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 Milestone XProtect  provides Finnish schools and harbor with full-range protection

Milestone XProtect provides Finnish schools and harbor with full-range protection

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 4/22/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

“Installing Milestone XProtect has done the trick. We have reduced the cost of vandalism by approximately €50,000 (around $69,054) per year. Now we have practically no costs in regards to vandalism. What originated as a need for general security has evolved: One of the main benefits of our solution is the broad usage of it.” - Eero Polonen, Technical Manager, Kontiolahti Municipality.

The Challenge:
Before installing Milestone XProtect software, Kontiolahti Municipality was subjected to extensive vandalism at schools and in the harbor. The harbor was especially plagued by theft of boat motors and oil, littering and other destructive activities that the old security system was not equipped to handle.

 

The Solution:
Installing Milestone Partner Hallstrom designed and implemented an efficient solution with Milestone XProtect Professional and XProtect Essential to manage 200 AXIS, Sony, Vivotek and Mobotix cameras. The cameras are installed throughout the entire municipality at hospitals, sports fields, harbors and schools. Hallstrom integrated Blackbox Light Control System, which has enabled the municipality to use XProtect Smart Client and Milestone Mobile to control not only cameras, but also all public lighting systems. Hallstrom set up the users with the XProtect Smart Client Finnish language interface, which significantly eases day-to-day operations for Kontiolahti Municipality.

The Advantages:
The Milestone XProtect solution has provided Kontiolahti with increased safety and has led to a significant reduction in vandalism saving around USD69,054 a year. The municipality can easily expand their security solution to more uses with the Milestone open platform.

Large yearly savings from reduced vandalism thanks to Milestone
The Milestone surveillance solution is installed all over Kontiolahti Municipality for many purposes, including keeping the citizens of Kontiolahti safe in public: “The general opinion in the population is that security has increased after we have installed the new solution,” states Eero Polonen, Technical Manager at Kontiolahti Municipality. The estimated savings are €50,000 a year due to reduced vandalism.

“Before we installed Milestone XProtect we were experiencing a lot of vandalism at schools in our area and at the harbor, where fuel and motors from the boats were frequently being stolen. That was the reason why we decided to install a new security system: to reduce the destruction of our facilities and further increase safety for our population,” states Polonen.

“A new security system was badly needed since the previous one was both outdated and lacked user-friendliness” relates Polonen.

To find a better solution to secure the municipality, Eero Polonen teamed up with Milestone Partner through seven years, Hallstrom LTD Partnership. Hqllstrom is a Finnish expert in the fields of ICT and security, and is one of the leading suppliers of IP-based surveillance solutions in Finland. Their effective solution with Milestone XProtect Professional and XProtect Essential has significantly made a difference in helping the municipality with their problems.

“We chose Milestone XProtect because the product is reliable and stable, which is very important for us. Moreover, the Milestone solution is scalable, so it can be used in everything from small systems to very large systems. That is a big advantage,” says Polonen.

Kontiolahti gets additional benefits from using open platform software
Besides helping the municipality reduce vandalism, the video monitoring solution is also used to secure the personal safety of citizens living in elderly homes and for checking conditions at sports venues: “With Milestone Mobile we remotely check the condition of a sports field to plan maintenance, for example,” says Polonen. The solution has also proven to be beneficial during the long cold winters: “In winter the staff can remotely check how much snow falls to decide how often they have to plow ice away from roads and parking places.”

 The integration benefits of open platform
Kontiolahti Municipality sees many advantages of the Milestone open platform that makes it easy to integrate with third-party systems.

“Hallstrom has integrated XProtect with the Blackbox Light Control System. This allows us to control the lights at different locations directly from the XProtect Smart Client interface,” says Polonen. “A big plus in regards to the XProtect Smart Client is that it has been translated to Finnish. That contributes to making the clients easy to use. In general, I think the XProtect Smart Client is very intuitive and easy to manage and the fact that we can use the same client for all platforms is an extra plus.”

It was the system integrator Hallstrom who recommended Kontiolahti to go with the Milestone solution, and Hallstrom has thoroughly trained each of the users in how to use the solution. “We have received very good support from Hallstrom who has quickly responded to our questions and inquiries throughout the purchasing, installation and support process,” concludes Eero Polonen and adds that the municipality is planning on expanding the solution to cover even more institutions.

 

Fact box

 

software

XProtect Professional and XProtect Essential

clients

XProtect Smart Client and Milestone Mobile

NUmber of cameras

200

camera models

15 AXIS P1357E cameras, 20 Mobotix D14 cameras and 60 Vivotek MD7650 cameras, and a few Sony and Vivotek PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras

type of network

3G network, wireless LAN and the municipality's intranet

Central/Local management

Local, remote

Integration

Blackbox Light Control System

 

 

[GDSF Secutech 2014] Digitalcom shares experience in Thai Customs Dept.

[GDSF Secutech 2014] Digitalcom shares experience in Thai Customs Dept.

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Digitalcom, a participant in GDSF at Secutech 2014, shared its experience in helping the Thai Customs Department set up a state-of-the-art surveillance system aiming to strengthen border control.

The project began in 2008 and is now in its third phase. The main installation was done by the Communication Authority of Thailand, which rents the system to the customs agency on a yearly basis. Hardware and cameras were provided by Yip In Tsoi, and Digitalcom did the system configuration.

The main purpose of the project was to monitor activities at the borders and make sure that no trafficking of any kind took place. Border control gained importance especially after the Thai government raised its tobacco tax this year, an event that caused trafficking of cigarettes from neighboring countries to rise, said Suwich Chitkasemsuk, MD of Digitalcom.

The installation involved the deployment of over 200 recording servers and over 1,500 cameras. According to Chitkasemsuk, installation was made much easier thanks to Milestone's solution, which allowed Digitalcom workers to use Windows Remote Desktop and Management Client to complete installation and configuration, all at one central site.

To free up more bandwidth needed for high-quality video data, the multi-stream technology was adopted. Digitalcom uses MJPEG for recording videos from important cameras and MPEG-4, which requires lesser bandwidth, for viewing purposes, Chitkasemsuk said.

The company's solution also integrates with various existing technologies, such as facial recognition and analytics, to detect intrusion, reduce false alarms, and enhance responsiveness.

[GDSF Secutech 2014] VMS works wonders for verticals

[GDSF Secutech 2014] VMS works wonders for verticals

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

VMS is demanded by any vertical market that needs video surveillance to keep facilities and premises safe and secure. Operators from different verticals, however, look for different things in their VMS based on the specific demands and needs of their respective industries. The topics of VMS and its applications in different vertical markets took the center stage during this year's Secutech Taipei and were a main theme discussed by panelists in the Global Digital Security Forum (GDSF) held alongside the exhibition. During the event, industry experts shared their insights into VMS requirements for different verticals and what they considered to be good video management software.

Airports/Public transportation
Scalability is one of the first things operators of airports and public transportation facilities look for in choosing the right VMS solution. As the number of cameras increases with the construction of new airport terminals or new subway stations, the ability of VMS to grow with the system becomes critical.

“When we first did the Taipei subway system, we had 1,000-plus cameras and 17 stations, but the numbers have increased to more than 10,000 cameras and more than 100 stations,” said Isabella Lin, Sales Manager of Overseas Sales Division, Instek Digital, which was chosen as a partner of the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. to deploy video surveillance solutions. “Scalability has become an essential thing.”

Reliability, or the ability of a system to maintain stable, steady operation even in the event of system failure, is also crucial. Every piece of video is vital in accident prevention or post-event investigation and is too precious to be lost during any time. Management software that enables continuous system access and uninterrupted video streaming is therefore another important factor that airport and public transportation operators look for.

Finally, video management software nowadays must include a certain level of intelligence, which analyzes abnormalities in videos and responds to those abnormalities accordingly. When someone intrudes into an off-limits area or loiters on the subway platform, a solution with good analytics will detect those scenarios and send an alert to the security personnel. This way, tragedies may be prevented, and lives saved.


“Analytics is becoming a lot more mature, and we're seeing new applications,” said Justin Schorn, Co-Founder of Aimetis, which has deployed VMS solutions in major international airports in the world, including those of Brasilia, Munich, and Perth. “With no analytics, a solution is a very much passive, not a very reactive one. But with analytics, it's more of a proactive product.”

Safe city
Surveillance plays a critical function in keeping cities safe, livable and responsive to crime, terrorist threats and attacks, accidents and disasters. According to a previously released whitepaper, Milestone, a leading VMS provider, said after a city in Brazil installed a video surveillance system, it noticed a 6 percent reduction in crime. A Nevada police department installed cameras in a high crime area, and within a year research showed that 52.7 percent of the residents felt there was less drug dealing in the area and 77 percent felt that the surveillance system had enhanced their quality of life.

“A safe city project aims to protect citizens and assets. It involves technologies providing situational awareness to various stakeholders, and enables overall operational picture to all relevant agencies,” said Sunny Kong, Director of Sales of Asia, Milestone.

Yet meeting those objectives entails more than installing a bunch of cameras on street lamps or traffic signals. It also has to do with monitoring a gargantuan amount of video footage and identifying people, objects or behaviors that are suspicious. Again, this is where analytics comes in, said Wilson Chin, Marketing Vice President, Verint Asia Pacific.

“It's not so much about (the solution) identifying a license plate. It's more about recognizing that the license plate is supposed to be assigned to a white Honda minivan, and now it's on a black four-door sedan Toyota. That's an alert that someone has switched the license plate,” he said. “As the analytics gets more sophisticated, that's when its value in a big city solution becomes apparent.”

Chin also mentioned the importance of open web monitoring in a safe city solution, which relies on the collective wisdom of the people to identify suspicious individuals or fight crime.

“For those of you who followed the Boston Marathon incident a couple of years ago, you know that one of the ways they tracked down the individuals was analyzing thousands of thousands of photos taken by people through their smartphones,” he said. “It wasn't just the monitoring points of the cameras that was deployed by the city. It was people with smartphones. They would put things on Facebook or Twitter, which greatly expanded the number of images available for analysis. This is the power of crowdsourcing.”

To enable that kind of connectivity between citizens and government agencies through smart devices, an enabler is needed, and according to Milestone's Kong, that enabler is the open platform.

"An open platform enables the use of best-in-breeds in technologies,” he said. “It allows freedom of choice, future-proofs investments, and ensures third-party integrations easily."

Banking
No vertical needs security more than the banking industry, which processes a tremendous amount of money on a daily basis. Yet a surveillance installation can get complex and sophisticated when it comes to banks, which operate different sites including corporate buildings, branch offices, ATMs and cash depots. Monitoring these sites to ensure that they are always safe has thus become a priority for security operators.

“The main purpose for a bank in having a video surveillance system is two-fold,” said Jukka Riivari, CEO of Mirasys, which has done business with five out of the top 50 banks across the world, four out of the top six Nordic Banks in Europe, and three central banks. “One fold is to make sure that the premises are intact; there is no intrusion to the premises after the office hours or during the office hours. The other is how can you reduce the false alarm rate so you only have real alarms.”

To manage videos from different locations the VMS must have strong centralization features that can, for example, alert local authorities on irregular banking activities at a specific branch office. Intelligence must also be included in the video management software to reduce false alarms. A complex alarm list, for instance, may be built into the system to make sure that people suspected of intrusion or loitering match the criteria on the alarm list.

At the same time, banking VMS should be able to interface with other technologies, for example access control, intrusion alarms and transactional systems, to prevent and reduce fraud and other financial-reduced crimes. According to a survey conducted by the European ATM Security Team, ATM card skimming resulted in losses of nearly 111 million Euros across Europe during the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, a study released in 2011 by the Aite Group estimates that card fraud costs the U.S. card payments industry US$8.6 billion annually. Against this backdrop, VMS integrated with transactional systems allows instant revelation of transaction irregularities that may result from card skimming.

“It's the specific solutions, not just the DVRs and cameras, that keep the hundreds of branch offices safe,” Riivari said. “You need to be able to detect someone trying to put a skimming device into the system. That is the purpose of one of those solutions needed, not just tools.

Safe and sound
While VMS works differently across verticals, experts at GDSF all reached the consensus that VMS should allow scalability, reliability, integration and intelligence no matter which vertical it is deployed in. These requirements help ensure normal and safe business operations, which are ultimately needed for the end user's sustainable growth.

Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Editor / Provider: Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

As the trend towards digital video progresses, we are seeing corporations that are not taking full advantage of the possibilities for enhancing their business with visual data. The big block is not the technology, it is the analog mindset. To gain the full business advantages of digital video, you have to think about video as data and an important element in the IT infrastructure.

Analog video is all about pictures. To simplify it – all you can do with analog video is watching it. There are no integration possibilities, no interconnections to business areas, and no future proofing. The analog video lives and dies in its own closed world. Closed Circuit TV – CCTV: even the name CCTV has a bad ring to it in a digital world that is so much more open and interconnected. Analog video is all pictures – no data. Digital video (or IP video) is all pictures – all data.

All too often we see that a video installation migrated from the data-less analog old world to the digital future is used in the same way as the old installation. This means that nobody has asked the all-important question: “How do we utilize this new data source to improve or expand our business?”

Digital video is more than just video. Data can be analyzed and used in a business context. Digital video is a data source like all other data sources in IT infrastructure. This means that video data can be fed to other IT systems since true open VMS (video management software) can function as a digital video hub, not only feeding video data to other IT systems, but also integrating business functions.

This is important because a video system often serves more than one purpose. Most video systems are used for monitoring and securing people, perimeters and assets. When other purposes are introduced, the VMS has to be able to keep security functions in a safe environment, while at the same time enabling other systems to freely access the video data.

Digital Video is Data
A real-life example of this could be a video security installation securing a parking lot for a company. In the case of an analog installation, you would be able to see the video and review it later – that's all. You would be able to do the same with a digital system – but the digital systems would also enable the video to be actively used for more than just passive watching. You could use video analytics or integration to other systems to determine how many empty parking spaces there are at a given time, ensuring that customers would not be forced to park at another site. License plate recognition could be used to detect important customers arriving, alerting frontline managers to prepare a nice welcome. The system could also be used for advanced security purposes that are impossible to do in an analog system. Using metadata (which is data about data) the video could be analyzed and the results compared to external data sources. If a license plate is normally associated with a car of a certain color and the car entering the car lot suddenly has different color than expected, then the security staff can be alerted immediately.

Boost business with video
Another example is today's modern retail shops. The newest trend in retail is mobile shop assistants that roam the shop floor and handle payments on the spot using a tablet computer or a dedicated smart device. If you want to track this using analog video, you would not only have to install enough analog cameras to ensure that the whole shop floor is covered, you would also need to have a number of operators manually tracking the mobile shop assistants! This is clearly not a feasible approach.

In the digital world the mobile payment units could be linked to the video server, and a camera could be oriented to automatically record the customer session on video together with position and payment data from the mobile terminals. This can be used to improve the customer experience, train staff, optimize floor layout and of course, limit risks. The possibilities are endless when you have the digital mindset.

Best of all, when you use an open platform VMS, you can expand the use of video when you need it. The software is the core of the system, and enables you to expand its use endlessly by adding to the system. Analog video-systems are all hardware. Digital Video has intelligence in the form of software. It is the software that makes the investment future proof and cost effective.

Think Return on Video Investment
Speaking of cost, analog video surveillance systems are often regarded as cheaper than digital systems. Analog cameras cost typically less than digital cameras, an analog video recorder is cheaper than a server with software and the analog cabling is very simple. However, if you shift your mindset from Cost of Acquisition to Return on Investment this picture changes, due to the new possibilities to use video as data.

Intelligent searches can bring down the time spent searching for an incident in the video, smart and mobile clients enable flexible access to the video over digital networks, and video analytics can extract business relevant information. Think of the small difference in cost as an investment in the future.

However, using video as data has more far-reaching consequences than just using open platform technology in a digital network. The organization has to reflect the open digital mindset as well.

Typically, security and IT are regarded as separate functions in a company. Security is often reactive dealing with incidents. IT is more about enabling business going forward. When the concept of video as data comes into play, the organization in a company has to be open. Luckily, this is happening now. Research done by ESG indicates that 91 % of the surveyed organizations had their digital security systems supported by the IT department. This number was 52 % only 3 years ago.

80% of the IT professionals used video for Business Intelligence. The specific uses were - operational efficiencies (58%), production or process control (51%), inventory control (50%), identifying traffic patterns (49%) and employee training (47%). This tactical use of video reflects in investment plans, as 88% states that the business-oriented use of video helps justify IP video technology and infrastructure investments. This stresses even more that the IT-department must treat video as a valuable source of video data, not as an intruding force in the network. IT management has to recognize video as a business tool and look at the video possibilities. Security management has to look beyond the video pictures and into the business possibilities.

It is all a matter of mindset. Think digital, and think it now to start boosting your business.

---By Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems

IP based video surveillance enjoys high market penetration in Middle East

IP based video surveillance enjoys high market penetration in Middle East

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 4/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The video surveillance market is greatly influenced by government rules. HD and megapixel has become standard for video surveillance cameras and 180-day video storage is required for almost all market sectors. The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) also updates the rules every year. The government regulations usually include where the security cameras must be placed, several details about its specifications, and also, how to make sure they are able to produce good quality video. "In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, it is important to make sure that your IP-based video surveillance system meets all legislation and governmental standards, which should be the key elements of business here," said Peter Biltsted, Director of MEA at Milestone Systems. According to an industry expert, some IP-based video systems might have the problem of losing images, which would cause the end users and systems integrators to get fined afterwards. Therefore, high reliability of IP-based video surveillance systems is required for this region.

HIGH ADOPTION OF IP-BASED VIDEO SURVEILLANCE
Due to regulations from the government, the trend of full IP-based video surveillance starts from the U.A.E. such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and then spreads the rest of the Gulf countries. The IP-based video surveillance trend also leads to high adoption of some innovations in this region, such as multi-megapixel, low-lux, and intelligent video analytics.

In the Middle East, people usually want the best technologies. For surveillance, the standard would be around 2 to 3 megapixels with WDR, because of the strong sunlight. ANPR and facial recognition are also usually required for infrastructure projects.

In large facilities, such as stadiums, hotels, campuses, and city surveillance projects, end users look for a more cost-effective way to have better coverage over a large area. “Multi-megapixel cameras are proving their worth here. Using multi-megapixel (1,080p for example) cameras, end users receive a minimum resolution more than seven times better than standard definition (VGA) or analog cameras. Megapixel cameras provide detailed information for capturing license plates and faces, said Scott Schafer, Executive VP Sales, Marketing and Service at Arecont Vision. “We have examples of customers that use 75 cameras to cover an area that would have required about 2,000 analog or standard definition VGA cameras delivering 40 pixel-per-foot resolution, which is enough to identify faces in a crowd. In campus settings, we have used eight multi-megapixel panoramic cameras to replace 24 standard definition cameras and the new system delivered superior resolution at a lower price.”

Intelligent Video Adoption
The local requirement of up to 180-day storage for HD megapixel video in some cases drives the need for more intelligent management of data, especially in large-scale projects such as infrastructure. "To provide an efficient forensic search after events take place, and also meet the challenges of managing so many cameras and data in a large environment, there is a need for intelligent video. And since people here are quite open to new technologies, they are starting to use intelligent video analytics (IVA) for marketing and management purposes," said Hakan 畤yi?it, Regional Director of Middle East at Bosch Security Systems.

Intelligent video is commonly used for high-end retailers and some large retailers deploying 160 to 200 cameras for people counting and heat maps. "In some five-star hotels, it has become common to have people-counting features to see who gets inside of the hotel building, 360 fish-eye camera at main areas like lobby/restaurant, heat mapping to analyze customers flow, and missing-object analysis for the retail stores inside. Some hotels provide the live-streaming video online for marketing.

Samsung also provides such solutions for retail/commercial markets controlled by Samsung security management platform," said Ali Boussi, Regional Sales Manager at BASS/Samsung Techwin. Due to the demand for intelligent video in this region, “Kedacom launched its latest NVRs, with the latest video analytic technology to do smart searching and quick location of the event as soon as the alarm is triggered. Besides, Kadacom also has a complete solution of centralized chain-store management and HD video surveillance solutions for courts,” said Zhiqiang Liu, Marketing Director, Kedacom Technology.

IP for SMB
The small-to-medium business (SMB) sector is also adopting IP technologies, starting from the U.A.E. “I would say in the MEA market, especially in GCC countries, there is very high percentage of SMB market using IP. Even small retail shops — usually requiring six to eight cameras — still need to meet government requirements for megapixel resolution. The analog system can't reach that standard.

All the shops need to be approved by the government. If they are not satisfied with the evidence, they will ask you to shut down the shops or replace the system entirely. That's why convergence comes there. I would say, in the next two to three years, GCC countries will not allow video that does not supply a certain level of video quality,” said Biltsted.

“Even for small customers here, they want integration. They usually want access control to be integrated too. If they have 25 cameras in place, they also want a perimeter solution to be integrated with their systems," said Biltsted.

"What I also found in this region is people have more awareness about security and they use surveillance for more than just for security. They will use the surveillance video to check if the store is clean. So, customers would choose cameras with a corridor view. We also bundle it with our software," he continued.

COMPETITIVE IP-BASED VIDEO SURVEILLANCE MARKET
 IP-based video surveillance technologies have penetrated to different market sectors here. Intelligent video is commonly used in a five-star hotel and even the small shops want an integrated system for video surveillance and access control. The Middle East has become a competitive market for IP-based video surveillance technologies. To satisfy end users' desires for new technologies, more and more integrated solutions will be introduced to the market for different applications.

Milestone names new managers for market business in S. Africa and Saudi Arabia

Milestone names new managers for market business in S. Africa and Saudi Arabia

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 4/10/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), has hired Michael Metcalfe as Channel Business Manager for Southern Africa and Ahmad Saleh Al-Haider as Channel Business Manager for Saudi Arabia.

"In response to the sharply rising demand for open technology video solutions in the area, we are ramping up the Milestone organization in Southern Africa. I am delighted that we have Michael joining Milestone Systems as Channels Business Manager for Southern Africa. His long experience with distributors is perfectly suited to address the possibilities our distribution partners have growing their business. Michael will be at IFSEC SA and several other local events," says Peter Biltsted, Sales Director, Middle East & Africa, Milestone Systems.

Michael Metcalfe has more than 10 years experience in distribution and Channel Development. He has been employed by the largest South African Distributor, Tarsus Technologies and most recently held a position as Sales and Business Development Manager from another large distributor, Duxbury Networking, before joining Milestone.

"I am thrilled to be at Milestone Systems as this position enables me to listen and react to the business needs in the Milestone partner community. I am looking forward to strengthening the existing relationships with our partners and widen the reach of the Milestone brand in Southern Africa by making use of my previous experiences in the channel business model," says Michael Metcalfe.

Milestone focus on relationships with Saudia Arabia partners and customers
Last month Milestone also extended its reach in the Arabian Peninsula with a new hire dedicated to the Saudi Arabian market.

Peter Biltsted, Sales Director, Middle East & Africa, for Milestone Systems, says: "I have the pleasure and honor of welcoming Ahmad Saleh Al-Haider as new Channel Business Manager for Saudi Arabia. He will accentuate Milestone as a local company that is honored by the attention we are getting from our highly esteemed customers in the country. Ahmed has gained valuable experience in supporting and strengthening sales in Saudi Arabia in his previous positions at other international companies."

Ahmad Saleh Al-Haider has a background in Engineering and Sales from the IT Industry, having held a position as manager at SBM (Saudi Business Machines) for more than eight years and lately had his own consulting company for IT and infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia.

"I am excited to be part of an organization that is truly innovative and consistently striving to bring the advantages of open platform video technology to partners and customers. As a Saudi national, I am dedicated to developing the partner channel further and interacting with users on their terms," says Ahmad Saleh Al-Haider.

 Michael Metcalfe                       Ahmad Saleh Al-Haider

 

Middle East shines in 2014 (1): Saudi Arabia

Middle East shines in 2014 (1): Saudi Arabia

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 4/9/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. — still remain the region's top countries with the largest security markets. In 2012, the Middle East fell dramatically, “due to three unforeseen circumstances — the regional civil unrest, the fall in the price of oil and its production, and the fall in the US dollar,” according to IHS. The actual growth rate of video surveillance equipment in the Middle East fell to 5.3 percent. Although social turmoil and fluctuations in oil prices still made 2013 uncertain, the Middle East security market is predicted to bounce back to around 10 percent in 2013 and grow 12 percent in 2014. “The economy was a bit soft in 2012 and many customers delaying purchasing.

Implementation of many projects began in 2013, resulting in an excellent year for us,” said Watheq Abu Gharbiah, Regional Manager of Middle East at FLIR Systems. Most of all the suppliers expect the recovering momentum to continue through 2014 and 2015. Firstly, the U.S. began easing some of its economic restrictions against Iran this January, including its sanctions on cars and petrochemicals products. Secondly, recovery of the Iranian market would also raise the region's average growth rate. The latest cheerful announcement is of Dubai winning the bid to host the 2020 World Expo. The BBC reported that authorities in Dubai forecasted the 6-month event to bring in around US$23 billion and cost the country around a total $8.4 billion, of which around $6.5 billion is expected to be government spending on infrastructure projects. Finally, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is also serving as a major driver to boost the overall economy in the region.

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
To support the active economic activities in this region, protection of critical infrastructure ranging from airports, seaports, oil and gas, public utilities, highways, railways, metros, and etc., is important. Critical infrastructure protection remains as the most crucial market sector in the Middle East.

The oil and gas sector requires refinery protection and is the largest market sector here. The scale of projects in this sector is also much larger than other market sectors. Aside from the GCC countries, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Northern African countries, also have great potential. Robert Kirkaldie, Director of Marketing/Sales for Security Systems Division at Southwest Microwave, which designs and manufactures integrated, electronic perimeter security systems, especially for the oil and gas sector, in this region said, “In a country like Saudi Arabia, we mostly deal with perimeter projects of 3,000 to 5,000 meters. The biggest complex in oil and gas, which comprises of a storage tank, pipe lines, transportation, and all other facilities, can have a perimeter of up to around 20 kilometers. Thus, the size of a refinery is much bigger than a prison or power plant.”

Another fast developing market sector is airports. Cities in the Middle East compete to build the biggest and most modern airports to attract tourists. Abu Dhabi is planning its new $3 billion international airport terminal, while Doha, Qatar is near completion with its new airport. “Dubai has the largest airport here. The old one, which traffics 150 million passengers annually has 3,500 CCTV cameras. The latest one has around 5,000 cameras. Elsewhere in the region, the latest airport in Doha will begin operations this year; Saudi Arabia has 15 new airports; and Kuwait International Airport also has plans to expand,” said Gharbiah.

The Middle East is a project-oriented market. “Because it is so diverse, each country does have their particular preference toward products and partners. I think this unique characteristic brings a good opportunity for CP Plus to build up our own distribution business here. This year, we are going to set up five or six branch offices in some countries in the Middle East,” said Aditya Khemka, Director of CP Plus.

SAUDI ARABIA IS BOOMING FAST
Amongst the GCC countries, Saudi Arabia is gradually catching up with the U.A.E. in terms of security market demand and growth potential. Saudi Arabia has the highest number of large government projects, making it very important in this region. Peter Biltsted, Director of MEA at Milestone Systems said, “Milestone will be more directly engaged in Saudi Arabia this year. This means we will put our feet on the ground in the country, whereas Milestone channel partners used to be in charge previously. We have a very good foothold in Saudi Arabia now, since we have done several large projects. Moving forward, we would like to leverage our past experience to strengthen our business foundation here.”

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia heavily restricted the number of foreign workers to secure the employment of local workers. In 2014, the restrictions are expected to be lifted in order to continually push the market to grow. “Saudi Arabia just started their new financial year and the government has announced plans to build six new cities. It also made a US$200 million investment in aviation toward the building of new innovative airports. We can also expect several new cities in Saudi in the near future,” continued Tarek Ismail, Sales Director of Middle East at Tyco Security Products.

Large-Scale Government Projects Everywhere
In terms of an average project size, it is not really possible to compare projects in other GCC countries with those in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi, one city is just like a country in others. John Davies, MD at TDSi also echoed, "In Saudi Arabia, the projects are much bigger. Last year, we supplied systems to several large government projects across the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is a very large country and represents more than 25 percent of the GCC GDP.

When you do a project for an institute in Saudi Arabia, it includes offices that are located all over the country. In contrast, institutes in the U.A.E. usually have only one or two offices." Ismail continued, “Our company has been here for more than 20 years. In Saudi Arabia, for example, we have the largest bank in the whole region as one of our customers. It is a national bank with 400 branches and 2,000 ATMs in the country. The number of buildings for VIP service, VIP accounts, and money transfer, is over 200. More than 1,300 recorders and 8,000 cameras from mixed brands were used in that project. From a banking point of view, a project this size covers the entire banking sector in the GCC countries. In Qatar, for example, the largest capital bank has a maximum of only 50 to 60 branches.”

Religious Buildings, Universities, and Banks
Saudi Arabia, being home to the largest and most holy Muslim mosques, has many religious projects. “It has many religious buildings, such as mosques and related infrastructures, where you can see thousands and thousands of cameras installed. Bosch Security Systems has done many projects in holy places in this country too,” said Hakan ?zyi?it, Regional Director of Middle East at Bosch Security Systems. “Bosch is also involved in many prestigious projects in the Saudi Arabian education sector. The country has the largest population in the region and almost half of the Saudi Arabian population is aged below 30. Hence, its government is focused on education and plans to build more universities and facilities to ensure its a much more competitive Saudi workforce in the future.”

 

Also, due to the country's conservative nature and religious background, the government has strict laws toward gender segregation in many public places, such as restaurants and shopping malls. Therefore, a public place usually tends to have more cameras installed for security and monitoring, compared to other countries. For example, in Saudi Arabia, it is pretty normal to have around 1,000 cameras for a five-star hotel, while only around 100 to 200 cameras are installed in a five-star hotel in the U.A.E., according to an industry expert in this region.

Considerations for Doing Business
Even though there are plenty of opportunities here, business is conducted very differently in the U.A.E. “The Saudi Arabian government sometimes has strong concerns about the origin of the products for certain projects to avoid products that are made in China,” said Noriyuki Hayashi, Senior Sales/Marketing Manager of System Solutions Department, MEA at Panasonic Marketing. Meanwhile, due to the sheer volume of government projects here, decision making usually takes a little while. Aditya Sahaya, Director of Business Development for Prologix Distribution also pointed out, "Traditionally, the U.A.E. is a very mature market, when it comes to CCTV and surveillance, and the end customers and consultants have very specific requirements which need to be adhered to. Saudi Arabia seems to be going down the same path. Despite a longer sales cycle, the country has been growing as the single largest market in the region."

* Let's take a further look into other areas in Middle East shines in 2014 (2): U.A.E., Oman, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan

 

UK Co-operative Food embraces IP video surveillance with Axis

UK Co-operative Food embraces IP video surveillance with Axis

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 4/1/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
The welfare of customers and colleagues is taken extremely seriously at The Co-operative Food. In order to enhance the safety and security of its stores, the retailer undertook a review of its incumbent analog surveillance systems with the aim of improving colleague safety, incident detection, response times and conviction rates though the adoption of IP video technology.

Solution
Installer and Axis partner, Kings Security, developed an interactive security solution that utilized Axis networked video cameras to measurably increase the personal wellbeing of Co-operative colleagues, and improve loss prevention across the supermarket estate.

The final installation incorporated Axis' compact fixed dome cameras and high performance video encoders, controlled by a Milestone Professional operating system, sitting on a Razberi server.

Live surveillance footage from each store is streamed to a central control room and monitored by a dedicated operator at Kings Security. Staff can directly communicate with the control room via an incident button and operators can both listen to and broadcast messages in-store.

Result
The Co-operative Food reported an average 50% reduction in reported instances of crime and a significant reduction in unrecorded loss from theft of attractive commodities in stores where Axis cameras had been installed. Following a staff engagement survey, an average 34% increase in ‘perception of safety in the workplace' was reported, as measured against the previous year. Feedback from local law enforcement has also been positive, with system footage routinely used to support prosecutions.

Making the switch from analog to digital
The Co-operative Food is the UK's fifth biggest food retailer, with almost 2,800 local, convenience and medium-sized stores. Its supermarkets range from between 1,000 and 24,000 sq ft. It has food stores in every UK postal area, and over 75,000 employees, serving a total of 14.5 million customers per week.

Having acquired much of its estate though a substantial acquisition and integration program, diverse surveillance set-ups existed across the chain, operating in silo, with no centralized control platform. Axis partner, Kings Security, was selected to transition the retailer onto one unified, future-proof security system and implement a sustainable asset renewal program.

Graham Watt, loss prevention manager at The Co-operative Food, explained: “Our stores trade from 6am to 11pm across very mixed-demographic locations. Some sites are higher risk than others. We needed a system that would cope with disparities in each location, could be easily scaled up or down as necessary, and that would connect the estate on one integrated platform. “After analyzing the market, we chose Axis because its product range and camera quality meant we could use a minimum number of suppliers and maintain the same blueprint system across the entire estate.”

Colleague and customer comfort is a top priority
The solution was an interactive security network that improved surveillance cover for high-risk stores and increased the safety and security of customers and colleagues. Kings Security installed an ‘incident button' that could be pro-actively used to alert control room operators when a colleague feels at risk. Steve Evans, commercial director at Kings Security, said: “We have a 24-hour manned control room, with a dedicated operator monitoring up to 20 stores. If an incident occurs or a staff member anticipates that a situation may escalate, they can alert the operator. It's incredibly comforting for staff to know that someone is watching over them and that support is on-hand whenever necessary.”

When locking-up, colleagues can request that operators assess the area, using the cameras to scan and identify any potential threats. Steve added: “Axis' unique Lightfinder technology means the picture quality is clear and precise – even in the dead of night.” AXIS P8221 network I/O audio module adds two-way audio capabilities, allowing control room operators to make in-store announcements, speak directly to colleagues or deliver instructions.

Subtle and effective surveillance
Axis' camera's wide angle view allows fewer units to be used to deliver full coverage of the shop floor and sensitive areas. Graham explained: “We often change store layouts – promoting specific products, reorganizing shelves etc. The picture quality, maneuverability and depth of field of Axis' cameras mean that there's no need to increase camera numbers or move them around whenever we have a re-shuffle.”

Axis cameras have also helped fulfill the retailer's central aim of improving the comfort of its staff and shoppers, thanks to the camera's discreet and compact design.“Security should never be obtrusive,” says Graham. “The system Kings Security and Axis have delivered provides an effective deterrent for thieves, but is subtle and effective enough to ensure that customers and colleagues feel protected, not scrutinized.”

Milestone Systems announces extended availability of Milestone Husky Series

Milestone Systems announces extended availability of Milestone Husky Series

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 3/27/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), announces extended availability for the Milestone Husky Series of network video recorder (NVR) appliances. These NVR appliances – preinstalled with Milestone's XProtect video management software (VMS) – will be available in 2014 Q2 in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and in Q3 for Asia and Pacific regions.

The Milestone Husky Series of NVRs has already been introduced in the U.S. and Canada, with the Milestone Husky M50 model being available first. Due to the demand, a staged roll-out plan has been put in action. The entire line of models are now available in the U.S. and Canada and will be showcased at the ISC West show in April.

Based on appearances alone, the Milestone Husky NVRs are different from others in the market. The appliances are sleek and sophisticated – designed to fit any environment, even on a small retail shop's shelf. Ensuring reliability and durability, the hardware is industrial-grade and works seamlessly with Milestone's VMS. Yet, it is the flexibility of the Milestone Husky Series is what makes the solutions stand out.

“We have redefined the NVR concept by providing our customers with embedded surveillance solutions that are customizable and scalable,” says Lars Nordenlund, VP of Incubation and Ventures at Milestone Systems. “Milestone Husky has already had tremendous response in the market because the series makes it so easy to customize a solution that meets their specific needs – from a single location flower shop to multi-site installations. Milestone Husky offers simple solutions with more than 50 preconfigured options.”

Milestone Husky is available in three models designed for different security or business video requirements:

* The Milestone Husky M10 is a very sleek and small fanless device ideal for entry-level surveillance and sites with no space for traditional IT equipment. The model supports up to 8 cameras. 
* The Milestone Husky M30 Designed for workstation installations with comprehensive surveillance needs. Customizable and scalable for business growth, the model supports up to 20 cameras. 
* The Milestone Husky M50 is a rack-mounted solution, feature-rich with unlimited options, and perfect for advanced installations with sophisticated security needs. The model supports up to 80 cameras.

The Milestone Husky appliances are ready to use, featuring automatic device discovery with wizards for configuring the entire system, and the device license keys are pre-activated.

Customers get instant and remote access to live and recorded video through a flexible choice of client interfaces: Milestone XProtect Smart Client (available with the Milestone Husky M30 and M50 models), XProtect Web Client or Milestone Mobile – all available in 27 languages.

The Milestone Husky M30 and M50 will not only be offered in preconfigured versions, Milestone also offers an online configurator that makes it simple for customers and partners to explore their options.

The Milestone open platform supports more than 3,000 camera models from over 100 manufacturers, as well as compatibility with ONVIF and PSIA compliant devices. Third-party integrations with video analytics and access control add even more value when using the Milestone M30 and M50 models.

Milestone customers are not the only ones who can benefit from the Milestone Husky solutions. “I believe that Milestone Husky is a tremendous opportunity for Milestone partners as well, since these appliances enable them to focus 100% on their customers' business needs and not worry about the technology behind the solution,” states Nordenlund.

Milestone expands Solution Certification for IT infrastructure vendor products

Milestone expands Solution Certification for IT infrastructure vendor products

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 3/24/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS) announces fully reported performance certification of Milestone Solution Partners with IT infrastructure components such as servers, storage, and workstation products. The first to achieve this comprehensive process with documented results are HP, NetApp, PROMISE Technology and Razberi, with several others in process.

The IT infrastructure, server, storage and client platforms are integral parts of a video surveillance management system, so miscalculation on server or storage requirements impacts the success of a system's operation, resulting in support calls. Milestone has therefore been working extensively with IT infrastructure vendors to ensure their systems are optimized for the Milestone XProtect product family, and that the infrastructure vendors understand how to specify, build and deliver optimal systems for the customer environment.

The Milestone Solution Certification for IT infrastructure vendor products provides verification of the components being interoperable and optimized for performance with XProtect VMS. The certification process results in documentation of a solution's proven maturity and quality, and differentiation from non-certified components for a competitive market advantage.

Each certification project consists of three phases, beginning with two scenarios, where there is both a benchmark test and a maximum performance test. During each test, statistics from the Milestone XProtect Recording Servers are gathered to judge the performance of the system as a platform for video recording. After the tests are conducted, this data is analyzed and the findings are presented in a full report, with details on the configuration of the test system and a summary.

These tests identify that a given system meets minimum expected performance thresholds based on known benchmarks. The certification also measures the maximum number of cameras, at a given frame rate, resolution and codec that can be supported by the server and storage system.

The end result is a definition of the system's capabilities compared to the known benchmark values, which are also used by Milestone to create generic server and storage recommendations. The end result is the certification of the server/storage products' operational performance capabilities in the known environment. The documentation outlines how best to tune the product for the Milestone XProtect platform.

The Solution Certification full report includes a ‘known good' (optimal) configuration for a surveillance system using the Milestone XProtect VMS and the solution partner's products. The optimal configuration contains the solution architecture, the performance results, use-case information, detailed system configurations for both the XProtect VMS components and the solution partner's products.

“Integrators and end users can reference the known good configuration data from the Milestone certification process to help build a solution with confidence. They get documented proof that these video surveillance solutions operate within the parameters of the maximum performance test results,” says Christian Bohn, VP Strategic Alliances at Milestone Systems. “Certifying our partners is not new - we have been doing it successfully for several years with software integrations, and the expansion of this with the hardware vendors is natural to build continuing trust in Milestone for both partners and customers.”

The Milestone certification results are valid for the lifecycle of the products tested, and there are options for yearly re-certification. This means that when Milestone or the partner launches a new product version, it can be documented that the integration is compatible and optimized.

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