In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, customers’ rapidly changing work and home environments present new demands for surveillance systems. Once viewed as a way to monitor street conditions, or for managers to monitor factories to spot faulty equipment, video surveillance is now a powerful tool to support thinly staffed offices and provide security for work-from-home (WFH) environments. A 2020 report by IDC states that the worldwide video surveillance camera market will grow to USD 44 billion by 2025, up from USD 23.6 billion in 2019, at a five-year CAGR of nearly 13%.

Most of the video surveillance data come from cameras, which can generate terabytes (TB) of data. All of that data has to be stored, accessed, and analysed to find the ‘patterns in the data – and respond by taking business actions. That is why increased scalability of storage systems, combined with advanced video management software (VMS), license plate recognition (LPR), artificial intelligence (AI), and video analytics software, takes video surveillance systems to a new level of flexibility and efficiency in the age of the COVID-19 security measures.

Customers are finding many new ways to deploy video surveillance systems like cameras, storage, and software, which vary according to the environment being monitored and the ability of these systems to search the video surveillance data. For many years, the primary purpose of video surveillance systems was to monitor break-ins or disturbances in the office or home environment. Today, video surveillance technologies are being deployed – across several industries – for a much wider range of reasons. Sectors such as retail, manufacturing, and education, among others, are leveraging remote sensing and powerful remote internet of things (IoT) devices that run continuously.

The rise in demand for video surveillance systems across industries

  • Education: Many educational institutions have campuses and classrooms that may be mostly empty as students and staff members have been working from home since the onset of the pandemic. This has increased the focus on greater security to protect electronic equipment, lab equipment, and classrooms that are housed at the university site. As large amounts of data are stored daily, on-campus video surveillance systems must rely on high-capacity storage systems that can support many terabytes of data. That is why the ability to scale up storage capacity and the software to manage the data being stored and accessed, are vital in maintaining video surveillance systems at educational institutions.
  • Retail: In the new normal, most retail operations are looking to their online or hybrid channels over brick-and-mortar stores – for ramping up sales and promotions. For a hybrid operation model, video technology is useful in retail scenarios to monitor in-store traffic patterns, reduce shrinkage, and in decision-making for better merchandise offerings. To protect consumers’ health, many retailers support the delivery of store merchandise to consumers’ homes and curbside pick-ups. Others allow small groups of consumers to enter their brick-and-mortar stores, but they must monitor the number of shoppers inside the store at a time. Overall, retail stores use video surveillance systems to safeguard the items that are stocked on grocery, pharmacy, and hardware shelves inside the physical stores – and protect store personnel.
  • Factory systems: Far away from corporate headquarters, factory systems are often seen as ‘edge’ systems that must be monitored remotely 24/7. Video surveillance systems play a vital role in monitoring and protecting this valuable remote equipment – and for alerting managers when a factory system fails or faces mechanical difficulties. In recent years, the number of sensors on remote factory equipment has been multiplying, generating more data than ever before. That data must be stored, and analysed to provide feedback on local factory conditions. Before this data can be analysed by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) software, it must be protected by-house staff or remote systems. Video surveillance systems serve a company’s ‘eyes and ears in the field and remote locations to keep things running smoothly and safely.

Video surveillance systems show the business value of data

Data is at the heart of video surveillance – from the conception and creation of new solutions and applications to the implementation and analysis of systems. Seagate’s Rethink Data report, published in 2020, shows the connection between high-capacity data and more efficient business operations across a variety of industry solutions.

From simple security-related services to AI-driven uses, video surveillance has a lot to offer. For example, sensors used by autonomous vehicles (AVs) generate massive amounts of data – between 5TB and 20TB per vehicle per day. Car companies can use this insight in real-time, to avoid accidents. That is why efficient and intelligent data infrastructure for video surveillance systems is so important.

Enabling access to data and encouraging innovation are important steps to be taken right now. Looking ahead to the future, improving the accuracy, efficiency, and resilience of video surveillance systems is an important priority for surveillance system vendors and their customers as they design next-generation ‘new data economy systems that protect people, their workplace, and the public spaces.

Video surveillance systems: a call to action

Video-based surveillance is essential in informing customers about security flaws, preventing future break-ins and loss of physical equipment, and identifying inefficiencies in business processes, for both on-premises and off-premises locations. The time is ripe for enterprises, small- and large-scale, to review and upgrade local datastores for capacity, density, and power purposes. Enabling access to data, encouraging innovation, and constantly improving the accuracy, efficiency, and resilience of video surveillance are important steps to safeguard offices and homes in 2021 and beyond.


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