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Milestone Systems Q&A: New APAC VP Malou Toft on increasing their regional footprint

Milestone Systems Q&A: New APAC VP Malou Toft on increasing their regional footprint
asmag.com spoke to Malou Toft, new Vice President of Asia-Pacific, to learn about Milestone’s plans for the APAC region in the coming years.

Earlier this year, Milestone Systems, the no. 1 Video Management Software (VMS) vendor in Asia Pacific (APAC) announced a series of leadership changes to keep pace with expanding operations. One of these was Malou Toft’s transition from her position as Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa to Vice President of Asia-Pacific – a move that shows Milestone’s commitment to its APAC business.
 
asmag.com spoke to Malou Toft to learn about Milestone’s plans for the APAC region in the coming years.
 
asmag: Your experience in EMEA gives you a unique perspective on approaching the APAC market. How is the APAC ecosystem different from EMEA? Are there projects or market demands that are specific to the region?
 
Toft: Asia Pacific is a very important region to Milestone as it represents a vast, untapped opportunity for continuous growth. With experts predicting that 1 in 3 companies will generate more than 30% of revenues from digital products and services by 2023, Milestone is well poised to support organizations as they expand the impact of digital technologies on the production and consumption of products and services.
 
This is not my first time working in Asia. I was here previously working in Myanmar for just over two years in the telecoms industry. Whereas in telecom you have physical limitations such as the need for spectrum to be licensed by the government, we have a different business model that we can expand on. Coming from my previous role in the EMEA region, I find other similarities: EMEA is also a dispersed market – maturity levels vary, and cultures and languages differ. Milestone has created a differentiated marketplace experience in EMEA and will bring this to APAC. Milestone currently sells to more than 24 countries in APAC, and it is an exciting time for us. I’m here to realize this potential and expand the organization. We are hiring and investing in the region to make sure that Milestone will be as successful as our other two head regions, EMEA and Americas.
 
In 2021, APAC was the highest growth region for Milestone with a 54 percent year-on-year revenue growth which is indicative of video technology being leveraged beyond security. Milestone is headquartered in Denmark and had previously established incumbent positions in EMEA and was a fast-mover in the U.S. The APAC region was part of later expansions, and we see a massive opportunity to leverage our footprint even more.
    
Personally, I am excited to be back in Asia and to meet all our partners and customers. It will be a fantastic time and I cannot wait to create the next Milestone chapter.
  
asmag: What do you see as your priorities in this new role? What is the change you want to bring about the most?
 
Toft: Milestone is a “People First” company and this applies to both customers and employees. My first priorities are to listen to and understand our partner landscape and our customer profiles, meet the entire Milestone team across the region, and to successfully drive our long-term growth strategy.
 
Enterprise customers across the globe, regardless of their location or culture, share a high degree of commonality in their needs: they all want to be data-driven, save time and improve customer experiences. The types of customers and problems are not that different from EMEA, making Milestone products applicable across markets, regions and applications.
 
Beyond the business priorities, I am also prioritizing the upskilling and development of our employees. As a People First organization, we will continue to strengthen our employee engagement efforts by investing in training and onboarding programs.
 
asmag: What do you see as the key drivers for Milestone in APAC?
 
Toft: Coming back from COVID, we are expecting to see smart video capabilities growing as economies begin to resume their everyday processes. One of my priorities is to sequence and prioritize what we do, and plan where to invest. There are three key sectors where we are expecting to see smart video capabilities growing as economies begin to restart and borders reopen: Infrastructure, healthcare, and education. These three sectors will be crucial in progressing Smart Cities in APAC.

Overall, the APAC region has grown more than 50 percent in the last year indicating vast possibilities as we go toward a future in which video technology is a part of everyday life. We plan to first maximize the efforts we have in each country where we have a physical presence first, and then assess which markets to expand into next.
 
asmag: How are you planning to balance a standardized global approach together with localized offerings? Will there be product changes specific to the Asian market?
 
Toft: Our core software platform is standardized globally, to which we can add customized integrations with third-party solution providers. Each market has its own local regulations, standards, and buyer patterns, but the core remains the same, and that is what we can develop to solve the horizontal needs of the backbone software solution.
 
Where there is a need for specialization, we approach this vertically to help customers get more out of their systems – for example, in healthcare, we focus on digitalization and automation, while the education sector focuses on analyzing valuable data. Milestone continues to explore key verticals in APAC including hospitality and safe cities. Taking a vertical approach makes it easier for us to steer product development to solve specific use cases. Some use cases are more common and that drives prioritization in development.
 
asmag: Speaking of technology, which tech trends in video surveillance do you see impacting our industry in the near future?
 
Toft: Artificial intelligence (AI) and Cloud are for sure two trends that have a lot of impact. The term AI has seen widespread used across industries. For Milestone, we focus on analytics. As the analytics market is growing faster than the surveillance space, we will continue to add different elements of analytics to our portfolio. Last year we added the Rapid Review function for forensics analysis to Milestone XProtect, enabling users to review hours of video in minutes, and pinpoint people and objects of interest to immediately turn that information into evidence and action.
 
Cloud is another opportunity to open up – clients need to embrace the cloud-first approach and Milestone has made it a priority to support our customers in their cloud transformation journey. We are currently modernizing our infrastructure and working on cloud alternatives as well as hybrid solutions in light of increasing consumer demands. At Milestone, we’ve integrated our on-premise video management software with Arcules Video Surveillance as a Service, to deliver a hybrid solution ideal for organizations looking to centralize their remote video surveillance operation. The integration of such technologies in our software empowers a flexible hybrid solution with increased visibility of small and remote sites. 
 
asmag: What can you share with our readers about the new partner program launching in the summer?
 
Toft: Milestone’s new program targets our resellers, system integrators, security specialists, and service providers to help them grow their business and achieve customer success. Through this program we aim at empowering our partners to drive growth and deliver top-performing video solutions for a wide-range of customers and industries, whilst also growing the relationship with our partners.
 
Our new program aligns partners to three tiers: Authorized, Advanced and Premier based on their productivity and qualifications. This three-tier program design will help customers identify why a particular partner is the right one for an installation. Beyond the tier discounts for selling Milestone products, Advanced and Premier Partners will be eligible for additional benefits including project pricing eligibility, priority technical support, not-for-resale demonstration licenses, and more.
 
As new technologies emerge and intelligent video grows more specialized and savvier, we are looking for partners that share the same mindset and motivation as Milestone. Therefore, we need partners that are competent and vested with Milestone to ensure that customers get valuable experience when working with the Milestone platform. We encourage all potential partners with the ambition to grow and a commitment to deliver the product in the right way to join us.
 

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