Hosted video services have emerged as an opportunity to help organizations protect their investments while generating long-term RMR for dealers. The hosted-services model is appealing for its ability to access video remotely through Internet-enabled devices and provide easier and more affordable access to advanced enterprise features-without a large upfront investment. This is possible because hosted services removes expensive software and installation costs from the end user site and uses the cloud to allow them to remotely access their video.

By migrating to the cloud, organizations can choose the services they want and need, anything from remote storage and access, to video analytics and central station integration. By taking the local software out of the equation, dealers also reduce their installation costs and most support issues can be serviced remotely.

One of the key advancements allowing more small-to-mid-sized businesses to take advantage of this trend is the combination of hosted video services with cloud-ready, hybrid network video recorders (NVRs). This is because hybrid NVRs support both analog and IP cameras and have proven an effective solution for companies to protect their existing investments while steadily incorporating IP.

New business entry point

Aside from existing customers looking for cost-efficient ways to implement digital video, this approach could be an entry point to IP for new customers who are generally unfamiliar with video surveillance and are seeking 1) affordability, 2) ease of use and 3) advanced enterprise features previously unattainable or unaffordable.

Regardless of the choices, some of the key selling points for end users include:

- A "future-proof" design through automatic updates with the latest features and security updates (with no disruption to the client's business)

- Convenient access to video from any Internet-connected device. Automatic email notification of system alarms or events triggered and the ability to pull up video from any

- Web-enabled device to determine if it is a threat. Immediate notification if communications are lost or the system has stopped recording

And of course, there are several technical features-when set up accurately-that can make systems integrator's jobs easier:

Bandwidth-Hosted video systems should be able to scale bandwidth usage by adjusting the video quality, depending on a customer's network. Local storage options help reduce the amount of video data transmitted to the hosting center, and allow users to access their video with minimal impact on bandwidth.

Interfaces-A true hosted system should not require any software downloads for the end user and also provides quick and easy setup for event triggers and user parameters for each camera.

Auto detection for cameras-Through simplified setup, reduced installation time benefits both the dealer and end user.

Security-A hosted system should allow an easy connectivity to video from outside of the client's network, but still provide secure communications through corporate firewalls.

One recent example of such a technology is Honeywell's MAXPRO Web hybrid NVR, which the company began showing its customers at ASIS 2011. In addition to the above benefits, the "cloud-ready" NVR incorporates video analytics to facilitate true object detection to reduce false alarms and operational costs. MAXPRO Web combined with Honeywell's "mymaxproweb" hosting service allows dealers to start offering hosted services and migrating legacy analog video systems.

All of these features lower the cost of IP and simplify use for the customer. Once those features help to close the sale, dealers should find themselves with more IP paths to RMR through hosted services.

John Smith is the senior marketing manager for Honeywell's access products including NetAXS, WIN-PAK, WIN-PAK PRO Central Station, NStar, N-750, PassPoint and computer systems configurations and badging. He is based in Oak Creek, Wis.