You do not have to be a tech-savvy person to notice that many big tech companies are promoting smart security cameras these days. These cameras are primarily cloud-enabled cameras which give you the ability to integrate them into the cloud. The most obvious feature is that you can save your security footage to the cloud, which you can access remotely. If intruders choose to physically destroy your security cameras or on-premises data storage, you will always have your footage security stored in cloud to catch the criminal activity.

This is a typical sales pitch you will hear if you are shopping for security cameras for your house. However, suppose you are trying to build a bullet-proof security system for your business. In that case, cloud cameras will bring much more benefits compared to traditional, non-cloud-based security camera systems. To businesses, the benefits of cloud cameras are more than just storing footage in the cloud. They also offer an extensive amount of computation and analytics features. All these advanced features translate to a much better and improved security monitoring experience for businesses. With all the high-tech features, they are easy to install and more cost-effective.

This article will walk you through all the advanced features of cloud cameras and show you how they enhance your security in comparison to your typical surveillance cameras. We will also show you how to choose suitable cameras and how to integrate them with an access control system to improve your business efficiency. Let us dive right in.

Cloud Cameras vs Non-Cloud Cameras?

Foremost, it makes sense to give it a proper definition. What is a cloud camera exactly? Simply put, cloud security cameras utilize enterprise cloud technology to store, access, and manage video footage. Some manufacturers also call them IP cameras. Below are some specific differences between the two.

Storage Difference

As mentioned in the beginning, cloud cameras have direct access to the internet, allowing users to easily monitor their video feeds remotely or review past footage via a web browser or a mobile application. Cloud cameras securely transmit the recorded video data and store it on remote servers. Usually, the camera manufacturers or a third-party cloud service vendor manage these servers to ensure your data are always accessible and safe.

Traditional analog surveillance systems, on the other hand, require local storage devices like Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) or Network Video Recorders (NVRs). This architecture requires businesses themselves to construct the network so that all cameras connect to DVRs or NVRs. These DVR/NVR connections are usually wired, which means you need to consider cable management. You will also need to build dedicated rooms and cooling systems for your data servers. Furthermore, you need to implement software protection to your system to prevent any cyber-attack.

Conversely, with cloud cameras, the end user does not need to be as involved or knowledgeable about the security and cabling details. It is all up to the cloud or server management companies to do all the heavy lifting. They have more professional experience when it comes to data security, encryption, and backups. They are fully responsible for your data’s easy accessibility and security. Effectively, you can sit back and focus more on your day-to-day business.

For traditional on-premises security systems, businesses themselves are responsible for data security, encryption, and backups. That requires a lot of extra effort and investment to build and operate a reliable security system. Any mismanagement during any of these steps will leave vulnerabilities to your data for hackers to exploit, or you can lose your data during accidents or outages. Businesses themselves will have to suffer the consequences without any recourse.

Hardware Differences

Due to the functional differences between cloud and non-cloud security cameras, there are also several hardware differences.


The most obvious one is the onboard storage unit. Non-cloud security cameras typically require storage units built into the cameras. In contrast, cloud security cameras do not need local storage. In fact, most of your data is entirely off-site. Meaning, if your power or server goes down due to technical failure, all your data is safe. As a result, in the event that you want to move your office or rearrange rooms, there is significantly less stress about losing your data. You can back it up to the cloud and pick up right where you left off.

As a cloud camera user, you do not need to worry about running out of storage space or reallocating storage space at all. It is all done automatically by the cloud service providers. This allows you to set flexible data retention policies which allow you to save footage in the cloud for up to 120 days.


Cloud security cameras offer greater scalability compared to non-cloud cameras. Suppose you want to add more cameras with a non-cloud camera system. You will need to consider adding more ports to the DVR or NVR. You also need to see if you have wires or ports available for your camera placements. Scaling is much easier for cloud cameras. You will only need an ethernet cable to activate a new camera service online. There is no need for additional cabling or major infrastructure changes.

Computing Power

Cloud security cameras have more processing power onboard than non-cloud cameras. This additional processing power enables cloud cameras to independently perform advanced analytics and video enhancement tasks. Non-cloud cameras have extremely limited processing capabilities. If you happen to use an old NVR, you would not be able to take advantage of AI analysis or machine learning. So, when you need to review your security footage, you will have to manually scrub through your files to find the incident.


Cloud security cameras' hardware design allows direct and seamless connectivity to cloud platforms for video storage, remote access, and advanced analytics. Non-cloud cameras, however, will require additional hardware or software components to achieve similar functionalities without implementing a cloud. Some older models may not even allow cloud integration at all.

User Interface and management differences

Remote Access and Management

Cloud security cameras excel in remote access and management capabilities. Users can easily access live or recorded video feeds from cloud cameras using web browsers, mobile apps, or computer software, regardless of their locations. All you need to do is to type in your user ID and password. It is as easy as logging into your email. Then, all your security live feed and past footage are available at your fingertips.

This is unlike non-cloud cameras, which require a more localized approach for accessing and managing video footage. In most cases, systems rely on direct connections and a local recording device when it comes to access and management. If you want to remotely access your non-cloud-based cameras, it requires some network knowledge which adds additional difficulties. For example, if you want to view one camera on your phone, you will need to know the exact IP address and port on the NVR to access it through the network. If you have multiple cameras and multiple office locations, you will have to do this process for each location and camera separately.

User Experience

Cloud camera platforms provide more intuitive user interfaces and more advanced mobile applications. These interfaces allow a better user experience when accessing and managing their cameras and data. Many cloud camera brands offer customizable dashboards on their UI, where users can configure their own dashboards to their specific needs. Users can also customize alerts and control camera pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) functions through an app UI.

Non-Cloud security cameras will not always have this level of convenience. You might not care about the user experience difference when you only need to manage two or three cameras. However, when you have tens or even hundreds of cameras, managing them using without cloud features will become extremely difficult.

Deployment Differences

Hardware installation

As mentioned before, when it comes to hardware installation, you only need to worry about power and network connectivity for cloud cameras. This connection can be through Ethernet cables or through wireless technologies. If you choose to use cloud cameras that support power over Ethernet (PoE), you only need one cable for each camera.

Unlike Non-cloud cameras, you will always need additional hardware like an NVR to store recorded footage. Connecting cameras to this type of system is more complicated and time-consuming. If you want to secure your own data, you will need additional time to set up data encryption and a solid backup plan. When you have more data or want to add more cameras, your NVR equipment will get bigger and more expensive.

Software Setup

Non-cloud cameras often require software installation on a computer or dedicated recording device to manage and access the camera feeds. The software may include features for live viewing, video playback, and camera configuration. Users must set up the software, establish connections between the cameras and the recording device, and configure settings accordingly. It requires you to have a decent amount of network knowledge to configure a non-cloud security camera system.

Setting out new cloud cameras, on the other hand, can be a much simpler and more enjoyable process. If you already have an account with the cloud service provider, you only need to register and activate each new camera to your account. This process can be as simple as scanning a QR code with your phone, wait for a minute to load all the backend magic and your setup is complete! There is no need for any tedious manual setup for non-cloud cameras.

Exclusive Features of Cloud Security Cameras

Since your cameras are part of the internet and cloud, there are so many advanced features that are exclusive to cloud cameras. All these features will put cloud cameras miles ahead of traditional, non-cloud cameras. In fact, cloud storage is the least impressive feature of cloud cameras. If you do not believe it, please keep reading.

Enhanced Security

Since cloud cameras store video footage offsite in the cloud, it significantly lowers the chance of losing your data to hacking, theft, physical damage, flood, system failures or power outage. Cloud service providers take care of redundant servers and backup systems, ensuring the availability and integrity of the recorded footage. Users do not even need to worry about data storage at all. This feature alone improves your security dramatically and saves you a lot of trouble too.

Artificial Intelligence-based Features

Cloud cameras can leverage AI to provide advanced features and capabilities for enhanced security monitoring. Thanks to the powerful onboard processing power and cloud connection. These features are impossible on non-cloud-based cameras.

Motion Detection

Cloud cameras can accurately detect and differentiate human movement from other types of motion, such as animals or swaying trees. This feature helps reduce false alarms by sending notifications only when the camera detects human activity. It improves the effectiveness of your surveillance system.

Facial Recognition

Nowadays, cloud cameras have the ability to recognize human faces. This feature enables the identification of individuals, allowing for customized alerts, access control, or generating notifications for recognized or unrecognized faces. This feature is more useful in places like schools, hospitals, and retailers.

Object Detection and Tracking

Cloud cameras also have object detection capabilities which means they can identify and track specific objects of interest within the camera's view. This feature is particularly useful in identifying and tracking moving objects like vehicles, packages, or people, ensuring continuous monitoring.

Even crazier, cloud cameras also allow motion plotting which means users can define virtual lines within the cameras' field of view for objects or people not to cross. This feature is helpful for monitoring entrances, virtual boundaries, or other critical areas.

Real-time AI Analysis & Threat Detection

AI algorithms allow cloud cameras to distinguish between legitimate entering and forced entrance. Combining all the recognition and analysis features mentioned earlier, cloud cameras can listen for key audio cues, such as screaming, gunshots, glass breaking, and noises. They can also detect and alert visual anomalies, such as seeing a person or a car in an unauthorized area. This feature will help your security system to detect potential unauthorized intrusions or suspicious activities. An alert will only go off when there is unauthorized access. This will also reduce false alarms and improve effectiveness.

Smart Search and Filtering

AI allows users to perform intelligent searches within recorded video footage. Users can search for specific objects, people, license plates, or events based on attributes like appearance, colour, or behaviour. This feature will significantly save time and effort compared to traditional manual video reviews.

This feature allows the HR department to instantly search and review recorded footage based on specific key descriptions such as employee ID, time range, or specific events. It helps HR to investigate incidents, resolve disputes, and ensure compliance with company policies.

Also, HR can use it to identify and investigate potential security threats, unauthorized access, or suspicious activities within the workplace.

During a criminal investigation, this feature can help police agencies to efficiently review video footage. They can search for specific events, individuals, or objects, saving valuable time and resources. This can help in identifying suspects, gathering evidence, and building stronger cases. By using smart search capabilities, police agencies can also proactively monitor areas of interest, or people who fit specific descriptions. They can quickly identify potential threats or criminal activities and take immediate action.

Other Features

Adaptive Quality

Based on factors like bandwidth, latency, and network congestion, the cloud camera system can intelligently adjust the quality of the video stream. When network conditions are favourable, the camera can increase the video quality, providing higher resolution and clearer images. Conversely, when network conditions deteriorate, the camera automatically reduces the video quality to ensure smooth transmission and prevent disruptions.

Bandwidth Optimization with Machine Learning

Cloud cameras employ various techniques to optimize bandwidth usage. These techniques aim to reduce the amount of data transmission without compromising the essential details of the video stream. For example, cloud cameras use advanced video compression algorithms to reduce the video file size without significant loss in quality. Cloud cameras can also dynamically adjust the frame rate based on network conditions and adapt the encoding rate to the complexity of the scene. All these techniques help cloud cameras to optimize bandwidth usage.

Here is another example, when there is nothing interesting is going on in the scene, like an empty parking lot at night, the camera will record as low as 360p. However, as soon as anything activity is detected, the camera feed will increase to max resolution. It will minimize the load on the network and saves storage space.

Map View with Smart Presence

You can use the map view option to see your premise with all your camera positions. You can use the map view to determine where to add and configure your cameras. You will also have real-time ability to intelligently track people and objects as cameras detect them. Instead of looking at multiple feeds to find where a suspicious individual is headed, you can track symbols on a bird-eye view of your premise, as they walk through hallways or doors.

Occupancy Counting

This feature allows operators to monitor a large facility and keep track of the total occupancy of people and vehicles in a defined location. Retail stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, and hotels can use this feature to monitor the number of customers in their stores at any given time. It will help them ensure compliance with occupancy limits, manage customer flow, and improve overall safety and security.

Event venues such as conference centers, stadiums, and concert halls, can leverage this feature to track the number of attendees during events. This enables organizers to manage crowd control, ensure compliance with capacity regulations, and enhance security measures.

Public transportation also can use it to manage buses, trains, and subways at all stations. It helps transportation authorities to monitor passenger density, optimize service levels, and ensure passenger safety. The benefits list just goes on.


The heatmap feature of cloud cameras is another powerful feature that provides visual representations of the occupancy or activity levels in specific areas within a business premises. It utilizes color-coded overlays to display areas of high and low activities, allowing businesses to gain valuable insights into customer behavior.

Retailers, restaurants, bars, casinos, museums, theme parks, and event venues can use this feature to analyze their customer movement patterns, then optimize their product placement, design effective layouts, and allocate staff resources efficiently. This feature offers businesses the ability to visualize customer behavior and optimize various aspects of their operations, leading to improved customer satisfaction, increased efficiency, and better decision-making.

Customizable Alerts

The smart alert feature in cloud cameras significantly improves the accuracy and relevance of notifications. It minimizes false alarms and ensures that users only receive alerts to critical events. By leveraging AI and advanced analytics, cloud cameras can make more intelligent decisions, enhancing the effectiveness of security monitoring systems.

Intelligent Sharing

Cloud camera systems offer the flexibility for users to share security footage with other authorized users. Cloud camera systems can easily generate secure links to share the footage with others. All you need to do is to tap the share option and configure a few access permissions. The software will generate a secure link that the users can forward to anyone they trust. If anything goes wrong, the administrator can cut off shared access immediately.

Access Control Integration

Users can easily integrate cloud cameras into cloud-based access control systems directly through a cloud platform or service. These platforms provide a centralized management interface accessible via the internet, where administrators can configure, monitor, and control both access control and camera functionalities remotely.

Combining with the occupancy counting feature, this integration with help businesses to have enhanced real-time situational awareness and control. For example, the cloud security camera system with the occupancy counting feature can detect if a bar is getting overcrowded. It will trigger the access control system to prevent more people from entering until some people leave. The same idea can also apply to managing a parking lot where the access control only provides entry for authorized vehicles recognized by the cloud camera.

These smart features enhance the functionalities and effectiveness of your security system, providing intelligent surveillance capabilities that go beyond security. It will also be a helpful management tool that will help you to improve your efficiency and productivity. If you are running a factory or a warehouse, you should consider how leveraging these AI features can help your business thrive. It is important to note that the availability of AI features may vary depending on the specific cloud camera models and manufacturers. Likewise, different companies will offer different software and management experience. Please do your own research before placing your order. One of our partners, Avigilon Alta, provides some of the best cloud security cameras with the most advanced cloud ecosystem with AI integration.

Future Proof Your Security System for Your Business

Why Cloud Cameras Are the Future?

We have covered all the advantages of cloud cameras over traditional non-cloud-based cameras. We also discussed all the exclusive features of cloud cameras. As you can see, cloud cameras excel in every category of benchmarks and even have features that non-cloud cameras would not dream of. It is safe to say that it is a wise idea to deploy cloud cameras if you want to future-proof your security system. They will not only provide security to your business but also will bring you improved convenience and productivity. Where will cloud cameras go in the future? What are some new features you should expect? Let us explore that in this section.

More Software-Enabled Features

Cloud cameras allow users to experience new features without constantly updating their hardware. For example, assume you want to improve your security cameras' resolution. In the past, you must upgrade your cameras without a question. However, with cloud cameras, you might not have to do that. Your cloud service provider could offer you an AI-powered image enhancement feature, which will upscale your image quality without updating your hardware at all.

Many features of cloud cameras are software-based. If you install cloud cameras with sufficient processing power, many new features will come to your devices through software updates. There is no need for hardware upgrades all the time. How can you get more future-proofed than this?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Integration

In the previous section, we already covered many features of cloud cameras leveraging AI. It will take time for these features to get even better. It will also take some time for these features to become cheaper and more standard for all cloud cameras. Moving forward, cloud cameras will continue to leverage AI capabilities, enabling advanced video analytics and intelligent features.

AI algorithms will become more sophisticated, allowing real-time object recognition, behaviour analysis, and anomaly detection. This integration will enhance the accuracy, efficiency, and automation of security monitoring, providing more intelligent threat detections and responses.

Edge Computing Integration

As mentioned before, cloud cameras already have powerful processing power onboard. As microchip technology advances, they will have even more computational power, which allows them to process more data on-device rather than relying on the cloud. This integration enables faster real-time analysis, reduces reliance on internet connectivity, and enhances privacy by minimizing data transmission to the cloud.

Enhanced Video Quality and Resolution

Future cloud cameras will support higher video quality and resolution, including 4K and even 8K capabilities. This advancement will result in more detailed and clearer video feeds, enabling better identification and analysis of objects, faces, and events. Combined with AI-powered adaptive quality and bandwidth optimization features, they can further improve your security system's effectiveness.

Cellular and 5G Connectivity

It is always beneficial for cloud cameras to support cellular technology. It is not a gimmick feature, as some people may think. It is easy for intruders to disable Wi-Fi equipment or jam your Wi-Fi network signals. The reason is that Wi-Fi has a much shorter bandwidth compared to cellular signals. Turning on a microwave cooker will bring a strong disturbance to your Wi-Fi network. When there is a strong, disruptive signal, your cloud cameras connection may weaken or disconnect entirely. Therefore, for cloud cameras to have cellular access as a backup plan becomes crucial for your security system.

The adoption of 5G networks will significantly impact cloud cameras. With faster and more reliable connectivity, cloud cameras can transmit high-quality video feeds and data in real time. This opens new possibilities for improved remote monitoring, responsive analytics, and seamless integration with other smart devices and systems. This feature is particularly useful for enterprise users who want to use a surveillance system to improve productivity.

Integration with IoT Ecosystems

Cloud cameras will continue to integrate with other Internet of Things (IoT) device ecosystems. They will collaborate with sensors, smart locks, voice assistants, intercom, and other devices to create comprehensive security solutions. There will be more smart features coming to cloud cameras and control and management will only become easier. Users will have the ability to control and monitor their cameras through centralized platforms, further enhancing convenience and automation.

Enhanced Privacy and Data Security

In the digital age, privacy, and data security are always big concerns for individuals and enterprises. There are always chances for intentional or accidental data breaches. It could happen to the best of us at any time, let alone millions of small companies worldwide.

To battle this challenge, cloud camera manufacturers will prioritize continuously improving privacy and data security measures. These may include end-to-end encryption, secure authentication mechanisms, dynamic backup mechanisms, and advanced privacy controls to ensure that sensitive information remains protected.

High Return on Investment (ROI)

Overall, cloud cameras provide low upfront costs compared to traditional on-premises surveillance systems. They also require lower maintenance and support costs. On top of that, they continuously receive software updates, which will enable more and better features. They will have better performance, stronger security patches, and more compatibility improvements over time. Unlike non-cloud cameras, which will only decrease in everything as time goes on.

If the money-saving is not compelling enough, cloud cameras are also easy to set up and operate. It will save users a significant amount of time. They are easy to operate or scale. They require no network knowledge to operate. You can manage everything through one intuitive dashboard on your phone. Overall, cloud cameras offer a high ROI by providing cost savings, continuous updates, time savings, and easy scalability.

How to Choose Cloud Cameras for Your Business?

There are many factors business owners need to consider when choosing cloud cameras. In this article, we will only cover factors that matter to cloud cameras. If you want to learn more about choosing security cameras in general, please check out Everything You Need to Know About Building Your Surveillance Camera System.

Cloud Storage Options

Cloud storage options provided by different camera manufacturers or service providers are not always the same. Usually, different storage options have their own advantages and disadvantages. If your business has high traffic, such as schools, hospitals, and hotels, you will want to choose a higher storage capacity option. If you want a security system for a farm, a lower-capacity option might work simply fine.

Other than storage capacities, factors such as storage duration, video retention policies, and additional costs to storage upgrades are all important. Please do your research. Better yet, call a security professional or a cloud service provider for a consultation. It will save you a lot of trouble.

Connectivity and Compatibility

You need to make sure the cloud camera model you choose is compatible with your existing network infrastructure and devices. Check if it supports Wi-Fi connectivity or requires a wired Ethernet connection. For the wireless case, you must make sure your existing network infrastructure has enough bandwidth to support the number of cameras you are planning to install.

Usually, for standard-definition (SD) cameras, they require a bandwidth range of 256 Kbps to 1 Mbps per camera. High Definition (HD) cameras, with resolutions like 720p and 1080p, require a bandwidth range of 1 Mbps to 4 Mbps. Ultra HD or 4K cameras have higher bandwidth requirements due to their increased video resolution and advanced colour accuracy. Bandwidth requirements for these cameras can range from 4 Mbps to 16 Mbps or more, depending on the compression settings and frame rate.

Mobile and Web Apps

Different manufacturers could have drastically different UI and mobile app designs. It is more about personal preference. You need to consider the user interface, ease of navigation, customization options, and other available features within the app. Choosing an ecosystem that is user-friendly and supports all the functionalities you desire is a crucial step.

Security and Privacy

As mentioned before, security and privacy are always a concern regardless of what you do. It is important to use cloud cameras and cloud services that take your data security and privacy more seriously. Good service providers would employ encryption protocols to secure data transmission and storage. They should also offer advanced security features like two-factor authentication, secure login credentials, and regular firmware updates to protect against potential vulnerabilities. It is wise to choose reputable companies as your cloud service provider.

Avigilon AVA Cloud Connectors

Avigilon AVA Cloud Connectors are innovative solutions offered by Avigilon, a leading provider of video surveillance and security solutions. These Cloud Connectors can convert your existing, generic IP cameras into smart, cloud-enabled cameras, expanding their capabilities with the power of cloud-based analytics and management.

With Avigilon AVA Cloud Connectors, businesses can increase the functionalities of their current IP camera infrastructure without needing costly hardware upgrades. The Cloud Connectors act as a bridge between IP cameras and Avigilon's cloud-based platform, enabling advanced video analytics, remote access, and management features. Businesses can improve their security systems, improve operational efficiency, and enhance situational awareness. Below are some key benefits that are unique to The Cloud Connectors.

Easier Transition to A Cloud-Based Surveillance System

Even though it is easier to install cloud cameras relative to non-cloud cameras, it is still a sizable financial and time investment for businesses to transition to a cloud-based surveillance system. Naturally, it also takes time to adjust to a new cloud-based management platform. Overall, it can be time-consuming for businesses to fully take advantage of all the cool features cloud cameras offer. Using The Cloud Connectors solution can be a great stepping stone. You can easily access many cloud analytic features and enjoy a more streamlined remote access and management experience.

Simplified Deployment Process

The Cloud Connectors simplify the deployment and management of IP cameras. The connectors eliminate the need for complex on-premises infrastructure change and reduce the burden of software installations and firmware updates. Afterwards, the cloud-based management platform will help you to configure cameras, monitor, and streamline the camera management process.

Cost-Effective and Time-Saving Solution

Avigilon AVA Cloud Connectors offer a cost-effective solution for businesses seeking to enhance their existing IP camera infrastructure without re-building a brand-new surveillance system. By converting their current cameras into cloud-enabled devices, businesses can leverage advanced analytics and remote management features in a shorter timeframe. This cost-effective approach maximizes the value of the existing camera system and significantly reduces the deployment time.


Security systems have become much more complicated and expensive for ordinary businesses to handle everything by themselves. Yet, the importance of deploying a security system has never been as vital as today. A cloud-based security camera system is a superior solution to this challenge. It offers benefits that go way beyond cloud storage. It allows remote access and management, advanced AI-Powered analytic abilities, better scalability and flexibility, and enhanced data security. Not only does it offer security capabilities to businesses but also works as a useful operational tool to improve efficiency.

The world is getting more competitive today. Businesses must focus as much resources as they can on their core operations. They should not spend too much time operating and maintaining a legacy surveillance camera system. If you are considering installing cloud cameras or Avigilon AVA Cloud Connectors, book your appointment with Panopticon today at 416-613-8828.