Original article published in Transport Monthly, April 7, 2017.

T oday, video surveillance cameras are commonplace and transportation agencies and businesses are benefiting from advanced technologies that are now widely available. Detailed images can be produced, with more activity captured by multi-sensor HD cameras, and facial recognition applications can also be used to identify criminal suspects. But analytics are no longer just limited to security applications.

From spotting how damage occurred to monitoring the flow of vehicles and cargo by tracking movements in and out of depots, the analysis of surveillance video is now used by forward thinking hauliers to deliver better and more efficient service. This can lower the cost of maintenance and management, and create better business processes.

However, these increased capabilities create new challenges. Today, more data is generated by video surveillance cameras than ever before. Data retention times are increasing to protect against legal issues and enable sophisticated predictive analytics. If an incident occurs, organizations must collaborate with authorities, making the ability to easily access and share data without needing third-party or IT help critical.

The culmination of more cameras, the transition to digital technology, and longer retention times are creating a data storage problem for many transportation organizations. Onboard camera analytics and data compression can help reduce the volume of data streaming across networks, but more capacity with easy access to files is still needed.

To solve these issues, transportation organizations require a high-performance data management solution and storage architecture.

Organizations are keeping as much as 40 percent of their inactive data on their most expensive infrastructure, which is a very costly approach. Alternatively,  they need a storage system that can grow without breaking the bank. Implementing architecture based on storage tiers consisting of high-performance primary disk, high-capacity secondary disk, file-based tape, and cloud storage is the best answer to this.

Configured properly, a multi-tier architecture can automatically move video files to the most cost-efficient tiers of storage based on user-defined criteria, providing a more economical approach to long-term data retention.

A multi-tier architecture can scale to increasing camera counts and file sizes with no disruption. When more space is needed, capacity can added to the tiers incrementally.

With the proper data management capability, this approach enables files to be easily retrieved and shared. Wherever the data is, the user sees a single view and doesn’t need to rely on IT support to find information.

By making smart decisions about storage, transportation organizations will not just handle the current data storage problem, but also be able to take advantage of new opportunities in the future with a flexible, scalable storage architecture.

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