12 Best Cloud-Based Security Cameras for Businesses in 2023
The market for video security system for businesses is filled with numerous players, which can confuse customers about which systems to consider and how to select their next solution. As the world shifts towards the cloud based security cameras, every director in charge of IT, security, or loss prevention is now integrating cloud security cameras into their strategic plans.
Why is the move to the cloud so crucial?
- Centralized Management: Overseeing all sites and cameras from a single dashboard simplifies operations. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) enables IT teams to determine which users have access to specific cameras.
- Remote Accessibility: Effortless access to all devices via a web browser makes monitoring and control convenient.
- Data Security: Cloud storage for security cameras and archiving ensure the safety of critical video data, minimizing risks.
- IT Relief: The burden on the IT team is significantly reduced, as all software can be remotely maintained and updated.
- AI Advancements: Features like license plate recognition (LPR) with security cameras, facial recognition, and person-of-interest tracking enhance safety and operational efficiency.
With these considerations in mind, we've compiled a list of the 12 leading players in business video security, along with their pros and cons, to help you navigate what's right for your business.
The list below is in no particular order:
- Rhombus Systems
- Cisco Meraki
- Avigilon Alta
- Coram AI
- Spot AI
- Eagle Eye Networks
- Avigilon Unity
- Ambient AI
Verkada in cloud-based security cameras dates back to 2016, offering a feature-rich and comprehensive physical security platform.
- Multi-Product Platform: Verkada offers a range of products, including security IP cameras, environment sensors and access control, creating an all-encompassing security solution.
- Unified Management: The Verkada Command interface serves as a centralized hub for connecting and managing all Verkada devices.
- AI: The Verkada platform has comprehensive AI security camera features such as facial and license plate recognition.
- User-Friendly: The platform boasts excellent mobile and web support, ensuring ease of use.
- Seamless Onboarding: Once the Verkada cameras are installed, connecting devices to the Verkada app is straightforward.
- Premium Pricing: Verkada's premium quality comes at a price, making it relatively expensive compared to other options in the market.
- Limited Compatibility: Verkada software works exclusively with proprietary Verkada IP cameras. If you already have existing IP cameras, switching to Verkada requires replacing all the cameras, which can be costly, especially for larger installations.
- Subscription Dependency: If you discontinue your Verkada software subscription, you lose access to the video feed, rendering the cameras non-functional.
- Lack of ONVIF Compatibility: Verkada cameras are not ONVIF compliant (open network video interface), limiting their compatibility with other Network Video Recorders (NVRs).
- Performance Challenges: Verkada's multi camera playback is limited to 4 cameras at a time and might experience slowness. Additionally, the hardware in Verkada cameras becomes outdated as newer AI chips enter the market. Upgrading the hardware is very expensive, as it requires replacing all cameras. For example, older Verkada cameras don’t support H265 video codec, only the newer ones do.
In previous years, the closed camera networks has shown to be a security risk with susceptibility to hacking. It's worth noting that as the industry progresses, the advantage of Verkada's closed network may diminish, particularly as other players with similar and improved software capabilities emerge. These competitors can often work with a broader range of IP cameras, as we'll explore further.
Rhombus Systems entered the scene around the same time as Verkada and offers a product line that closely mirrors Verkada's offerings but at a more budget-friendly price point.
- Affordable Alternative: Rhombus Systems provides a cost-effective alternative to Verkada, making it accessible to a wider range of customers.
- Slight Trade-offs: While Rhombus Systems offers a similar product lineup, its software may be slightly less capable than Verkada's, and its hardware platform is not as extensive and not as widely deployed when compared to Verkada.
In essence, Rhombus Systems is a suitable choice for customers seeking the advantages of Verkada's offerings without the premium price tag. Customers are unlikely to discern significant differences between Rhombus Systems and Verkada for most use cases. This underscores the evolving landscape where the value of a video security system increasingly resides in the software rather than exclusive hardware features.
Cisco Meraki is renowned for its network switches and has expanded its product offerings to include IP cameras, which resemble Verkada's offerings.
- Hardware Offering: Cisco Meraki has a robust offering of camera hardware and software. Meraki cameras are similar to Verkada in terms of their closed nature.
- Software Limitations: While the hardware aligns with Verkada's, Cisco Meraki's software significantly lags behind Verkada's capabilities.
- Limited Product Range: Unlike Verkada, Cisco Meraki primarily focuses on camera hardware and does not offer a broader range of physical security equipment like access control, environment sensors, etc.
- More Economical but not the cheapest: While more budget-friendly than Verkada, Cisco Meraki is still pricier than Rhombus Systems.
Avigilon Alta represents the merging of Openpath and Ava security, both of which Motorola Solutions acquired in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Ava cameras share similarities with Verkada, but Avigilon Alta also offers a cloud connector that can work with existing IP cameras.
- Comparable Features: Similar to Verkada, Avigilon Alta offers familiar features, though its software is less robust
- Access Control: Avigilon Alta incorporates Openpath access control solutions.
- Customer Support: Customer support may be lacking, a critical aspect in a cloud based security camera world. Other players in this space excel in providing robust remote support, leveraging the benefits of cloud connectivity for swift issue resolution without the need for on-site visits.
In summary, for customers seeking proprietary and closed cloud-connected camera solutions, the top options today are Verkada and Rhombus Systems. Both offer strong software and customer support, with Rhombus Systems standing out as the more cost-effective choice.
It's worth noting that the landscape of cloud NVR for IP cameras is rapidly evolving. To learn more about the changes in this space over recent years, you can read further in our discussion here on best cloud NVR.
Solink has established a solid presence in the market, particularly excelling in catering to customers requiring seamless integration of point-of-sale (POS) systems with commercial video surveillance. Their success has been particularly pronounced in retail stores where this integration is crucial.
- POS Integration Expertise: Solink shines as a leader in POS and video camera integration, meeting the specific needs of businesses that rely on this synergy.
- Camera Compatibility: It works with a wide range of IP cameras, enhancing its versatility.
- Software Limitations: Outside of its strong suit in POS integration, Solink's software is not as feature-rich.
- Slow to keep up with new AI Features: It lacks advanced AI features such as facial recognition and license plate reading (LPR) security camera.
- Video Performance Challenges: Loading video feeds can be slow, and the system is limited to searching and replaying data from a maximum of six cameras simultaneously.
Spot AI is a recent player in the cloud NVR space. It has endeavored to redefine NVR as an IVR (Intelligence Video Recorder), although the underlying concept remains the same.
- User-Friendly Dashboard: Spot AI offers an intuitive cloud dashboard that simplifies management.
- Camera Compatibility: It is compatible with a broad spectrum of IP cameras.
- Integration: Spot AI integrates with Avigilon Alta access control and Halo environment sensors.
- Free IP Cameras: Customers receive free IP cameras with a software subscription.
- Video Feed Limitations: Video feeds may experience occasional slowness and are limited to displaying a maximum of 16 video feeds at once, which can be restricting for customers with numerous cameras.
- AI Feature Gap: Spot AI lacks modern AI features, including facial recognition and fast video search with keywords. It also lacks the ability to track individuals across multiple cameras.
Coram AI is another rapidly growing cloud NVR player known for its video streaming and advanced features for business security cameras.
- User-Friendly Dashboard: Coram AI offers an intuitive cloud dashboard for easy management.
- Camera Compatibility: It works seamlessly with various IP cameras.
- Free IP Cameras: Customers receive free IP cameras with a software subscription.
- Modern AI Features: Coram AI boasts modern AI capabilities, including license plate reading, facial recognition, and keyword search, enhancing the value of its platform.
- Efficient People Tracking: The system automatically tracks persons of interest across multiple cameras, streamlining investigations.
- Performance: Coram AI's video wall size is not limited, allowing for the simultaneous display of up to 36 video feeds and smooth replay of data from these cameras, thanks to a cutting-edge video processing engine.
- Relative Newcomer: Despite its rapid progress, Coram AI is newer compared to Spot AI and Solink.
- POS and Access Control: Currently Coram AI does not support Point of Sale or access control systems yet, however, it is coming in 2024
In comparing Solink, Spot AI, and Coram AI, pricing is relatively similar, but the pace of innovation and quality of software differs across them. The future appears promising for customers as these companies continue to evolve. Over the next 3-4 years, it will be intriguing to see how each of these products shape their offerings. The landscape is exciting, with multiple excellent options to meet diverse customer needs.
Eagle Eye Networks
Eagle Eye Networks is an incumbent player in business security cameras. They are actively working to modernize their video security system, shifting toward a cloud-first approach. Additionally, they acquired Brivo for physical access control.
- Established Reputation: Eagle Eye Networks is a well-known name among resellers and security integrators, benefiting from its long-standing presence in the industry.
- Integrations: Eagle Eye Networks supports the integration of a wide variety of sensors and monitoring tools
- Weak Cloud Offering: The cloud-based solution provided by Eagle Eye Networks is very basic and is quite behind the players like Coram AI, Spot AI, or Solink.
- Software Quality Issues: The interface is quite outdated and slow, and the loading of the video feed is lagged.
Avigilon Unity is the original on-premises server solution from Avigilon. It primarily caters to on-premises operations and offers minimal cloud capabilities. It excels in providing fast and responsive access to video feeds over a local area network.
- Reliability: Avigilon Unity's on-premises hardware is highly reliable and trusted by numerous large enterprises. Both the servers and cameras are battle-tested in terms of hardware.
- Fast On-Premises Access: If your team primarily operates on-site and requires LAN-based video feed access, Avigilon Unity offers a quick and responsive solution.
- Weak Cloud Offering: The cloud-based security camera capabilities of Avigilon Unity are limited, and remote access to video feeds is reportedly slow and lagged.
- AI and User Interface: The AI features are rudimentary and lack robustness, and the user interface may not be considered very modern.
Avigilon Unity is an excellent choice if you require a fully on-premises system.
Genetec shares similarities with Avigilon and focuses on on-premises servers. Their cloud offering is also considered minimal.
- On-Premises Focus: Similar to Avigilon Unity, Genetec is designed for on-premises operations.
- Limited Cloud Offering: Genetec's cloud capabilities are minimal as they primarily focus efforts on-premise
Ambient AI is an emerging startup with a particular focus on video forensics and alert management for security operations centers (SOC).
- Camera Compatibility: Works with a wide range of IP cameras.
- Advanced Alerts: Offers modern alerts and anomaly detection features. These are generally suited for very large enterprise customers.
- Web-Based Dashboard: Provides a modern web-based dashboard for ease of use.
- Not a Full-Fledged Platform: Ambient AI is not a comprehensive video security platform but rather an add-on for existing video surveillance systems like Avigilon and Genetec.
- Accuracy of alerts: It is unclear how reliable these alerts are and how much value enterprise customers derive from them. Advanced alerts typically work fine in simple cases, but they also have many edge cases where they fail.
Nest or Blink
Nest and Blink primarily target consumer applications, making them suitable for homeowners with a limited number of cameras, typically less than ten. However, as camera counts increase, customers tend to seek higher reliability and uptime, often favoring IP cameras.
In summary, among the key players in the cloud-based security cameras for businesses, those offering user-friendly software with advanced AI capabilities include (in alphabetical order) Coram AI, Rhombus Systems, Solink, Spot AI, and Verkada. Among these, Coram AI, Solink, and Spot AI provide NVR-based solutions and the flexibility to work with a wide range of IP cameras. On the other hand, Rhombus Systems and Verkada exclusively support their proprietary cameras but offer modern software. If you are in the market for a contemporary video security solution, these companies are worth exploring.