Milestone Unveils New NVR as Its First Foray Into Hardware During Annual Symposium

By Scott Goldfine

[IMAGE]358[/IMAGE]SAN ANTONIO — One of the industry’s leading developers of open platform video management software (VMS), Milestone Systems, is getting into the hardware business. The Copenhagen-based technology supplier will formally introduce its XProtect Essential NVR at ISC West in Las Vegas April 6. Despite the company’s best efforts to suppress it, that was the top news from last week’s 6th annual Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS), held March 2-4 in San Antonio. There, more than 200 attendees and technology partners had consented to nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure the product remained under wraps for at least another month. However, someone let the cat of the bag and Milestone officials decided it would be futile to attempt to enforce the NDAs.

The NVR, part of the company’s XProtect-branded products, is aimed at easing the transition from analog to IP, Milestone CEO Lars Thinggaard said during his keynote. He explained how the hardware appliance comes preloaded with everything a systems integrator needs to get up and running fast and easily. “This introduction does not change Milestone’s open platform philosophy, but instead eases the transition for many from analog to IP,” said Thinggaard. The device — manufactured by HP, a Milestone technology partner — is designed for eight- to 16-camera video surveillance systems and offers 1-2TB storage.

[IMAGE]359[/IMAGE]Thinggaard also shared an update on the progress and health of Milestone, which has realized 41-percent compounded annual growth (CAGR) since its founding in 1998. He said the firm had a bullish 2010, with 56-pecent growth compared to 2009. Presently, some 4,300 integrators worldwide are working with Milestone solutions, which are deployed in more than 100,000 installations in 115 countries. The company has struck interoperability agreements with 85 manufacturers, many of which — such as Axis Communications, FLIR, Honeywell, Panasonic, Arecont Vision, IBM and Sony — exhibited during the MIPS.

Thinggaard cited training the marketplace as one of the most critical components to increasing the penetration of IP-based video surveillance solutions. To that end, he highlighted the importance of the partnership his firm reached with Connex Int’l Inc. in 2010 to provide security and surveillance training for certification in Milestone solutions. In closing, Thinggaard predicted an extremely bright future not only for Milestone but the entire IP video market. He identified six variables — political, environmental, social, technological, legal and economic — as potential catalysts of change or impediments as the case may be. Among those, he said technological, environmental and economic would be positive factors affecting the industry. He also pointed to hosted services as a growth opportunity. “Video software as a service [VSaaS] will be huge,” he said.

In addition to the Essential NVR, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Christian Bohn revealed some other new products during the MIPS. They included: XProtect Go, free software able to handle up to eight cameras; XProtect Mobile, due by the end of 2011; XProtect Corporate 4.0; Milestone integration platform software development kit version 1.0 (MIP SDK 1.0); and a video capture software application that will record all activities on a given PC as if it were seen by a camera.

[IMAGE]360[/IMAGE]According to Bohn, one of the main objectives of XProtect Go product is to generate and build additional and wider spread brand awareness for Milestone. Regarding the MIP SDK, he said the goal is a single integration across all systems and a tremendous cost savings to the end user in the process. Its plug-in architecture enables integration of third-party applications with the Milestone management interface and XProtect Smart Client user interface. Bohn said the updated software optimizes functionality and eases the application of technologies such as video analytics. The new SDK applies to Milestone’s three main XProtect platforms: XProtect Professional, Enterprise and Corporate.

It was evident that Milestone’s approach, offerings and support are meeting the needs and expectations of the many integrators in attendance at the MIPS. Shannon Neubauer, systems design consultant for Omaha, Neb.-based Security Equipment Inc. (SEi), and Todd Brown, president of Bloomington, Minn.-based Affinitech, were among those impressed by the event as well as the company behind it. They are both big fans of Milestone’s open platform suite of VMS products, so much so that they have been switching over and converting systems that had been running competing products.

In addition to product news the MIPS also offered presentations on real-world application case studies, technology, market dynamics and project management and opportunities. You can read about two of the best sessions — Axis’ Fredrik Nilsson’s keynote about the state of IP video and renowned CCTV expert Charlie Pierce’s tips for working with architects and engineers — in SSI’sUnder Surveillance blog. The case studies included Milestone-based IP solutions for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MDOT), Ontario (Canada) Provincial Police and Louisiana State University. MDOT has realized as much as a 75-percent reduction in costs moving to IP compared to its former DVR-based system. It has also greatly enhanced the connectivity, capabilities and scalability of its video surveillance.

Finally, Milestone also hosted a partner awards dinner adjacent to San Antonio’s famous River Walk area and nearby the Alamo national landmark. In a year marking the 175th anniversary of the battle of the Alamo, security professionals will also be remembering the 6th MIPS.   

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.


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