Video Surveillance & the Digital Storage Dilemma




The amount of video surveillance recordings produced worldwide everyday is at astronomical levels of petabytes.


Feel like you are being watched? You’re probably right. As the cost of surveillance equipment goes down and security concerns go up, more surveillance cameras are being shipped and installed. Cameras are everywhere.

Decisions, decisions…there is always a trade-off between quality, storage and archiving cost when it comes to managing or producing digital video. The new breed of surveillance cameras today are outputting at HD resolutions — gone are the days of pixilated, smeared-faces, convenient store crime report footage you would see on the nightly news. These modern cameras (High Definition IP Surveillance camera) are able to send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet with outputted videos archive-able in digital format. One problem remains — the data dilemma.

As unit cost of these surveillance cameras goes down, there will be an inverse relationship with storage and/or archive cost when you record in higher quality. Higher quality leads to the need for more computer storage space.

So it becomes apparent that as more of these High Definition IP surveillance cameras are installed, computer storage costs versus quality become the primary drivers for decision makers. Lower quality settings may mean less usable surveillance footage when “threat” arises. Higher quality settings will result in more computing storage space requirement — especially if you plan to archive or analyze the footage.

Innovations is in development to make it more cost effective for users to store and archive high quality HD surveillance video without incurring additional costs for storage solutions.

More digital video being recorded every day.

A recent report by IHS research group stated that the amount of data produced worldwide every day from video surveillance cameras is equal to 413 petabytes of data. That is equivalent to:

• 92.1 million single-sided, single-layer DVDs
• Or for you social media nuts — that is four times the amount of photo and video data stored on Facebook as of February 2012.

What spurred the increase? The adoption of the High-Definition surveillance camera.

The amount of data recorded can really add up with multiple camera setups. Even at the most conservative recording settings, a home/small business IP camera, recording 24/7 continuously, may record up to 2 to 5 gigabyte of video footage each day with video recordings normally archived for 7 days to a month.

The storage needs of enterprise-level security systems will be greater. With demand for longer video archival time, higher resolution recordings, multiple cameras setup and even the need for smart video analytics (helps with identifying of trends and patterns for quicker security response), enterprise-level security data for storage or archive would be massive.


How are industry serving this market resolving this issue?

Video contents analysis (VCA) is deployed to the next generations of surveillance video management software. VCA’s enables surveillance cameras to record only on motion detected movements or opening of certain entry doorways. This helps with archiving since continuous recording, at times when no “threat” is around, will not be required.

The good news, although still not the optimum solution, is that storage device hardware is getting bigger and cheaper each day. This will makes it more economical to store and/or archive surveillance footage in HD format.

Availability of cloud storage can enable enterprise to free up their minimum storage requirements on their DVR or NVR storage device, and archive past recordings without having additional hardware + maintenance + energy expense. This would be a practical solution for some enterprise level companies.

Innovations in video compression technology is in development to better compress videos while still maintaining the original quality of the video. Check out our past post on Video Compression & the Digital Video Storage Dilemma.

As the successor to H.264, HEVC has been claimed to double the data compression ratio when compared to H.264, which would result in smaller file sizes compared to the current best compression format H.264.

TRUDEF™ , a proprietary video compression technology, is also capable of producing smaller file sizes at near picture perfect resolution. One of the unique features of the TRUDEF™ encoder — especially for the surveillance industry — is its real-time zoom capability.

By encoding magnification data into the video bit stream during compression, TRUDEF™ is able to instantly and seamlessly switch between 1x, 2x and 4x video display with no change in file size.

This feature of TRUDEF™ gives the encoder operator the ability to upscale and downscale video and individual frames without increasing the digital file size and achieving superior videos images with visually lossless display.

Overall, these newer generation compression formats will not only reduce file sizes while maintaining near lossless video quality, but will also make transmission of video images faster for IP HD camera users and cheaper energy usage through a more efficient compression technology.

Age of surveillance

With ongoing innovation in surveillance equipment, storage and video compression and the astounding demand that is driving down costs for surveillance equipment, we will be seeing more video cameras around every block and household.


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TMMI is a technology company headquartered in the US, specializing in video image management and compression. Founded in 1990, the company is dedicated to improving bandwidth utilization and video image quality. TMMI develops digital video compression technology that provides end-to-end workflow and distribution solutions for cinema, sports, mobile, streaming media, cable, medical imaging, security, defense, space exploration and education. TRUDEF™ fractal technology offers users enhanced image quality, reduced bandwidth utilization and digital media storage requirements.


  • Cam

    Informative piece…thanks! Staggering numbers regarding the adoption of video in the surveillance and security industry.