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

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

I've spoken with some of our largest integrator partners about this myth and they are quick to remind me that an analog-based system will also be "down" when the DVR is being serviced. They'll go on to tell servicing horror stories of it taking days or even weeks to repair or replace a DVR and during that entire time, no video is being recorded.

One final thing to keep in mind: Without power, NO video surveillance system will operate. But if the end-user deploys an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in an IT-based system, they will have an easy back-up power solution for critical applications, which includes powering the cameras via PoE.

MYTH #8: Hosted video works well for residential applications, but not for professional customers

While TV commercials for home surveillance service are being shown more and more, this is by no means the target market for hosted video (although it might be an interesting market in the future). Network video has seen tremendous success in major camera installations, historically when the camera count exceeds 32. But there's a significant commercial market-gas stations, convenient stores, restaurants and boutiques-who have only four to 10 cameras per site and are currently using analog technology.

Not only is hosted video a perfect solution for this professional customer, it's an even better solution for the customer who owns multiple sites and needs to monitor all of his or her properties at once. Also, aside from pure security purposes, hosted video can be an asset for major franchises who want to ensure operational and marketing efficiencies, such as confirming remotely that end-cap displays are properly installed, seasonal decorations are taken down, or that deliveries are being made on time. Hosted video can also be used in tandem with in-house surveillance systems. More on this in MYTH #10.

MYTH #9: Hosted video using IP technology will be too costly for small sites since network cameras are so expensive

IP cameras are certainly more expensive than their analog counterparts as they come with greater video quality and functionality. But using network-based technology means that other system component costs will be lower; i.e. NAS vs. DVR, Cloud Storage vs. DVR, PoE vs. Coax plus DC power, installation by the integrator only vs. hiring a qualified electrician, etc. In other words, while the network camera is more expensive, the other costs that come along with analog in the total solution can offset the difference in camera prices.

Most service providers will roll the cost of the camera and any other hardware into the monthly fee with hosted video. This provides the end-user with newer technology, better quality, increased functionality and a more scalable system for a fixed rate that can be reported as an operational expense and not tie up scarce capital like a DVR-based solution.

Taking these factors into consideration, an IP-based hosted video solution in some cases can turn out to be a lower capital expenditure than installing an analog solution for small camera count systems. As storage, compression and bandwidth technologies continue to improve following Moore's Law, this cost discrepancy will only continue to move in favor of IP.

MYTH #10: There is no need to consider hosted video on a large, proprietary system because the technology is only a fit for small camera count systems

While a lower camera count customer is the sweet spot for hosted video, some end-users are using hosted video in tandem with their in-house surveillance system in two ways. First, some have identified "critical cameras" in their systems that cannot lose recording under any circumstances and therefore must have redundant storage in the cloud. These cameras might be deemed critical due to internal policies or compliance issues. By leveraging hosted video and storing the data in the cloud, the video evidence will be safe off-site or in the user's Private Cloud if their internal systems go down or if the DVR/NAS is stolen or damaged.

Second, organizations with large in-house systems can use hosted video to watch the watchers. Security staff or other employees who have access to the control center or recording equipment will not be able to manipulate, delete or accidentally lose video if it's protected by your hosting provider. But remember, if you decide to leverage hosted video as part of a larger proprietary system, there should only be a few cameras onsite running in the cloud to get the most out of the technology.

Myths busted and truth revealed!