Trends in Surveillance – Data Intelligence Driving Actionable Insights

Whether it’s at a traffic light, in a retail store, at a large stadium, or perhaps in your own home, you don’t have to look far to spot a surveillance camera. It’s not even uncommon to see a drone fly through the air! Surveillance cameras have been storing data for years. But what has changed in surveillance is how the data captured can be used. What are today’s top trends in surveillance? How is the data captured by surveillance cameras driving more actionable insights?

The top trends we’re seeing today in surveillance are:

  1. Smart Video
  2. Higher Definition Video
  3. Video surveillance as a service (VSaaS)

Smart Video for Actionable Insights

What is smart video? In the past hours, days, and weeks of data was stored and archived for possible retrieval when and if a significant event occurred. Today, just as we’re seeing across the Internet of Things (IoT) market, it’s not just about storing that data. We can do more with the data that’s captured, much more!

We amass large databases with the increasing number of data points captured by edge devices such as surveillance cameras. By applying Big Data analytics to real time applications, applications such as facial recognition and movement patterns in security video streams drive actionable insights.

Smart video is about this shift from imagery to insights, from simply collecting data to providing intelligence. Cities around the world are leveraging the data collected for smarter management of parking spaces, police resources, traffic patterns, and more. Industries such as agriculture, building construction, oil & gas, and utilities use drones to capture imagery that is used to make smarter business decisions.

Higher Definition Video in 4K resolution

What’s also making data more valuable and intelligent is the trend toward higher definition video that enables reading finer resolution data, e.g., a car’s license plate at a distance, facial recognition in dim lighting conditions, etc. This has driven the move to 4K resolution for cameras and video, superseding 1080p HD resolution with a wider range of dynamic video, be it color, lighting, higher bit rates, higher frame rates, better resolution, better compression, longer hours of recording, etc.


Another trend we’re seeing is an evolution from traditionally on-premise NVR installations to both on-premise and VSaaS installations. In a report by MarketsandMarkets, the Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) market was valued at $1.7 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $5.93 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 22.0% between 2017 and 2022. This includes hosted, managed and hybrid architectures.

In a VSaaS implementation, what used to be stored and analyzed completely within an on-premise NVR system is now analyzed on the camera itself, digested and the result is moved to the cloud for management and archival. Retail chains, restaurant chains, service stations, among others, can leverage the power of a service provider to manage distributed assets with centralized management.  This allows the balance between centralized management without the need for high bandwidth and the ability to act fast and locally without network dependency.

To accomplish data digest at the edge of the system, key resources such as compute power and data storage have to be locally present at the edge devices. The storage embedded in surveillance cameras needs to provide solid read and write performance and most importantly the endurance and reliability to support local analytics.

To retain and centralize unstructured video from large numbers of high definition cameras in the cloud, the storage infrastructure needs to be highly scalable, reliable and affordable. Object storage has inherent advantages for handling petabyte-scale capacity, large unstructured data, and metadata required by the surveillance industry.

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Surveillance Industry Requires High Capacity, High Performance and High Endurance Data Storage with Minimal or Pre-emptive Maintenance

These trends in the surveillance industry require data storage that is high capacity, high performance, and high endurance. An additional key requirement is the ability to hold pre-emptive maintenance- waiting for a system to fail only to realize the system did not capture the surveillance data is catastrophic in terms of a surveillance system. The ability to get prior data on the health of the card and to plan maintenance activities without interruption to the service is key.

Capacity becomes critical with today’s richer video – 4K high definition resolution, WDR, etc. Video surveillance has higher workloads in terms of larger file sizes and longer hours of recording. Imagine a remote camera installation where connectivity is at a premium – it needs to store and digest as much data locally so the amount of data that needs to be transferred it kept to a .

Read/write performance enables faster data capture and transfer allow for recording higher-bit video streams for surveillance.

Higher endurance will reduce the amount of maintenance as the card will be able to withstand the constant write and erase cycles many more hours compared to commercial and consumer grade products.

Western Digital today announced its 3rd generation generation San Disk® Industrial and SanDisk® Automotive grade SD and microSD cards. These cards are ideal to meet the needs of the surveillance industry. Find out more about the company’s suites of industrial-grade and automotive-grade solutions optimized to address the vast data generated at the “edge” by connected commercial and automotive applications at

To learn more about the design considerations that can help your systems make the most of SD card and e.MMC-based NAND Flash implementations, download our white paper.

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