Power of Open: Interview with Milestone
Kenneth Hune Petersen, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Milestone Systems answered GIT SECURITY's questions
At Intersec in Dubai, GIT SECURITY had the opportunity to talk to Kenneth Hune Petersen, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Milestone Systems, about Milestone Marketplace, their approach to video analytics and AI, applications beyond security and the EMEA markets.
Heiko Baumgartner, Publishing Director GIT SECURITY: During MIPS 2019 in Copenhagen you launched your new global digital platform, Milestone Marketplace, to increase the availability of software applications. How far have you come with this approach?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: The project started two years ago based on our community approach.
With Milestone Marketplace, we open up the innovation power of our community of buyers and sellers. It enables our partners to grow their businesses through the global Milestone Systems community. At the same time, Milestone Marketplace helps simplify complex choices for our system integrators and customers, who gets access to a rich and trustworthy resources pool from which they can build video management solutions.
The number of solutions offered via the platform during its first year has exceeded our expectations. To date, we have 238 well-documented software and hardware solutions verified to be optimized with XProtect available on the platform and more are uploaded every month.
What about the usage of Milestone Marketplace and do you see the number of transactions?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: The traffic to Marketplace is substantial and what is even more important; it is generating business. Already in the first months we got excellent feedback from partners who said that they created business via the platform and showed us business cases they would never had achieved without the platform. We do not trail the transactions, but we have asked all partners to provide feedback to help us improve the platform. The feedback from our partners confirms that Milestone Marketplace is already a success, and this is only phase 1.
What do you plan for phase 2 of the Milestone Marketplace?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: At MIPS 2020 we will launch phase 2 which will be focusing on our installers and integrators. We want to make it easy for customers to discover the technologies and services that will solve their challenges. By showcasing proven installation experience along with bundles of solutions, the real power of our digital platform unfolds when you put more than one solution on top of the Milestone software. One plus one equals three here. We expect even more tangible advantages in the next phase.
Connected systems can entail certain threats. What measurements do you take to improve cybersecurity?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: We take every precaution available making sure that our system is as resilient as possible against cyberattacks. It is my impression that cybersecurity has been on top of many people’s agenda for years and it is becoming even more important, the more devices and systems are connected. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg and there is more work to be done. You can’t do this overnight especially since a VMS is in the middle of the installation. We update the XProtect software including the latest security updates every four months to ensure we are on the forefront. On the technical side, it is an advantage in the system design that we use the recording server as the proxy for cameras and IoT devices connecting to the system. This enables separation of the camera and client networks, increasing the robustness against both external and internal attacks.
You mentioned that you look at applications beyond security, too?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: We are always looking at where to take our industry beyond security. The question is what we can do with the image data we collect with cameras. An open platform, like ours, is ideal for partners working together on solutions inside and outside security. We want to help accelerate the capabilities beyond security, for example in areas like transportation, retail and safe cities. If you look at the opportunities the retail segment offers with heat mapping, marketing support, staff planning tools and many more options, it is easy to state, that we have just started here. The end-users need to be educated on what is possible and we as Milestone, our partners and you as the media should work together on this. The consumer, on the other hand, needs to get informed about the value these systems can bring them. Improved customer service, help with finding a parking lot, assistance for the disabled, and clever systems showing you the best way to get to your departure gate, are just some of the many examples.
Artificial intelligence is a vital part of solutions now and in the future. Can you show us examples of AI applications?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: We have a great success story here in the Middle East, where the use of AI improves operational efficiency. Milestone XProtect Corporate allows Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer, to run a world-class video surveillance infrastructure with close to 10.000 cameras across 30 properties in five different countries, all federated directly into the UAE from Oman, Bahrain and Egypt. Everything started with security but now goes far beyond it with benefits as the ones described before. Another example is Ferrari car dealers who check the incoming cars in their service area for damage to avoid later complaints by the customers.
How do you ensure that AI and video analytics applications work better in connection with your VMS system compared to proprietary systems? Some users fear that they might lose valuable data on the way from the front end, intelligent cameras, to the management system, if the integration is not deep enough.
Kenneth Hune Petersen: As you just said, the integration is key for such an application. If you want to import, export and process the data, it is very easy with our system. A main feature of the recent XProtect release was the new centralized search platform in XProtect Smart Client, making it possible for users to search for everything in one place. Previously, users performed several standalone searches, depending on what data they were searching for. With the new search tool users can search for motion, alarms, events, bookmarks and other types of data, in one single place enabling rapid and efficient video investigations. Moreover, the new search platform also smoothly embeds partner integrations and their powerful analytics capabilities via dedicated filtering options. Through specific plug-ins and devices, search criteria such as line-crossing and object-in-field will be enabled directly in the search tab, saving time and increasing efficiency. Just one example is the Bosch Forensic Search plug-in to gain complete control on how you want to search the data - even with new criteria, not used before. This integration gives us the power that you would never get out of a proprietary system.
Can you fill us in on what your partners and users can expect from the upcoming MIPS 2020 events in Texas and Dubai?
Kenneth Hune Petersen: You already know the Milestone Community is filled with forward-thinkers, visionaries, industry leaders, and thought leaders – just one of the many reasons why MIPS is a must-attend annual event. At MIPS 2020, we will launch phase 2 of the marketplace, what makes these events especially interesting for our installers and integrators. We are looking forward to exploring upcoming trends, new technologies, and challenges, and to define the ‘Power of Open’ together. Looking ahead, I think business and customers will change fast and unexpectedly. Think about it, how do you keep growing when unexpected change confronts your business? In my keynote, I’ll show you how to use the Power of Open to make the right choices and grow your business faster.
[Update Februray 20:] Milestone Systems cancels joint APAC/EMEA MIPS conference in Dubai
In response to increasing concern for potential health risks from COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Milestone Systems has canceled the APAC/EMEA MIPS Conference scheduled for April 20-22 in Dubai.
Without the ability to effectively predict how events will transpire over the next two months, Milestone Systems is following the recommendations of relevant national authorities and international health organizations in determining this proactive health measure.
“The well-being of employees, partners and other stakeholders always take priority at Milestone. The MIPS conference is important, sharing insights and innovations as well as exploring upcoming trends, new technologies and challenges, together with our partners. While it has been difficult, we firmly believe that we have made the most responsible decision,” says Kenneth Hune Petersen, Milestone System’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.
Milestone Systems strengthens its EMEA organization
Jos Beernink, EMEA Director Channel Sales at Milestone
Milestone Systems hired Jos Beernink as EMEA Director Channel Sales last year. Jos Beernink joined Milestone System from Genetec as VP EMEA Sales and has had previous positions at Honeywell Security and Fire, ADI distribution, Samsung Electronics and Tech Data. Jos Beernink heads up the EMEA Sales for the developed markets, which is comprised of four sales regions with regional sales managers as direct reports; North Europe, Middle Europe, South Europe as well as Middle East & North Africa. Since January 2020 his role has been further expanded with the inclusion of EMEA Business Development, Key Account Management and Community Management. The key objective is to strengthen communication between community stakeholders and to ensure a coherent sales effort across EMEA developed markets.
„By combining the Channel and Community Sales organization into one strong team, we believe we can create synergies that in return drive focus and growth in our EMEA organization. We are pleased to present a dedicated, continuous commitment in the region and see the potential for significant growth in areas also beyond traditional security. Over the last year we have positioned the Milestone Community in verticals such as retail, transportation and safe city, and this focus will continue and be even further strengthened over the next years.“ Says Jos Beernink, EMEA Sales Director for the developed markets.