The big question
industry commentators are asking is just who those providers are going to be.
Will alarm monitoring stations step in? Will a new breed of surveillance
installer start building a bureau of MVaaS clients in cooperation with a major
comms carrier? Or will it be carriers and ISPs looking to leverage paid-for
bandwidth that’s currently unused after business hours, the time most break-ins
take place?

Regardless of who
jumps aboard this ship we don’t see MVaaS as a solution for bigger users. It’s
a solution for smaller sites, sites without local IT support and companies with
large numbers of the sites or branches. For retail outlets and organisations
who need just one or 2 cameras, MVaaS could save serious money.

So, what is
Managed Video as a Service? It works in the same way as installed alarms for a
monthly fee work. You get the gear with no installation cost and no maintenance
costs and you pay a monthly subscription for the service. Pretty obviously
there will be layers of service depending on the nature of the system installed
and the level of bandwidth required to shunt video streams around your
provider’s infrastructure. You’d think data centre support would be a premium
level service.

There are a
number of serious benefits for end users, including reduced capital expenditure
and high quality data centre support for video storage. That capital
expenditure includes local network costs like storage, running air conditioning
units and the cost of local network support.  

So – what’s
driving MVaaS? From a supplier’s point of view, the super smart standalone
cameras available on the market from makers like Canon, Mobotix, Axis and now
Bosch, to name a few, allow true remote management in a way never possible
before.

With the development
of smarter cameras and more powerful SD memory cards, services like MVaaS
become possible. SD cards with 32GB or memory offer serious storage for cameras
that record on movement using modest resolutions and frame rates.

We’ve said this
before, but we think that when 64GB SD cards drop under $100, there will be
changes to the way many IP surveillance systems are built. And local storage is
vital to the development of MVaaS as a viable layer of service. MVaaS needs
local storage of events not deemed alarm events. It goes without saying that streaming
live video on all inputs to a remote monitoring station is not the way MVaaS
will work.

Along with remote
storage, the other key change that supports MVaaS is the development of
analytics which will allow cameras to be more discerning in terms of what they
record, as well as allowing more targeted (and so less data dense) remote
searches.

There are
ancillary drivers, including the push for alarm verification. Video
verification of alarm events is standard practise in the UK, is pressing ahead
in the U.S. and must become a blanket policy in Australia eventually. Already
NSW police are refusing to attend non verified alarm events.

Of course we
can’t talk about a potential new market without acknowledging the need for a
profit margin. This means that the core mechanism of growth in MVaaS is going
to be the cost of bandwidth. The lower the cost to the provider, the more
affordable the service will be and the more likely it is end users will buy
it.