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Smile, You’re On Camera (and in the Cloud)

Solving surveillance woes with cloud storage

It’s not just movie stars and Instagram-happy teens anymore—every citizen needs to be camera ready when leaving the house. Surveillance cameras are everywhere today; the average American is caught on CCTV security cameras more than 75 times per day, and the average Londoner over 300. Police body cameras have also become more prevalent, with 95% of large police departments using them or committing to do so. This saturation has even seeped into the consumer market. Google’s Nest and Amazon’s Ring home security systems offer a suite of cameras and accessories that allow homeowners to keep an eye on their property from an app on their smartphones.

This trove of footage, both public and private, is of vital importance. For law enforcement agencies, it has the power to incriminate or exonerate where eyewitness reports fail. For a business, it can cost effectively monitor operations, offering heretofore untold insights for optimization.

While government agencies and private sector enterprises can see the benefits of around-the-clock surveillance, the long-term cost is daunting. Speaking to the New York Times, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice Rachel Levinson-Waldman said, “The real cost is coming after they buy the cameras—it’s really the storage of the data that is in some cases astronomically expensive.” Storage costs for these cameras rack up fast, especially for those shooting in HD. Axon, the Taser-owned body camera manufacturer which supplies cameras to over half of major US cities, estimates storage costs of between $20 and $80 per officer per month. They, like many other body camera suppliers, store their data using Amazon Web Services. High annual storage rates are a roadblock to enterprises looking to invest in surveillance systems. This coupled with mandatory data retention times has even led to the cancellation of body camera programs in Nebraska and Virginia.

With in-car and bodycam programs alone projected to reach $1.2 billion in IT costs by the end of 2021, the storage side of surveillance is ripe for innovation and disruption. This is an area where I’m pleased to say Wasabi is already hard at work. The cloud’s potential as a bottomless, infinitely scalable storage vault is perfectly suited for the high volume of data surveillance systems produce. Wasabi’s cloud storage is 80% less than AWS while remaining faster than the competition, drastically reducing the annual cost of maintaining a fleet of cameras.

Most recently, Wasabi’s partnership with Milestone Systems brings our scalable, affordable cloud storage to a leading provider of video management software. The solution leverages LucidLink’s file system bridge to transfer data to the cloud quickly and reliably. Wasabi’s lack of egress and API request charges makes your storage bill simple to predict. Once in the cloud, your data is protected both digitally and physically, with 11 nines of data durability, immutable buckets, and security present on-site at all times.

If your enterprise is considering investing in a surveillance system, it should be aware of the long term costs. Increasing camera resolution and mandatory retention rates demand cloud storage that can scale affordably. For more information on Wasabi and Milestone’s joint solution, see the solution brief.

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