Eye on Hosted Video: A Q&A with Axis, EMC and Siemens

What will we see for real-world adoption in 2011 and what is the business model?


It's a popular opinion that the physical security industry on the whole is slow to adapt to new technologies. There is really no other industry out there where 75 percent of video installations are still based on analog technology. When you're tasked with keeping safety and order, it's understandable to use what you know and trust, but the tides are turning in many ways.

As a technology pioneer in IP video surveillance, Axis Communications (my employer) has been talking about the value of hosted video technology for a few years. As with all new technologies in conservative markets, it takes time before real-world adoption happens. Much of that has to do with the need for education regarding misconceptions associated with hosted video (see my earlier article on the top 10 myths), but maybe more important is the partnerships that must be forged behind the scenes to make hosted video a viable option.

I recently sat down with two leading hosted security services influencers to talk about the hosted video landscape in the real world -- beyond the hypothetical cloud talk that security practitioners and integrators have heard for years. Joining me for the discussion were Phil Atteberry, director and segment head of the Managed Security Services group at Siemens Industry Inc., and Patrick Snow, director of cloud security solutions at EMC.

Siemens is a well-known global systems integrator and Phil Atteberry leads the U.S. market focused on delivering remote managed solutions; those solutions range from hosting access control and video platforms to even remotely managing complete security systems. Their solutions help customers eliminate much of the upfront capital expenses typically incurred with in-house solutions.

EMC is a world renowned IT company focused on data storage and logical security solutions. Pat Snow's group works closely with on-site Iomega Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and systems integrators to provide a powerful and redundant cloud storage offering. Both on-site and cloud storage is provided to the end user through EMC's integrator partners.

I'd like to share our discussion with you, and I hope you enjoy the following presentation of perspectives of these two industry leaders.

Nilsson: The more progressive physical security players -- from vendors, to storage providers, to next-generation integrators -- have been talking about hosted video for the past few years now, but not many real-world cases can be cited. Why are we seeing this changing in 2011, and how has hosted video evolved recently to become a legitimate video surveillance option?

Atteberry: Hosted video has moved from an expensive novelty to a value-based solution. The key difference from the past is how hosted solutions better fit the needs of the customer by utilizing the value of a centralized software solution with customized delivery models via onsite and hosted storage solutions.

Snow: Yes, the delivery model is there, but what's equally as important is that a large percentage of the market now has access to affordable bandwidth required for hosted video solutions. The ISPs (Internet Service Providers) continue to strengthen their networks. This, combined with the emergence of H.264 allows end users to stream higher quality video. In addition, cloud technologies have rapidly evolved over the past few years due to larger IT and consumer investments and, as a result, these technologies are more generally accepted.

Nilsson: That still may sound like the same old "the technology is ready" story that we've been hearing for the last couple of years. But I think the underlying reason that the hosted video puzzle is now complete is that that the different technology and integration pieces needed have come together through partnerships. Let's explain the stakeholder landscape today.

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