By Rick Bentley, CEO, Cloudastructure
Want to see an industry that is a good example of where video surveillance security is headed? Look no further than the cannabis industry.
Most states require cannabis businesses to record activity in every area of their enterprise with clear images showing customer and employee activity, plus cash registers and product sales. License plate recognition technologies are likely to be in high demand as drive-thru dispensaries become prevalent.
The cannabis industry is among the growing trend of spaces moving from on-premises video surveillance to cloud-based technologies. Other industries, including law enforcement, hospitality, and health care, have seen their need for remote access to video surveillance increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many employees are no longer able or willing to go to work on-premises.
COVID-19 Resources and Strategies
The constantly changing protocols during the early days of the pandemic were difficult for customers and businesses. Lockdowns and restrictions have shown the power and capabilities of cloud-based systems and their ability to deliver increased performance for organizations of all sizes. Many enterprises turned to artificial intelligence and machine learning-based solutions to monitor the presence of face masks and the adherence of social distancing protocols.
As protocols continue to be eased, leaders face the challenge of reallocating these resources and adjusting strategies. For the cannabis industry and others, the AI/ML features available through cloud-based security systems can support other efforts. These enterprises need to manage and monitor multiple locations from a single device.
Regulations and Compliance
The cannabis industry has received a great deal of attention for the controversy surrounding its strict surveillance compliance regulations. This is one of the primary reasons for the growth of cloud-based security platforms — they offer a consistent way to manage these compliance regulations while providing a consistent and faster way to scale to multiple locations.
Anyone who has been in an organization needing to address these standards knows the heavy lifting that comes with the process. Imagine being able to use AI/ML technology to review records, videos, and other information without the hardship of reviewing it all manually.
Let’s look at a quick example. Say you’re part of an enterprise that keeps all video on-premises. You have a modest deployment: 100 cameras total across all locations. How long will it take you to review all of the footage from the last 24 hours should an incident occur? Well, that’s three 8-hour days per camera to get through 24 hours. 100 cameras mean 300 days or about a calendar year. Now, maybe you can watch at 10x speed and do it in 30 days. That’s still a lot of time for one person and makes for a very delayed response. Furthermore, to do any kind of compliance and standards assessment or computation, one would have to physically gather the video from all the locations to go through it. Not only is this incredibly time-consuming, but the possibilities of human error are also substantial.
Now imagine the same scenario through the lens of an enterprise that moved to a cloud-based surveillance video security platform. This option provides a unified view across all locations. The platform’s AI/ML technology can complete advanced computations and index all videos quickly. You can just search by face or object, find the appropriate footage, and respond immediately to the incident.
This massive time savings is enough reason for many enterprises to move to cloud-based security, regardless of industry or space, and the increased accuracy of searching footage is icing on the cake. A native cloud solution also can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership because costly server upgrades are no longer necessary.
Another reason a growing number of enterprises have moved to cloud-based surveillance systems in 2021 is the mitigation of risk. These systems offer several tactics to help in this area.
Cloud-based security systems help reduce the networking security risk that comes with on-premises solutions, which can put information on the public internet to potentially be accessed. Data recovery is much easier with cloud-based systems, as there is little risk of the data being destroyed in case of fire, flood, or other natural disasters. Another advantage: cloud-based systems help mitigate risks for employees and allow them to work from remote locations.
An often-overlooked advantage of cloud-based security systems is innovation.
I have long been a fan of exploring the power of computer vision. I often say that computer vision used to be artisanal. You would have to train a computer system to recognize an object and continue to update it to improve the recognition. If you wanted the computer to be able to detect a car, for example, you have to explain to it what a car looks like. It looked something like: “There are these round black things at the bottom called ‘tires’, with ‘windows’ mostly around the top part, sometimes the lights in the back are red, sometimes on the side they are yellow, sometimes on the front they are white…” Obviously, this didn’t make for a very good system.
With improved technology, you can now feed 10,000 pictures of cars into the system, and 50,000 pictures of not cars but close (airplanes, jet skis, mailboxes, etc.) and it will do a better job than any artisanal system ever could at detecting a car. Computer vision can be used to search objects and faces across all locations in your enterprise to enable a faster response to incidents.
So, what does this have to do with innovation?
First, the cloud-based security system employs AI/ML technology that can be strategically used to innovate and become better than a competitor. The power of computation really comes into play here with almost unlimited possibilities for powerful analysis.
Second, as we discussed, the use of a cloud-based security system frees up time previously used to do manual surveillance with on-premises solutions.
From savings of money and time to new opportunities to innovate, the move by more enterprises to cloud-based security systems is encouraging and will pick up speed as we head into 2022 and beyond.
Rick Bentley, CEO, Cloudastructure
Rick Bentley has more than two decades of experience with Silicon Valley startups and technology companies. In 1998, he founded Televoke Inc, a company that provides an automated web and telephone service platform that provided notification, control and tracking of mobile assets. In January 2003, Televoke Inc merged with another privately held company, the merged entity was renamed deCarta Inc. and was eventually bought by Uber in March 2015.
In 2003, Bentley founded Connexed Technologies Inc., which offered a web-based camera management and video storage solution that aimed to deliver the most secure, economical solution on the market. In 2013, Connexed Technologies Inc. purchased Reach Systems Inc, a Cloud-based access control company,. and was renamed Cloudastructure.
Bentley has also served in senior roles at other early-stage startups, including Cheaterville/ViaView and Carbon Motors, and was a full time adviser to Google X in 2015, specifically Google Life Sciences (now Verily). He was a direct report to Andy Grove for half a decade. He also did two tours with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Baghdad in 2004/2005.