A 30,000 View – securitytoday.com

2 minutes, 32 seconds Read

A 30,000 View

Cloud-based video: the journey and its future course

Today it seems like the cloud is everywhere. In the security industry, cloud-based video and access control solutions are certainly big trends. But how, and why, did the journey toward cloud-based video begin? And where is it headed?

The Right Elements, the Wrong Timing

When the first network camera—the AXIS NetEye 200—was launched in 1996, its performance was on par with the available bandwidth at the time; but the technology had a way to go to meet the needs of the security industry. At that time, dial-up networking typically took around 17 seconds to transmit a VGA image. While the capability was exciting, and the possibilities promising, the results were not ideal. Improvements were required.

The late 1990s saw the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS), offered by Application Service Providers or ASPs, like Hotmail and RocketMail. At that point, using webcams with dial-up networking produced a slow stream that equated to a series of still images. Additionally, camera configuration was a challenge, so a better way of communication was required. Unfortunately, high-speed internet was still in its infancy, so it was too early to accommodate IP video.

Tech Advancement Spawns Viable Solutions

As we approached the new millennium, things were about to change. High-speed internet finally provided what was needed for network video success, especially for security and surveillance use cases. For Axis, this meant the introduction of a new breed of camera: the AXIS 2100 Network Camera. In addition to providing a direct network connection (no PC required) with the ability to operate as a standalone via LAN connection or modem, it was the first camera with VGA resolution at a good framerate (10 fps) and at a reasonable price. Accordingly, it was easy to configure and deploy—meeting user needs.

On the heels of these advancements, the first cloud-based video solution was introduced by Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica. The company pioneered a hosting plan that included the cost of the IP camera—and subscriptions were sold to small businesses. While profitability was encouraging, scalability issues forced Telefónica to discontinue the service. That set the stage for cloud video offerings and many Telcos followed suit. Most of them failed because their business models combined small business and residential sales under the same roof.

Pioneers Meet Heightened Expectations

It was not long before a second wave of hosted video startups decided to modify standard cameras and their firmware to connect them to the cloud. Dropcam and CameraManager were among two of these pioneering companies. Initially the challenge with cloud-based video was bandwidth, but the problem was solved as broadband became ubiquitous. And, until around 2008, standard (PAL or NTSC) resolution was acceptable, so the combination worked.

However, once flat HD TVs began to appear in living rooms, people expected better quality from surveillance cameras too. Fortunately, timing coincided with a new H.264 compression method, so better image quality with less noise was now possible. Later came smart compression methods such as Axis Zipstream technology.

This post was originally published on the 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this this site

Similar Posts