Killing Hosted Video

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 30, 2012

Hosted video gets a lot of vendor hype but is on the verge of being wiped out in surveillance. Ironically, while it aimed to disrupt the traditional market, it is already being disrupted itself.

What’s killing hosted video? Edge recording plus cloud access delivers the key benefits of hosted video for free.

Vendors and integrators hoped hosted video would deliver RMR, invigorating their businesses. Recurring fees of $10 - $20 per camera per month would deliver a steady, high profit revenue stream.

The business case for hosted video never made sense. Compared to traditional surveillance, the overall costs were far higher for a far less mature and sophisticated offering.

The most critical differentiator for hosted video was eliminating the on-site recorder. Providers argued offsetting cost savings from lower install and service demands.

Hosted's Advantages Disappearing

However, in the last year, edge recording has emerged as a powerful competitive force. Like hosted video, edge recording eliminates the need for a dedicated recorder. However, instead of streaming it off site as hosted video does, edge moved the recording onto SD cards inside cameras. Unlike hosted video, edge recording typically costs no more for the product nor for ongoing ‘service’.

Simple setup and remote access has been another key advantage for hosted video. Using the ‘cloud’, cameras would ‘phone home’ to providers enabling seamless connections between users on their phone or laptops to video streams. By contrast, edge recording, like traditional surveillance, required more complex setup to enable remote access.

Now, edge recording providers are combining recorder elimination and cloud access to match the key benefits of hosted video. Our test results of Lorex’s new line show this in action. As one of the biggest home / consumer surveillance line (with over 500,000 cameras sold annually), Lorex, who was just acquired by FLIR, is a good template of what other providers will certainly do. And since they want to sell more hardware, they are giving away these software / service capabilities for free. This makes selling hosted video incredibly difficult.

What Remains

The remaining major advantage hosted video providers claim is eliminating theft of recordings. With the video stored in a data center, thieves cannot steal the recorders from a site they break into. While this is certainly true, it is neither a common nor high priority risk for most. Indeed, to the extent users fear for the security of their recordings, they are unlikely to trust an off-site service provider either.

The future is clear. Camera manufacturers have every interest and capability to give away cloud accessed edge recording to sell more cameras. This approach essentially kills hosted video as a viable competitive force for years to come.

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