As cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) have taken hold of the world of IT, video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) has emerged as a popular option for customers looking to simplify their physical security installations. And like video surveillance in general, VSaaS is growing at a rapid pace. This increased acceptance has caused many value-added resellers (VARs) to wonder what role it might play in their business going forward.
Here we take a look at five key concerns you need to know about VSaaS and the cloud before implementing them into your product offering:
1. What is VSaaS?
VSaaS involves sending many of the functions of a traditional video surveillance system to a third-party provider. Cameras are installed at the customer’s site, but instead of the video being streamed to on-premises computers or network video recorders (NVRs), it is streamed to systems at the VSaaS provider’s facility. End users can access and view video over the Internet, rather than paying for video management software.
VSaaS is also widely known as hosted or managed video surveillance, because many of the traditional tasks are handled by a third party. The two terms actually refer to slightly different versions of VSaaS:
- Hosted video surveillance: Video is recorded, managed, and stored off site at the VSaaS provider’s data center facility.
- Managed video surveillance: Video is recorded and stored at the customer’s site, but the provider manages it remotely.
2. How does VSaaS relate to the cloud?
With VSaaS, a customer views surveillance video through a secure public website that is hosted by the service provider—which is precisely the essence of cloud computing. In fact, it is the rise of cloud capabilities that has made hosted and managed video surveillance possible.
3. What are the benefits to the customer?
VSaaS offers several key benefits to video surveillance customers.
First off, they are guaranteed (offered) highly secure access to video footage, from any location with an Internet connection. Managed video surveillance requires less time and money spent on managing a system’s hardware, while also minimizing the need for manpower in order to monitor camera feeds.
VSaaS can also be much more cost-effective in many environments—particularly smaller facilities and in start-up companies that may not have dedicated security staff or the funds to invest in hardware such as NVRs and networking equipment. In most markets, customers often pay as little as $20 a month per camera for VSaaS.
4. What are the benefits from the VAR’s perspective?
VSaaS offers you a highly valuable service offering for customers that require greater flexibility in their video surveillance solution. The benefits to the customer only strengthen the value that they add to your business, particularly in markets that are seeing strong VSaaS growth, such as healthcare, small businesses, banks, retail and restaurant chains, and the public sector.
VSaaS is an opportunity to diversify your product offering and prepare for an increasingly high-tech security industry. Now is the time to learn the basics of cloud capabilities and begin carving out your niche for them.
5. Are there any challenges associated with offering VSaaS or other cloud-based software?
There aren’t many. Not long ago, the cost of transmitting video was one of the key challenges for VARs offering VSaaS. However, high-speed Internet connectivity is now much more affordable and more widely available. Meanwhile, ever-improving video compression techniques, such as H.264, are gradually lessening bandwidth requirements, which has made VSaaS even more popular.
One challenge that persists is gaining customer interest in VSaaS. In some markets, end users simply are not familiar with hosted or managed video surveillance, so customer education is necessary. You may encounter potential customers, especially those with high camera counts, that feel that the monthly cost of VSaaS still needs to fall in order for it to become their most cost-effective option.
However, broader awareness and acceptance of VSaaS is inevitable, and costs are already coming down. As a growing number of IT functions are sent to the cloud, you can expect hosted and managed video surveillance to become a cornerstone of the industry in the next few years.
Do you offer VSaaS as part of your physical security product line? If not, do you plan on adding cloud-based software to your business?