Gazing into the crystal ball: Video surveillance in 2020

A look at what the future holds for the development, implementation of video systems

Like any other industry, it is hard to say what the future holds for video security. Global political developments, economic crises and similar events are influencing factors that can play a key role. Of course, it is possible to draw some conclusions from current developments.

Network without boundaries

You don't have to be a fortune teller to assume that more and more applications will run over the network in the future. This also applies to video security as the trend toward digital solutions continues to be strong. Users are set to profit from the flexibility, higher image quality and new options digital technology has to offer. It is possible to combine and control many applications over the network in a large system. However, the network then becomes a bottleneck because more and more applications are running over the same network. If you take into account the trend toward higher image qualities in video systems, you then have very large amounts of data that require a well-dimensioned network for rapid data transfer. This should not be reason to refrain from increasing image quality, or modernizing and extending the network. A sound, cost-efficient balance between feasibility, technical concepts and actual requirements will be the best solution in the future. In terms of image quality, I anticipate five- to 10-megapixel resolution will be the standard of the future.

More mobile, more flexible

The mobility trend is likely to continue to increase. Customer and integrator requirements of the future are likely to include the ability to directly control cameras and access camera data, set up the complete system remotely and import updates or make other changes in the system configuration. Providers have to react. However, in doing so, they cannot afford to lose sight of a key factor: User friendliness. One solution is a special app that allows complete video management or the setup of complete systems via mobile end devices, without any restrictions in the data transfer rate or image quality. This requires new codices and streaming methods, as well as a certain degree of product intelligence.

The flexibility of the system is crucial. It has to be flexible in terms of expansion capabilities with new cameras as well as in terms of sustainability. It must be possible to add new functions to old models using updates. Flexibility will mean even more in the future as development efforts move toward the idea of a platform rather than an individual product. In a nutshell, it means that the customer does not have to define unchangeable camera features when choosing a camera. Instead, the user can select the sensor modules from a kind of construction kit. This way, systems can be quickly adapted to new requirements or technical changes.

This creates enormous advantages for systems integrators. On the one hand, it puts them in a position to generate updates and added value for customers without incurring major additional costs. On the other, they can implement future customer requirements into appropriate solutions with lower storage capacity.

What will generate added value?

Future video system requirements are sure to include video analysis, which is set to become more popular. Analytics such as heat maps or counting lines will deliver additional information in many areas. Providers with integrated added value features can score points where users want to pay as little as possible or demand these services in the overall package without additional costs.

Where will data be stored?

Will data be stored within the camera itself, in the cloud or via a DVR? One thing is certain: An increasing amount of data will be stored inside the camera in the not too distant future. It will be stored in HDTV resolution and for up to several weeks. Data storage in the cloud is also set to increase. The advantages are plain to see. DVRs are no longer necessary for data storage and users can look at video from anywhere using Internet-enabled devices. Hosted video is likely to be a growth market, particularly for smaller companies and private individuals. Does this development mark the end of DVR and on-site data storage? Not quite. Large companies in particular will either want to store sensitive data inside the camera on a permanent basis or in the supposedly less secure global data cloud.

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