VSaaS 101

By IPVM Team, Published Mar 25, 2020, 12:14pm EDT (Info+)

Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud video. But what does it mean? How does it all work?

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Inside this guide, we explain the fundamentals step by step including:

  • SaaS vs VSaaS
  • Hosted vs Managed by Hybrid Video
  • Upstream Bandwidth Impact
  • Bridge / Appliance Role
  • VSaaS VMS Capabilities
  • Camera Lock-In vs Open Support
  • 3rd Party Integrations
  • Analytics In VSaaS
  • Setup and Maintenance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Monitoring - Remote and On-Site
  • VSaaS RMR
  • Pros and cons of hosted, managed and hybrid
  • NVRs and VMSes Becoming VSaaS
  • Survey of common VSaaS providers

SaaS ** *****

**** (******** ** * *******) ** the ******** ** **-******** ** ********** software. ***** ********* ****** ** ****** 365.

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**** *********** ********* ****** *** *** once **-***** *** *** ** ** your *** ********. **** ****** *** you *** ************ *** *** ** in ** '*****' ******** (*.*., *** 'cloud').

***** (***** ************ ** * *******) is * **** **** ** ***** to ****** *** ******** *** ******** implied ** **** ******* ** ***** surveillance ** * *******.

***** ** *** * '************' ****, some ****** ** *** *** ** or *** *** ** **** * slightly ********* ******* *** ** ** the **** ****** **** **** ** the ******** ***** ** ******** ****.

Hosted ** ******* ** ****** *****

***** ***** ** *** ******* ******** term, ***** *** *** ***** ***** of *****: ****** *** ******* - which ******* ** ***** *** ***** is *****.

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  • ******* ***** ** **** *** ***** is ***** ****** **-**** ** ** traditionally *** **** *** ******* ** the *****.
  • ****** ***** ** **** *** ***** is ****** ** *** *****, *** on-site, ** **** ** ******* ** the *****.
  • ****** ***** ** **** *** ***** is ********* ****** **-**** *** ********* in *** *****.

Upstream ********* ******

******* ****** ***** ******** ***** ********* using ******** ***********, ***** ** ** increased *** ******** ** *********** **-******* recording. ************ **** *** *** **** detrimental ** *** *** ** ****** VSaaS *** **** ******* ****** **** SMB ** *********** ***.

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** ******** ********* *** ****/*.***/***** ***** use **** ********* ** ****, **** is ******** **** ** ** *****. However, ******** ********* ********* *** *** symmetric (********** ** ********) *** *** vary ************* ***** ** *** ****** or ****.

Bridge / ********* ****

** ****, ****** ** *** **** common ***** ************, ********* **** * bridge ** ********* **-****. *** ****** provides * *********** ********* ** * hybrid ******, * ****** ********** **** the **-**** ******* ** *** ***** servers, *** ***** ********* ******* ** case ** ******** ******* ** ********* bandwidth.

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**** ******* **** ***** **-******* ***** analytics *** ***** **** *** ***** camera *******, ***** **** ****** ******* only ******* ******* **** * ****** manufacturer ** *********** *******.

VSaaS *** ************

***** ***** ********* *** ************* ******* similar ************ ** *********** *****, **** cloud-first ***** **** ********** **** *** interfaces, **** ******* **** ************* **********, minimal ******** **** ********, *** ******* 3rd ***** ****** *******.

******* *********** ***** *** ******** ** be ****-********* **-**** *******, **** ********* offer ****** ************* *** ***** ****** applications **** ******** ********. ******* ******** like *** ********** ********** *** ****** servers, ***** *** ******** ** ********** with ***** *****, *** ******* ** expensive **********-******* *****.

Camera ****-** ** **** *******

IPVM Image**** ****** ***** ********* **** *** in ** * ******** ** **** supporting ***** *** *********** *******. *** cameras **** ******** ** **** ** you ******** ***** ********** ***** ******* to **** *** ****** *****. ** you ** *** *** *** **** or **** ****** *** ****, *** cameras *** ** ****** ** ****** nor ***** ********. ************, ****** ********* from ****** ***** *** ********* ******* in *** ***** ** ********* ********, form *******, *** ****** *****.

**** **** ****** *** ******* *****, a ******* ********* ** **** ** you *** ****** **** ***** *** VSaaS's *** ****** ******** ** ***** a *****-***** ******. ******** ***** *** cameras *** ***** ******** ** ***** of ****** ***********, *******, *** ****** troubleshooting *** *** *****/**** *** ***** choose ******* *******'* ** ******* ******* direct ******* ** *****.

3rd ***** ************

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**********, ***** *** **** ********** *** integrations *** ***********, ** ****, ** has *********** ***********.

*** ******** ** **** ***** ** web ******** *** ********* ***** ******* of *********** **** *** ***** *******, offering **** **** *** ****-********** ********* for ************* ******* ********* *******.

*** ******** ** **** *** **** amount ** ***** ************ ******* *** still ********* **-**** *** *** ******** capable ** *********** **** ******* ** the *****. **** *********** ************* ******* systems ** **** ***** ** *** have *** ********* ************ **********, *** are ******* ** *** ** **** the ********** ******** *** ********.

Analytics ** *****

******** ********* ** **** ** * hosted ***** ********* **** *** ***** is ******* ** *** *****. ***** analytic ********* ****** ** ****** ******** by *********** *** ******** *********** ** on-site ********* ** *******.

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*******, ***** ********* **********, ************ ****** cloud ******* (******, ******), *** ** very *********. ****, **** ******* ** Hybrid ***** ******** ****** *** **** increase *** *** ***** *** ****** of ******* **** *** ** ********.

Setup *** ***********

***** *** *********** *** *** ** the **** ******** ***** ******** ** VSaaS, ***** ********* ***** ****-***-**** ************ for *******/*******, *** ********* ******** *******.

**** **** ***** *** *******/******* **** phone-home ** **** ** **** **** an ******** **********. ********* **** ** a ******** ********'* ******* ** ** simple ** ******** ** * ****** number/access **** **** ** ******* ** the ******. **** ******* **** ***** a ** **** ******* ** ***** mobile ***, ** ********* ***** *** streamline *** *******. **** *** ** significantly ******* *** ****** **** ******* up * *********** *** **** *** party ****** *******, ********** *** **** for *********** ** ******** ********* ************.

******** ******* *** ************* ******* ** the ***** ******, *** ********* ** not ******* *** ****** **** * user ** **********. **** ************* ********** the ****** *********** *** ****** ******* compared ** **** *********** *****.

*************

************* ** ******** *** ******* ******* of *****, ** ********** **** ** comes ** ****** ********** ******* *** system ** ******** ********** ****** **** an ******** ********** *** **** *** require ******** ************* ** * *** client ** ******* ** *** *******.

*** **** ****** ******* ************* *** video ************ ** ******** ********* ***** on ** *** ** ***, ***** are ****** ******* *** ****'* ********/******. With ***** ***** *****-**** *******/******* **** establish * ****** ********** ******** ** the ***** *******, ** **** ***** or ******** ******** ************* ** ******.

************, *** ******** *** ******** *************** can ** ******* **** ******* *** remotely ** *** ***** ******, ******* action **** * **** ** **********.

On-Site ********** **********

***** ***** *** **** ****** ********** easier *** ***** **** ****** **** on-premise *******, **** ********* ********** *** on-site ********** ******* ***** *** **** to **** **** *** ***** ****** (over *** ********), *** ******** **** the ******. **** ** ******* ** cybersecurity **************, *** *******/******* *** ******** to **** ****** *********** **** *** cloud ******, *** * *** ******* from ** ** **-**** **.

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**** ***** ***** ****** *** ******* if **** ***** * ***** ****** that ******** ******** ************ ** *********** directly, ** ** ********** * ***** security ***********, *******, ***** *** ********** and ******* ***** ************ *** *************.

VSaaS ***

IPVM Image******* ****** *** ****** ***** ******* cloud ******* *** ****** **********, *** associated ************ **** *** ** * new ********* ******* ******* (***) *** integrators/distributors. *******, **** *********** ******** ** adjust ***** ***** ***** ** **** change ** *******. ***********, **** ***** are ********** ** ***** ******* ******* purchases *** ** *** **** ** essentially ***** * ****** **** **** stop ******* ** **** ** ***/****** pay *** ************ ***.

*********** *** ** *** *** **** for **-***** **** ******* ********* ******* opportunities. **** ************ ****** ******** *********** ********* ** get ***** ******* ** *******, *** ***** *** *** ******** for *** ****** ** ******** *******.

Managed - **** *** ****

******** ** ****** ** ****** *****, managed ***** ***** *********** ********* ** keeping *** ***** ******* **-**** ***** offering ****** ***** ********** *** ****** remote **********. **** ******* ***** ** not ******* **** ************* ******* ** storage ** *******.

*******, **** ******* ******* ** *** typically ***** ****** ********* ******* *** video ** *** ************ ********* ** the *****. ************, ****** ******** ********* is **** ******* ******* *** ******** video ******* **-**** *** ***** ** be ******** ******** *** ****** *******.

Hosted - **** *** ****

****** ***** ****** ****** ****** ********** and ***** **********. ************, ***** ******* capacity ** *** ******* ** ******** on-site *** *** ** ******** ** purchasing **** ***** ** *** *****. Software *** ******** ******* *** ******* by *** ***** ********, ****** **** and ********* *** *** **** *** integrator.

*******, ****** ***** ******** *******/****** ********* subscriptions ** ******** ****** ** **** and ******** *****, *** ********** ***** storage *** ** *********. ****, ** the ***** ******** ** **** **** monitoring *** ***** ********* *** ****. Moreover, ******** ****** *** **** ******** and ***** ** * ********* ***** to *** ****** ** ******* **** can ** *********. **** ****** ***** also ****-** *** **** ** *********** cameras.

Hybrid - **** *** ****

****** ***** ****** ******* ******** ******** as ******, ****** ****** ********** *** cloud **********, *** **** *** ********* on-site ******* **** *** **** ********** in **** ** ** ******** ****** and **** ****** **** *********** ** the *****. ****** ***** **** ********* support **** *** ***** *******.

******* **** ****** ***** *** * bridge ** ******* ** ***** ********, there ** ********** ******** ******** ** many ******-**** ****** *******, ***** **** complexity. ************, **** ****** ***** ******* monthly/yearly ********* ************* ** ******** ****** to **** *** ******** *****.

NVRs *** ***** ******** *****

**** ******** **** ***** ********** ******* prior ** **** *** ** ***** component ** ********. *** **** ** cloud ** ****** ********** *** *** function ** * *****, ***** *** historically **** ******* ** ***-***** *** and *********** *******, **** ****** ******** and ******* ****** *******.

***** ************** ***** ************ ** ****** on-site *** *** / ****, *** step ********* *** ** *** ***** products ** *********** ****** ******* ** adding ** ***** *** ***** ** remote ********** '***** ****' ************"

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***** **** ****** **** **** ***** as **** *** ******* *** ***** management **** ****** **** ***** *** on-site ******* ** ****** *** ******* themselves, *** *** ******** ******** **** AI *********.

*** ***** *** **** ** ***** but ** *** **** ****** *********** over *** **** * ***** ******* offering ***** *****-**. ** **** ** like ** *** *** *** *** companies *** ****** ****** ****** ** one's ***. ** *** **** **** to ** ** ******* ***** ****** will ** **** ** ****** *** offering ***** ********.

Survey ** ****** ***** *********

***** *** * ****** ***** ******* *********, *****-*****, *** *****-****, *** ***.

*****-*****

***** *** ****** ** *****-***** ********* that ******* ******* *** ********************, *****-************ *** ********, *** *********** ************ *****************,******** ****,******* **********, ************ **** *** *******.

*** ********** ** ***** *** ****** heavily ** ******, ****** ********, *** integrator ******** ******* ************, *****-***** ******* have **** **** ******* ****** ********** channels. *******, **** *** ********,****************, *** ******** ** ****** **** sales.

*** ***** ****

*** ************,******* *****,********, *** ****** **** ***** ****** remote ***** ****** ** ***** *********. These ********* ** *** ********* ******* cloud-based ********** *** *** * ****** proxy/routing ******* ** ******* ****** ******* to **-**** *******. ****** **** *****-***** hosted ** ****** *****, ***** *****-**** solutions ** *** ******* **** ******* subscriptions.

*** ***

***-**** *** ********* ********* *** ***** have ******* *** ****** ********** ********, however, **** **************** ***********, ************ ********** ***** **** ************ ***** *** ******* ***-******* *****. Moreover, ***-******* *********** ************* ***************.

Comments (25)

Full disclosure - I work for Eagle Eye Networks

This is good article that I think summarizes things well. I know I'm biased - but I see things moving more and more to the cloud, in a variety of different ways. From what my customers tell me, they really like the centralized management capabilities that we (and other cloud vendors) offer. This generally makes for faster installation and simplified maintenance over time - which increases end user satisfaction.

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It would be interesting to research how VSaaS is doing\will do because of the COVID-19 economy, especially for VSaaS companies that are proprietary and lock you into contracts.

Is the surge of people working from home introducing latency or other negative effects to cloud video services?

Like streaming companies have done in other parts of the world, what happens if there is a government mandate to reduce all streaming video to 480p?

Are VSaaS companies helping their customers with temporary cost reduction or forbearance?

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Yes, it is clearly the internet during COVID-19 has problems. although providers say there is enough bandwidth (at least here in the Netherlands) we can clearly notice that latency and even packetloss are at the order of the day.
Latency can be somewhat troublesome but packetloss with UDP videostream is killing.

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To be fair, problems with UDP video streaming were long before COVID-19 situation. Some regions/ISPs were (and still are) especially bad.

Are you experience any unexpected network issues in Netherlands? Are you sure it's not your service provider problem?

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One COVID-19 economic response from Camio is to help people return safely to work with social distancing detection. We'll subsidize cloud compute costs to help people return quickly before they can run this on-premise. If your customer's exemption from shelter in place is predicated on social distancing, we'll connect their cameras now.

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I think Cloud storage will go hand in hand with edge as backup. I also think the channel will have a good role to play here.

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Personal pet peeve here - "Cloud storage" is not Cloud Video Surveillance. It's a part, and sometimes a very important part, but it's only some of the overall solution. I think that goes inline with someone thinking that they want to store their video offsite to protect against someone stealing their NVR.

It's equivalent to saying that Netflix is Cloud Movie Storage and you use it to make sure nobody steals your DVD collection. There is so much more to Netflix than just the movies that are stored there. You can easily find the movies that you like, you can watch them from anywhere on almost any device. You can enroll additional users to share your account, you can pay for better resolution (i.e. 4K movies) or pay less and have 'standard resolution' (think about that one for a minute - instead of buying a new DVD player and all new DVDs you pay a couple of bucks extra a month and you move from 1080p to 4K)

Cloud Video Surveillance is a lot like that. Obviously there are places where the analogy doesn't work, but it's a lot more than a video storage place. Just like with Enterprise VMS systems, there is more to your video surveillance system than just the Dell or HP server it runs on. There is the ability to get access to your video from anywhere, the consolidation of settings and controls to a single screen. Changing how long you store your video with just a couple of clicks is great flexibility for those that have to react to compliance changes.

Many people like cloud video surveillance for the same reasons they like cloud CRM systems, cloud accounting systems and other business applications. The simple answer is that they don't have to worry about maintaining them - either system maintenance or feature updates. They just log in and use the system, and they can focus on running their business.

My bottom line here is that calling VSaaS "cloud storage" focuses only on one feature and it's probably not even the most important one.

</rant>

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Oh just give it another year or two. 5G is coming anyway

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IPVM Team:

This is a very good piece. I'm sorry I missed it last week - I assume many other might have also missed it because of all the other news, and that would be a shame. I don't think it would be a bad idea to promote this again a few times. The length and depth of the content is perfect for a great majority of readers.

Great work folks.

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Agree with Chris comments and great article by IPVM on VSaaS which gives an overview of what to look for when choosing a provider.

FD: I work for Duranc

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What's cloud-first? I would think you'd have true cloud (no device onsite...recording straight to cloud think Nest/Amazon, or even some onboard storage) and then the hybrid (appliance, EE, etc.) and then the pretend cloud (DVR, cloud access?).

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What's cloud-first?

#3, I agree with you that if you ask that question, your ordering makes sense.

In terms of what is cloud-'practical', I think it's the reverse based on existing infrastructure, options and limitations.

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Agree with you and thanks for the work you do. We're in the cloud video software (and end-user) business (small scale...or bootstrap) but tend to not promote on these forums, like to see open dialogue and opinions.

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For those confused by the marketing words that use 'Cloud' for everything. Cloud Video used to essentially be VSaaS. Now Cloud Video means access to any video stored in the cloud, as well as VSaaS. The terms have changed slightly instead of 'recording to the cloud' to mean 'stored and accessed in the cloud'. And of course there's 'Cloud Accessible'. Marketing dollars can make the Cloud mean whatever is wanted.

True Cloud or Pure Cloud: No recording device onsite, just cameras. Axis AVHS, Stratocast, ControlByNet, Nest, Amazon, etc. - HOW I DEFINE: A camera can be shipped anywhere in the world and will work once connected to the Internet. Cameras can do on-board as a backup in case of Internet outage (some do, some don't).

Cloud Storage: An appliance onsite - Eagle Eye, Avigilon Blue (I think), Honeywell MaxPro, etc. - HOW I DEFINE: For it to work there must be an appliance onsite, whether bought or 'leased'. The camera connects to the appliance and the appliance connects and uploads video to a central repository. From that repository customers can view video, make changes (that goes to the appliance onsite), etc.. NOTE: The concept has been around for 20 years when you could upload (ftp) video from a DVR to a remote folder/site. What was never around was the control and functionality that these companies have brought along to control the solution.

The benefit of both above solutions is central management, multiple sites controlled, etc..

Cloud Accessible: Any DVR, NVR, or Camera that is be accessed from the Internet to the local onsite device. As opposed to the other 2 solutions this usually requires configuration of the local network (port forwarding, etc.).

Just my opinion from someone who's watched the industry for 10 years.

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Cloud Accessible: Any DVR, NVR, or Camera that is be accessed from the Internet to the local onsite device. As opposed to the other 2 solutions this usually requires configuration of the local network (port forwarding, etc.).

This part is wrong, specifically about port forwarding. More and more NVRs and VMSes are adding in cloud accessibility without any port forwarding, e.g., Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested, Avigilon recently added this, etc.

If you want this type of segmentation, you would want 4 categories: 'true cloud' as you call, 'cloud storage', 'cloud managed' (i.e., exacq) and 'cloud accessible'.

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That's correct - I was just thinking of most DVR brands. Certainly the better software companies have it figured out. But in that case they are all both cloud-managed and cloud-accessible, just some (exacq, avigilon) don't require any network setup. I guess it's really 'out of the box' cloud accessible/managed versus not.

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I think office 365 should be "SaaS", not "VSaaS" (first image). Or did I miss surveillance functionality in Word or Excel?

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Thanks for your first comment! The image is updated.

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VSaaS will be come the standard in the coming years as Cloud storage costs continue to drop and wireless speeds increase with 5G.

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I have to disagree. VSaaS is too great of a risk for critical operations and too many compliance hurdles as to where the data is going and who owns it. A simple DDOS attack can render a VSaaS system useless and critical notifications obsolete. Cloud is too latent when seconds matter.

When it comes to professional security applications, edge device processing power and storage are getting smaller and cheaper. You have full control of data, hardware, and software and no latency or at the mercy of an internet connection. Threat actors will need to physically breach your facility to attack the video system. Having groups of cameras manage and store themselves is the future, not VSaaS.

I do agree that centralized servers will be dinosaurs soon, but the industry will evolve to hundreds of P2P servers (cameras).

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Cloud is fine, you keep 3 days of high res high fps on the sd card or on-board camera.....problem solved. It won't take over the world but it will be anyone that has less than 24 or so cameras at one property. Ask Nest, or Amazon. Stand in the corner and lose business. The big deals will be hybrids......corporate has 200 cameras on a managed server, remote offices are in cloud. Already is happening everywhere.

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Hi,Just like for VMS, for VSaaS is there an open source available? Even if it is commercial open source?

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#6, good question, for VSaaS, since it's a 'service' literally by definition, it's being hosted by someone commercially (even if the video is still being stored on-site and the service is being offered at no charge). I don't know anyone offering open source code for the service but there might be, I could be missing it.

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As John mentioned, the 'service' aspect of any SaaS impacts the option for open-source support, by definition.

That being said, with the lines blurring between VMS and VSaaS, an open source VMS option like ZoneMinder is offered on AWS Marketplace, not as a "turnkey" VSaaS, but a hosted DIY VSaaS/VMS option.

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Not many will provide open-source if it's a good product....too much money in development. We allow a reseller to host its own solution if desire, but don't give out source code. This way the reseller or customer is in control of utilization, licensing and can connect onsite managed customer servers to it as well using same login. But we don't heavily market on here.

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