What’s the cloud got to do with video surveillance? An OEM services perspective

As the first installment in a series of Q-and-As on cloud and OEMs, Tim Pavlovich, Services Consultant with Dell OEM Solutions, will explore why OEMs in the video surveillance market should take a hard look at how they deliver their solution today and the opportunities it may be costing them in the long run.

Can you describe the typical OEM video surveillance solution today?

Pavlovich:  Video surveillance or video security solutions are typically on-premise solutions. So today, all the hardware including cameras,  sensors, digital video recorder and security software are scoped for specific locations like doctors’ offices, retail establishments, airports, etc.  With this comes custom requirements for the security integrator (OEM) to consider when installing and supporting these solutions at each of their customers’ locations. This model requires high upfront costs and ongoing support programs on the backend.

What trends are you seeing that suggest this traditional approach may be changing?

Pavlovich:  I’ve been talking with security integrators (OEMs) in this space and it’s clear that three main trends are impacting this model.

  1. As with most industries, there is an increasing need for companies to drive costs out—both for the OEMs and their customers. The challenge for the OEMs is figuring out how to remain competitive despite being cost constrained—the proverbial doing more with less.
  2. The technology landscape is changing, requiring higher quality solutions from OEMs. Users of video surveillance solutions understand that emerging IP based technologies offer better resolution with faster, better storage solutions and more reliability overall—so customers are wanting more for less.
  3. Increasing regulatory compliance and liability reasons are requiring companies to store their video surveillance data for longer periods of time which requires efficient and reliable solutions, longer term.

So what does any of this have to do with the cloud?

Pavlovich:  With the trends I just mentioned, I actually think it has more to do with the OEM’s fundamental business model than the cloud. The cloud is a way for them to enable a more cost-effective, competitive business model. Let me explain.

When talking to these global security providers, they are facing tremendous competitive pressures. Many OEMs in this space are pursuing large, national contracts with businesses like coffee shops, pharmacies, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc.. The challenge is that they’ve already squeezed out all the costs in their current model and are looking for new business models that not only offer cost savings but also a differentiating value proposition to their customers.  This is where cloud can help them.

So what could a cloud-based video surveillance-as-a-service solution look like?

Pavlovich:  There are options but here are details for one that we are helping our customers design.

  • Cameras and sensors remain onsite as in the traditional solution along with some type of portal for general viewing and playback but the biggest change would be the removal of the costly onsite equipment (the DVRs and storage devices).
  • Customers will store their video in an off-premise cloud platform. The video is transferred via high speed internet through a local switch or even a small networked hard drive.
  • However, this isn’t a straight hosted solution in the traditional sense. We are helping the OEM create cloud infrastructure at the platform level to host their security and building automation applications, creating an easily accessible and reliable solution.
  • The “fabric” of the cloud environment drives savings for the OEM and increased value like the ability to self-service, hardware resource pooling, rapid elasticity for changes in demand, and the ability to measure the service and provide broad network access. It’s a more robust, highly-available platform.
  • This platform approach helps the OEM offer a metered, utility billing model, where their customers can eliminate the upfront costs of purchasing all the additional equipment and instead pay a monthly fee for the service based on actual usage, just like their utility bill. The OEM can then reduce the complexity of producing and supporting their solution by hosting it in the cloud.

It sounds like there are a number of new benefits that the OEM could realize with a cloud-based solution like that, correct?

Pavlovich: Absolutely. In addition to the benefits we’ve already discussed, cost and complexity reduction, offering a utility model like this to their customers gives the OEM the ability to sell into new markets and new geographies faster as well as provides them with a different and more predictable revenue stream. And, overall, they can reduce the burden on their technical support resources by minimizing the onsite installation and maintenance of IT hardware.

So how do you recommend an OEM in the video surveillance get started if they are considering changes to their business model and whether or not the cloud is for them?

Pavlovich:  We have a variety of services to help them on their journey to the cloud starting with an initial workshop through assessment and design steps to determine the best strategy needed to achieve their goals for their service offer. We’d also help them scope roles that either Dell or the OEM plays when it comes to implementing and supporting the solution. We can help them determine whether they need the tools and training to do it themselves or if they’d like Dell to do it for them. With Dell™ Cloud with VMware® vCloud™ Datacenter Service and our global support infrastructure, we are equipped to help our OEM customers tailor a solution that allows for the flexibility and value that their customers require.

About the Author: Jodi Eckberg