Milestone Systems, a leading developer of open platform software for managing IP network-based video surveillance, hosted the 6th annual Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) in San Antonio March 2-4. More than 150 attendees were joined by in excess of 80 Milestone representatives and those from the many hardware and software providers the company partners with to deliver comprehensive and advanced video solutions.
Having been invited in the past but unable to attend due to scheduling and other complications, I was delighted to be able to finally take in this worthwhile event. It afforded me the opportunity not only to connect and get updated on the latest offerings from Milestone and its eco-partners (as the company coins it) contingency, but just as importantly network with integrator attendees and listen in on informative presentations from guest speakers.
Two of the best of those presentations came from Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications, and Charlie Pierce, president of Leapfrog Training & Consulting.
Nilsson’s keynote discussion focused on the past, present and future of IP video. Not unexpectedly, as probably the best known promoter of and advocate for IP video the past 10 years, he made bold and optimistic predictions of what to expect in the relatively near future. However, his sound reasoning and compelling supporting evidence was difficult to refute.
Nilsson explained while even though about 80 percent of the entire surveillance market is analog right now that half of new camera sales in 2011 will be high definition (HD) models. He compared the scenario to that of about 10 years ago when market dynamics led to digital consumer cameras making film cameras obsolete. He cited today’s IP surveillance equipment market value at $2.5 billion, predicting 100-percent penetration and a tenfold increase to $25 billion by 2020. Smaller systems, those with 16 or fewer cameras, will be analog’s last stronghold.
Although HD and megapixel image capabilities have demonstrated some of the most dramatic technological leaps the past several years, those advances figure to slow down due to the inherent limitations and cost of high quality lenses. Therefore, according to Nilsson, the most significant progression and resultant opportunities will be seen in applying surveillance to business functionality and use rather than image resolution. He said the focus will be on total cost of ownership (TCO) metrics for end users along with scalability. High on the list of technologies associated with that will be video analytics and hosted or cloud-based services.
Pierce, well known as a CCTV industry guru and a member of SSI‘s Hall of Fame, was his usual colorful and entertaining self during “How to Work With A&E’s to Make a Profit.” He spoke about how the world of architects and engineers changed radically following 9/11 in that before that tragedy security in buildings was not really part of their domain or concern; it was largely an afterthought in the new construction design process. Now security is integral to the design process, yet it remains a relatively new and foreign element to most A&Es.
That is what makes the expertise and abilities of security systems integrators, where it comes to security applications and requirements, of such great value to the A&E community. Pierce stressed what a great and steady source of income A&Es can be for an integrator and that when handled properly they can serve as a partner or subcontractor of sorts as opposed to a competitor.
In sum, Pierce explained how the role of the integrator has evolved from being somewhat of an equipment/technology island to working more collaboratively with manufacturers, A&Es, consultants, IT specialists and so on. He urged integrators to reach out to the A&E society with services including but not limited to: writing project specifications; offering system inspections; providing field support; handling installations; and performing service and maintenance.