Western Digital storage devices projected to find extensive use in smart city projects

Spokespersons from Western Digital (WD), Mr Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, South Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and Mr. Khalid Wani, Managing Director Sales, India, interacted with SECURITY TODAY recently on Western Digital’s plans and the industry trends.

Please give us an overview of the use of HDDs in the surveillance market in India.
WD: Looking at the security and surveillance sector in India, a continuous growth is expected in the security market in the coming year. The security market in India is projected to reach $1.24 billion in 2017, which is 10.6 percent higher than the $1.01 billion of 2015. The transition towards IP Surveillance, non-fragmentation and lack of standardisation describe the characteristics of the current video surveillance market in the country. The video surveillance market in India has grown tremendously over the years, especially with CCTVs; and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 13 percent from 2016 – 2022. This transition from Analog to IP surveillance is also expected to boost the demand for storage and HDDs in India.

In which countries does WD have manufacturing facilities?
There are 2 different technologies and 2 different parts. For Flash technology manufacturing, –it is primarily in Japan, China and Malaysia.  For hard disk drive manufacturing, it is primarily in Thailand, Malaysia, and China.

How many (and where) does WD have service centers in India and what are the expansion plans for these centers?
Western Digital Corporation has around 100 drop points across India. These drop points have been segregated into four zones: North, South, East and West and we will continue to enhance our customer service & customer experience in all these locations.

Does WD have any plans to take advantage of any local initiatives?
The Smart Cities and Digital India initiative provides tremendous opportunity for storage. WDC’s WD Purple and WD Gold drives are designed to cater to the video surveillance sector.

What is WD’s warranty/guarantee policy for its different products?
Western Digital products purchased as new in India come with a limited warranty period; however, the warranty period varies among products. Currently, the WD Purple HDD in India comes with a 3 year limited warranty; while the WD Gold HDD comes with a limited warranty period of 5 years.

What advantages does WD have over its competitors?

Western Digital Corporation is a global leader in the storage solutions industry with a total turnover of $17.7 billion recently. The company acquired SanDisk Corporation for approximately $19 billion in May 2016, making it a comprehensive storage solutions provider with global reach and an extensive product and technology platform that includes deep expertise in both HDDs and SSDs.

In the surveillance sector, what sets Western Digital Corporation apart are the products; such as the WD Purple HDD with its AllFrame 4K Technology and the WD Gold HDD that has been designed for video analytics and engineered to support heavy workloads and tough environments. The WD Gold HDD has been targeted specifically for video analytics servers and backend storage solutions, while the WD Purple HDD brings HelioSeal technology, enabling low power consumption and high capacity drives.

Your comments on Smart City Projects and are they important for WDs growth in India?
As India rapidly moves towards urbanization with the penetration of IT, an immense amount of data gets generated and this data is gradually becoming a problem for the nation. When we go into the depth of the problem, it becomes visible that a large section of the rural population is migrating into the urban cities which is placing a lot of pressure on these cities, and these cities are not equipped to manage this growing pressure. Thus, giving rise to the need for cities to grow smarter and more futuristic in their approach, with video surveillance playing an important role in ensuring the safety of these cities. As India turned 70, urbanization and environmental sustainability become a focus point. Infrastructure development and effective service delivery would play a key role in the urbanization process. The Smart Cities Project is a key stepping stone in this process and intensifying this scheme would help in ensuring that sustainable urbanization becomes a reality in the next five or more years.

Western Digital Corporation has been closely associated with the Smart Cities Council of India while working on an intensive research with them. Through the course of this research what we realised was that it was the use of data that would play a pivotal role in successful implementation of these initiatives. We believe that collection of data is only the first step, it is more important to understand what needs to be done with this data in order to ensure that our cities become smarter and safer.

We believe our products help add value in this process of building smart cities by building infrastructure, especially in the security and surveillance space. Although this is a continuous work in progress, we plan to continue having our teams work on strategic alliances and partnerships in small and medium business space and the enterprise space.

Do you think that Storage is often an area that gets neglected in overall project considerations? Why is this so? What needs to be done to correct the situation and what is WD doing about it?
Technology is undergoing a rapid acceleration and this growth can be seen in the storage industry as well. Growth of the e-commerce sector and the increase in adoption of smartphones has had a significant impact on the storage requirements of the country. Along with this, sectors such as banking, manufacturing, professional services and government continue to be the key drivers.

Data storage has come a long way. Earlier data was stored in a structured and specific format; however, with the increasing amount of data today, many organizations do not follow a specific format. This has resulted in heaps of unstructured data getting collected, which makes it difficult to process, analyse and gather insights from.  In times like these storage solutions become a priority for these organizations. Not only do businesses identify with the importance of storage, but initiatives such as Digital India, Smart Cities and Big Data Initiative show the importance of storage. In the past couple of years in order to keep up with the growing demands, the surveillance industry has been witnessing a number of technological advancements. Technologies including cloud storage, remote monitoring to video analytics have made surveillance cost effective, and technologically more sound.  In order to keep up with this transition WDC has come up with products such as the WD Purple HDD that is optimized for surveillance with AllFrame 4K Technology, wide range of capacities and tested for 24×7 always-on systems, and the WD Gold HDD which is designed for video analytics, can handle heavy workloads, tough environments and also comes in a wide range of capacities.

Western Digital has identified India as a standalone region for their business. With an R&D centre based out of Bangalore we have been working towards developing innovative storage solutions to keep up with the growing needs of the market. Especially with the merger of SanDisk and the vast portfolio of products including both HDDs and Flash storage, we now aim to provide solutions that address every storage requirement covering from consumers, prosumers to enterprises.

Do you see significant growth in the market for SSDs in India in the next three years e.g. in the mobile/transportation sectors. Where do you see their role in security sector?
A report by 6WResearch predicts that the SSD market in India will record $156 million by 2023. This growth would be driven by the increasing demand for high-end computing systems in the enterprise segment, growing number of data centers, increasing penetration of on-premise storage system, coupled with growth of the big data & cloud computing markets. SSDs have rapidly penetrated the transportation sector as well. When we look back a couple of years, cars used HDDs for storing data, they later moved to eMMC and SD cards, however, it is forecasted that the future of car storage would include SSDs and UFS.

In the security sector, SSDs also find applications from DVR/NVR, mDVRs to edge devices; mDVRs are compact DVRs or mobile DVRs that are placed within a public transport vehicle such as a bus or a train. The basic requirement for storage in this case is a device that has high tolerance to vibrations and temperature and a high endurance for heavy write workload. Apart from mDVRs, SSDs also can be used inside edge devices such as CCTV cameras, Dash Cams and Drones. These devices need to have high-endurance for heavy, sustained writes and a wide temperature range. SSDs are embedded with enterprise NVRs and SMB DVRs/NVRs as well, and are designed for systems that operate 24/7, capture multiple video streams, have the capacity to handle heavy workloads, and have a high endurance all at the same time. Western Digital provides solutions that cater to all the above specified needs of the surveillance sector through their range of innovative solutions.

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