Salto Clay was my product of the Security 2013 show. It’s a cloud-based solution that carries Salto’s wireless access control system online via browser-based portals and mobile apps. Salto is no newcomer. Nor is it the product of a shoe-string team of Guarana-fuelled code writers. Instead, Salto’s cloud technology is ancillary to its core business – making high quality locksets. Perhaps, given the company created its Salto Virtual Network literally out of thin air, we should not be surprised it’s at the forefront of cloud. 
Salto wasn’t the only access control company pushing cloud at the show. Perth-based H5Controls has developed a solution of its own that uses PCSC controllers (among others) with all system management handled via browser. Also in access control there was Risco with axesplus – a multi-site access control solution that’s scalable and customisable, with no local servers required. 
We first talked seriously about cloud-based CCTV solutions mid-2011 when we wrote up iOmega’s StorCenter which had been souped up with the Axis Video Hosting System. It’s pretty obvious now that iOmega and Axis were the pioneers in an area that is going to keep growing. The LenovoEMC (formerly iOmega) and Axis solution was on the Axis stand at the show. 
Not far away, innovative software company Genetec was showing its new Stratocast solution, which allows end users to monitor cameras remotely, store and share video clips and to get alerts on motion detection. Genetec is emphatic in its belief that cloud is a legitimate model for video surveillance.  
Leveraging event-driven motion detection for video verification was BENS Monitoring, which has developed its catchClip cloud solution in-house. The system employs Vivotek HD cameras, existing or new alarm panels with stored events accessible remotely via the catchClip browser. 
And again, with Risco. The company’s Agility 3 and LightSys alarm panels include a video verification capability that employs a cloud model, with events stored on the company’s own secure server for access and transmission. Then there’s VV pioneer, Videofied, which has a cloud integration with Immix in the U.S. and a product spread perfect for its application. 
Other recent developments include Panasonic’s recent purchase of Cameramanager.com, while Stanley Security has just launched its eVideo cloud-based video service into 14 European countries. 
The concept of cloud-based security solutions is an interesting one for end users and manufacturers. I venture to guess that the current crop of weather-makers are focusing on SMEs, retail and advanced domestic applications. These are users without the budget or economies of scale to justify installing the latest full-spec digital surveillance or access control solutions. 
Such users want strong image quality and mobile accessibility but they don’t need 1080p at 30ips. Such users can do without the investment in infrastructure that’s required in larger systems that might include hundreds of cameras, or thousands of cardholders, thousands of entry points and tens of thousands of alarm inputs. 
To my mind it’s in the SME market that cloud-based systems will cement their validity. Their greatest strengths are low entry threshold and flexibility of function. If the developers of these solutions pay particular attention to security – that means ensuring they are across optimum security settings for relevant mobile devices – then success looks assured.  
Something that is going to be interesting moving forward is price. Providers will have to juggle their own RMR-based business models, while taking into account the low and falling cost of NVRs and hybrid DVRs. My sense of cloud costs at the moment is that they are close to the mark while still retaining some necessary room for competition. 
Could cloud-based solutions pervade every part of the electronic security market in the near future? Yes, they most certainly could.