We recently sat down with Lars Thinggaard, CEO of Milestone, to discuss innovation in video surveillance and the future of the security industry.
1. Where will the major innovations in Video Surveillance come from in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, some of the major innovations will come in the way surveillance video is used by companies to optimize their business.
When you look at what is happening in our industry from a higher level, you see that it has evolved through three phases. Today, we are entering the third, or video enabling phase and this is where some of the most interesting innovations will occur. As the adoption of Cloud technology and managed video as a service (MVaaS) increases in security solutions, the trend of video being used to enable business applications will accelerate.
Looking at the three phases, phase one was about video technology, the convergence of IP and analog to make innovation possible. Phase two followed with video integration. This phase was about making the solutions easy to use and more intelligent with things video analytics. The Milestone open platform is a major driver for this phase because it makes it possible to use surveillance video together with other security systems (access control, analytics, perimeter devices).
Phase three is where we will really see innovations blossom, we call this phase “video enabling.” Here, we will see surveillance video used to give better customer service and improve business processes in many industry sectors. This phase will change the way the world thinks about using surveillance video.
For example, the use of our video technology at Western Kentucky University. Their IT department services every department throughout the huge campus from their police to traffic managers to athletics and dormitory management. Most recently they installed Milestone at their medical college for training young doctors in difficult techniques. St Andrews Medical School is using our video in a similar fashion, as well. Laboratories use it to track progress in research, as well. The options are endless.
2. How does Milestone intend to innovate the market in 2013?
We have created a separate business unit, Incubation & Ventures that operates in parallel with our day to day business to drive innovation. This team is focused on creating new game changing products and bringing them to market.
Milestone Arcus is our first product from this new business unit. The product is an embedded VMS platform for large hardware companies. It was hot news at ISC West and we have more than 50 companies interested in the platform.
You will also see innovation through our ecosystem which is a force multiplier because we share our partners’ technical and market research. In the ecosystem, innovation takes place as a collaborative effort between our own engineering team and our technical partners. Today, we have over 200 software engineers developing solutions with Milestone open platform technology in addition to our own team. We simply have more engineers developing with Milestone technology and this drives innovation faster.
CoastalWatch is a great example. In California, San Diego County has a never-ending task to replenish eroded sand banks on its beautiful beaches. The potential financial impact on southern California’s surfing industry is a big concern. The Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter partnered with CoastalWatch to install digital cameras networked with Milestone XProtect ‚Â® Corporate. The solution is integrated with their own special water measurement analytics to monitor wave heights, breaks and sand lines. They use the video to monitor these levels on the beaches and give the county an early warning when a problem is developing. They are tracking the processes over 3 years for important research input and future coastline planning.
‚Â 3. Is the security industries’ resistance to change creating opportunities for Startup businesses?
Let me explain how we see this. At Milestone we see the security industry as focused on reliability rather than resisting change.
New innovations have to prove themselves first, and show that they work reliably. When you’re dealing with evidence, it is just not acceptable to find out that the video you need is not there, or unclear. You might call this resistance, but it’s a fact of our industry.
In terms of opportunities for startups, the Milestone ecosystem is creating many new openings. Today, we have over 6,800 partners globally that are using our open platform technology as the foundation for new product and solution ideas. The open platform gives them the freedom to select the best technology and integrate this into efficient, interoperable solutions. All backed by a global leader in the VMS industry. For many startup businesses, Milestone’s ecosystem provides a “credibility token” that they use to create their own opportunities and grow their business.
4. In our research we are seeing a shift in security services; moving from just a cost centre for businesses to actually driving operational savings and delivering real ROI. How will this impact on the industry and how far can this trend go?
We agree. As I described earlier we see the industry evolving through three distinct phases: video technology, video integration and the next phase, video enabling.
Today, we are at the start of the enabling phase. You see access control, license plate recognition and, analytics, mobile technology , laser, RFID, and many other types of technology all working together seamlessly through the Milestone open platform. Manufacturers and end-users have engaged with the open platform and are realizing the benefits. They are beginning to ask what else we can use video for, and how this might help optimize our businesses. This phase is really about the realization of Milestone’s vision, driving the convergence of video surveillance and IP based business systems.
The open platform is the enabler for many of these changes. The effect has been to redefine the industry’s expectations of how we use surveillance video. The enabling phase is the proof-point. We are seeing customers look beyond using surveillance video for security and protecting assets and seeing how it can help them to optimize their operations.
For example, one of our customers, a hardware distributor, has integrated their bill of lading with video surveillance cameras. This integration enables easy documentation of what items went into the box at the distributors packing line from start to finish. If customers occasionally claim that items are missing, the distributor has video documentation that everything on the bill of lading / order was packed and shipped. This saves a lot of time and backfilling of mistaken claims.
Ultimately, I think the best way to understand this is to let our customers speak for us. Just take a look at the hundreds of customer stories on our website. They are innovators, too, finding new ways to use Milestone video to improve all kinds of processes, whether they are in retail, banking, production, transportation, healthcare, education or other sectors.
5. As a platform for sensing and analysing data, the video camera has enormous potential. How will it fit into the 'Internet of Things'?
What I think we are seeing here is that the video camera itself is becoming a DVR. It will have, or in some cases already has, analytics capabilities and recording on the edge capabilities. As the price of RAM cards decrease over time, the camera will take on many more functions.
This is where Milestone Arcus as an embedded VMS platform comes into play, and this is where you will see the overarching Milestone vision becoming even stronger. As cameras get more and more powerful, they will accelerate the convergence between the edge components and IP based business systems.
Again, I think the best way to understand this is to look at an example. Douglas Village is a high-end shopping mall in Ireland. They are embracing video enabling as a way to differentiate their business.
Originally, they bought their Milestone system to replace an older analog CCTV system. The justification at the time was security for their customers and protecting assets. However, as they grew to understand the opportunities of the open platform, they began to integrate their other systems. Access control, intruder alarms and even the intercom system. To help them optimize their business they went on to integrate a people counting system based on technology from our other ecosystem partners. In their words, “it’s amazing how we keep finding new ways to use the Milestone system.”
One advanced way is how they use surveillance video to enhance their customer service. They have several very loyal disabled customers. When one of these customers drives into the parking garage, the surveillance camera recognizes their license plate and sends an alert to the control room. They then have one of their staff drive a mobility chair out to the customer and meet at their car. I think this really shows what the enabling phase is about.
For more information on innovation in physical security as well as data on market sizing, M&A and investment please visit our report page - http://memoori.com/portfolio/the-physical-security-business-in-2012/