Over the coming years the surveillance industry will follow a similar path that the IT industry has tread increasingly more service offerings. These offerings will range from live remote monitoring to managed surveillance systems, with both private and public cloud deployments. Fueling this drive are the continued technology advances of networked video surveillance cameras, and shifts in end-user budgets and operational expectations. Looking at the IT services model trends will provide a roadmap for the surveillance industry services businesses.
IT Services Model Trends
Many of today’s IT service models are the result of dramatic changes in technology at very fast paces. While these services are not all 100-percent applicable to security they often can be easily modified or reconfigured for use in the physical security industry. The main IT service models that can be used are monitoring, managed, cloud and usage-based. They all provide varying degrees of complexity, value and price, ranging from the very complex (cloud services) to the free (usage models).
IT Monitoring Services
IT monitoring services, one of the most mature service models today, is utilized by both IT and the physical security industry with several different approaches. The most important concept is that IT monitoring is technology-based and the physical security industry’s monitoring is building-based. If we look at the IT monitoring services business, there is a growing demand for these types of services within the networked surveillance industry. Many NVR or VMS deployments are very complex, and you need to make sure that they are being technologically maintained. This is seen as a very different type of monitoring than your traditional alarm center, and it would be provided by the systems integrator.
IT Managed Services
Today’s IT service companies rely more and more on what is called managed services. Managed services allow for all of the benefits of advanced technology with the assurance of an ongoing set of service and quality levels. These types of contracts lower the risks for end users to adopt advanced technologies, because they are not just purchasing the hardware and software. They are purchasing a solution. Managed services for the surveillance industry is a real offering that has many of the same benefits. End users don’t have to worry about how all of the technology hardware and software integrates, instead they focus on how well it runs and the benefits it provides. This also enables faster deployment times and holds the surveillance systems integrator accountable for uptime. In addition, it provides a financing vehicle because the equipment and services can be bundled into a monthly payment.
IT Cloud Services
Leading IT manufacturers like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Cisco are bundling their traditional software products that are licensed and installed on site with cloud service offerings for no additional cost. The advantage, from the end user’s perspective, is that they get their applications and data anywhere and on any device. In the surveillance industry this is entirely possible, and several manufacturers are working on these types of partner programs.
IT Usage Services
Another interesting model for the surveillance industry is usage-based deployments. These are basically “build it and they will come” models. An example of this type of usage model is where service companies will finance and build out the infrastructure of some type of service and will collect the majority of any revenues that are generated, often providing some additional revenues to a public partner. This type of model is applicable in a city surveillance environment where the city can’t afford to finance the build out of a surveillance project, and will instead partner with a provider who will generate revenues or provide additional services to users of the new systems. The benefit to the city is they typically get a usage agreement for the service at a reduced price without a major capital investment.
Services Evolution Fueled by the Mobile Revolution
While today these offerings range from the traditional installation services to the leading edge services like video surveillance as a service, adoption of these technology-enabled surveillance services will impact the entire traditional systems integrator, guard services and monitoring companies by enabling customers to self-monitor their facilities through the IP networks.