The technology landscape is moving towards platform-based operations. This can be seen in the success of several startups that have managed to bring different businesses together. Milestone Systems recognizes the potential of this approach and is bringing it to the security industry.
Bringing together partners from across sectors, Milestone Systems
recently concluded its latest Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) in Bali, from April 2nd
, 2019. Presenting a roadmap for itself in the rapidly changing security market, the company emphasized the strength of bringing its community together.
The security industry, as with several other technology sectors, is no longer product-centric. What used to be a playground for cameras, other hardware, and software, have begun to give more importance to solution, services and recurring revenue. More importantly, as several industries become digitized, require management systems, and need better ways to expand their reach, there emerged a platform economy.
This shift in business approach makes sense, not just because of the ease of functioning, but also as more and more intelligent solutions enter the market and integrating them into a single platform becomes inevitable. At MIPS, Milestone Systems explained how it is poised to make the most of the platform economy as it helps different solution providers to work together.
Unlocking the power of open platform
There are three factors that Milestone Systems considered in their efforts to take full advantage of the open platform concept. One was to decrease friction in the market. This meant making concentrated efforts to simplify the businesses process for buyers and sellers. Second, how can technology make business processes easier? Third, given the new technologies that are coming in, how can Milestone Systems help customers take advantage of them?
“One of the steps to reduce friction was to create the Milestone Marketplace
,” said Benjamin Low, Regional VP for APAC at the company. “Gone are the days when companies would go to a market with a product-based approach. There is now a shift to a platform based market place where companies connect with customers. This is what is called a platform economy.”
In effect, what the platform economy does is enable industries that have traditionally been non-digital to become connected and integrate its solutions. According to Sangeet Choudary, Author of “How networked markets are transforming the economy - and how to make them work for you,” in a platform economy sellers and buyers come together in a single place to interact and solve business problems together. This creates a more inclusive and, therefore, more efficient model of business.
Market Place 1.0 and 2.0
A common platform that is tailored to industry requirements and hosts sellers and buyers has the potential to change the way business is done currently. In Milestone Systems’ Marketplace, the process starts as the sellers list their applications, hardware and services, all of which have been verified and approved by Milestone.
Buyers, who include systems integrators (SI), consultants and end customers, can search listings based on keywords or categories. Once the buyer comes across something they need, a process of networking and discussions begin. This interaction enables both the parties to work together more closely than ever before.
There are two phases to Marketplace. In the first, Milestone’s technology partners will be the sellers. In the second phase, 2.0, the SIs become the sellers. This way, the company is able to optimize the positive network effect.
“In phase 1.0, we are bringing the buyers and sellers together,” said Susan von Bulow, Senior Digital Projects Manager at Milestone Systems at a MIPS session. “And we are not doing this to make Milestone Systems more successful. We are doing this to enrich the community. Research showed us that SIs sometimes struggled with finding out what is out there. They don’t have one common place where they can go to and find the right applications, hardware or services. When they do find them, they have a hard time finding out how they work. And even when this problem is solved, they have a hard time finding out how to install them.”
The sellers, on the other side, have similar problems, von Bulow continued. They struggle with going beyond their local markets and communicating the features and strengths of their complicated products.
“With Marketplace, we are creating a community of buyers and sellers and removing that gap in the middle,” von Bulow added. “We are now creating a platform that brings together people with a specific need that we know exists.”
In a conventional market, buyers have trouble discovering sellers based on their requirements. With the technological support of Milestone Systems’ Marketplace, buyers, with a click of a button, can filter suppliers and zero-in on the right seller. The platform also provides options for buyers to get a close look at how solutions work, how they operate, and even read reviews posted by other customers.
For the seller, this means a considerable reduction in the marketing and promotional costs as well. Milestone Systems says that 89 percent of B2B buyers start their purchase journey online. It is important for the sellers to reach the buyers at the critical time of decision making. This platform enables them to do just that.
Driver framework and meta data search
Milestone Systems’ aim is to offer a Video Management Software (VMS) platform that seamlessly integrates even the most modern intelligent devices that are entering the market while enabling maximum control of the footages feeds that are being inputted. To this end, Milestone VMS has two major features that it is highlighting now.
The first is a device Driver Framework that enables more devices of different types with the Milestone VMS. The second, a search framework that uses metadata, will enable users to find particular objects and incidents within footages.
Jesper Lachance Raebild, Director of Global Product Marketing and Business Development at Milestone Systems pointed out that these developments are becoming crucial to customers as more and more new devices go online.
“Today, we see new types of devices that we never thought of before,” Raebild said. “We see devices with new types of context information, like temperature, speed, location. There is a need to be able to utilise this to make better decisions. We have been putting in a big effort in terms of the drivers in general, throughout the lifetime of Milestone Systems. We already support more than 8,000 drivers, devices and sensors. But this driver framework will help partners expand it further.”
The framework enables Milestone Systems’ partners including device-manufacturers to build their own drivers, using this framework ensuring faster access for customers to the devices.
Another key concept that Milestone has put forward now is Deconstructed VMS, an approach that seeks to redefine the way we manage video today. Given the fast-changing technological landscape that is resulting in an increase in the amount andquality of data generated, Milestone Systems aims to boost efficiency and minimize security concerns with this new perspective.
“Deconstructed VMS is where we take a new look at what a video management system is,” said Raebild. “It’s no more just about saving and processing data in the cloud or premises but about focusing the capabilities where it makes the most sense for the customer.”
Growing with partners
According to Hsiang Nung Kuah, Director of Regional Business Unit Security Systems in APAC at Robert Bosch
, one of the major advantages of partnering with Milestone Systems is the latter’s strong presence across verticals. Following Milestone Systems’efforts at metadata search, Bosch has already set up a system to port metadata from its cameras to the VMS.
“Both Bosch and Milestone Systems work together to fully embrace a ‘data-driven approach’ on the selected key focused vertical: Transportation (Airport, Railway) Commercial Building, and Industrial,” Kuah said. “We also expect to benefit the most from commercial buildings, which represents 25 percent of the APAC market itself, and we aim to shift our focus even more towards the rising trend of smart buildings.”
Naturally, different solution providers see different advantages in the partnership. For Megvii Technology
, Milestone Systems’ existing large customer base could be a path to boost their business.
“For me, I would like to integrate more with the Milestone Systems platform and so I am looking for more options with products,” said Diego Xu, Regional Director, Megvii Technology. “Because we often have to do some projects where the customers are already using Milestone Systems’ product and hence this partnership is the best way for us to win such projects.”
Other partners also highlighted the benefits of Milestone Systems being in several verticals already.
offers mmWave fixed wireless solutions, for instance, and has a presence in segments like smart cities, 5G Gigabit Wireless Access (GWA), business broadband, connectivity for campuses, parking lots, airports, seaports, hospitals, etc. Siklu’s solutions have already been deployed in over 175 smart cities worldwide, and being part of the Milestone Systems community is enabling Siklu to expand into new territories.
“Our policy is to work with local representatives,” said Aviram Segal, Director of Sales in EMEA at Siklu. “In every new territory, we create a local community of distributers and system integrators to sell, install and provide post-sale support for our wireless fiber solutions. Milestone Systems is exactly the type of company we are proud to partner with – the user-friendly Milestone XProtect Smart Client interface lets integrators configure and monitor both camera and interference free wireless connectivity within the same software application.”
Milestone Systems’platform strategy makes it clear that the growth of the security community is integral to the growth of each company. Hence, easing the business process for partners and their buyers through a platform makes sense. Along with technology advancements like Driver Framework and meta-data search, the marketplace could be a gamechanger for the security industry.