Another reason to move to the cloud


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Known benefits, the pandemic and now very specific AI capabilities are precipitating security professionals’ interest in cloud video surveillance, writes Ken Francis, President, Eagle Eye Networks.

The transition from old fashioned, on-premises video surveillance systems to cloud video surveillance services has been steady and ongoing for the past decade. But, what’s motivating security professionals to make the move? First and foremost it’s the known benefits of the cloud.

As business systems of all kinds move to cloud services – email and ERP systems for example – businesses want the same flexibility and convenience with their video surveillance. That’s still true. The pandemic provided another catalyst. When business owners couldn’t be on-site, they realised they needed a reliable video surveillance system that offered the centralised and remote features offered by cloud video surveillance.

In 2023, there are more reasons for the move to cloud: Namely AI innovations in the cloud that address age-old security problems and create new business opportunities for resellers.

Combined with the cloud, these AI technologies are suddenly practical and they’re piquing the interest of resellers and business owners in 2023. They tend to fall into three categories: Smart video search technology, false positive alarm technology and vehicle recognition technology. 

Search and find, fast

Smart video search technology is making searching for video as easy as searching the web. This is an innovation of considerable interest to security professionals. For decades, when an incident occurred, a security professional expected to spend hours scrubbing video to find an exact car, person or object. Searches are time consuming, expensive and often fruitless.

It’s no surprise security professionals are drawn to cloud-based AI-powered search technology that changes a tedious chore into a simplified search.

Instead of spending hours reviewing video streams, a business owner or security officer simply types in a short description such as “man with blue shirt”, “person with backpack” or “white Toyota car”. The system uses AI in the cloud to index video in near real time. This makes the video searchable almost instantly and delivers fast, accurate results.

Business owners like the fact that new AI video search technology works on a standard security camera connected to a cloud video management system. The key ingredient is having the AI efficiently and cost effectively managed within the cloud. When AI processing occurs in the cloud, there is no need for an expensive specialty camera or an AI edge device.

It works across all cameras in all locations. Search results can be narrowed down by date, time, location or camera. Importantly, AI modelling in the cloud ensures that accuracy continues to improve over time.

All the while, the business enjoys the standard cloud benefits of scalability, flexibility and continuous updates. They don’t have to worry about expensive maintenance because the cloud services provider covers the expense of continuous improvement to the AI and the video search.

False positive alarm technology

Like searching for video, false positive alarms stand out as a major headache for security professionals and professional monitoring organisations.

As we all know, when video analytics were first introduced more than a decade ago, they were over-promised and they seriously under-delivered. In fact, false positive alarms became so onerous that many organizations just turned those systems off. Now, AI-filtered alarms in the cloud are finally fulfilling the promise of highly accurate video analytics, with tremendously positive implications for organisations large and small.

Security professionals in 2023 are upgrading to cloud video surveillance because they see how AI in the cloud can be leveraged to dramatically reduce false positive alarms, improve security outcomes and reduce operational costs. 

Vehicle and license plate recognition – with AI, it’s niche no more

License plate recognition is not new for security professionals in the EMEA region, particularly in the UK, where ALPR (automatic license plate recognition) systems have been in use since the 1980s.

These legacy systems used traditional computer vision algorithms to read license plates. In the UK and other places where license plates are standardised, the systems achieved accuracy rates of around 60%, lower when the weather is poor. 

Over the years, ALPR specialty cameras have modestly improved accuracy, but the cameras come with a high price tag, and typically need ideal conditions for optimal operation. As a result, ALPR became a niche application used by security professionals who are willing to invest in expensive equipment and regular maintenance.

That changed over the past few years with the introduction of cloud-based technology that uses AI to achieve high accuracy in all kinds of challenging conditions. Much like AI video search, the magic of cloud-based AI-powered vehicle and license plate recognition is that it does not require the purchase of special cameras.

ALPR in the cloud can integrate with other systems and be used to automate parking gates, track vehicle fleets, set automatic alerts, improve curbside customer service and much more.

Security professionals understand the value of vehicle recognition to facilitate entry and exit. Now that it can be easily deployed and economical to operate, there is renewed interest among business owners and resellers to improve their operations with AI. At the same time, resellers are recognising the options they can bring to their customers with cloud video surveillance.

Move to cloud marches on

The reasons to migrate from on-premises to cloud video solutions will no doubt continue to increase and evolve over the next decade, but in 2023, it’s AI-enabled technology in the cloud that’s making business owners decide that now is the time to make the move to cloud video surveillance.

They’re seeing all the advantages of letting the cloud services provider suffer the expense of deploying great AI technology; business owners shouldn’t have to.


Ken Francis is the President of Eagle Eye Networks, which ranked 307th on the 2021 “Deloitte Technology Fast 500” list spotlighting the fastest growing technology companies in North America. Before joining Eagle Eye Networks in 2016, Francis launched ADT Security Services back into the commercial marketplace following the spinoff and IPO of ADT by Tyco International plc in 2012.

Previously, Francis served as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for UTC’s Global Security Products Business Unit, led the GE Security, Integrated Systems Program as the Global Product GM, and co-founded AMAG Technology, Inc. In all three roles, Francis was responsible for the growth of software-based access control and video technologies through the leadership of international product management teams and the expansion of global channels.

Francis earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from American University. He currently serves on the Executive Council for the Board of Directors of the Security Industry Association.

This article was originally published in the March 2023 edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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