Exclusive: How Seagate are crafting the datasphere

November 19, 2021

Jermaine Campbell, Head of Surveillance Sales EMEA at Seagate explains how the company is developing technologies for the future.

The world has changed rapidly in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these evolutions. As a result, one thing is certain – data has become more important than ever and will be a key driver in decision making for businesses and cities. However, these huge amounts of data used for analytics also present new challenges for storage manufacturers.

What are Seagate’s objectives to help shape the future?

We need to access our data faster, more efficiently and from anywhere. It is no longer enough to have data – IT 4.0 wants us to do something with it. So, we apply analytics and try to get interesting insights we can learn from. Today, computers are generating data about data. All of this requires more storage space and we must find solutions to efficiently move the data from the edge, where it is created, to the core. Seagate has a vision about this.

How is surveillance affected by these changes?

The exponential growth of data creation is intrinsic to the surveillance industry. Cameras have their own technology and are delivering higher resolution in both video and audio, resulting in more data. Until now, we were recording video footage and checking it only when something happened. Today, we use that same data for analytics. Instead of leaving the data somewhere without being used, machines go through it to gather insights in order to learn patterns on behaviours and detect anomalies.

Of course, this also presents new challenges for storage manufacturers. We use huge amounts of data from thousands of cameras everywhere, from school campuses to hospitals. But you cannot store petabytes in the same way as terabytes. Instead of putting one drive into a DVR, now we can add 84 or even 106 drives in a single solution. In addition, you need to find ways to keep the drives available and prevent all cameras from stopping if one drive fails. Therefore, we have developed specific technology that guarantees 99.999% availability and keeps the system running if something happens.

What was the impact of the pandemic on Seagate?

We felt the effect of the pandemic of course. Seagate is about people and we had to adapt to the logistical constraints around COVID-19. However, the market has also changed. In surveillance, the use of thermal sensors has accelerated. When I travelled to China before the health crisis, I already had to pass through an area where cameras detected if people had a fever. This technology will become more prevalent in our facilities.

The use of analytics in surveillance has gained momentum and I believe we have made entry-level analytic drives more available on the market during the pandemic. When COVID-19 is over, we imagine these technologies will be used in other ways, such as managing crowds, stadium management, construction, PPE compliance and more.

Do you think we are now better prepared for future challenges?

During COVID-19, we saw that cities play a critical role in managing such a crisis. Smart solutions like video surveillance offer a solid starting point for improving proactive responses. Cities will be able to develop frameworks to respond to future public health challenges.

Ultimately, it is the data that makes the difference. Effective collection, storage and analysis of video data empowers cities to make informed decisions. However, the increasing amount of data also raises concerns about the IT infrastructure required to leverage the true value of data. As a result, we now need to find the right solutions to be ready for the future.

You mentioned storage space and data mobility. Are those key industry challenges?

The biggest challenge is definitely capacity. An IDC report has predicted that the market is going to grow from 33 ZB of data created to 175 ZB by 2025. In 2021 alone we have seen 66 ZB of data created. But where does that data go? We cannot keep adjusting the production of hard drives. Our previous technology has reached its ceiling, so we need new technologies that can handle the increased data capacity. Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) enables us to ship 20 TB drives today and it will allow to ramp up drive capacity to 30 TB, 50 TB and even 100 TB in a short period of time.

The other challenge is indeed data mobility. If you have hundreds of trucks collecting data, you need to pull all that data into one central place where it can be analysed. We are ready for that thanks to our new live platform that can move data from the edge through the different layers to the core. For example, we have these data shuttles where you can plug terabytes of storage into a single enclosure. The data is encrypted and can be accessed incredibly fast for when you need it. Alternatively, you can carry the data in your hand to offload it somewhere else.

Where do you see the future heading?

Data will obviously become more important every day. Our current EDS systems are best placed to manage AI and super-fast streaming. By analysing hours and hours of data through machine learning and AI technology, we can identify what is happening with the data we are collecting, creating a real benefit to the industry.

Connected devices and cloud are major technological innovations that enable better decision making processes and have much greater capabilities when devices are connected to technologies – for example, traffic control management within smart cities.

Seagate is targeting many verticals such as retail, education and oil and gas. Everywhere, companies are looking for a storage partner that can solve the challenges they face today. With the new products Seagate is bringing to the market, such as our enterprise data solutions and our Lyve cloud Storage-as-a-Service, I really think we are unique in bringing added value to solve challenges for customers around the world and across all kinds of industries.

To find out more information, visit: https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/

This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal UK. To get your FREE digital copy, visit: digital.securityjournaluk.com

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