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Milestone marches ahead with megatrends and vertical solutions

Milestone marches ahead with megatrends and vertical solutions
Milestone marches ahead with megatrends and vertical solutions
This month's Insights story features Benjamin Low, Regional VP for APAC and Bjorn Skou Eilertsen, CTO at Milestone Systems, who shared the latest company developments and the megatrends that will drive the industry forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, but we are emerging from it. Vaccines are being rolled out, and effective treatment protocols are being set. But a post-covid world would not be the same as the world we have known before 2020. The pandemic has accelerated digitization across industries, created a shift in human behavior, and prompted businesses to reconsider their strategies.

Across the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific, we see an increased use of video technology for security, safety, and business intelligence. A company that realizes its significance and plans to add more value to its offerings is Milestone Systems.

“As we see more video deployments being rolled out to support Asia’s economic rebound, the security industry will need to come together to unearth the untapped potential of these solutions,” explains Benjamin Low, Regional VP for APAC at Milestone Systems. “In 2021 and beyond, we will gear up for opportunities to come and encourage our partner community to do the same - look beyond present barriers and see the inevitable need to prepare the industry for change.”

New competitive offerings to beat a tough market

A key announcement from the company this year is the launch of Husky, a brand-new hardware series of video management appliances.  At the recently concluded MIPS 2021, the company showcased how this Dell Technologies-powered solution would enable its partners to achieve more. Husky is ideal for a range of target verticals from small retail stores to large complex multi-sites and critical infrastructure.

Bringing the hardware and software to a single window for service and support would help partners, and their customers efficiently meet the rapidly evolving market requirements. As more and more businesses look towards video technology for operational support, Milestone’s new lineup could be the need of the hour.

Bjorn Skou Eilertsen, Chief Technology Officer at Milestone Systems, also pointed out that for its flagship product, XProtect, the company is working towards an updated authentication technology.

“Furthermore, we expect to release a next-generation MIP SDK, which will not only enable Milestone to build and integrate better with new technologies and services but also enable and empower our partners to innovate and develop better solutions,” Eilertsen added.

Vertical focus with a new solutions sales group

For a specialist, going in-depth into a field is inevitable. Milestone expects to do precisely this as it focuses on meeting the specific requirements of different verticals. The strength of its partner community is vital here. But more importantly, the spotlight is on a brand new solutions sales group for APAC.

“There will be a continued focus on verticalization with the launch of our Solutions Sales Group in APAC,” Low continued. “This new group will look at driving business growth for the APAC region, using vertical solutions from partnering technology companies within Milestone’s Open Platform Community.”

The customer will benefit from this group’s new engagement and outreach strategies as well as programs and campaigns targeted at end-users, consultants, and the wider community. More importantly, there will be more vertical-specific solutions that can address customer challenges in end-to-end offerings.

Combined with the newly launched Experience Center in Singapore, this initiative would allow customers to get a complete understanding of how Milestone’s VMS can meet their unique requirements.  

3 key verticals to expect growth in APAC

While government and business leaders look towards maintaining the balancing act of safety and reopening the economy, investments in the right infrastructure and technologies will be central to a post-pandemic recovery. Even when COVID-19 is long gone, we can be sure that our cities, workplaces, homes, social spaces, and shops will never be the same again.

“We can expect to see the shoring up of infrastructural technologies, such as video technology and the IoT ecosystem, providing decision-makers with smart video capabilities,” Low said.

There are three sectors where Milestone expects to see smart video capabilities providing governments and businesses in APAC an edge as they look towards the safe reopening of the economy.
  • Smart and safe cities
Governments across the globe faced a significant challenge in controlling and monitoring the spread of COVID-19. This has prompted a change in the concept of ‘safe cities’ to include not just law and order but also health measures and infection control.

“Video analytics can be deployed in tight-knit cities to ensure people adhere to social distancing rules,” Low said. “Additionally, integrating them with crowd and traffic control solutions can help identify gathering or overcrowding, redirecting people to safer spaces or routes while reminding them of social distancing rules.”

In the long term, video analytics can even go beyond addressing public safety and help cities solve their transportation challenges, implement smooth mobility, and build more environmentally friendly infrastructure.
  • Transportation
Travel took a massive hit because of COVID-19. Although restrictions are being progressively eased , governments in APAC must continue to ensure that people follow health care guidelines and stick to essential travel alone. Video technologies such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can help track vehicles to ensure there is no breach of protocols.

“Video analytics can also help transport companies monitor footfall and traffic in roads and other areas such as rail stations, to ensure social distancing can happen and reduce potential overcrowding in popular destinations,” Low added. “In busy road areas, video can monitor for high-traffic and open or close lanes in response.”

It can also open lanes solely for emergency vehicles - and even integrate with a hospital’s (or any other location’s) access control system to reduce emergency response times.
  • Retail
Video analytic features such as heatmapping, occupancy statistics, people counting, and social distancing detection have helped many retailers survive the pandemic. More importantly, video technology has provided deep business intelligence that would help improve retail earnings.

“VMS has offered retailers a competitive edge during these trying times,” Low pointed out. “These capabilities provide businesses with key insights such as demographics, footfall, hotspots, or dwell time, adding another layer towards the VMS’ value proposition.”

Besides such advantages, what drives this vertical is the lowering cost barrier. Retailers are beginning to see how video technology investments make good business sense, given the cost savings and value it can return in the long run.

4 megatrends to support this growth

Developments in artificial intelligence and related fields are at the core of today’s software growth. At the recently concluded MIPS 2021, Eilertsen suggested four megatrends for the industry - formative AI, distributed cloud, composite architecture, and digital ethics.

“Specifically, formative AI refers to the set of emerging AI technologies that can dynamically change to situational variances,” Eilertsen said. “It is built upon new technologies where data, from many different sources, can be captured faster and aggregated. That creates the need to automate as humans are not capable of monitoring and analyzing these amounts of data.” 

A composite architecture is the option to run an infrastructure by process and storing locally, hybrid, or cloud-based within a system integrating seamlessly with the required services internally or externally. It enables a composite enterprise where integrations change as requirements change with minimal configurations and friction. It promotes organizational agility and is a much more diverse and scalable system based on, for instance, API technologies.

Combined with distributed cloud, this would help businesses become more agile in a rapidly changing world. 

“Technologies are evolving fast and are becoming easily accessible,” Eilertsen continued. “We notice that customers are adopting these technologies quickly because they value flexibility, efficiency, and modular thinking. It also provides customers the freedom of choice, not only from a technological but increasingly also from a business point of view.” 

Finally, digital ethics, as the name suggests, is the responsible use of technology. The concept of ethics is slightly vague in the commercial world that prefers to use the term “standards.” Standards are straightforward and can be enforced by an objective third-party. Ethics comes from within, which means companies themselves have to identify and implement them.

Eilertsen gave a practical example of how Milestone tackles digital ethics. In 2017, Milestone had co-authored the Copenhagen Letter, outlining the power of technology and the moral challenges the world is increasingly facing, including some of the unintended consequences of digital innovation.

“In 2019, we introduced a Copenhagen Clause into our End user License agreement to hold ourselves accountable and encourage our community to join the conversation,” Eilertsen said. “In the coming years, Milestone will proactively advocate, orchestrate, and introduce mechanisms to ensure that our technology is developed and used responsibly.”

To a future beyond security

The year 2020 saw the security industry stepping up to solve some of the unique requirements that COVID-19 created. As we slowly recover from this health and economic crisis, Milestone sees an even more important role they need to play.

Low concluded that in a world of changing circumstances, our digital future must go beyond security. This means not just leading in the VMS space but also as responsible users of technology, where the well-being of people and their privacy is prioritized. Eilersten calls it an organic change of our technology stack and propositions.

In APAC, Milestone has already started working with its partners to support healthcare and helping the vulnerable sections of society. Customers can expect to see more such initiatives as the situation and technologies evolve.
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