Author Bio ▼

Christian Morin is Vice President of Cloud Services, Genetec Inc. He has worked for Genetec since 2002, and has been responsible for the Stratocast Product Group since August 2012. He sees Stratocast as the moment that video surveillance as a service comes of age.
April 20, 2016

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Integrators Should Act Now to Profit from the Cloud

In almost every aspect of our personal lives, cloud-based services such as email, social media and entertainment have become widely accepted.

While the physical security industry traditionally takes a more cautious approach to adopting emerging technologies such as Video Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaaS), Access Control-as-a-Service (ACaaS), Federation-as-a-Service (FaaS) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ALPR) Services, the reality is that cloud-based applications will one day permeate the industry.

While cloud services might only comprise a small percentage of the entire physical security market today, there is continuous momentum building-up towards greater cloud adoption in the industry. For forward-thinking integrators, this means there is still time to act.

Getting into the cloud gives integrators the foundation to build a managed services business with greater focus on customer service, loyalty and retention. Offering long-term contracts of cloud services also provides a more stable and predictable monthly revenue stream that has the potential to surpass one-off sales over a longer period of time.

The timing could not be more perfect, as opportunity in the market is ripening. In fact, more customers are beginning to pro-actively ask for cloud solutions. Companies understand that the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model provides greater agility and flexibility in deploying video surveillance or access control systems, in expanding storage or in managing multiple remote locations from one central command centre. SaaS is becoming the cost-effective option which helps security directors bypass red-tape approvals and avoid lump-sum capital expenditures for on-premises servers. Cloud services also eliminate the need to find additional rack space, and to cool, power and maintain storage hardware, while freeing up valuable IT resources for other projects.

Not only is the market becoming more educated about SaaS and its benefits, but the initial obstacles that seemed to have slowed earlier SaaS adoption are fading:

  1. Enhanced Security and Privacy – While there may have been apprehension about security and privacy features of cloud services, cloud service providers are actively implementing mechanisms that counteract physical and logical vulnerabilities. Encrypted communications, granular privacy control, data protection capabilities, and strong user authentication and password protection are some of the key features being added to cloud-based services, offering customers a range of privacy controls to protect their data. Cloud service providers are also seeking compliance with international security standards and are subject to contractual and regulatory obligations to keep data secure and private. This helps customers identify and select providers that have implemented effective means to reduce and mitigate external or internal risks. Greater data sovereignty is also playing a role, as more datacentres are offering services within the political boundaries of its customers. Leading SaaS providers understand that these stringent security measures will help them earn the trust of their customers and retain their loyalty, often making their solutions and facilities more secure than on-premises installations managed by private organisations.
  1. Heightened Availability of Bandwidth – While there are still some locations where access to high-speed internet connectivity might be too costly to stream video to the cloud, this is becoming the exception. According to a report released in February 2015 from Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority for the United Kingdom (UK) communications industries, the average UK broadband speed is now 22.8Mbit/s, up from 18.7Mbit/s in May 2014, marking the largest absolute rise (4.1Mbit/s) in broadband speeds Ofcom has recorded. Nearly one in three UK broadband connections (32%) are ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s or above services, up from 24% in November 2013, according to the research. The increasing availability of faster and more affordable internet connectivity is becoming pervasive and rarely, if ever, will affect a business’ ability to leverage cloud services.
  1. Growing Cloud Services Portfolio – Having an entire video surveillance or access control system running in the cloud is not the only option when considering SaaS. Customers with on-site servers who are looking to scale their system while minimising costs, can investigate hybrid cloud applications. For instance, customers with multiple locations can use physical servers at larger sites and then implement cloud-based solutions at the smaller locations where space and costs of additional hardware might pose issues. All video and data from each system can be brought back to one central location, allowing all systems to be monitored and managed as one.

The hybrid cloud model can accommodate many specific applications, such as keeping long-term archives in the cloud, or increasing and decreasing storage on a need-as basis. These new SaaS options are providing greater flexibility to companies who want to be able to scale computing and storage resources as the policies and needs of their security environment continue to evolve.

Time to Turn Your Attention to the Cloud

This is just the beginning of an imminent shift towards cloud services. More customers are asking for SaaS by name, educating themselves on cloud service options and seeking solutions that will help them economically scale. Whether the industry is ready or not, these customers will also seek out integrators who understand cloud services, who will be able to broker multiple types of cloud services from different providers, and unify them all within a single platform.

For the integrator who becomes a specialist in cloud technologies, the business model will become one of generating more recurring monthly revenues, ensuring a steadier revenue stream and a healthy business outlook. Ultimately, the cloud is here to stay. Ultimately, the cloud is here to stay. While these are still early-days for market share for cloud use across the entire security industry, cloud services sales are growing fast. That means that there is significant opportunity available. Integrators who to take the leap in offering cloud-based services can profit today.

 

 

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