In many industries, mobile devices have gone beyond nice-to-have and are understood even by the most cautious budget guardians to be essential kit. There’s no question: mobility has become mainstream. And for those organizations with video surveillance needs, the ability to access video on a smartphone or other mobile device promises anywhere, anytime freedom.
Trouble is, that promise has been limited by practical constraints to one user at a time. Scalability just wasn’t on the table. The game-changer turns out to be not on the devices, nor on the recorder and its processing power, but in the Cloud. Some video surveillance manufacturers are now turning to the Cloud as a way to provide an unlimited number of users with access to the same video, live or recorded, at the same time, without impact on quality.
Before the capabilities of the Cloud were understood, early adopters of mobile video surveillance relied on a downloaded app to give their mobile users access to video. That worked well enough in situations where video was accessed by only one user at a time: one connection to the recorder, one demand on the recorder’s processing capability. It was easy, and it was amazing to be able to do it on a mobile device. What more could we want?
How about multiple users and multiple connections to the recorder? Not realistic. In an app-based approach, each call creates a separate connection and increases the burden on the recorder’s processor. For every additional user and access request, the quality of the video degrades on a steep curve. Freeze frame frustration.
That’s where the Cloud comes in. Cloud-based video surveillance means an unlimited number of users can call up the same video – live or recorded — simultaneously on their mobile devices with no impact on quality. There is no need to send multiple requests to the recorder, which would bog it down and eat up bandwidth. Video isn’t stored in the Cloud; instead the recorder only transmits and transcodes the video that is requested, which frees up bandwidth from the recorder to the Cloud. From there, secure servers in the Cloud distribute it on demand to authorized users.
What’s more, unlike app-based mobile video surveillance, the Cloud solution requires no transcoding hardware installation, router port forwarding, firewall changes, software downloading, or software updates. No extra burden on IT. No extra security risk from additional ports through the firewall. And the user in the field with the mobile device only needs the URL, a secure ID, and a password.
For many organizations, there is considerable business value in cloud-enabled mobile video. The organization does not need to acquire or maintain hardware or software as the cloud provider will host the servers as well as the video surveillance manufacturer’s software – making it easy to get started. And with Cloud-based scalability, these organizations can be more flexible and agile in their operations.
For other organizations in dynamic environments where video surveillance is mission-critical – such as those in law enforcement where the availability of up-to-the minute visuals is essential – scalable mobile video access can be a life-saver.