Smart Video Surveillance

See Your World in a New Way

One of the fastest growing data storage markets today, smart video is often used for and associated with security and/or surveillance. With advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and real-time analytics, the possibilities for smart video now go beyond just surveillance, such as the following.


Streamline business operations and minimize opportunities for theft.


Improve traffic flow for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles.

Smart Cities

Reduce patterns of congestion and enhance overall safety.

Western Digital answers this growing need with a specialized line of smart video storage purpose-built for demanding, 24x7 operating environments. Our solutions provide reliable storage at each camera and uninterrupted operations regardless of network availability. With a full range of products from microSD™ cards for in-camera storage and surveillance-class hard drives for video recorders, to enterprise-grade devices and platforms for back-end storage and analytics, you can customize your system to fit your smart video needs.

Learn more about what makes up a smart video system, what storage is best for each component, and how to best utilize smart video for various applications.

Key Considerations for Each Smart Video Component

Most standalone smart video systems are composed of three main components.


Cameras are the sensors that capture video footage and transmit it directly to the video recorder in real time. Available in standard and high-definition resolutions, cameras are strategically placed to provide maximum field of vision and can be monitored individually via the video recorder’s user interface.

Video Recorder

A digital video recorder (DVR) or networked video recorder (NVR) interprets footage received from the cameras into data recorded to an internal hard drive, or array of drives. The video recorder is housed in an enclosure that includes a processor, video inputs, and an internal storage drive.

Internal Storage

Most often a hard drive in a video recorder or microSD™ card in a camera, these internal storage devices hold camera footage in a continuous stream, or at a schedule set by the administrator. Higher capacity storage devices are preferred because they hold more continuous footage with less overwriting of data.

Now let’s dive into key considersations for each component.

Gain Deeper Insights with WD Purple

Gain deeper insights and make better, data-driven decisions with WD Purple smart video storage. A comprehensive storage portfolio includes microSD™ cards to AI-enabled hard drives, purpose-built for always-on environments, in a wide range of capacities for greater flexibility. WD Purple is a trusted brand among system integrators, end customers, and other key stakeholders, with a reputation for reliability and quality. These solutions work in conjunction with other system components to help optimize revenue, prevent loss, and improve situational awareness for more efficient and effective surveillance and smart video operations.

  • A full range of smart video storage includes microSD™ cards for in-camera and cam-to-cloud, WD Purple hard drives for NVR, recorders, and edge gateways, and WD Purple Pro hard drives for VMS storage servers, back-end video analytics, and deep learning solutions.
  • These dependable products are purpose-built for 24x7 operating environments and rated for high endurance and demanding workloads. The WD Purple microSD™ card is environmentally rated to meet in-camera temperature and humidity specifications.
  • WD Purple drives are optimized for smart video and video analytic AI applications, featuring built-in support for inbound video stream storage with concurrent outbound video streams for video data access.
  • Western Digital continues to lead the way in video storage technology with AllFrame and AllFrame AI to help reduce dropped frames, and video stream detection, analysis, and write placement on WD Purple hard drive.
  • Robust drive health management features include proactive health analytics for hard drive and microSD™ storage devices and Western Digital Device Analytics (WDDA) for recorders and video management systems.
  • WD Purple devices’ quality, reliability, innovation, and leadership let you build out your surveillance and smart video system with confidence, and come backed with a limited warranty1 for extra peace of mind.

WD Purple microSD™ Cards
Gain additional peace of mind with on-camera storage designed for continuous 24x7 recording in the event your camera loses connection with your video recorder.

WD Purple Hard Drives
With three times the workload rate of standard desktop drives, WD Purple drives are tuned for write-intensive, high stream-count applications typical to most smart video systems.

WD Purple Pro Hard Drives
Designed for high-end AI-enabled recorders, video analytics appliances, deep-learning servers, and cloud solutions, WD Purple Pro drives are engineered for advanced smart video solutions.

Capturing and Organizing Footage

Once you have set up your smart video system, it’s time to start capturing footage. There are two ways to do this: continuous monitoring or motion-triggered.

  • Continuous monitoring means your video capture remains on at all times and records every minute of footage to the DVR or NVR. This can eat up capacity quickly on your NVR, so make sure you have a big enough hard drive (or multi-bay system) installed in your recorder to accommodate as much footage as needed.
  • Motion-triggered means you can set capture to happen only when the camera detects motion in its field of vision (provided your camera can detect motion, most new ones do). Some systems allow you to manage ‘hot spots’ for video triggering. When movement is detected in a hot spot, it automatically triggers recording.

Surveillance footage is captured on the internal hard drive as long as there is space to do so. Once maximum capacity is reached, the NVR will start rewriting the disk from the beginning, erasing any previously recorded footage as it continues. To avoid losing captured footage you can either:

  • Swap out the internal drive with a fresh, blank, formatted drive.
  • Expand your capacity by adding more drives (if you have available bays in your system).
  • Back up the old footage and erase or overwrite the drive with new recordings.

Backing up your footage on a regular basis to a separate device is crucial to maintaining a reliable archive of your captured surveillance. A WD My Book desktop storage is an ideal device to perform this task. (Tip: Choose a model that exceeds the capacity of the drive you are backing up.)

Shop our complete line of desktop storage solutions ideal for backing up your DVR or NVR, like the WD My Book drive.

Smart Video Now and Tomorrow

Smart video is the evolution of traditional surveillance. Data collected by cameras can be leveraged by smart apps like facial recognition. Smart video uses cameras to analyze incoming video in real time to extract valuable insights that allow decisions to be made without human intervention. That’s how you can unlock your phone with your face without entering any data manually.

Another example of smart video is smart cities. Smart cities use different types of electronic Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices to operate municipal cameras, control signal lights, reduce congestion and pollution, and improve people’s lives. Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources, and services more efficiently. When collected information is pooled together, it’s referred to as big data, which can then be used to improve the operations across the smart city.

In smart factories, smart video can detect manufacturing inefficiencies, and in some cases, perform better quality control. In smart retail, analyzing foot traffic can help identify prime locations for product promotion and placement.

So, how does smart video work? Smart video employs artificial intelligence (AI), either in the NVR or on the camera. AI requires deep learning and that can take place in the NVR or more likely, in a deep learning server on the back end or in the cloud. Deep learning requires massive amounts of reference video data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the AI.

Smart video can impact every aspect of surveillance from cameras, to recorders, to back-end servers. Consider that more effective AI requires higher resolution video, higher frame rates, and more visual detail. All this leads to the need for more and more reliable data storage.

Learn more about our array of enterprise-class storage solutions like Ultrastar and WD Gold data center drives.