State of video affairs in 2013
Editor / Provider: Schneider Electric | Updated: 12/20/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics
As we finish out the year, it seems the worst of the global downturn is finally behind us. The security market is energized and upbeat, and there is a lot of positive momentum happening within the Schneider Electric buildings business, especially with Pelco video surveillance products. Now more than ever, the market is demanding technologies and solutions that will take security and building management to the next level.
With video being integrated with access control and other building management functions, the industry is looking for the ability to blend multiple tools and technologies into powerful integrated solutions, and this is where the strengths of the Schneider Electric buildings business really shine.
We have had many video security accomplishments this year. As always, we keep our focus on delivering to security professionals the best image quality possible. In support of this focus, we have delivered a number of technological advancements and product updates and releases. Just to name one, we now offer powerful thermal imaging systems at an affordable price for mainstream security applications. The added business potential of this new product is huge, especially with its ease of integration, advanced image quality and affordability.
There are many significant new product technologies on the horizon that will have a large impact on our industry. Most notably, we are now working diligently to design the next generation of video management systems, which will also involve cloud-based services for public and private video security networks.
A big issue for the future design of VMS's is scalability. Where we used to worry almost exclusively about the number of cameras and monitors within a system, we now see scalability in terms of the number of simultaneous (and separate) operators interacting with the system. Video system users no longer reside exclusively within the security department. Other business functions are requiring system access as well. And while this expansion of users and stakeholders helps make the ROI case for video systems more attractive, the number of users, their familiarity with the system, and their unique needs introduce new challenges for system architecture and secure administration.
Another motivating factor for our industry is the increased demand for mobile access. For the first time this year, iPads outshipped laptops. As the tablet sector continues to grow and dominate the market, more of the applications we use daily are moving onto these mobile devices. We are challenged to design mobile apps that can do much more than simply view video from a camera on an iPad. The challenge is in how will we incorporate mobile technologies to solve real security problems. Over the next couple of years, we will see VMS systems become more intuitive and easier to use, and we'll see the designations between hardware, software, mobile apps and the cloud blur into comprehensive systems.
And no doubt a new generation of intelligent video and video analytics products will add additional capabilities. Designed to help security professionals do more with less, intelligent video systems are evolving into powerful tools that can be relied upon for providing continuous monitoring of scenes and assets 24/7. The next generation of intelligent video systems will exhibit significant advancements in accuracy, reliability and usability. From tracking and counting behaviors, to character and object recognition, these powerful tools will continue to become more closely integrated into cameras, edge devices and VMS's.
Commoditization is indeed a trend. As products continue to become smaller, more powerful, and less expensive, we will continue to provide competitively priced, feature-rich products that meet the needs of security professionals. I am proud to say that in early 2013, we will introduce a couple new families of general purpose, IP-based cameras. We wll share more information when the time is right, but these new, general purpose IP cameras are based on our popular Sarix camera technology, and bring a very unique new function and form to this segment of affordable cameras.
And yes, as touched on above in the VMS discussion, cloud recording is an upcoming trend. Cloud recording, cloud-based storage, cloud-based video management and SaaS applications are all tools that will no doubt have much influence on the future of our industry. Cloud products will certainly address the needs of some of our customers, will enhance the systems of others, and may not be appropriate for the security needs of others, but it is our goal to utilize these powerful new capabilities to provide the best, most flexible, and most secure end-to-end solutions possible.
It is easy to get swept up into the possibilities of technology, but no matter how smart or advanced a security system may be, without excellent image quality, it is almost useless. From continuing to offer the best in analog camera performance, to digital systems that perform with excellent bandwidth efficiency, to now-affordable thermal imaging that brings a completely new dimension of video system possibilities, we must stay true to what security professionals really need, a great image to make good decisions.
As you know, video security applies to all vertical markets, all around the world. And with the explosion of new digital and IP-based technologies, and a migration toward network integration systems, we have seen big interest in all areas. As products become smaller, less expensive and easier to use, their implementation continues to rise. But there are a number of vertical market hot spots, if you will, that we seem to be continuously working within and developing new business.
With that said, we continue to see excellent growth in key regions such as China, India, and South America. North America is now making a positive turn, and it has been interesting to watch how fully EMEA has embraced IP video and has really become a leading region for deploying sophisticated IP-based video systems.
To focus on one topic of significant interest, much is happening within the area of “smart cities”. Cities currently house 50 percent of the world's population, and more than 300 million people are predicted to move to cities over the next 10 years. This explosive growth will place great demands on resources and mobility. Video security offers a unique solution for protecting people and property within countless applications – from bridges to airports, refineries to pipelines, seaports to highways, city centers to country borders, schools to prisons.
Advances in technology are driving dramatic change, as video platforms migrate from analog to digital and to network-based solutions. IP-based video surveillance has made it cost-effective to deploy video cameras and recording solutions in more places than ever before, while allowing the integration of video security systems with access control and other building automation systems.
As segments of the video security market continue to become more commoditized, it is important that integrators work to differentiate themselves and add customer value by offering unique services and expertise. As successful integrators know, the revenue from the product sale is just one part of the entire “sale” and the long-term service and support for that client is very important. Pre- and post-sale activities are critical. Integrators have experience, knowledge and expertise that are very valuable. From technical system design and security consulting, to updates and expansion, and service and support, there are many ways for integrators to extend their customer relationships, and provide long-term services that are beneficial to all involved.
Being the manufacturer, we go to great lengths to make sure we understand our customers' business challenges and opportunities. As markets and technologies evolve, so should our services and policies. It is our mission to provide technology innovations, a wide range of products, and service and support for our customers, who in turn can leverage our products and services for the advancement of their business.
For example, there is nothing more important for security installers and integrators than being able to accurately plan and manage their business while having the confidence to provide solid commitments to their customers. With our new 24/90 guarantees, we are helping our customers do just that. On-demand product availability is critical for security professionals. Understanding their need to accurately plan and control inventory, and react to changing business demands at a moment's notice, we have made significant investments in our supply chain to ensure that our top-selling and most popular Pelco products and systems are always available for shipment within one business day of order confirmation.
We have a long history of offering high-quality, innovative video security products and exceptional customer service. Immediate availability of products and no-questions-asked returns provides a real business advantage for our dealers, integrators, and distributors. We have made significant investments in order to meet our customers' needs and to get Pelco products into their hands quickly.
Products and technologies are extremely important, and so are the policies, services and support systems that stand behind the products. We very much keep in mind that our customers have business of their own to manage, and we do everything we can to help make that business a success.