Sanyo’s Video Guru Focuses on the Future

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — With more than 30 years of service in the electronic security industry, Sanyo’s Frank Abram, vice president and general manager, Security Products Division, is one of the most respected experts in the video systems field. A published author and sought-after lecturer, he was invited to testify before a congressional subcommittee on critical security industry issues in the aftermath of 9/11. 

In an exclusive interview, Security Sales & Integration spoke with Abram to get his clear-eyed perspective on the state of video surveillance — how far it has come, where it is now and where it will be tomorrow.

What do you foresee as the most significant trends impacting the video surveillance industry within in the next year or two?
Frank Abram:
Right now the standard industry answer to this question would undoubtedly be the migration to IP-based interoperable systems. While this is clearly a trend of the highest significance, we should not overlook the rapid technology advancements taking place concurrently at the product level as well. Imaging capabilities, coupled with highly sophisticated video analytics, are changing the role surveillance video plays in our society.

For example, there is a growing use of surveillance video as evidence in court, at the same time surveillance systems are becoming crucial elements of crime deterrence. Advancements in imaging technology continue to provide better identification of individuals and significant events to further enable these capabilities. 

Of course, these advancements are being designed to work together seamlessly with the push for interoperability and convergence on a business level. More and more, we are finding that information coming in from the surveillance system can have an impact on access control, HR operations and all the myriad forms of security, both IT and physical, within an enterprise. 

Additionally, as transmission technologies and convergence of systems become more sophisticated, this information can play a significant role in risk management and continuity of business operations.

What action is Sanyo taking to address the market trend toward networking and convergence?
This is something Sanyo has long foreseen and prepared for. Every Sanyo pan-focus and high-speed p/t/z camera, both new and already in the field, is equipped for IP functionality at any time the user chooses to make the move to a networked system. Users can continue to purchase and use our cameras in analog configurations for as long as they wish, and make the move to IP when they are ready. 

Additionally, we recently introduced a hybrid DVR that will integrate with analog or IP-based systems, to help our customers ease the transition at their own pace and in a way they are comfortable with.

What is your vision of the future for IP-based systems to be integrated with other networked security systems?
Abram: Ultimately, all these systems will become one, working together seamlessly from a single intuitive user interface. Depending on who you ask, this is either already available or a distant vision of the future. There are many vendors in the security and IT space working toward this goal, and a wide range of solutions that purport to address it now. 

In time, I believe that some of these solutions, and they may be either software- or hardware-based, will emerge as the best designed and easiest to integrate with the fewest problems, and the industry will move to develop products created to function within the parameters associated with these solutions.

To what degree has the slow adoption of open standards delayed the adoption of IP-based video? Is Sanyo active in facilitating adoption?
Abram: IP-based video will be adopted at the rate to which end users feel comfortable making the switch, along with the rate at which new construction and new applications bring new networked systems into existence. While it may be true that fully open standards might facilitate the development of systems that are more streamlined, it is certainly understandable that some manufacturers have been hesitant to open their technology laboratories to other providers, some of whom are competitors as well. This is a change that we all can see is happening, but there is no way to force it to happen at a rate that is not comfortable to the more established manufacturers, that have not been at the forefront of this movement to open their standards.

Ultimately, the change will be facilitated by the success of manufacturers who have formed viable partnerships and deployed successful applications in the field. No one wants to miss the opportunity to be a part of this industry’s evolution. Like other leading providers, Sanyo has formed partnerships in order to integrate other manufacturers’ products with our solutions, so that end-users will have more options.

What is Sanyo doing to help educate dealers and end users about the benefits of IP-based systems?
Abram: Two years ago Sanyo instituted a series of Road Shows around the country to conduct training, and we are continuing with the program this year as well. The Road Shows are designed to provide training on all new products and technology for both the dealers and end-users. Further, Sanyo provides on-site training for any of our dealers who might need it. 

The industry is in a state of accelerated evolution right now with regard to product, technology and direction, and we believe manufacturers have a responsibility to assist in the training of our dealers. Sanyo will always continue to support our dealers in order to keep them current with industry trends and technology breakthroughs.

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