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Video surveillance has been around since the 1940s, but it was quite a bit harder to manage back then, writes Sofocles Socratous, Vice President EMEA, Seagate.

Most of the earliest systems had no way to record and store information – meaning that an actual person had to constantly monitor coverage. Fast forward 70 years and video surveillance is widely used in almost every industry as a loss prevention and security tool. Fortunately, with today’s technology, the storage solutions available make sure that no one has to sit up through the small hours staring at a screen.

That’s not to say that surveillance storage is without its challenges. Video surveillance is ‘always on’ – in fact, on average organisations use more than 239 cameras 24 hours a day, seven days of the week, 365 days of the year. When you think about the image content of surveillance cameras, there are huge amounts of data surrounding it – location, time of day, duration of video and more.

It might surprise you to know more than 90 per cent of all data created has been generated in the last two years alone, and almost half of this data is generated through video surveillance. The video surveillance market shows no sign of slowing down either. According to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, video surveillance storage solutions and services are expected to grow 16.3pc each year until 2018 and will eventually be worth more than $10 billion.

Seagate recently surveyed more than 1100 system integrators and enterprise IT executives to find out the value of video surveillance and uncover some of the reasons why video surveillance is evolving and growing at such a rapid rate. Those included in the survey named business expansion plans (29pc), safety and security concerns (23pc), and improving operational efficiencies (9pc) as the main factors driving growth in the storage market. The survey also found the growth of video surveillance brings new challenges for businesses needing to find more efficient ways to manage systems and store the rapidly increasing volume of raw video footage. Survey respondents revealed the requirements needed for their current storage systems to work more effectively and efficiently were greater capacity (15pc), faster speed (11pc) and better reliability (9pc).

Every company has different video surveillance requirements, so a one-size-fits-all approach would seriously underestimate the full advantages and capabilities of video surveillance.

A common misconception is that SSD will inevitably replace HDD. While it is true that SSD prices are dropping, cost per Gigabyte for HDD actually goes down as capacity increases – so a 3TB drive is £20 more expensive than 2TB for example, while 2TB costs £25 more than 1TB. With SSD, twice the capacity means twice the cost, so HDD will continue to win in the foreseeable future as the technology of choice.

Another misconception that exists is that all HDDs are the same, which means that digital storage solution is selected based on cost alone rather than what’s most suitable. You could say this is the equivalent of buying bicycle wheels for a Ferrari. Using something like a Seagate surveillance HDD is effective; it’s a high quality and reliable surveillance drive that enhances data integrity, reduces the cost of servicing, and improves its overall lifetime in the field. Unlike standard PC or laptop drives, surveillance drives like this one are built to record or write data the majority of the time (90pc), playing it back or reading the data only as needed (10pc).

Something else companies often overlook is the fact there has been an evolution of the surveillance storage market that places video surveillance centre stage as an ROI increasing tool. The advantage here is that businesses can turn raw data into useful information that can maximise productivity by allowing them to review patterns and trends to make better business decisions. Technology launches like the 7K CCTV camera prove there is a demand for greater camera resolution, but I believe the key innovation and game-changer for the security industry lies with video analytics and business intelligence – it will move organisations forward and modernise business models.

So when thinking of installing or upgrading video surveillance systems, companies must ensure they have the right kit in place given the tremendous amount of data video surveillance generates. The changing purpose of video surveillance translates to the need for tailored and personalised storage solutions, and relying on traditional desktop drives is not good enough – they are not built to withstand the constant data writing involved with capturing multiple streams of high definition video. Instead, companies need a high quality and reliable surveillance drive that enhances data integrity, reduces the cost of servicing, and improves its overall lifetime in the field.


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