How can cloud physical security support the sustainability agenda?

Martyn Ryder, VP Sales & Marketing at Morphean, looks at cloud’s potential to support sustainable practices, and how the evolution of physical security enables greener operations.

It is generally agreed that the way we live and work is no longer sustainable and unless we address the most critical environmental issues, we face imminent crisis. As a result of the recent COP26 international climate conference, a commitment was made by 137 countries to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation” by 2030. In addition, 190 countries agreed to phase out the use of coal, resulting in a 76% decrease in planned new coal power plants. Now, as an easing of Covid travel restrictions, combined with the crisis in Ukraine, drives the price of fuel to record highs, it’s apparent that a longer-term way to rebalance the energy mix is needed, weighted toward sustainable methods.

While much attention is given to what should be done at country or government level, many businesses will be wondering what can be done now on a smaller scale to ease the energy price pinch. It is here that technology, in particular cloud infrastructure and systems, can be used to support transformative goals. Cloud, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have seen exponential growth in recent years and play an increasingly important role in human decision-making processes. Cloud can steer us towards more sustainable, environmentally conscious ways of working, and provide insights and intelligence to help people live better and work more efficiently. Might cloud now hold the key to smarter, greener operations, unlocking a sustainable competitive advantage?

Adopt a greener cloud strategy

As the UNs Race to Zero campaign[1] encourages businesses to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, taking steps now to demonstrate carbon reduction and shift to a greener agenda will be viewed favourably by end customers who are increasingly committing to do the same. For the physical security business seeking to demonstrate its net-zero carbon credentials, cloud represents a greener alternative to legacy systems in numerous ways:

  1. Newer energy-efficient technologies: The use of innovations such as edge-based processing can lead to efficiencies not possible with legacy technologies and systems. The extra bandwidth and related energy required to send data constantly back and forth across a network is avoided when processing takes place at the edge of the network, often onboard a device itself, such as a network camera.

  2. Cleaner and greener data storage: Rather than multiple organisations managing separate systems in server rooms on-premises, the shift to cloud centralises data storage into a data centre, with all the economies of scale that this entails. This means that businesses no longer have to invest time, money and energy in the upkeep of individual on-premise systems and can take advantage of a greener, more cost-effective solution in the cloud.  
  • Energy recycling: The datacentres themselves are also constantly striving to find their own efficiencies, which are already evident at some sites. These include the re-use of heat energy given off by servers to heat office space, and site location having a bearing on the ability to cool and regulate systems using natural elements[2], for example, locating facilities in cold regions to enable free air cooling or even making use of natural sources of cold flowing water.
  • Move away from legacy technologies: Not just a box ticking exercise as proof of adhering to sustainable practices, cloud’s green credentials mean that consumption patterns can be changed to benefit the environment rather than damage it[3]. Cloud-enabled devices and systems can be simply upgraded and updated. Moving away from the ‘rip and replace’ approach, common when removing and fitting legacy architecture, is a huge step in the right direction.

Use intelligent systems to drive down costs

Shifting to the cloud can deliver significant cost savings and facilitate scalability to meet evolving business needs. Cloud physical security solutions, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS), provide comprehensive security while also offering additional insights through the collection and analysis of data, resulting in operational benefits.  As an example, data about the movement of people around a site, when processed through an analytics engine, can be used to provide intelligence around usage patterns which is then used for automating the use of heating and lighting appliances to reduce waste.

In addition, physical security solutions hosted in the cloud open up the possibility for remote maintenance. This will reduce technicians’ travel costs and improve productivity, therefore making maintenance much more cost effective. This, in turn, represents value for money for the customer with far quicker response times.

Review your supply chain based on green credentials
With increased impetus to operate sustainably, those businesses that do not take their environmental responsibilities seriously may find themselves left behind as others around them work hard to meet sustainability targets. Many will be looking for commitment from all stakeholders across their supply chain. Within the physical security industry this translates into seeking to partner with those who advocate more ethical ways of operating and have an awareness of the implications that business actions can have on the environment. As an example, one leading European network camera manufacturer has reduced its use of harmful PVC plastics by 93%.

It is apparent that, while countries and governments set their sights on establishing sustainability agendas and working to international frameworks, there is much that can be done right now at a business level to implement practical changes for the betterment of our world and its people. A simple action, such as taking the decision to move towards the use of components and technologies that are ethically sourced, can make a very immediate difference. Moreover, cloud technologies provided by businesses with a strong commitment to sustainable principles look set to play an important role in transforming and enhancing security and business operations in the journey towards a greener future.

To learn more about Morphean, visit:

Martyn Ryder, VP Sales and Marketing, Morphean SA




About Morphean SA

Morphean is a Swiss technology company with a strong presence in more than 12 countries worldwide. Founded in 2009 and with over 60 partners across Europe, the secure Morphean platform informs decision making and drives efficiencies for all organisations by generating unique and actionable insights from a multitude of data sources. With expertise across retail, transport & facilities management, among others, the company is recognised as a leader in secure service platform delivery through the use of cloud and AI technologies. The platform helps firms prepare for the future by keeping their ‘Eyes Wide Open’ to the intelligence gathered from a variety of network connected devices.