Cloud-enabled technologies have seen a huge increase in use across Europe. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and people were forced into lockdown, services such as video conferencing tools enabled people to stay connected and many businesses to continue to operate successfully. Fast forward to today and, with many still working from home as infection numbers rise once again, cloud applications continue to prove invaluable.
Business decision makers will now be considering the learnings from the past six months and looking to apply them to boost productivity, streamline costs and make their organisations more agile over the longer term. Digital transformation presents some enticing advantages for those companies that have been slow to adapt. The physical security industry will have witnessed how cloud infrastructure is not only cost effective and safe, but is also a force multiplier for connecting platforms, services and people with potent business benefits.
The future of physical security is cloud-based
In a modern, connected world, dated security technologies, such as standalone CCTV systems and manually operated access control points are no longer fit for purpose, having little to no business value other than a very one-dimensional use. These technologies are giving way to their cloud-enabled successors. Video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS) enable cameras and readers to be added to a network as IoT devices, bringing them to life as a vital component in a modern, cyber-secure digital strategy. But better security is just one benefit of a much greater system that can offer real value.
Using data from network video cameras and smart access control devices, and passing this information through an analytics engine, can produce valuable business insights that help to inform and automate decision making. During the pandemic, frictionless access control has enabled access to buildings without the need to touch shared surfaces and risk cross contamination. In addition, occupancy tools have helped retailers adhere to strict government guidelines on social distancing. Remote management and diagnostic capabilities allow security or operations personnel to check premises or make system adjustments at the touch of a button, avoiding unnecessary site visits.
Recurring revenues from a flexible business model
Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, a hosted solution offers greater dexterity, particularly in the face of operational challenges. Businesses are able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing requirements without the need for large upfront capital investment. Instead, the convenience of as-a-service is paid out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost.
Op-ex is the proven business model of cloud, yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. VSaaS is still alien to installers and integrators used to selling hardware on narrow margins, reliant on existing financial arrangements with distributors to fund new equipment. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities.
This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the early stages of the crisis. Instead, convenient and recurring monthly payments will have put the installer on a firmer footing and guaranteed ongoing vendor support backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades to ensure delivery of a high quality service that’s always up to date and online.
Meeting the demands of industry
Cloud technology is resilient and has proven its worth as a medium that can connect the world. Even the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems are coming round to its many benefits. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success.
For the physical security reseller industry, the time has come to drive their businesses forward in the ‘new normal’, where hosted security solutions must surely play a major part in expanding their offering to a wiser customer base. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions represent an investment into improving security and operations, a chance to forge new business relationships, and an opportunity to embrace future proof technologies in preparation for whatever challenges the future might hold.