In this blog, we discuss the three reasons why many Smart Cities are turning to cloud video surveillance solutions to support Safe City initiatives.

A ‘smart’ city is defined as one which uses technology to provide and enhance public services, and to help resolve key societal issues to improve the lives of citizens. In other words, a city that takes a technological approach to ‘making life better’.

Minimising threats to public safety, including all forms of crime, is a key Smart City objective. Yet achieving it is a huge challenge due to the siloed, ‘on-premises only’ approach within many control rooms at local authorities, train stations, stadiums etc.

How data is currently stored, retrieved, reviewed, and shared, tends to delay or even prevent the exchange of critical information between authorities, police and emergency responders. But these information exchanges are vital to effective crime prevention, rapid investigation, and efficient incident response.

With that in mind, here are three reasons why many Smart Cities are turning to Cloud or Hybrid Cloud video surveillance for ‘Safe City’ initiatives.

1. Teamwork: because multi-agency collaboration is essential

The police, emergency responders, surveillance teams, local government departments, transport providers, sports and major event venue operators all need to share data and work collaboratively depending on the specific public risk scenario.

Where systems are held entirely on-premises, third parties often take time-consuming trips to these control rooms to identify and securely copy the required footage. This is particularly problematic for the police as they often rely on gathering video footage from borough and district authority surveillance control rooms.

Cloud or Hybrid Cloud video surveillance solutions are the ideal answer to the challenge. For example, incident lockers and digital evidence management capabilities held in the cloud offer a fast, secure, and resilient mechanism for sharing critical data and collaborating with third parties remotely.

2. Storage: because ‘safer’ means more data

Research¹ shows that the adoption of cloud-based video technology increased by 13% last year. And of those using the cloud, 71% are currently doing so for storage.

Leveraging technology to make cities safer often means investing in more cameras and integrating surveillance with a wide variety of sensors, systems, and edge devices. All of which generate data. Lots of it. Add to this the need to retain specific data for set periods in line with regulatory demands and it’s clear to see why storage has become such a hot topic.

Expanding on-premises data storage requires investment in additional hardware and physical infrastructure, more physical space, and additional power (meaning higher energy bills!).

Hybrid Cloud surveillance solutions are a good option here as they offer greater flexibility and support the smooth migration of data between on-premises storage and the different cloud storage levels. This migration of data can be configured as an automated process (for example, by data source, type, and retention period reached) based on your subscription model or manually if required.

In other words, users can accommodate regulatory demands and expanding storage requirements in a way that works for them, without the need for disruptive and potentially expensive physical infrastructure changes.

3. Analytics: because risk identification can be smarter

Video analytics already plays a valuable role in public protection. When integrated with surveillance command and control solutions, the right analytics reduces the time and effort needed to investigate footage. It also improves real-time monitoring for incident management and helps authorities gain deeper insight into citywide trends and activity captured on camera.

This can happen without the cloud. But so much more is possible with it. And not simply in terms of storing larger volumes of data.

A cloud environment unlocks a vast range of opportunities for harnessing cutting-edge developments such as cognitive services for video and image analysis, but also far greater potential for integrating video content with information from a wider pool of data sources linked to efficient citywide infrastructure management.

Applying analytics to this broader pool of data sources inevitably surfaces up risks and events that may otherwise go unnoticed. Coupled with the ‘access from anywhere’ benefits of cloud-based solutions and the potential for collaborative working already discussed, this presents a huge opportunity for Smart Cities to improve public safety and intelligently manage citywide systems.

¹IFSEC GLOBAL Video Surveillance Report 2020