Published: October 30th, 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being touted as the next big technological revolution, and Seagate Technology is getting in on the action.

The data storage company has announced SkyHawk AI, its first hard disk drive (HDD) developed specifically for AI-enabled video surveillance solutions. SKyHawk provides “unprecedented bandwidth and processing power to manage always-on, data-intensive workloads, while simultaneously analyzing and recording footage from multiple HD cameras,” the company says in an Oct. 28 press release.

In particular, Seagate says the solution is ideal for intensive computational workloads that generally come with the use of AI through its high throughput and enhanced caching, which “deliver low latency and excellent random read performance to quickly locate and deliver video images and footage analysis.”

With analytics on video surveillance hardware growing exponentially, forecasted to increase from 27.6 million shipments in 2016 to 126 million shipments in 2021 according to the Top Video Surveillance Trends for 2017 report by HIS Markit video surveillance group. These numbers will only increase as the use of AI in facial recognition and analyzing also increases.

“The use of AI technology in surveillance is steadily increasing – both in the edge and backend installations such as retail fronts and large city traffic management,” says Sai Varanasi, vice president product line management at Seagate Technology. “Seagate has led the surveillance storage market since its early days, a decade ago, by delivering industry leading HDD products that have enabled more than 5X increase in exabytes during this time period. We are excited to introduce smart, purpose-built SkyHawk AI solutions that expand the design space for our customers and partners, allowing them to implement next-generation deep learning and video analytics applications.”

SkyHawk enables on-the-edge decision making, bypassing the latency of exchanging cloud-based data and processing, and also boasts high quality video recording with no dropped frames.

Seagate partners have responded well to the new AI solution.

“As smart cities, smart transportation, and other surveillance programs become more prevalent, the number of surveillance nodes has reached the hundreds of thousands. Due to the widespread use of high-definition monitoring, the amount of data required in security surveillance has dramatically increased. The efficient collection, analysis, and application of data is becoming ever more critical,” Guo Xudong, deputy general manager of domestic sales and marketing, Hikvision, says in the press release. “We are excited that Seagate will launch the industry’s first AI optimized surveillance drive which will enable us to efficiently manage data storage and processing challenges, including, but not limited to, our DeepinMind NVR series.”

Yang Shengwei, products and solutions director, Domestic Sales Operation Center of Dahua Technology, adds that with the evolutions in video analytics over the last 10 years, and the advent of AI abilities, “Seagate’s advanced technology will help Dahua to reach a new top in the AI field. We hope with the newly launched SkyHawk AI drive we can boost the AI application across the surveillance industry.”

SkyHawk AI is available now through authorized distributors at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $449.99 USD for a 10TB capacity and $349.99 for 8TB. The drive is covered by a five-year limited warranty and is bundled with a two-year coverage from Seagate Rescue Services.