May has been a quite month for merger and acquisition, alliance and funding in Security. It is well down on the same month last year; but for the first 5 months of this year there has been only a marginal reduction in activity. In both years so far only one of the traditional major players, Tyco has completed an acquisition and only one IPO has taken place. Incremental innovation is being introduced into new products but nothing that look disruptive. However change in the Security Industry continues to take place as it subtly moves towards value added services.
A visit to IFSEC revealed a number of stands showing how Business Intelligence can be gained through IP Video Surveillance systems. Two companies Axis and Panasonic had excellent displays showing how in particular vertical markets they have used video streams to provide business intelligence. In both cases the concept was instigated by the camera manufacturer as a means to increase sales, but they have worked with other suppliers of surveillance products to produce a seamless solution that fitted the needs of the end user. In addition they have worked with system installers and distributors, not only to orchestrate the marketing & sales strategy but also to identify new applications where they can add value for the end user.
Alliance has hither to just been joining different manufacturer’s products together so that they could communicate with each other. Whilst technology comes into the equation this new alliance between all the stakeholders is driven by what the end user needs in order to deliver real benefits over and above improving the security performance. So if you want to compete with the top camera manufacturers you not only need to be up there with performance but also driving innovation in providing solutions that deliver more value add and a quicker return on the investment for the buyer.
In March this year Tomorrow Venture backed video surveillance start up Prism SkyLabs, a cloud based service that allows business owners to bring video feeds online, capture images from these feeds and share this data with consumers and the public. This looks like an interesting extension of the above but making it possible for much smaller operations to enjoy the same benefits for a lower cost.
Most business premises, stores and restaurants have surveillance videos running 24-hours a day and unless there is a theft or another crime, this massive amount of surveillance video is unused. This start-up allows a business to download free software that detects cameras or video on a network, and showcases a number of images of the space to the business. Similar to the way you can pull images from videos using video editing software, Prism Skylabs pulls relevant images of your establishment and builds insightful visualizations from these photos, while protecting customer privacy.
A good example is that it can show the path that people are taking in a store which can help owners gain insight into the performance of design or display, a heat map of bodies, a photo without any people in the store and more. Prism Skylabs allows users to share and syndicate these photos directly from their platform to a business’ Facebook page, Twitter stream, Website and Yelp profile. The start up is adding the ability to add these photos to Google+, YouTube and Picasa, directly from the platform. Whilst this does not produce the richness of the solutions seen on the Panasonic and Axis stands maybe sharing will find some additional benefit at an affordable price.