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Cloud technology in end-to-end surveillance solutions

Cloud technology for end-to-end solutions

Anyone who uses a computer connected to the internet, or a mobile phone (or, indeed, any number of other connected and ‘smart’ devices) will likely be using cloud technology in one form or another. Axis has a long history of using and supplying cloud-based services as part of our offerings. In this blog, we’ll look at some areas in which Axis uses cloud technology in our end-to-end surveillance solutions.

In simple terms, the broad definition of cloud technology is running some or all system functions on hardware situated off-site from a company’s own physical location, and all managed and maintained by a third-party service provider.

Cloud technology services can be delivered in many different forms, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and managed services. Increasingly, there are sector- and application-specific versions of all-encompassing cloud solutions including, in our sector, Video Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaaS). Running these services as hybrid cloud solutions means customers are free to set up a system that leverages the powers of cloud, on-premises servers, and edge devices.

While cloud technologies are often presented as the ideal solution for all organizations, there are good reasons why they are not ideal in every scenario, all the time. The use of cloud technologies in security and surveillance is no exception. There is a clear trend showing that cloud-based solutions will play a greater role in surveillance and security going forward. With this said, certain customers, who for security reasons need full control of their installation, are still using more traditional client-server-based systems. To meet all customer requirements, we need hybrid solutions that combine cloud, on-premises, and edge processing, as well as a mix of all of them. 

Using cloud where it has most impact

At Axis, we take our lead from our customers and always aim to address their needs. We know that solutions based purely on the cloud won’t be optimal for all customers. For instance, customers running critical operations and handling sensitive information might need to adhere to strict industry data protection and privacy laws. They might be required to store all data on-premises and control both physical and system security in-house. For these customers, an on-premises ‘air-gapped’ solution that runs on a private network will meet their demands. However, these types of systems need to be maintained by the customer to optimize performance. 

On the other hand, customers handling less sensitive information are more likely to use cloud solutions where they rely on third-party service providers to host, deliver, and run digital services, and keep the system up to date. 

Regardless of their requirements, all customers have one thing they have in common—they all need a reliable solution, which is easy to install, use, and maintain. 

One powerful platform ensures great flexibility

The next generation of AXIS Camera Station offers the flexibility needed to meet all these different customer requirements. It provides alternatives to suit everything from smaller, single sites to larger and more demanding deployments, including multisite installations. This single-vendor, end-to-end offering includes AXIS Camera Station Pro, a powerful, server-based video and access management software that also offers optional cloud connectivity. AXIS Camera Station Edge is our easily accessible cam-to-cloud solution combining the powers of Axis edge devices with Axis cloud services. AXIS Camera Station will also include support for multisite management as well as other cloud-based services such as a web client for video, and user and device management. These services are all enabled by our hybrid cloud platform, Axis Cloud Connect. 

Managed services built on an open hybrid cloud platform

Developed with Axis’ experience and competence as a base, Axis Cloud Connect is the latest addition to our open integration platforms. This hybrid cloud platform works together with Axis devices to enable managed services. These services leverage AXIS OS to ensure Axis devices and systems are always up to date for greater security in the cloud space and less downtime. Axis Cloud Connect is designed to help us provide more secure, flexible, and scalable security solutions. 

By combining Axis devices, our operating system AXIS OS, and the Axis Cloud Connect platform, we provide a multitude of managed services, such as system and device lifecycle management, video and data delivery, and security and support. 

Axis Cloud Connect within Axis end-to-end solutions 

These cloud capabilities will help solve some key challenges for our customers. Let’s now look at how Axis uses cloud capabilities and managed services from Axis Cloud Connect within our own end-to-end solutions for surveillance.

Multisite management with secure web-based access 

With cloud-based services, it’s possible to connect several different sites for secure web-based video operation. This makes it possible to securely access several sites and manage video in the system—all from one centralized location. Customers can keep up with events from their surveillance sites and take necessary actions on the go. With this set up, there are several ways to log into the system. For instance, it’s possible to access several systems and perform key functions for video operation and system management—directly in the web browser.

Multisite management

System health monitoring and management

Operators can use cloud technology to connect to different sites in the system. From one central location, an operator can control and manage devices in the system. This allows them to monitor and receive notifications about device status and take necessary actions such as upgrade device firmware, perform remote restart, and more.

System health monitoring

Event notifications

Increasingly triggered through edge analytics in the camera, events provide immediate attention to operators through notifications, prompting them to take action. Notifications, which can be delivered to an operator’s mobile phone, might relate to a specific incident viewed by a surveillance camera which triggers an alarm, or they could be prompted by a device malfunction.

Event notification

Data sharing for efficiency and management

Sharing data across services and solutions delivers numerous advantages to customers in system administration and management. For instance, administration of licenses is handled in the cloud, making it easy to manage device licenses across the entire system. Additionally, users of AXIS Camera Station can provide anonymized data to Axis to improve their system, such as the number of connected devices, device types, successful upgrades, or server/client failures. While data about cloud-based services gives customers a real-time view of service status.

Data sharing

User management

Solutions using AXIS Camera Station with cloud connectivity make it easy to manage users. Featuring an intuitive interface, users can manage organizational setup, control user access rights and permissions, and invite new users. All easily and securely accessible from a web interface. 

User management

Deploying cloud appropriately for customer benefits

Axis continually reviews the appropriate use of existing and new technologies – always through the lens of customer need, benefit, and value. We introduce technologies when we know they can efficiently solve different use cases in a smarter and safer way. 

Cloud technology plays a central role in our end-to-end solutions, and will no doubt be used in more areas as the technology evolves. Moving forward, both cloud and on-premises solutions will play an essential role for most customers and it’s important they understand the benefits and limitations of each technology.

Our hybrid cloud approach combines the best of all worlds. It provides greater efficiency and flexibility, allowing our customers to mix cloud with on-premises infrastructure and edge devices in a secure and scalable way. So, they can build the right solution to meet their specific needs. 

Find out more about Axis Cloud Connect and the next generation of AXIS Camera Station.
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