Most companies conduct some kind of video surveillance, typically involving a PC-based infrastructure they manage on-site. For many small to mid-sized businesses, operating and maintaining this infrastructure (adding capacity, conducting upgrades, etc.) can be a real effort since much of this gear is “consumer grade”, plus the people running it have other jobs to do and aren’t trained in IT or video. The cloud may be the technology answer to this problem and Eagle Eye Networks, the service provider with an ideal solution for these organizations.
On-site video surveillance systems in small to mid-sized companies typically consist of networked or wireless cameras, a network router, a computer running the video management system (VMS) software and a storage device – most often hard drives in that VMS computer.
Maintenance of the system isn’t done by a dedicated employee and many companies neglect to keep their systems upgraded. In fact, they’re often badly undersized and well out of compliance. When they do need to review a video, it’s often hard to access or even find the appropriate segment, or it’s unusable because the analysis features of the VMS are weak or difficult to use.
A strong fit for the cloud
The cloud, as a services delivery platform, has a number of significant advantages, most of which apply to the video surveillance market. Eagle Eye Networks has recognized this fit and led by the original founder of Barracuda Networks, in January of 2014, launched their company to provide a cloud-based service to support the video surveillance market.
The Eagle Eye system works with all camera types (digital or analog) connecting to the wired or wireless local network through a cloud bridge. The bridge does some preprocessing of the video stream locally and manages its transfer to the cloud, maximizing bandwidth efficiency. Video files are stored in the cloud and made available for download by client companies as needed. Users can even monitor and manage the system via a mobile phone. But what makes the cloud such a strong solution for video surveillance?
Expandable, flexible capacity
There’s probably nothing that consumes more storage space than videos, and it’s only getting worse as camera resolution increases and compliance requirements extend retention periods. This is causing capacity issues for users, especially in the mid-market space where they often lack real IT-grade equipment. Cloud infrastructures are built to expand and service providers can sell as much capacity as their customers need, allowing users to keep up with demand instantly and minimize their investment in the process.
Better infrastructure, mobile operation
The infrastructure that most cloud providers deploy can be much more sophisticated than that which smaller companies are most apt to buy. This means a cloud-based service is more resilient, reliable and has better functionality than that provided by the hardware and software that a smaller user would deploy.
Cloud services are built for time-saving configuration and simple operation, incorporating mobile device technologies as well. In fact, users are accustomed to smartphone- and tablet-based access for most applications, including security services for their homes. Web-based monitoring and management of a video surveillance system is a natural fit for both the market and for the technology to deliver it.
Analyzing video to find one short but critical event in a week’s worth of video ‘footage’ requires sophisticated functionality, something that most small business VMSs simply don’t have. Eagle Eye Networks’ analytics software gives users the ability to easily find and access these events, as well as use their video recordings to generate business intelligence, like analyzing customer shopping behavior or improving employee efficiency.
Easier implementation, monthly subscription
Many of these companies (or branch offices) have little IT expertise and are even less familiar with video and surveillance technologies. The “as-a-Service” business model is ideal for this use case since it removes most of the on-site infrastructure implementation (except for cameras and networks). And with the cloud, companies pay on a monthly basis, eliminating a big, up-front capital outlay. Eagle Eye Networks offers their service to video and security industry VARs (value added resellers) that conduct the installation and can provide ongoing support to end user companies.
The Eagle Eye Cloud
The company developed their own technology for storing these data sets using the Google File System and an object-based architecture running on commodity hardware. The system was designed in-house to handle large files and streaming access patterns leveraging the MapReduce algorithm to distribute processing. Currently, Eagle Eye Networks’ data centers have over 1PB of customer data.
Video surveillance seems to be another “killer app” for the cloud delivery model. More than just an easier way to pay for it, cloud services like Eagle Eye Networks offer unlimited scale and flexibility to an industry that has some real data growth problems. They’re also providing a better quality infrastructure with more sophisticated features than a small company could otherwise afford, in a solution that’s easy to set up and use.