In his latest blog for Infologue Bob Forsyth, Chief Executive Officer at Kings Security writes about the future of Cloud Technology and its prospective applications in the security sector. Bob writes: “It’s that time of year when on returning from the annual circus that is IFSEC, I find myself reflecting on what the key areas are for technology enhancements in the fire and security industry, with an eye toward other sectors.
“Whilst AI, Analytics, Home Automation and Drone technologies are all coming to the fore, the one area that really hit me was the fact that ‘Cloud technology’ is undoubtedly becoming mainstream and is increasingly at the heart or the bed partner of all of these. The Cloud is now supporting all elements of our everyday lives, any new innovation we embrace in the IOT or subscription services are now cloud-based, but are we as an industry behind the curve?
“Like all technology integrators, we have traditionally given customers the ability to access video and services through traditional storage devices running on servers or peripherals on site. This has worked really well and still forms a massive part of our sector but it’s increasingly apparent that Cloud is ripping up the rulebook. As the cost decreases and security concerns are abated and DR capabilities enhanced, video storage in the cloud with localised video management and viewing is starting to really move at pace. The Cloud provides significant advantages to clients and also our own management of data and combined with edge-based computing we’re seeing an ever growing range of analytic options becoming available.
“Cloud technology is now featuring in more and more client options for services. A recent survey reported 88% of businesses are utilising Cloud Technology in some form. Microsoft 365, Dropbox and Google Drive lead this technology and some have been around for over 10 years. It also predicted that total workloads being processed by Cloud technologies in 5 years’ time will be at 94%, 3 times greater than now.
“It’s important though that we recognise the difference between ‘Cloud technology’ and ‘Cloud storage’ – they very often get merged and confused as being the same.
“Cloud Storage definitely has some way to go, certainly, from a commercial point of view the challenge remains that for larger systems it presents significantly higher costs in comparison to traditional on-site storage. Bandwidth in the UK remains inconsistent and the need for additional engineering spend to support direct streaming off-site further shackles the growth. There is, of course, the counter-argument of the total cost of ownership benefit against the cost, which while all very valid, are still a tough proposition to the end client in some cases.
“Cloud Technology is the key advancement in the sector, especially within Smart CCTV, Access Control and Integrated solutions. We have seen exponential growth within the last 2 years with Major Industry players like Morphean, Axis, Agent Vi and Intruder providers Pyronix (HIKvision) and Risco all moving into the services.
“We have definitely seen a paradigm shift within our portfolio of clients, who are now embracing Cloud solutions with the support of their IT departments. CCTV has been first to see traction and over the last 18 months we have seen a significant percentage (>70%) being ‘smart CCTV’, whether this is monitored by a tech centre or data collation by the client this is now via means of cloud technology. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Real £ savings on Capex with the NVR not needing to be as high spec’d as you would need for a traditional process hungry application. These savings can be in the thousands of pounds even on a relatively small system. As you would expect these savings scale up alongside the size of the project.
- Rapid deployment is critical, simple set up of solutions can be done before the kit is dispatched.
- Real data at our fingertips instantly with real-time diagnostics, push notifications and quick time updates to your estate when changes are needed to be made.
- Reduction in engineering time and service scheduling on site.
“There is little doubt this sector will grow substantially and in my view will become the norm in the next 5 years or so, especially when incorporating Access control to the offering. Access control already has the capabilities and features to be a realistic proposition and will grow alongside CCTV. With benefits such as centralised card management, instant information and data sharing updates alongside CCTV; changing the technology and embracing Facial recognition as the access control decision tool is key for this progression. All the above enables remote support to fix as opposed to the traditional man in a van which, as we are all aware, delays fixes while bringing a higher cost to service. Cloud adaption and technology advances will only help to lower this cost and keep our security measures operational. This does, of course, change the traditional model of a service provider and something we are always aware of as we build our strategy and infrastructure to deliver to our clients.
“Looking at the horizon of the security Industry, it certainly is exciting times, the growth curve will accelerate with the integration of access control, CCTV and offering quicker results, higher forms of data, data made sense by means of exception. Also, the adaption of AI into the Cloud services will mean a platform that starts to widen our scope in the sector and offer clients even more value; there has never been a more enlightening time to be involved in security and watch it evolve before our eyes.”