The video surveillance industry typically follows behind technology innovation in other spaces. 2021 is expected to be no different, with multiple technologies from the IT industry making their way into the video surveillance space. Below are three areas we expect to see growth or significant progress in 2021 as manufacturers begin to leverage the latest technology available to them. Lastly, we identify one technology that we expect to experience a downturn in 2021 following a difficult year in 2020.
VSaaS or Video Surveillance as a Service refers to cloud hosted video surveillance software. The technology is not new, and was first introduced more than a decade ago, but the world was not ready for it then. Bandwidth requirements and cloud server costs made it impossible for users to justify the investment in a fully cloud based solution. It is still impractical to run a commercial grade video surveillance software entirely in the cloud, but manufacturers are getting smarter. Rather than run all services in the cloud, manufacturers have begun separating components of their software so that some services run in the cloud, while others that require more processing power remain on-site. Continuous recording, along with AI services that require live streams from the camera, are likely to remain on-site. In 2021, expect to see VSaaS growth in areas like AI alarm filtering, event storage, site management, and health monitoring.
As more video services are moved to the cloud, cyber security will become a greater concern. Every year brings another series of high-profile breaches. The video surveillance industry is not immune. As more of the industry’s software moves to the cloud, our vulnerability increases. Driven by user demand, expect video surveillance manufacturers to start adding support for cyber security features like multi-factor authentication, centralized device management, and advanced networking. It is unlikely we will see video surveillance manufacturers creating never-before-seen cyber security technology. However, support for existing best-practice features or integrations to other leading cyber security products will become more of an expectation in 2021.
Network health monitoring tools have always been a critical part of the IT world. Leading system integrators have leveraged these same tools for video surveillance systems. In 2021, expect more video management software manufacturers to introduce their own suite of health monitoring tools. Most of these features will be made available through their new VSaaS platforms as a centralized tool for multiple sites, and promoted as a value driver for using VSaaS over traditional on-premise solutions. Historically, simple health monitoring tools for issues like cameras offline have been sufficient for most end-users. With manufacturers looking to increase the perceived value of their VSaaS solutions, expect health monitoring to become a common offering.
2021 should be an exciting year for video surveillance. However, one product is not expected to have a good year. Facial recognition experienced a very challenging year in 2020, and not because of COVID-19. Studies revealed concerning biases in the technology. Several high-profile police forces shuddered facial recognition software programs that they had invested in over the last few years. State regulators continue to restrict its use. Additionally, large suppliers in the space including IBM and Amazon have both placed limitations on the availability and use of their own facial recognition software. In 2021 expect slowed growth and potentially a reversal in this space as the industry awaits the decision of regulators who are expected to severely limit its use.
In 2021 you can expect Stealth Monitoring to release several new features that coincide with these trends. VSaaS has always been a key part of our service offering. We only expect to grow the number of features we deliver through that platform including tools for improving the cyber security of our customers systems. Health monitoring also remains a core product which Stealth has offered since we first opened. Today we monitor the health of thousands of surveillance systems using the same industry-leading tools deployed by several top Fortune 500 companies. In 2021 we plan to take those services one step further with tools that allow us to identify impending system health issues before they even start. Stealth Monitoring is committed to building the world’s most trusted intelligent monitoring solution. This year will be another exciting year in the journey towards that goal.