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IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
September 22, 2011


State of Physical Access Trend Report 2024

What is VSaas?

VSaaS (video surveillance as a service) is the technology behind managed video.

We can draw a parallel from the traditional IT world in which SaaS (software as a service) is the technology behind managed services.

VSaaS and SaaS in general provide the ability to use the providers’ applications, running on a cloud infrastructure, accessible from various client devices.

The end-user does not manage or control even individual application capabilities. VSaaS servers can be found both in traditional or ad-hoc data centres.

What are the opportunities for the security industry?

Hosting and managed services are offered to end-users based on the VSaaS/SaaS model.

This business model allows end users to record and view of video surveillance images, access control records and so on from theoretically anywhere via both data centres or direct live-streaming.

These images can then be passed to, or are coming from, security companies or alarm receiving centres.

A major driver at the moment is the possibility of replacing or integrating manned guards by using a remotely monitored system. Some of the most common examples are solutions based around virtual guard tours and visitor management.

If we look at the market potential in 2010 there were only a few hundred thousand cameras remotely managed and/or hosted worldwide, out of the tens of millions of cameras in operation.

There is a massive variation in terms of service costs, with some services starting at euro 10 and others reaching a few hundreds Euros per month.

The overall market potential for this is limited, however, with average annual growth potential in the next 3-5 years barely entering the double digits.

What are the barriers and challenges to adoption?

There are a number of challenges to a stronger uptake in this market. Bandwidth and storage costs are often the major restraints, especially once there are more than a few cameras per site, or there is an increased number of cameras that need continuous recording.

Privacy legislation is also a major issue, especially when considering that for a “traditional” cloud service there are implications on not being able to know where the image is stored and who is ultimately responsible for it. This could cross international boundaries and be affected by differing privacy legislation.

There are obviously technical solutions around this, but these tend to complicate a sale which is already not easy.

In some vertical markets, such as critical infrastructure, as well as these privacy laws there are other pieces of legislation and regulations that play a key role in limiting the type of services that can be outsourced and also what data can be sent outside the organization.

In conclusion

At least for the foreseeable future, a mass uptake of the market is destined to be limited to geographically dispersed operations, with a limited number of cameras in which a VSaaS based solution can replace expensive remote patrols, static guards/key-holders, and so on.

Obviously a stronger uptake of VSaaS would be a lot “easier” if the market was based on open-platforms and software/applications instead of being product-centric.

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