Video Surveillance Trends for Small and Medium Businesses – Part 1

While we still see a large number of customers continuing with analog systems, adoption of IP technology is gaining momentum every day. As small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) begin to use their video data more often, they realize the added value that can only be achieved with an IP-based system.

One of the main characteristics that tends to be common to SMBs is that video security is generally not business critical for them. SMBs don’t have hard requirements linking their video security to their business operations, unlike airports who may need to shut down a wing or a terminal when the video security is not functioning properly. For SMBs video data is generally used opportunistically – when and if it is needed. Most of the time the needs tend to be incident driven where a specific situation is causing them to refer to their video.

The opportunistic situations creating the need to check their video data have been expanding in recent years. In the past video surveillance used to be thought of as a form of insurance to have for referencing in case of negative incidents, but now we are seeing more and more SMBs using their video proactively for activities such as training, monitoring access while away from their businesses (such as accepting deliveries remotely), and generally understanding specific types of customer behaviors.

These uses are also driving the adoption of higher resolution video (360 degree and HD cameras), either for critical areas of coverage, or to monitor a wider area with the same or fewer number of cameras. However, in most regions of the world the cost of bandwidth – especially to upload data – is much higher than the cost of storage. For example, an average HD camera used for surveillance requires a bandwidth of 2-3 Mbits per second. That’s approximately 35 GB of data per week streaming continuously. Multiply that by 8 or 16 cameras and the SMB is looking at a considerable bandwidth requirement.

Video in the cloud, while interesting in concept, is still generally not cost competitive. A lot of customers consider cloud storage when they are in the evaluation stage but ultimately realize that it is still impractical today, and purchase a solution with local storage for now.

Another characteristic of SMBs is limited financial means compared to large enterprises. For smaller businesses, the trick is to be able to spend as little money as possible today to address an existing need while also providing the reassurance that whatever the future holds, your system can change with limited effort or additional cost. – Janne Jakobsen, VP Professional Products, Milestone Systems

We always recommend that customers with existing legacy systems keep as much of the system in place as possible, where additional budget should be spent on more cameras to improve coverage. Old cameras can be replaced over time as they become obsolete or break down.

In order to support customers with the transition from older analog systems, Milestone has many encoder partners, and we support hundreds of encoder models with native integrations. We also offer a specialized encoder pricing policy where we charge one camera license per encoder IP address regardless of the number of analog cameras connected to that encoder. With most of our supported encoders this means one license per 4-16 cameras, depending on the installing partner.

plug_and_playMilestone also offers a range of hybrid appliances (Milestone Hybrid Husky NVR) that come with built-in encoders, reducing the cost and complexity of managing hybrid systems that combine IP cameras with legacy analog cameras. Milestone has a complete portfolio of products to allow SMB customers to start as small as they need today and scale their system over time as their environment, their needs, and their security setup changes.

We also offer a strong Milestone CARE program that helps customer to maintain the value of their original investment towards future changes, including software upgrades. This program, together with the scalability of our portfolio, allows SMB customers to address today’s needs cost-effectively — without sacrificing tomorrow’s opportunities.

Matt Fishback
Matt Fishback

by Matt Fishback, Business Development Manager, Milestone Systems