Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a major topic in security these days. In this regard, Milestone Systems, the world’s No. 1 VMS provider, is playing a leading role in driving the growth of AI by leveraging its open platform strategy.Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a major topic in security these days. In this regard, Milestone Systems, the world’s No. 1 VMS provider, is playing a leading role in driving the growth of AI by leveraging its open platform strategy.
AI has emerged as a main topic in security over the past two years. Systems trained with large amounts of videos and images can now detect objects with more accuracy and precision. This results in AI gaining more acceptance among users.
“It’s almost like every time you turn your head, you hear people talking about AI,” said Benjamin Low, VP for APAC at Milestone Systems. “We’ve been seeing good momentum this year, and I think we’ll continue to see more advancement, more releases and more news around AI in the near future.”
While AI is not a new concept per se, it has become more mature than before thanks to more advanced AI and deep learning-based algorithms, stronger processing power and wider availability of data. Today, AI is being incorporated into existing technologies, for example smart search and facial recognition, to enhance their intelligence.
“When it comes to enhancing facial recognition, AI is playing a big part,” Low said. “If you’re looking at the outline of a person, or you’re looking at certain facial features, using AI you are able to get higher accuracy.”
According to Low, AI brings benefits to users across different vertical markets. One such vertical is retail, where companies are constantly looking for ways to enhance the shopper experience. In this regard, AI or deep learning-based solutions that extract data from various sensors and turn them into actionable intelligence can play an important part.
“We’re seeing ret ail-centr ic technology coming out to help retailers gain better insights on what the shopper may be looking for, based on past trends,” Low said. “This then allows shops to guide customers into something they like, or set up targeted promotional items for certain shoppers.”
The role of open platform
Being the world’s VMS leader, Milestone is playing a leadership role in driving AI’s growth by leveraging its open platform strategy. This allows its vast community of partners — AI solutions providers included — to connect their technologies to Milestone’s VMS.
“As opposed to traditional video surveillance where everything is very closed and proprietary, Milestone has always conducted our business and our technology in a way that allows as many solutions as possible to connect to our VMS,” Low said. “We want to build a platform, a place where any product, whether analytics tools, facial recognition tools or new cameras or IoT devices coming to market, can either connect to our platform or use our device driver to do that.”
According to him, t his open platform approach will ultimately benefit end users looking for different AI-based solutions to address their challenges or difficulties.
“If you are using one kind of analytics to solve one problem and using another kind of analytics to solve another problem, you can interconnect these different solutions with Milestone. The user doesn’t have to buy one VMS which only connects to their proprietary analytics platform, then buy another VMS if you want to do something else. With Milestone the user gets a platform where they can try different analytics until there’s something that’s suitable for them,” he said.
Australian University as an example
As an example, Milestone cited Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, which is using analytics from iCetana and Snap Surveillance in combination with Milestone to enhance security. iCetana’s analytics detects abnormal behavior or heavily changed conditions without a rule base, allowing the user to be alerted to incidents like fights, someone falling over or a car driving the wrong way without having to monitor hundreds of cameras on screen. Snap Surveillance, meanwhile, learns about the physical relationship between cameras to make objects tracking easier. Both analytics platforms are integrated into the core Milestone VMS using APIs.
“We are constantly working to allow different integrators to connect not just cameras, but all their favorite devices, into our platform,” Low said. “We are regularly approached by different solutions providers that want to work with us. They always come to Milestone and ask “what does it take for me to integrate with you?”, because they know the connectivity that’s achieved with Milestone allows them to reach out to more audience and customers.”
System Builder Program
Milestone has recently announced its new System Builder Program, which brings benefits to all stakeholders within Milestone’s vast network of partners.
Under the program, hardware manufacturers can ship out their products — for instance appliances such as NVRs and storage boxes — preinstalled with the Milestone XProtect Essential+ VMS. “They can come to us, and we’ll recommend what kind of processor, memory card or hard drive is needed to run Milestone at the optimal level,” Low said. “A lot of these hardware manufacturers are very happy to be given the opportunity to work with us, because they know if they can come up with the right bundle using Milestone, they are able to drive further revenue for their hardware.”
The user, meanwhile, will get the hardware with a free license of the Milestone VMS — and the openness and flexibility associated with it. They can then set it up and upgrade to an advanced version of the VMS with ease and convenience, should they choose to.
“The customers get to try out Milestone for free, and if the customer is interested, they are able to buy a license from Milestone and upgrade it to the right version,” Low said. “So it becomes a very seamless experience for the end user when it comes to using our software.”
Openness and partnership
Indeed, in today’s security landscape, success requires a commitment to openness and partnership. This has long been the st rategy employed by Milestone, which now wants to use this strategy to push AI to even more users and market segments. With its open platform, as well as support from its vast community of partners, Milestone has expressed confidence, and we have reasons to believe, that it will achieve success in this regard.
Milestone expands in Australia
Milestone Systems has seen rapid expansion in the Asia Pacific, seizing the huge opportunities in the region. The company now has offices in Singapore, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia. Recently, Milestone has opened a new office in Melbourne, Australia, as part of its expansionary effort in the country.
“We are seeing a high 20 to 30 percent growth in Australia,” Low said, adding that the growth is from a mix of vertical markets. “It’s driven from commercial customers to government to education. Retailers are looking at how to utilize surveillance to enhance the shopper experience. We’re looking at education investing more in surveillance to protect the welfare of students and staff. We also see government adoption, with many Australian agencies spending more on surveillance.”
The new Melbourne office is built to be open and accessible — just like its VMS software. What’s more, the office sets itself apart from other offices in the world with its partner-based Experience Center — where consultants and end users can see a combination of their preferred solution partners working in a proof-of-concept environment.