The Evolution Of The Surveillance Market

pic-1By Rex Dong.

It’s obvious that technology touches almost every aspect of our lives today – and as a result, the amount of data we are creating daily is growing at an alarming rate. But it’s not movie downloads, Instagram or even the Internet of Things that dominates data creation: you might be surprised to learn that almost half of the world’s data is generated through video surveillance. As high-definition resolution in surveillance footage becomes more common, and governments implement regulations that require minimum retention times, that amount of data will only increase. The surveillance storage market has had to evolve to respond to this changing need and to capitalize on the exciting expansion of opportunities it offers.

Seagate recently surveyed more than 1,100 system integrators and enterprise IT executives to look at why video surveillance is being used. Over three quarters (85%) said they used video surveillance mainly for safety and security reasons. This reinforced our thinking that video surveillance is still predominantly viewed as a loss prevention or security tool, when in fact it also presents a significant and valuable opportunity to gather business intelligence.

With video surveillance booming, a one-size-fits-all storage solution simply won’t work. Storage should arguably be one of the first things that businesses consider – especially as more and more companies will want to analyse data over longer periods of time. Relying on traditional desktop drives for video recording surveillance therefore is not good enough. These drives are not built to withstand the constant data writing involved with capturing multiple streams of high definition video. The rigours of today’s video surveillance require true 24×7 operations, 365 days a year, and therefore surveillance systems need drives that can handle that level of workload effectively.

It is also critical surveillance systems can then understand and translate the data once it is created and stored securely. This data analysis will not only help in the shorter term with business efficiency and operations, it will help companies stay ahead of their competitors and make better business decisions for the future.

So what does good surveillance look like in the real world, and how can it deliver business gains? Take the example of a retail store. If you could identify your customer’s shopping habits and browsing time by monitoring surveillance data, you are immediately in a position where you can determine how best to arrange your products in the store that can help drive sales and retain your customers.


To ensure that such opportunities are benefited from, the storage industry must communicate the available options that allow businesses to fulfil their specific needs for surveillance storage.

One such option is included in Seagate’s recent launch of its seventh-generation Surveillance HDD drive, which includes a new capability called Idle-3. The motion-sensing cameras in Seagate’s surveillance drive with Idle-3 support only records footage when movement is detected in the area the camera is covering. Idle-3 drives respond immediately and reliably, but only when the camera is recording and the result is that it uses less power, reducing the cost, while losing nothing in terms of value or service.

As we look ahead to the next few years and start thinking about how the security market will evolve, video analytics and business intelligence will be the key game changers. Video analytics has been around in some form for a while, but innovations in video coding and higher resolution cameras are creating an intelligence environment that goes well beyond traditional alarm zones or restricted areas.

This means video surveillance experts can look to move away from surveillance being viewed solely as a loss prevention tool, and can start to focus on how it can improve and grow a company’s ROI. It means businesses can turn raw data into useful information, maximizing their productivity by allowing them to review existing data to make better business decisions. The capability of data has the power to challenge the existing storage dynamic, and as the uses for surveillance expand, the more businesses will need to capitalise on the efficacy of surveillance to recognize trends, opportunities and anomalies and turn them into profitable actions.

Rex Dong is Managing Director of Sales and Marketing, Asia, Seagate Technology