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Ambarella acquires VisLab, a European developer of computer vision and intelligent automotive control systems

Ambarella acquires VisLab, a European developer of computer vision and intelligent automotive control systems

Editor / Provider: Ambarella | Updated: 7/2/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

Ambarella, a leading developer of video compression and image processing semiconductors, announced the acquisition of VisLab, a privately held Italian company based in Parma, Italy for $30 million in cash.

VisLab, the Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Parma, is a pioneer in perception systems and autonomous vehicle research and was founded by Professor Alberto Broggi. The company has developed computer vision and intelligent control systems for automotive and other commercial applications, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and several generations of autonomous vehicle driving systems. These include “Porter,” an autonomous vehicle that made a 13,000 km autonomous trip from Italy to China in 2010.

“Computer vision is an area of significant focus for Ambarella, and will be critical to our current video markets, as well as future markets such as automotive OEM cameras,” said Fermi Wang, CEO of Ambarella. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Broggi and the VisLab team to Ambarella to jointly define, develop and deploy future generations of computer vision solutions.”

“The unique combination of VisLab's computer vision expertise and Ambarella's high performance, power-efficient video processing technology will enable extremely powerful systems,” said Professor Broggi. “We are very pleased to join Ambarella and to realize the full potential of our research and algorithms across a wide range of customers' products.”

As part of the acquisition, VisLab's 27 researchers will join Ambarella's advanced computer vision development team. This will enable extensive and robust computer vision support in future Ambarella solutions targeting Ambarella's core markets including automotive, IP security, wearable, and flying cameras.

QNAP surveillance system successfully launched in Telekom Malaysia Berhad

QNAP surveillance system successfully launched in Telekom Malaysia Berhad

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by QNAP | Updated: 7/2/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Telekom Malaysia is the No. 1 provider of information communication technologies in Malaysia. Their strength not only lies in their products and services, but also in various aspects of the industry including research and development as well as value added innovations.

With its business continually expanding, Telekom Malaysia has invested in a few subsidiary companies like VADS Berhad (VADS), which is one of Malaysia's leading Managed ICT service providers; Multimedia University (MMU), a tertiary education institution, The Yellow Pages group business directory company, and others.

Telekom Malaysia's business and personnel has mushroomed in recent years to about 30,000 employees located in several office buildings, and TM continues to expand its office facilities in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia Telekom decided to upgrade facility security and deploy a new video surveillance system that would bring high scalability and integrated monitoring features to on-site security personnel. Based on the thousands of employees located throughout the offices in Kuala Lumpur and taking into consideration its already existing network structure, Malaysia Telekom's IT Manager decided a network-based surveillance solution with high integration flexibility and centralized management would best suit the company's needs. Implementation of this type of solution would simplify cable runs and eliminate reliance on CCTV type cameras, which usually have lower resolution and are more costly than modern IP cameras – and ultimately reduce costs while delivering superior video surveillance.

After consideration from various brands, the environmental conditions and specifications of this project, Telekom Malaysia narrowed its selection of 322 IP camera models from 3 reliable brands. To record the video surveillance, TM selected the standalone QNAP VioStor VS-8140U-RP NVR for its compatibility with cameras, six easy steps to set up and connect, along with the configuration that allows each camera to be supported by the VioStor's eight 6TB hard drives with RAID 5 redundancy, guaranteeing reliable video surveillance to protect TM's staff and facilities.

The Sony outdoor speed domes supported by QNAP VioStor NVR are mainly used to monitor the building's exterior surroundings, such the parking lot, opposite street and courtyard. The indoor speed dome is primarily used for the main lobby entrance and emergency exits as it supports a number of PTZ and audio features that allow real-time warning and help calls from some of the building corners. The MOBOTIX 360-degree Panorama, suitable for the filing rooms, indoor parking garages, and general office areas. It covers a wide range of surveillance, eliminating the need for any additional IP cameras, saving additional cost.

Another noteworthy feature is the advanced event management features built into the VioStor NVR. The initial configuration of motion detection, alarm input, connection failure, and recording failure can all be set for after-work hours. If any irregularity is detected, an alarm notification can be sent to Telekom Tower's security office. The guarding staff can then make the necessary protective measures accordingly. In terms of storage, each VS-8140U-RP can be linked with up to 40 IP cameras. With up to 48GB of highly reliable storage mated with H.264 video compression to save hard drive space, TM security personnel can reliably record and monitor all IP cameras installed around the facilities with ease.

EtherWAN certified as a network solution partner with Milestone

EtherWAN certified as a network solution partner with Milestone

Editor / Provider: EtherWAN Systems | Updated: 6/30/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

EtherWAN Systems, a leading manufacturer and provider of industrial network solutions, announces the endorsement of Solution Partner by Milestone Systems, the leader in open platform IP surveillance video management software (VMS). EtherWAN has proven successful network integration of IT infrastructure components, access control and Milestone VMS in the large-scale IP surveillance scenario.

In an IP surveillance project in South East Asia, EtherWAN's EX17242 24-port Power over Ethernet switches have formed a steady IP network with CAT6 and fiber optic connections; As a result, the PoE cameras, SCADA and access control systems on site communicate seamlessly through EtherWAN's Ethernet transmission equipment. The surveillance data is collected and sent to the control center for further event and alarm notifications processed by XProtect® Professional, a comprehensive open platform VMS by Milestone. Such integration is made possible in consequence of the implementation of Milestone Integration Platform Software Development Kit (MIP SDK).

“EtherWAN is glad to join Milestone's Solution Partners in light of shaping reliable network transmission, minimizing installation and maintenance time of IP surveillance systems,” states Ben Chiang, Business Development Manager of EtherWAN, “We will continue to accumulate and share outstanding integration experience with our global partners and distribution channels in order to provide the most reliable network solutions for both Milestone and EtherWAN users. In order to fulfill this mission, we will make long-term efforts to work with all partners from different application fields.”

Splendor Hotel uses Axis' video surveillance system to further strengthen service quality

Splendor Hotel uses Axis' video surveillance system to further strengthen service quality

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 6/29/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The Splendor Hotel Taichung, the only Taiwanese winner of the 2013 World Luxury Hotel Award, implemented a new generation video surveillance system for its guestroom floors, banquet function rooms, lobby, kitchens, and parking area to provide privacy and safety for customers and staff.

An Axis partner proposed Axis network cameras to the hotel. The Axis IP system, supported by Milestone's XProtect video management platform is easy to operate and ensures security throughout the hotel. More than 300 Axis HDTV network cameras were deployed, including AXIS M3004-V, AXIS M3005-V, AXIS P3354, AXIS P3364, AXIS Q1604, and AXIS M3007.

With Axis IP surveillance technology, the Splendor Hotel Taichung benefits from high-quality images with easily identifiable colors. In case of any contingency, the hotel can effectively reconstruct what has happened to provide valid evidence. By doing so, the hotel is able to effectively clarify the responsibilities involved and better resolve customer concerns.


'After we had our Axis HDTV surveillance cameras implemented, we could immediately access clear and easily identifiable video images as evidences to active clarify the responsibilities involved in case of any contingency. Now we are better able to strengthen our overall service quality,'

- Jerry Kao, Executive Engineer of The Splendor Hotel in Taichung

Synology introduces VisualStation VS360HD

Synology introduces VisualStation VS360HD

Editor / Provider: Synology | Updated: 6/29/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

Synology VisualStation VS360HD is a compact, durable, and high-performance surveillance companion. It supports showing video feeds from up to 36 network cameras within a network when each camera is configured at 720p/10FPS, and dual Full HD mirrored display output via HDMI and VGA.

Live View & Playback at Your Choice
Synology VS360HD makes surveillance monitoring and playback simple. When paired with a Synology NAS running Surveillance Station 7 or later, VS360HD provides Full HD HDMI and VGA simultaneously mirrored display Live View output for up to 36 network cameras configured at 720p/10FPS within a network. Without requiring any costly computer, VS360HD is a powerful all-in-one solution for monitoring live feeds, browsing stored video footage, or capturing screenshots and saving them to an external USB drive.

Easy-to-Use Interface and USB Compatibility
Thanks to the versatile features of Surveillance Station, VS360HD is suitable for both beginner and advanced users. The intuitive interface ensures easy access to the most common functions, such as Live View, Timeline, and Recording List, which allows you to browse through recordings and export high-quality video clips or snapshots to an external USB drive. With the USB 3.0 port, users can connect a USB drive on VS360HD and reduce the time it takes to download video recording from Synology NAS to a USB drive. With a total of three USB ports on the VS360HD, users can also connect a mouse, keyboard, or even a joystick to easily operate specific IP cameras with PTZ (Pan-TiltZoom) control. With a few simple mouse-clicks, useful camera angles can be saved and grouped together to form “Patrol” cycles, while optimized Live View layouts are fully customizable with a quick drag-and-drop.

VESA Mount Compliance and Durable Design
With the included VESA mounting kit, users can mount VS360HD on the back of any VESA compliant monitors. The small footprint design of VS360HD easily hides behind the monitor, reducing clutter and providing maximum working space. Compared to a traditional PC, VS360HD not only saves a large amount of space, but also consumes less power and boasts tough durability. VS360HD can endure industrial temperatures from -20 °C to 50 °C (-4 °F to 122 °F), so there is no need to worry about overheating when installing VS360HD on the back of monitors or in harsh environments.

24/7 Security Solution for Everyone
Synology Surveillance Station offers a centralized interface to manage and monitor IP cameras in your shop, office, or home. In addition to its intuitive setup and hassle-free user experience, Surveillance Station features an optimized Live View panel with on-screen operations, smart analytics tools like motion detection, and an alert system that sends instant notifications through DS cam, SMS, and E-mail, when any suspicious behavior is detected. When paired with VS360HD, shop or business owners can ensure greater security by positioning VS360HD higher risk areas, such as a front desks or checkout counter, while storing the main recording server in a locked closet or dedicated server room.

Thanks to its fan-less design, VS360HD is completely silent and requires only 4.76W when operating with 36 channels, and even lowers power usage down to only 3.61W when idle.

Wallet-Friendly Energy-Efficient
As a PC-less surveillance solution, VS360HD economizes on both equipment and energy costs in the long-run. All Synology products are produced with RoHS compliant parts and packed with recyclable packing materials. Synology acknowledges the responsibility as a global citizen to continually work to reduce the environmental impact of every product produced.

Macro trends driving global demand for network security solutions

Macro trends driving global demand for network security solutions

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 6/29/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

The global market for network cameras is expected to grow by between 16 to 22 percent annually in the next three to four years, according to reports by market research companies TSR and IHS. A large part of the growth is expected to be in the Asian and Latin American markets. The Chinese market for CCTV and video surveillance equipment, which also includes analogue cameras, amounted to 33 percent of the total global market in 2013, which was then worth USD 13.5 billion.

Axis has an indirect distribution model and a network of more than 75,000 partners in 179 countries. Axis' sales are made to distributors, who in turn sell to system integrators and resellers, who sell to the end customer. Axis offers a broad portfolio of network-based products and solutions to enterprise, medium and small customers in nine different customer segments: transportation, retail, bank & finance, city surveillance, critical infrastructure, education, manufacturing, healthcare and public sector.

Axis' competitors are large international vendors as well as small niched companies, in total over 400 competitors globally. Mature markets are characterized by competiveness around quality and new technology while some emerging markets are instead characterized more by price competitiveness.

Urbanization and rapid developments in IP-connectivity are driving the continuously growing demand for network security solutions

The latest World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report identifies failure of critical infrastructure and severe social unrest as two main global risks during 2015. The need to create a safer and more secure society continues to be the overarching driving force behind continued strong growth in the global video surveillance market.

The demand for IP-based security solutions continue to grow in all market regions and the most prominent driving forces for this are urbanization and technology development,
both global in nature.

On the one hand, continued strong market demand is tied to dynamic macroeconomic factors having to do with social- and economic development, especially rapid urbanization. On the other hand, rapid developments in IP-technology and the rise of hyper-connectivity, often referred to as the Internet of Things, are creating new areas of use for network video in areas not typically associated with video surveillance, namely visual and business intelligence.

Urbanization drives the need for intelligent security solutions
With ongoing rapid expansion of urban areas in Asia, Africa and other areas, pressure on transportation and other critical infrastructure is mounting. The latest World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report identifies failure of critical infrastructure and severe social unrest as two main global risks during 2015.

Prevents and solves crime
Growing population density in urban areas across the world increases the need to build smarter cities that can meet the security needs of its citizens, who have a right to feel safe. Surveillance camera technology is increasingly viewed as a critical component for law enforcement's ability to solve and prevent crime. There is growing public acceptance for video surveillance and mounting societal willingness in general to use technology to help ensure the safety of citizens.

Innovations in network video technology have led to a number of advanced privacy protection solutions that can be used to ensure that cameras only record what's necessary and that the material is protected and safely stored. For example, functions such as privacy masks that automatically blur faces or configurable pan, tilt and zoom limits can provide additional privacy protection while encryption and IP address filtering enable increased data protection.

Developing cities require more intelligence
Large scale investments in infrastructure such as public transportation systems, new housing developments, energy infrastructure and industries are all driving global demand for smart and effective security solutions.

Network solutions for smart cities
Intelligent security solutions are crucial building blocks for constructing the environmentally and socially sustainable cities of the future. Network camera solutions can for example measure traffic flows and provide real-time intelligence to traffic controllers, carefully monitor large areas around power plants, ports and other critical infrastructure to help protect against sabotage and terrorist attacks, help protect passengers and employees of public transportation systems, prevent vandalization and protect government buildings and schools.

The hyper-connected world/Developments in IP-based technology
New technology and the rise of the hyper-connected world is another main driving force for the global network video market. Increasingly sophisticated network camera technologies are allowing cameras to be integrated with physical access control systems and used together with software solutions, mobile devices and cloud technology. Integrated security systems that combine network cameras with physical access control systems and software solutions, are now used to heighten security in for example schools, hospitals and government buildings.

The development of advanced video analytics solutions has created a new area of use, namely around video as visual intelligence, commonly referred to as business intelligence. Network camera end-users who want to optimize their business processes are increasingly looking to surveillance solutions for answers. Whether it is to optimize cost, functionality, efficiency or security, customers are increasingly relying on network video and thus demanding various new innovative solutions.

Today, customers in both private and public sector segments request solutions that are tailored for their specific needs. Whether it is to enable people to create a smarter, safer world or to find new business opportunities through visual intelligence, innovations combining network camera and IP-technology have opened the door for highly advanced and specialized solutions.

Customized and networked security solution from Bosch for new prestigious building complex in Mexico City

Customized and networked security solution from Bosch for new prestigious building complex in Mexico City

Editor / Provider: Bosch Security Systems | Updated: 6/26/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Bosch Security Systems was chosen as the supplier of a comprehensive networked security solution for the new building complex Capital Reforma in Mexico's capital city. The solution comprises video surveillance systems, fire detection and voice evacuation systems as well as access control. The entire solution can be monitored and operated centrally.

Capital Reforma is located in a prestigious neighborhood with many tourist attractions, luxurious restaurants, office buildings and public art exhibitions. It has also become a traditional place for the Mexicans to celebrate; for example, many parades make their way through this avenue. Capital Reforma is a multi-purpose building complex with two 108 meter high towers each with 25 floors and 30.000 square meters of office space, 14.000 square meters of luxury condominiums and a parking space with 1.760 square meters. In order to provide a secure environment for visitors and anybody working or living in the building complex, a comprehensive security solution fulfilling any requirements of the different areas was needed.

With regard to fire detection, the local Bosch partner Insecom decided on an integrated and highly-scalable solution that is based on the Modular Fire Panel 5000 Series.

The selected fire detectors 420 Series guarantee fast and immediate response on the one hand, on the other hand robustness against false alarms and thus provide reliable operation in each of the different areas.

Miguel A. Reyes from Insecom confirms: "Bosch not only offers the flexible and high quality products we are looking for, but also proves to be a great partner to work with. Additionally, the Modular Fire Panel 5000 Series is much easier to install, operate and maintain than the third party systems we had mostly used in the past.”

An important aspect of the Bosch systems is also the offered backwards compatibility, something Insecom had missed with other suppliers before, where they had been faced with frequent model changes. The fire detection system is interfaced with the PLENA Voice Alarm system, which allows the operator to distribute targeted evacuation instructions tailored to the different areas and their escape routes.

A comprehensive video solution has been realized using the AUTODOME IP cameras, which meet the requirements of the building's aesthetic. The cameras provide high quality images, even in low light or high contrast. Access control is based on the Bosch AMC (Access Modular Controller) and efficiently rounds off the security solution. Access, registration and control of visitors and tenants are consequently ensured at any time.

Tyco security products answers small business surveillance needs with affordable IP video solutions

Tyco security products answers small business surveillance needs with affordable IP video solutions

Editor / Provider: Tyco Security Products | Updated: 6/25/2015 | Article type: Security 50

Tyco Security Products, part of Tyco, the world's largest pure-play fire protection and security company, announces a new line of IP cameras and NVRs that meets the budget of small to medium sized businesses, while satisfying their need for high-quality video surveillance.

A new Essentials line has been added to the company's robust Illustra IP camera portfolio featuring Essentials bullet and mini-dome cameras with IR and indoor mini-dome cameras. Available in 1 and 2 megapixel models, all three cameras offer H.264 and MJPEG dual-stream encoding, a 3.6mm fixed lens, and a maximum 30 images per second at 1080p or 720p for crisp, clear images.

The Essentials Outdoor Mini-Dome and Bullet cameras are equipped with IR illuminators, true day/night and wide dynamic range to capture quality video in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. With wide dynamic range capabilities, the Essentials Indoor Mini-Dome also captures video in changing lighting conditions, making it ideal for a range of indoor applications.

The second part of the low-cost IP surveillance equation, Tyco Security Products' new brand of Holis NVRs feature 1080p resolution and video search and export functions. Four- and 8-channel models provide a dependable recording solution for applications such as independent retailers, small offices, and restaurants. Equipped with 4 and 8 POE ports respectively, the Holis NVRs are designed to support small camera count installations in an economical and efficient manner. The Holis NVR start-up wizard is designed to provide quick and efficient network turn-ups.

“There's a growing segment within the commercial community ranging from convenience stores to medical offices, that want to embrace security for their facility, but they need products that are inherently trustworthy, easy to operate and budget friendly,” said Steve Carney, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Video and Integration Platforms, Tyco Security Products. “With the affordable addition to the Illustra IP camera portfolio and new Holis NVRs, we've struck the right balance between high-quality features and a truly affordable price.”

VIVOTEK's total surveillance systems deployed by casino in North Cyprus

VIVOTEK's total surveillance systems deployed by casino in North Cyprus

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by VIVOTEK | Updated: 6/30/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The Acapulco Resort, North Cyprus: Cyprus Tradition Meets Western Comfort
Located on the sparkling white sands of one of Northern Cyprus's most naturally beautiful beaches, and looking out over the shallow, crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean sea, the Acapulco Resort (North Cyprus) is not just a place to relax and have fun, it is a place to be seen. As well as a long, 1km stretch of golden sand beach, offering a wide range of water-sports, the resort also features the biggest pool complex in Northern Cyprus, replete with a waterfall and a sunken bar. And in the evening, as the sun melts into the ocean, the Acapulco Resort creates its own bright lights, with an extensive array of restaurants, an open air disco and bar, and the stylish, high-class Pasha casino.

The Challenge: A New Security System, Stylish and State of the Art, was Needed for the Casino
In any luxurious holiday resort, the safety of the guests and their personal belongings is of utmost importance and the Acapulco Resort spares no expense in this department. However, one area of the Resort has always posed the greatest challenge for any security system – that is the extensive and stylish Pasha Casino. While the casino is built for the comfort and entertainment of the Resort's high-rolling guests and thus must present an elegant face, the gaming area also needs to be monitored closely to ensure fair-play. Until this year the casino management had attempted to carry out this surveillance with an old analog surveillance system, but in 2015, they finally reached out to distributors ONCU to help them bring the casino's security system up to speed, as well as into style.

One of the great things about the Acapulco Resort is that there's such a wide variety of facilities available. However, the diverse range of facilities at the Pasha Casino presented a diverse range of security challenges. The surveillance system needed to be stylish and with a small footprint, it also needed to provide coverage of a range of areas, some brightly light and subject to glare, some with less light than most IP cameras could cope with. Perhaps most demanding was the casino floor, where precision focus was required to monitor the gaming activities.

The Solution: What Challenge? VIVOTEK's Wide Range of IP Cameras See More but Show Less
Thankfully, VIVOTEK, no stranger to diversity, or to challenges, provides such a wide range of IP cameras and surveillance solutions that the Pasha Casino could be covered without difficulty or fuss. Particularly well matched to the job were VIVOTEK's FE8181 and FE8181V fisheye network cameras which both offer 360-degree surround coverage while keeping out of sight, and Smart IR illumination to bring dark areas into view. The FD8135H fixed dome camera took care of the other end of the spectrum, with its WDR Pro enabling the camera to provide crystal clear imagery even in areas of high contrast light. The IP8371E bullet network camera played its part too, incorporating Smart Stream technology, which can be used to optimize resolution on a desired object or area to maximize bandwidth usage. Joining this already impressive team, VIVOTEK's SD8364E was chosen for its superb image quality, sophisticated pan/tilt mechanism, patrol function, auto detection and tracking modes, making the camera able to easily keep track of the busy action on the casino floor.

One hundred and thirty FD8168 ultra-mini fixed dome network cameras were also chosen for their unique ability to provide surveillance of the highest quality, while blending into even the most stylish interiors. Knowing how important it is to avoid down-time in a casino, VIVOTEK has also made the FD8168 extremely simple to install with compact housing and standard PoE power input design, as well as a MicroSD card slot for local storage use.

A casino presents another challenge for surveillance systems. While visibility is vitally important, not every area can be brightly lit. VIVOTEK's FD8169 fixed dome camera, equipped with 15 meter infrared and 3D Noise Reduction technology, is specifically designed to produce crystal clear images even when the lighting is set low to enhance the atmosphere of the casino.

With adopting the comprehensive surveillance solution of VIVOTEK, the full coverage is ensured as the games goes on. Even in the busy and constantly changing environment of the casino gaming floor, security operators can remotely monitor every flip of a card and every spin of a roulette wheel from their high-tech control room.

Making Total Surveillance Simple: VIVOTEK's VAST Central Management Software
As is clear, VIVOTEK has provided a broad range of IP cameras to meet the needs of the Pasha Casino. However, just because the network of cameras is diverse, doesn't mean managing them needs to be complicated or difficult. Thanks to VIVOTEK's self developed VMS VAST central management software, the whole system can be intuitively managed remotely. VAST supports hundreds of cameras and stations in a hierarchical structure of system for monitoring, recording, playback and event trigger management with ease-of-use and efficient control. Moreover, VAST also offers a video wall solution, VAST Matrix, allowing the live monitoring of hundred of cameras. Serving as the brains of this diverse team of IP cameras, VIVOTEK's VAST software ensures that this diverse range of VIVOTEK cameras all work in perfect harmony to ensure the safety of the guests of the Pasha Casino at the Acapulco Resort, North Cyprus.

Security industry heats up, as China tries to catch up

Security industry heats up, as China tries to catch up

Editor / Provider: a&s Editorial Team | Updated: 6/25/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

From the beginning of this decade there has been much talk about the growth of Chinese physical security manufacturers and how they had begun to hurt the market-shares of Western and other Asian companies with extremely low-cost products. Analysts and media have repeatedly highlighted the pressure that Chinese manufacturers exert on their foreign counterparts and how this is changing the global physical security business landscape.

Two major Chinese manufacturers, Hikvision and Dahua, had aggressively expanded their presence in global markets by 2014, moving up the value chain but continuing to maintain low prices. Research firm, Memoori Business Intelligence, had also warned that some very misleading figures are being published about their dominant size by basing their revenues on total system compared against product sales for Western companies.

Needless to say, with such strong opinions from industry-observers, distributors and systems integrators (SI) are considering how they should move forward in terms of partnerships and purchases, without having to compromise too much on their margins.

Persisting Quality and Durability Concerns
Despite a general uplift in outlook for some Chinese manufacturers, certain concerns still exist on their performance and these have prompted some distributers and SIs to take a wait and watch attitude. They believe that the quality has improved, but not to their level of satisfaction.

Nigel Hamley, Director of IPTV Division at the US-based Marshall Electronics, whose company has significant experience in multiple verticals including medical, government, education, AV market, and enterprise security, had come to Secutech 2015 in search of expanding its involvement with IP vendors that his company could partner with to diversify its product offerings. He feels that over the past five years, the major change he has seen in the industry is the growth of China.

As of now, his company has not purchased Chinese products as they have relied on the technological and advanced quality levels seen in Taiwanese and Korean products, but he admitted that Chinese manufacturers are improving and that in the future they might decide to purchase components such as parts for dome camera, mechanical and electronic parts, and chipsets, and may look to integrate those parts into finished goods.

Some SIs, while acknowledging that the quality of Chinese products have improved, pointed out that there are still concerns on their durability. Jignesh Shah, MD of India-based SI, Dots Info Systems, which has been in the video surveillance industry for the past eight years, stressed this point.

He said that the Indian market is flooded with Chinese products and that they are exerting strong pressure on the other brands, but added “if you are looking at a product to last from a year to three, then Chinese products are okay, if looking at a longer period, you have to look for other options.”

Roshan Punnilath, Head of Operations at Mega Security Systems in Saudi Arabia, too agreed that although the quality of Chinese products has improved, their durability is still a concern in the market. Distributors compensate this by providing extended warranties and replacement offers for damaged goods, but such haphazard solutions cannot be accepted for crucial installations like government projects.

Some distributors attribute these quality and durability issues to the Chinese manufacturers' lack of understanding of the industry. According to Johan Haryanto, MD of distributer, Hotware, that began business in Indonesia eight years ago as VIVOTEK's sole dealer for the country, Taiwanese brands stand out in comparison due to their knowledge of the field.

“It's because of the experience. Even though some [Chinese] companies are growing, they lack experience in the field,” Haryanto said. “So when compared within the same field, non-Chinese brands are better. Even though Chinese products are selling more, their Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) levels and number of defective pieces are still high.”

Margins, specialized requirements and service drive buyers to Taiwan
As the global economy tightens and businesses look to cut corners and remain profitable, it is inevitable that distributors and SIs give adequate focus to their income margins. This, in itself, is a difficult task when customers become more reluctant to spend money. But things become even more complicated when manufacturers themselves place their products at the lower end of the price chart.

Although a low-price product might look attractive to an end user, it's hardly the same for distributors and SIs who are forced to squeeze their profit margins.

Michael Grek, from Metro Global Technology Solutions in Australia said that he was looking to purchase Taiwanese products to offset the weak margins offered by Chinese manufacturers. He added that at present the Australian market is flooded with Chinese products, and as everyone begins to sell the same product, distributors are forced undercut each other constantly, a practice that hurts not just individual businesses but also the whole industry.

M Kumaraguru, MD of Malaysia-based SI, Maha Asia Sdn Bhd, took this point further, as he said that the lower prices of Chinese products are killing the market indirectly. “You need to maintain a certain standard and not try to keep taking the prices lower and lower until the margins become extremely narrow for us,” he said.

This concern is seen in other developed markets as well, according to Jonathan Okina, CEO of Okiusa, a US-based distributor of surveillance and alarm equipment with about 18 years of experience. Okina said that with Chinese brands like Hikvision becoming popular, distributors' work has doubled and tripled from before and they are forced to lower prices to stay competitive. Moises Faroy, President and CEO of another US-based distributor, CCTV Core, agreed to this, adding that low-price products from China and the price wars they have brought with them are the biggest market challenges at present.

Yet another key reason that prompts buyers to look to Taiwan is that Taiwanese manufacturers are able to provide solutions to various specific needs. Syed Jawed Ali Zaidi, President of GSS-Japan, a company that does systems integration for solar power plants, said that he comes to Taiwan for his purchases because Taiwanese manufacturers are able to provide him better customized services, which help him integrate different brands easily. Masahiko Yamamoto, President of another Japanese installer, Safety & Security, agrees that Taiwanese products are better and are improving every year, meeting Japanese quality requirements.

Then there is also the issue of service. Daniel Brami, Head of Business Development in Building Department at Mecalectro in France said that his company prefers products that are made in Taiwan, not just because of the quality but also because of the prompt response that they get from Taiwanese companies.

“China usually doesn't answer to customers,” he said. “I don't know if it's because China so big they don't care? We ask questions to both China and Taiwan [companies]. Taiwan answers on same day but China takes four to five days.”

Dean Klobucar, Export Director of Alarm Automatika, a SI and distributor based in Croatia, sums this up as Taiwanese companies being professionally stronger, despite having to compete with the large quantities of products that are produced in China. He added that from an SI's point of view, such a strong professional support is crucial to the business.

Chinese Attempt to outgrow the ‘cheap' label
Chinese products evidently struggle when it comes to matching up to the required quality standards. But perhaps the biggest challenge that Chinese manufacturers face may not be the quality of their products itself, but the perception that Chinese products are low in quality. Years of exporting low-quality products at extremely low prices have created a general opinion that Chinese manufacturers cannot be trusted. Listening to views from some distributors and SIs, it was evident that consistent efforts from some major Chinese vendors to change this label have had some effect.

Harry Chang, from the Singapore-based SI, King Island, hinted that the perception of Chinese products in his local market is improving, as he elaborated on his recent experience of buying a Dahua product. Chang said in the past the company used low-quality material, like plastic casing for an IR camera, and their R&D was not sufficient. Now he found that only the base of the product is made of plastic, which is an improvement over the past.

Echoing similar sentiments, Somchai Prajaksoot, MD of Digital Focus, an exclusive distributor for Hikvision in Thailand, said that SIs in his country are increasingly interested in the Chinese brand, compared to the past. With a strong local presence, Prajaksoot's company has managed to expand Hikvision products, especially in large government projects in the country. Recently Digital Focus won many government projects, which could never have happened five years ago.

Alberto Antinucci from the Italy-based Home Defender considers this a global trend, adding that it is no longer possible to generalize products from China as of low-quality. All countries have producers that are good and bad and eventually the demand depends on the buyer's needs.

“Today, you can't put a label such that if it's made in China, it's poor quality,” he said, adding that some of the Chinese companies that he had encountered were producing good-quality products.

Such thoughts have prompted some distributors and SIs to focus more on the product and not where it comes from. Edo Pribadi, MD of SI Adhivian Mitrakarsa in Indonesia said that he does not care where the product comes from as long as the quality is good.

“I'm not looking at where the products come from, what I need to know is what functions the products provide,” Pribadi said, adding that if the products from China can come with a guarantee of longer durability, he will go for it. Joni Iswanto, Director of another Indonesia-based SI and distributor, Lintastama Jelajah Informatika, was of the same opinion.

But this cannot be seen as a general trend, as several markets still hold a cautious approach to Chinese products. According to Kumaraguru, most of Malaysian market still considers Chinese manufacturers as of low price and low quality. Mario Sergio L. Machado, from the Brazilian distributor Telematica, also said that clients in his local market believe Taiwan products have a better image compared to their Chinese counterparts.

Ahmed Faiz, GM of Khonaini Computer Technologies in Saudi Arabia, had similar comments about his local market. He said that Chinese products have only managed to penetrate the low-end consumer market, while large projects are still handled by US, European and Taiwanese products.

Increased competition to aid the industry
As a general market observation though, some SIs are of the opinion that the rise of Chinese products may help the overall industry because it will boost competition. Theoretically, competition would limit complacency and force manufacturers to improve themselves. Daniel Ananthan, Head of Enterprise Business at VS Information Systems, one of the largest SIs in Sri Lanka, concurs to this idea.

“I personally believe that arrival of Chinese products is good for the market,” Ananthan said. “Once they improve themselves, other major manufacturers are also forced to change themselves and perhaps look for competitive prices.”

Such a thought does make sense, but not exactly in the sense that Chinese manufacturers are now viewing the market. Creating perfect competition does regulate the market to set realistic product prices, but Chinese manufacturers, with their ultra-low prices, do not seem to be looking for this.

Compete to Innovate, not to lower prices
Regardless of the discussions on the quality of manufacturers, industry players believe that given the sheer number of companies involved, the Chinese manufacturing sector might soon consolidate. This would inevitably remove the weaker manufacturers and let the good-quality brands survive. Some believe that at present, there are just a few Chinese manufacturers that can stand the test of time.

But regardless of improving quality, Chinese manufacturers continue to focus on low-pricing as their differentiating factor. Market analysts, while acknowledging that non-Chinese brands might need to compromise on margins while competing with China, warn against making price the sole factor for competition.

“Shaving off some margin may be necessary but to compete on price would be a disastrous policy for the Chinese will continue to lower their price if they have to,” noted Memoori Business Intelligence, indicating that the inevitable answer is, and has always been, innovation.

This is in line with opinions from some of the distributors and SIs as well. Golan Wishniya, CEO of Worldshop, a distributor from U.S., believes that Taiwanese products have better quality but said that he would like to see them focus more on smart solutions, and make more complex products like the stone camera, which are different, but are easy to use.

In the end, it is evident that distributors and SIs believe quality is of utmost priority, especially in the longer term. There is an instant attraction to lower prices, but such a consistent push to keep the costs down will not only harm product-quality, but is also a destructive business practice that crunches earnings. Going forward, the only constructive option is to invest more in R&D, understand customer requirements and proactively provide innovative solutions.

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