Integrators Dissect the State of VMS & PSIM
End users are demanding lower margins, less overhead and fewer labor hours for each deployment, resulting in reduced profits for the integrator. Here’s what to do.
I recently interviewed Andrew Lanning of Integrated Security Technologies in Hawaii, Rich Lyman of Netronix in Silicon Valley and Trevor Stewart of Security Control Integrators in New Jersey. All are PSA members and have unique perspectives on the state of VMS (video management software) and PSIM (physical security information management) solutions in their markets.
For all three, they see little PSIM activity with their clients. Lyman sees PSIM becoming more PIAM (physical identity and access management) as the need for more comprehensive identity management grows. That’s a topic for another article.
In the area of VMS, while all platforms continue to expand their offerings, artificial intelligence (AI) is having the biggest impact. Over the past several years, significant advances have been made in video analytics and AI for video surveillance.
We’re seeing the next generation of analytics that can provide context and solve the problem (as defined in the 2019 SIA article, “Artificial Intelligence in Video Surveillance: Advantages Over Previous Technologies”) of “algorithms [that are] unable to distinguish between objects and behaviors that a human being would have no problem classifying.”
For example, a human can instantly recognize the difference between someone writing on a dry-erase board in a conference room and a graffiti artist spray-painting the outside of a building. Next-generation AI is now able to make this same distinction.
Stewart is seeing his VMS deployments gain traction toward the Cloud. “Most of our clients in the commercial and banking space are moving to either a hybrid or full Cloud solution for their VMS. And, while there is certainly interest in AI, my clients are not yet deploying it on a wide scale,” he says.
Lanning has observed limited adoption of Cloud with his Department of Defense clients. “The DoD is still primarily on-premise for their access and video solutions. While the solutions are very high-tech and highly secure, they’re not yet moving to Cloud or even hybrid offerings,” he notes.
Lyman says that AI is having a big impact with his Silicon Valley clients. “It’s a game-changer. It’s altering the way we do business. There are lots of AI, and specific to the video space, one company is really changing the game. That company is Ambient AI. A big benefit of Ambient AI is its ability to reduce false alarms in PACS deployments. Door-forced and door-ajar alarms are the nuisance of our industry. With AI, companies can see as much as a 90% reduction in these alarms. This is significant and in large systems can mean hundreds of thousands to even millions of dollars in savings any given year.”
Another AI game-changer is Alcatraz AI. It has a facial recognition product for PACS that greatly simplifies setup and enrollment. Lyman has several big-tech clients deploying both Ambient AI and Alcatraz AI. Much of this next-gen AI is being incubated at the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab (SVL) at Stanford University. Both Ambient AI and Alcatraz AI have their roots at the SVL. Look for continued innovation from this important research and development facility.
Another advantage of the new AI platforms is that they’re “plug and play” by nature. According to Lyman, “What used to require 20 hours of setup time by a technician/programmer can now be done in significantly less time. This is a mixed blessing for integrators as we now must show value in different ways. Integrators that don’t adapt will quickly go from being a value-added reseller to just a reseller.”
Related and in closing, this transition to self-learning, plug-and-play platforms requires integrators to take note and adapt accordingly. End users are demanding lower margins, less overhead and fewer labor hours for each deployment, resulting in reduced profits for the integrator. Lyman offers this advice: “Smart integrators are moving to managed service offerings where they can bring sustained value to their customers while also building long-term RMR.”
Savvy integrators should pay close attention to these developments and modify their strategies accordingly.
Tim Brooks is the vice president of sales for PSA Security.
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