As more police departments adopt advanced surveillance camera technologies, many are having sticker shock from the high cost of storing video data. Just one on-body camera alone can produce as much as 18 gigabytes of video data per shift, or one terabyte annually. That’s a lot of data to store long-term, which has some departments switching off their cameras until they anticipate contact with people. But there are several factors beyond cost to keep in mind when planning for the storage infrastructure needed to support an on-body camera program:

1.    Ease of access to data and information sharing required by local/state law

The goal should be to have a storage solution that appears to the end user like a giant C: drive or a single file system. On the backend, retention and access policies can be set to handle data migration and simplify organization and file recall. Sending video data to various tiers enables greater accessibility in the event that footage stored off-site becomes unavailable.

2.    Flexibility to take on more capacity as programs evolve

The ability to seamlessly integrate more sources of information into modern analytical tools is becoming more important.  The capacity to scale and accommodate increased camera and sensor counts, wider “field of view” coverage, and higher image resolution are also becoming key system features.  

3.    Planning for information analysis and collaboration

A storage solution needs to take into account not only how much data can be stored on various tiers, but also how quickly it can ingest video data from various cameras—on-body, dashboard, sally port, interview rooms, etc. The storage solution also needs to offer flexibility and the capability to store complete case records on a single system. That way, departments can respond to public inquiries for access to law enforcement video. Having the bandwidth to ingest, share, access and integrate various audio and video feeds is vital to public safety.

4.    Consider a tiered approach to storage

Using a typical cloud-based storage solution with on-body cameras can cost approximately $1,000 per officer per year. With 1,500 officers, storage will cost $3 million over two years. Our firm estimates that a tiered-storage approach that incorporates a mix of high performance disk, high capacity disk, file-based tape and cloud–based storage will cost around $213 per officer. A tiered approach, therefore, can provide a savings of approximately 80 percent of the total system cost.

Wayne Arvidson is Vice President of Surveillance & Security Solutions at Quantum. He has served as a senior manager for 25 years in companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 firms. He drives Quantum’s strategy in the surveillance and security market.

Quantum has expertise in scale-out storage, archive and data protection. The firm provides solutions for capturing, sharing and preserving digital assets over the entire data lifecycle. In the photo above to the right: An image of Quantum’s Xcellis Application Director. This is a storage solution that Quantum provides.

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