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During a period in which a worldwide pandemic has resulted in slowed economies, vacant downtowns, and empty streets, our ways of doing business have accelerated. Some estimate that twenty-year business cycles are now reduced to five years. Long-term business strategies are now expressed in months rather than years.

Amid the chaos is the emergence of AI Analytics. The overall market for real-time video analytics was estimated at $3.2 billion worldwide in 2018 and is expected to grow to $9 billion by 2023, according to London-based Brandessence Market Research.

Like it or not, change is upon us--rapid change--and there will be no return to the familiar pre-covid world. 

How you react will determine the fate of your business. 

The magic is in the analytics


Before AI Analytics, surveillance camera video footage was archived for a specified length of time before being overwritten. The task of sifting through days, weeks, even months of data in search of meaningful footage was labor intensive. 

Now, segments of AI, such as video analytics, machine learning and deep learning, make use of the high volumes of data generated by IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystems to find meaningful patterns in data sets. This technology takes a broad overview of data. By connecting individual data points it can tell what is happening. High-risk incidents are quickly identified and alerts are sent before the actions escalate. False alerts are also reduced.

Detecting high-risk scenarios before they escalate is one of the core motivations behind the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for security applications. With AI in the quiver, operators deploying surveillance solutions can move beyond mere monitoring to leverage every video frame and piece of data available to identify threats and inform emergency response. AI is still an emerging technology; however, the benefits that its capabilities deliver are designed to minimize risks, maximize crime prevention and save lives.”  

How fast is “fast”?


Speed is a major talking point in the AI Analytics sales pitch. The premise being that technology is faster than human response time. 

A security employee staring at a monitor filled with surveillance camera video feeds cannot see each of them simultaneously. Add multiple screens for dozens of cameras and the problem compounds. 

Was that an intruder? Is that a gun? Where is that fire located?

We’ve all heard the horror stories on the news. Precious minutes, even hours were lost as administrators and employees sought to isolate and track dangerous incidents, time and again.

AI Analytics when added to a security camera system has the power to reduce potential threat alerts and response to a few minutes. Some industry providers claim “real-time,” a term that appears to pop up more often in internet searches.

One security industry website uses the term, “near-real-time,” which raises more questions than it answers. 

Will your AI Analytics system require the purchase of new cameras?


Yes and no.

On the buyer-friendly end of this question are providers who state that their fancy AI Analytics packages are “camera agnostic.” That’s a good thing for you! It means that their hi-tech platforms don’t discriminate against multiple brands of cameras--great news for your existing surveillance camera system.

However, be careful to note that even claims of being camera agnostic may be followed up with qualifiers like “for most major brands” or “major supplier models.”

In the middle of the pack are security camera providers who recommend you switch to smart cameras.

What are smart cameras? “A smart camera is an all-in-one edge video solution. It provides near-real-time video data ingest, analytics, and data storage in a single unit.” 

That definition was supplied by the folks at AT&T.

It turns out that smart cameras aren’t so smart. Anyone see the obvious problem? Anyone?

Data storage on cameras began as a means of emergency backup. Other components of your security system down? No problem. Your cameras can record some video surveillance footage until full system capacity is restored

The Micro Cards inside each cameras are great for that application but lousy for continuous recording. As in every six to nine months all of them will need replacing. They can’t take the wear of regular usage resulting in a huge maintenance issue for you on this type of system.

You get half-credit if that was your answer to the previous question. Full-credit goes to those who realized the folly in having your precious video surveillance footage left exposed--out in the open, a target for theft or vandalism.

One swing of a baseball bat by an intruder and all video evidence of the crime is destroyed. 

Now for the “yes” answer to the new camera question.

In a twist on standard practices of VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service), a handful of security providers have their latest AI Analytics tied directly to their brand of cameras. Tied so closely that if you replace all your existing surveillance cameras with theirs, you must remain a customer with them in order for the cameras to operate. 

An added kick in the pants is that none of your present cameras will function with their software program.

For this model of AI Analytics the billing plan involves an annual license fee for each camera (not unusual) but there is no agreement about future increases. When their introductory cloud-storage comes to an end expensive long-term fees become part of your monthly billing. Without your continued payment, every camera dies, no video capture at all. 

Remember, these are cameras which you bought, not leased. 

Don’t forget the storage


As an AI Analytics platform analyzes larger amounts of data, more storage is required. Of course we have the cloud, some will say, but they fail to note that the cloud doesn’t come free. Long-term storage of significant video surveillance footage requires some deep pockets to maintain.

Many industries are federally mandated to archive up to a year of continuous security video footage. Try paying for that!

“In order for intelligent surveillance systems with AI analytics to function optimally, edge to cloud storage infrastructure must evolve.”    ~by Bonoan and Ataev, as referenced above

In other words, the horse must catch up to the cart where an affordable means of video storage is concerned.   

“Building storage to accommodate standard surveillance systems is one thing; however, building storage to support Big Data applications that use dozens of high-definition cameras and process AI events simultaneously is quite another.”   ~by Bonoan and Ataev


 Do I have to buy new servers or video storage?

“You can potentially use existing hardware and storage to maximize your current investment.” 

(An actual FAQ from an AI Analytics provider, name withheld).


AI Analytics places higher demand on hard drives as well--another expense to consider in the total cost.

“As a best practice, integrators should swap out standard hard drives – which are only designed to operate 40 hours a week – in favor of surveillance-optimized hard drives built for 24/7 workloads. 

“These hard drives must “write” large quantities of data, as footage is transmitted from the edge to the cloud, and “read” that same data in real time, in order to detect, identify and deliver intelligent insights.”  ~by Bonoan and Ataev   

Standard hard drives don’t make it past a year of continuous video surveillance.  

Your expectations met


There does exist an AI Analytics platform that solves every objection and shortcoming previously mentioned. 

The name is Survail and SCW is proud to be a preferred distributor of this affordable and scalable video analytics platform. 

Survail leapfrogs all the gaps in the products that other providers offer. It’s more than a cutting-edge business surveillance tool that works with your existing business security cameras. Survail is a system that allows you to see, search, share, and manage critical data to the benefit of every department in your operation. 

Login to your account from any web browser, from anywhere in the world. Then view unlimited cameras in real-time, from unlimited geographic locations, with fully configured user access, all on one platform--one login, one screen, split-second alerts, and 100% cybersecure.

Survail could not be any more enterprise friendly! Without it, you are going to lose ground

A free demo explains better than words.

Decision time


In this shifting business environment no doubt you have a vision of where you want to go, maybe how you intend to get there. So what is your blue-sky outcome? 

If you think you’re going to get there apart from AI Analytics, you’re wrong. 

Survail is the solution. Early adopters, those visionaries, will be the first to benefit.

Evan Williams

Written by Evan Williams