Why Education Sector Offers Opportunity for Intelligent Technologies
Jumbi Edulbehram, regional president of Oncam, Americas, discusses a range of topics concerning AI, smart IP video solutions and more.
Jumbi Edulbehram serves as regional president of Oncam, Americas, a technology company that specializes in 360° and wide-angle smart IP video solutions. He joins the conversation to discuss market opportunities for systems integrators, among other topics relevant to the channel.
What particular market niche do you see as ripe for AI applications?
The education sector is one that can benefit greatly from artificial intelligence [AI] applications, as the latest high-profile tragedies at K-12 schools and college universities display the need for the use of intelligent technologies to ensure protection. As budgets for security-related expenses expand, the opportunity to add innovative products arises and AI is at the forefront of the latest developments.
AI allows security officials to take their widely used video surveillance systems that are typically not actively monitored and turn them into a more proactive approach to observing activity. The evolution of machine learning has propelled the functionality of video and data analytics to be able to provide school administrators with a warning of a potential threat or attack.
This may manifest through a variety of manners, such as the spotting of an abnormal object such as a gun, or the use of facial recognition and/or behavioral anomaly detection capabilities offered by AI to identify and alert on the entry of an inappropriate individual into the facility.
What technological advancement do you consider potentially disruptive to the security industry?
While it might not be a technological advancement in the traditional sense, I see the Smart City focus across the industry as potentially disruptive in that there are so many ways that security technology can be implemented to achieve more intelligence in today’s growing metropolitan areas. An example exists in the rise of intelligent traffic management as an avenue to leverage security technology in a new way.
Video cameras placed at busy intersections for investigative purposes are adding additional value for city planners by allowing traffic flow and congestion to be analyzed in an effort to pinpoint pain points and better develop solutions. Another way this is useful is in planning for things like bike lanes or identifying whether large-load trucks are impeding traffic flow, ultimately contributing to a more intelligent way of managing a city.
Is the industry on track to move away from localized video storage solutions and completely store video in the Cloud?
I’d say that yes, the technology that will allow the industry to move away from localized video storage is in place and gaining more popularity in implementation, but the end-user market, for the most part, is still afraid of moving data completely into the Cloud.
The security of the Cloud itself can be seen as a downside and barrier to entry for many, but if kept top of mind, it can be controlled. Best practices such as changing default passwords, encrypting data transfer and keeping software up to date can ensure a comprehensively secure and beneficial storage solution for all involved.
The Cloud is truly revolutionizing the way video is stored and shared, presenting numerous advantages to users. For example, this method creates lower onsite infrastructure requirements and significant savings in power and cooling costs. Additionally, availability and accessibility are vastly improved, which are both critical in today’s risk landscape, allowing video footage to be accessed on mobile devices from remote locations instantaneously.
What do you view as Oncam’s most important value proposition to systems integrators?
Oncam takes pride in giving integrators the ultimate value to present to end users. Our main goal is to meet customers’ needs to the best of our ability while working with our channel partners to put together comprehensive solutions.
This customer-centric approach allows us to be responsive to end-user demands, taking into consideration their specific requirements and desires. And this, in turn, provides integrators with a strong, reliable relationship that conveys full dedication and commitment to the task at hand.
Another valuable offering is Oncam’s open-platform technology, which allows end users to fully realize the potential of their video data and the use of cutting-edge software that takes large amounts of information and turns it into actionable intelligence without pigeon-holing the technology they’re using to a particular manufacturer.
This provides integrators the chance to offer customers the best possible combination of technology to meet the end user’s needs, which can differ from vertical to vertical and company to company.
Many systems integrators feel threatened by manufacturers building alliances with and selling direct to end users. Can you suggest a rationale why they shouldn’t feel threatened or is it simply a reality of today’s market?
In general, the nature of sales in this industry is such that integrators often have to work with end users in a consultative mode before the sale, and most of the time, their pre-sales efforts are not compensated; hence, it makes sense for them to get help from manufacturers in presales activities such as integration testing, shootouts, etc.
This is particularly true for newer products where the companies are trying to create demand and grow the market. Post-sales, there is often a need for end users to have access to a manufacturer for their support questions, service and ongoing updates.
But just because manufacturers are involved with pre- and post-sales activities with end users, doesn’t mean they have to or should sell direct. The actual “selling” can still happen through integrators. In my experience, integrators that are customer-centric and build strong, long-term partnerships with end users are never threatened by manufacturers’ relationships with end users.
The ones that simply “resell” without adding additional value may have cause to worry if customers view them as simply taking margin.
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