Advances in video surveillance technology have been a boon to law enforcement. Facial recognition and other machine-learning innovations help to narrow the time between crime and capture. Body-worn cameras, or bodycams, provide more transparency and legal protection for citizens and officers alike. But as I learned in recent conversations with chiefs of police and surveillance solution providers, these advances are also creating enormous pressure on already strained budgets.\r\n\r\nVideo is an increasingly important tool in every municipality\u2019s arsenal for preventing and solving crimes. Police typically use three different types of video surveillance: fixed surveillance on city streets, buildings, and parks; dashcams in police cruisers; and bodycams worn by officers. These devices generate a tremendous amount of data, and the cost of storing that data is quickly becoming the most expensive line item in police IT budgets.\r\nMore Cameras and Higher Resolutions Equal Larger Data Storage Bills\r\nCamera resolution continues to improve every year. That\u2019s good news when you need to zoom in on an image for facial recognition, or to read a license plate. But it\u2019s bad news for the budget because higher resolutions equate to larger data files. Every time you double the number of pixels along the x and y-axes, you quadruple the number of pixels in the image and the amount of space required to store it.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn addition to increases in image resolution, the widespread public pressure to deploy bodycams is adding exponentially to the volume of video being generated. This is creating a greater burden on midsized departments that don\u2019t have the IT budgets afforded larger departments, yet still have a substantial number of officers to equip with cameras.\r\nDealing with the High Cost of Storage\r\nSo, how are departments coping with the growing cost of storage? The same way they did in the analog days of VHS tapes: they delete stored data and record over it. It\u2019s a compromise between controlling costs and losing potentially valuable evidence. For the longest time, this strategy worked fairly well. As crimes were committed, officials could quickly put a hold on any relevant data to make sure it wasn't erased. Reviewing older footage to determine if a suspect had been casing a particular crime scene, for instance, was not an option. Today, however, with the rise in terrorist attacks and mass shootings, many government agencies and municipalities are mandating that surveillance videos be stored for much longer periods of time.\r\nWhy Storage Should Be the Surveillance Buyer\u2019s Biggest Consideration\r\nTo illustrate the importance of storage in the purchasing decision, let\u2019s examine the two models by which surveillance systems are bought and sold today: single-vendor solutions, where the cameras, software, and storage are bundled together at one flat rate, or purchasing each component separately through a systems integrator.\r\nSingle-vendor Solution\r\nA leading bodycam vendor charges a flat $80 per month per bodycam, which includes the necessary software and cloud storage. If you have 100 officers, that\u2019s $96,000 per year. \u00a0The contract that I saw was for a 5-year commitment, so that's a total of $480,000. The cameras they provide retail for $800, and they provide a new camera every three years. That means $1,330 per officer, approximately $130,000 of the $480,000 contract goes toward camera costs. The remaining $350,000 is for storage and other cloud server costs.\r\n\r\nWhile you benefit from a one-stop shop with everything coming from one vendor, you are also locking yourself into whatever storage solution that vendor uses. And as you can see, storage is by far the largest expense\u2014and one that is sure to grow.\r\nPurchasing Through a Systems Integrator\r\nBy purchasing through a systems integrator, you open yourself to more options when it comes to choosing the right data storage solution. With recent innovations in cloud storage technology enabling services such as Wasabi hot storage to deliver data storage that is 6x faster and 80 percent less expensive than all the premium tier services from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, \u00a0the benefits of such flexibility of choice are obvious.\r\nLet\u2019s take a look at the math\r\nYou buy 100 cameras for about $800 each. \u00a0They should last for 5 years, but let\u2019s be generous and add another ten percent to replace failures. That\u2019s a total of $88,000 for the hardware and another $20,000 for the software.\u00a0 Each camera produces about 500GBs of data to be stored in the first 90 days. \u00a0That storage is purged and reused unless there is a crime where the storage needs to be preserved, usually for 4-5 years. \u00a0After 5 years, the average officer accumulates about another 500GBs of evidence video, for a total usage of about 1TB. \u00a01TB of storage with Wasabi costs $3.90 per month or about $47 per year. \u00a0Times 100 cameras, the total storage cost would be about $4,700, or about $24,000 over 5 years. \u00a0A server in the cloud to run the management software costs an additional $500 per year or $2,500 over 5 years.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe total for 5 years would be:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCameras\r\n$88,000\r\n\r\n\r\nSoftware\r\n$20,000\r\n\r\n\r\nWasabi storage\r\n$24,000\r\n\r\n\r\nServer\r\n$2,500\r\n\r\n\r\nTotal\r\n$134,500 (vs. $500,000 for the closed bundle solution)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOf course, the system integrator is going want to make a profit, and there will be some additional maintenance costs, but this clearly shows how the new economics of cloud storage 2.0 solutions like Wasabi hot storage can help solve the storage crisis facing government, law enforcement, and the video surveillance industry.\r\n\r\nWe\u2019ll be at IACP 2017 in Philadelphia, October 21-27th. \u00a0If you\u2019re a systems integrator, video surveillance solution vendor, chief of police, or IT leader, and are planning on attending, we\u2019d love to show you how you can save money and save more video with Wasabi hot storage. We\u2019ll be at booth #2152.