Eye on hosted video: The top 10 myths of hosted video

Think it's unsafe or not for you? Think again

If these initial data concerns are overcome, some could argue that storing your video data in the cloud is more secure than on a DVR. With hosted video, there's no DVR to steal or video evidence onsite to destroy. If the user wants the peace of mind that redundant onsite storage offers, an inexpensive network attached storage (NAS) device can be added to the network, and the same rules apply if this device is damaged or stolen: Your video is still safe in the cloud.

MYTH #3: I have to abandon my existing analog system/infrastructure to migrate to hosted video

While IP cameras present many benefits not offered by analog cameras, we never recommend end-users throw out their working analog cameras if they are happy with the quality and the cameras are already installed. By using a hybrid solution with video encoders, the existing analog streams can be digitized and securely sent over the Internet to the hosting site. Remember, around 80 percent of the market is still analog-based-especially at smaller camera count installations-so a hybrid hosted video solution presents a significant opportunity for end-users interested in an IP migration strategy.

MYTH #4: Cloud solutions are too difficult to install and maintain as they require reconfiguration of local routers

With innovations of hosted video platforms coupled with growing partnerships behind the scenes, cloud partners have worked together to take the complexity out of the solution for the end-user and installer. Internet communication between the cameras and the hosting provider (also known as the storage provider) can be done without complex IP magic such as port forwarding or fixed IP addressing required in the past. Also, once there's a licensing agreement between the hosting provider and the camera manufacturer for each device, the camera can be auto-configured to communicate with and only with that hosting provider's network.

In fact, integrators can set up this communications link between the camera and the hosting provider's cloud before they leave for the job site. In that case, all they will need to do onsite is install and power the camera in order to start the hosting service.

MYTH #5: Hosted video solutions require too much bandwidth, so you will never get high enough frame rates and can't use HDTV or megapixel

Since the video will be sent out over the Internet, bandwidth usage will always be a concern. However, with the rise of more efficient compression methods like H.264 users are able to send unmatched video quality over mere DSL and cable modem connections. Even with in-house analog solutions, most security departments record video at only five to eight frames per second at CIF or 4CIF resolution to save on internal storage. Point being, the quality of hosted video today is still better than analog. Since bandwidth capabilities and compression standards will continue to improve, the amount of data that's capable of being sent over the network will grow as well.

For those who require HDTV or megapixel performance, an inexpensive Network Attached Storage (NAS) device can be added to the system. Users can today purchase multi-Terabytes worth of storage for less than $300. By using a NAS box, integrators can set up event-based or scheduled recordings to store high-definition quality video onsite, while a redundant stream is sent to the cloud.

MYTH #6: If my video is sent to the cloud it is out of my control

Think of hosted video as a normal surveillance system, only delivered through different pipes. Those who might be used to having an onsite recording device, will still have access to live and recorded video anytime, anywhere by partnering with their service provider/integrator. Options for frame rate, resolution, recording length, etc. will be negotiated with the service provider and offered at a monthly rate (in most cases). All archived recordings will be available by logging in to the user's viewing portal just as they would on a proprietary VMS.

MYTH #7: If the network goes down, video will be lost

For those with unreliable networks or who live in areas of the world with unpredictable weather, this can be a major concern. But keep in mind that the beauty of the hosted video/NAS device relationship discussed in Myth #2 goes both ways. Just as having the video being stored in the cloud protects you against a thief stealing your onsite recording device, a NAS device acting as redundant storage protects against losing video if your network goes down.