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How the cloud and mobility are altering physical security

November 28, 2017

How the cloud and mobility are altering physical security

The terms “cloud” and “mobility” have become a part of nearly every IT conversation, regardless of application or market, thanks to the benefits both can provide in making solutions more powerful and effective. However, within the physical security market—in both access control and video surveillance—cloud and mobility have been slower to make an impact. Still, things are changing and improving.

The cloud

The benefits of cloud computing and storage can’t be denied. Yet, when it comes to video surveillance, expectations must be tempered. While many VMS providers now offer cloud-based products, storing video data in the cloud simply isn’t feasible for most enterprise applications.

If you have customers with just a few cameras operating at a low resolution and/or frame rate and using motion detection to capture specific events, storing video in the cloud might be possible. However, in most use cases, it’s not realistic to do so.

That said, cloud VMS does offer many benefits. The as a service “low monthly payment” model makes cloud VMS an attractive option for many customers. Additionally, cloud VMS removes the need for onsite servers and administration, reducing the overall TCO.

Access control, on the other hand, can greatly benefit from cloud implementations. While you’ll still need onsite hardware for controllers and locks, users will gain the ability to remotely view events, add and remove users, and lock and unlock doors from anywhere. Because the data requirements are so low, all user databases can be stored in the cloud.


The cloud and mobility go hand in hand in physical security. In placing a VMS or access control system in the cloud, you effectively give authorized users the ability to control the solutions remotely on mobile devices.

Within many markets, but retail and restaurant in particular, owners and managers are eager to be able to remotely view cameras from anywhere. Indeed, with some customers, this might be the only feature they care about.

As far as access control is concerned, cloud-based solutions allow authorized personnel to remotely unlock doors, add and delete users, adjust privileges, and more.

Future implications of cloud and mobility

We’ve seen significant advancements within video surveillance and access control is just the past few years. As high-speed bandwidth becomes more ubiquitous, and technologies and codecs improve, we’ll see more physical security moving to the cloud. Until then, you’ll have to evaluate each customer to determine if its needs fit within the current limitations we’ve outlined.