needs of users viewing live and recorded video. The following characteristics of streaming video are why installing security contractors should consider purpose-built storage over traditional data solutions:

  • Massive database size needs
  • I/O-intensive operations
  • Intolerances of system latencies
  • Constant bit-rate streaming
  • Demanding operating environments, such as temperature, vibration, bit-error rate and more

Because of the nature of streaming video, each of these five areas requires a purpose-built approach that takes into account unique needs, capabilities and system demands. There are many external storage options available, including direct attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS), iSCSI, Fibre Channel and storage area networks (SAN).

Types of Storage Architectures

DAS — Server and storage is in the same physical appliance. This storage device is typically provided by video management software (VMS) companies in the form of an appliance that also runs the software application.

NAS — Physical appliance is separate from the server.

  • Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID): This is only applicable to DAS and NAS architectures and gives the ability to create redundancy as equipment fails over time to mitigate the loss of information.
  • Edge: Video is recorded to an SD card that fits into the camera. It is typically used in conjunction with another storage architecture as a means of redundancy.

SAN — The VMS client deciphers the data and stores the information in larger blocks, which requires the client workstation to have more processing power. It uses protocols to allow general sorting of the data such as Fibre Channel, iSCSI, ATA over Ethernet and HyperSCSI.

Cloud — Video is uploaded over the network to a server and storage architecture owned by a host. It reduces the amount of hardware at the customer’s site and is paid for on a monthly basis.

Storage System Technologies

An emerging trend is edge or on-board storage, which stores audio and video recordings within cameras, typically using an SD card. Edge storage is particularly beneficial for mobile security or applications that experience network connection interruptions. Edge storage is an excellent complementary enhancement to central storage to facilitate comprehensive and seamless video coverage and build additional redundancy in the solution.

The type of storage needed for video surveillance systems is dependent upon the architecture of the customer’s network and storage requirements. Storage architecture is the organization and management by VMS solutions for later retrieval and analysis. The data retention format used will usually follow an industry standard such as MJPEG, H.264, H.265 or some other recognized codec.

If an end user is providing the hardware storage solution for the video via their IT department, often it is designed to support data/IT versus video, which has extremely different demands and requirements. This creates an opportunity for the security integrator to collaborate on the needed video storage solution.

The Cloud can also be an opportunity for increased recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for integrators in the form of charging monthly storage fees for video, similar to how they charge for central station monitoring.

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