We are all used to the concept of the Cloud – using online storage and services to run our IT needs. It might be a surprise for some to learn that physical security systems can also benefit from using Cloud services. Despite initial fears for the security of the Cloud, online encryption has become highly stringent and Cloud hosting has become a key technology when it comes to effectively running and administering physical security systems!
The use of the Cloud for physical security started about three or four years ago with video as a service. It made perfect sense– you can transmit and store secure feeds so they can be viewed and saved on any authorised device. The stumbling block for many years though was the amount of data that needed to be transmitted. Thankfully, video compression, modern Internet and mobile Internet speeds mean that these issues have, for the most part, been overcome.
One of the key benefits of Cloud technology is the flexibility it offers. Using wireless connections to online services dramatically simplifies installation and servicing times. It cuts down on the hassles and disruption caused to people in the vicinity as well.
Online storage is also cheap and easy to use, as well as removing data from local storage that could be compromised by an intruder. At the same time, authorised control of these systems can be granted easily or changed if required. This could be very useful for a multi-national organisation where the time difference could mean that different security teams need to be employed at different locations, but all of them still need to have access and monitor all the premises in the business.
We all know how beneficial online services are to our personal lives - the benefits for physical security are just as convenient and reliable.
In essence, the Cloud brings a broad range of benefits for any operator, installer or provider involved with the provision of physical security.
For the end-user, it has transformed the decision of how best to buy and run a security system. This is largely because these security systems no longer need to be a capital purchase, it is entirely viable to rent systems and pay a fixed and regular predictable ongoing fee. You simply sign up with the relevant provider to a service delivery agreement and get a guaranteed level of technology (be that video or access control). This can permanently offer the most current solution at a recurring monthly fee.
Equally, for an installer, these Cloud systems make it much easier to administer and service systems remotely. It is also a perfect recurring revenue model, ensuring sales aren’t just composed of monthly targets to ‘shift boxes’.
For manufacturers Cloud technology also allows the provider to change its business model. Much like an installer, the business will benefit from not having to reach lofty hardware sales each month to ensure revenue.
By allocating the costs and revenues from security systems across a much broader time span, both customers and suppliers have a far more balanced relationship. In many ways, Cloud technology makes both sides of the transaction far more like actual partners.
Customers receive ongoing support and predictable costs, whilst installers and manufacturers have a much more balanced revenue stream and services to provide. This inevitably leads to better investments in technology – which benefits everyone!
John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi