Building security systems for home and commercial uses has never been easier thanks to the internet of things, smaller and smaller hardware, and smartphones. Below, we’ll explore some of the latest trends, concerns, and predictions for the world of surveillance.
What’s Happening Now in Surveillance
Through IoT devices, those looking to protect and monitor property no longer have to rely on a complicated network of camera lenses, tapes, and wiring. Instead, powerful wireless solutions can enable low-cost security systems that are flexible, secure and easily accessible. Secure streaming powered by application technology like WebRTC enables real-time audio and video monitoring that can be easily accessed through a browser anywhere the internet is available.
Surveillance Market Size: Gartner Perspective
Currently valued at $36 billion, the global video surveillance market is expected to expand to nearly $63 billion by 2023. Thanks to breakthroughs in video streaming and camera technology, the market for surveillance cameras and security devices continues to grow at a rapid pace. Small components, 360° cameras, and low-cost manufacturing is driving increased adoption of surveillance devices in public security cameras, point-of-sale terminals, and home security systems. Research company Gartner believes the demand for smart surveillance cameras will continue to grow in order to combat crime, terrorism, and natural disasters.
What is Surveillance Used For?
WebRTC-based surveillance can be found in hardware and software platforms focused on delivering affordable, secure video monitoring. Smart Wi-Fi security cameras controlled through a mobile application or web browser enable users to monitor live video feeds with a variety of control, playback, and recording options.
Security manufacturer Amaryllo offers a complete line of WebRTC-based surveillance products that include everything from robotic cameras to baby monitors. The ATOM 2, a robotic security camera and winner of the WebRTC World Product of the Year Award, offers facial recognition, real-time two-way communication, and the ability for users to remotely pan, zoom, and tilt its 360° camera.
The flexibility of an open-source toolkit like WebRTC also enables creators and tinkerers to develop their own surveillance devices. Using off-the-shelf components, DesignSpark offers a complete guide to building a Raspberry Pi-based WebRTC security camera for less than $100 USD. Built with just four components — a Raspberry Pi 2, a Raspberry Pi Camera, a USB Wifi adapter and an 8GB SD card — the device utilizes Janus, a WebRTC gateway, to stream video directly to the browser without the need to install additional software.
What are the Main Concerns in the Surveillance Space?
The nature of open-source technology introduces a number of security concerns. Bad actors who have access to open-source development tools can gain source code insights that could possibly allow exploits that lead to unsecured software applications. However, those concerns should be considered overblown. For example, because WebRTC offers mandatory end-to-end encryption, requires user permission to access the camera or microphone, and is browser-based without requiring additional plugins, the technology offers secure connectivity that can be updated without user interference.
Beyond technology, many worry about the social concerns of mass surveillance. Always-on cameras easily accessible over the internet can lead to greater level of government interference and control, reducing human rights and freedom of movement across the world. For example, the lives of the Uighur people in northwestern China are being greatly upended as inhabitants of a 24/7 surveillance state. As cheap, persistent surveillance technology continues to proliferate across the globe, expect greater scrutiny to the implementations of the hardware and software from citizens of potentially repressive governments.
Where is Surveillance Headed?
Over the next several years, WebRTC-based surveillance devices will continue to be adopted as users transition from CCTV and IP-based cameras to live video solutions. Aging systems using physical tapes and manual equipment will be replaced by automated systems that offer motion detection, facial recognition and expanded remote access.
Companies like Mersoft are also changing the approach to the surveillance business model. Rather than simply supplying equipment and software that needs to be updated manually through patches or downloads, surveillance devices are being offered through a security-as-a-service SaaS platform. Moving surveillance into the cloud will allow for continued access to real-time monitoring, archived footage, and enhanced scalability.
This post is a continuation on our series on real-time communications and WebRTC verticals. To see previous posts in this series, please check out our first post WebRTC Verticals Series - A Sweeping Introduction.