Smart cities are an emerging trend worldwide and India has also taken a keen interest in making its developing urban cities a bit smarter. According to a research by Ireland-based Research and Markets, India’s video surveillance market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 13 percent during 2017-2023.
Senior executives at US-based data storage company Seagate have pointed out that with the growth in smart cities, there will be a growth in video-based surveillance camera to ensure a secure environment.
“Video surveillance has been around for a while now, but in recent years, the technology has truly grown mainstream in India,” Sameer Bhatia, Country Manager, India, and SAARC, Seagate, told IANS.
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According to a Seagate survey conducted in China, India, US, UK, and Brazil, Indian and Chinese organisations use 249 cameras on an average for surveillance within their premises.
While this number seems pretty high, it’s relatively lower than the 349 cameras used on an average for surveillance in US and UK.
“The smart city initiative, where over 100 cities are to be developed for better connectivity and security, as well as the demand from the commercial sector, are expected to drive India’s video surveillance market over the next six years,” Bhatia added.
A shift in trend of the usage of cameras has been witnessed as organisations have moved to using Internet Protocol (IP) video surveillance rather than the analog-based video surveillance segment because “IP video surveillance systems are highly flexible in providing access to footage from any remote location over the Internet”.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the global surveillance storage market will grow at over 15 per cent CAGR in terms of units, while the petabytes (a form of data) shipped will grow at a pace of 26 per cent (CAGR).
“Increase in video data to support video analytics, growth of surveillance in the healthcare sector, rise of biometric applications and video management and Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the key trends that will transform the video surveillance industry in India,” Bhatia told IANS.
Since these videos have to be stored somewhere, the increase in the use of video-based surveillance will also bring forth the question of storage and in addition to cloud storage, new hardware which uses lesser space will be a viable option too.
“Consumers are rapidly embracing and adopting new technologies like Cloud and portable storage. We expect to see deeper mobile device penetration and increasing use of video, big data analytics, and the Cloud,” the Seagate executive noted.
Increase in Surveillance = Threat to Privacy?
While it’s largely believed that video-based surveillance is in the best interest of the people as it enhances law enforcement agencies ability to keep the people secure, privacy activists beg to differ.
Smart cities will provide with an avenue for video-surveillance feeds to go active city-wide. Although this might help law enforcement to gather evidence after a crime has been committed, it’s very less likely that (anytime soon) they’ll be able to predict, identify and nab a perpetrator before the crime is committed.
Telling you that surveillance is very real shouldn’t take you by surprise — the NSA has been doing it and so are government organisations in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK.
Many people argue that law enforcement can be allowed to interfere with our privacy because that’s to safeguard us against threats. But the bigger question remains — who is to safeguard us from the people surveilling on us? Who keeps tabs on them? And who ascertains that the same technique isn’t used by a hacker group to gather information about an individual or a company?
Video-based surveillance system do provide the added convenience and might even give people the peace of mind, but it does come at a heavy price (read: privacy in the long run).