Video Management: See More, Understand Better, Perform Faster
SeeTec has introduced the successor of the SeeTec 5 video management software: "SeeTec Cayuga" is named after a North American Indian tribe. The contintent's original inhabitants inspired the developers with their ability to read tracks and to take decisions on the basis of this information, as Stephan Rasp, Chief Executive Officer at SeeTec explained in conversation with GIT-SECURITY.com.
GIT-SECURITY.com: Mr. Rasp, as the new CEO at SeeTec you have started the year very optimistically. Not least the developments in the market for video management software have given you hope for SeeTec as a global player with potential. Has your impression been reinforced recently and, if so, for what reasons?
Stephan Rasp: As a highly innovative company, SeeTec has initiated many developments in the IP security industry or helped bring them to market. I am very pleased that we are now reaping the fruits of our labor. The projects in which we are involved nowadays have become more numerous and larger. We‘re talking here not just about installations with 10 or 20 cameras but systems with a four-digit number of camera channels.
Could you give us an idea what strategic steps you are taking to make the most of this global potential?
Stephan Rasp: Our stated aim is, above all, to support large projects as much as possible and to satisfy their requirements in the best possible way. Our new software product, SeeTec Cayuga, provides a number of different features that exactly meet the requirements of such installations. Amongst others it contains a new internal redundancy concept and provides the option to set up hierarchical administration structures.
You would like to expand further internationally. What are the most important markets that you have in your sights?
Stephan Rasp: In our expansion plan we will continue to concentrate very strongly on Europe and especially on Great Britain. Although classic security applications have traditionally been very popular in Great Britain, further possibilities that IP video provides together with business solutions are a long way from being widespread.
This is a market for us in Europe whose potential has not yet been realized by far. Asia and in particular Russia are also interesting markets for us and we are watching developments there closely.
Your sales structure is based on a partnership with distributors and integrators - presumably you will keep this?
Stephan Rasp: We get support by reliable partners in every country we do business in. In some cases, these partnerships have been in existence as long as SeeTec itself. As a medium-sized company, we make use of the potential that our partners provide through their contacts and customers. Our partners play a key role in our communication with the end-users. Our main aim is always to understand and meet the demands of our customers as well as possible - who can help us better than a well-networked partner in the respective region? We look for the interaction together and learn so much about the demands placed on video systems. This gives us important input not only for the project but also for our products in general.
You have just set up a partner program - with which aims and content?
Stephan Rasp: Our partner program has already proved it‘s worth over the years. We have almost 500 certified partners worldwide meanwhile as well as 300 so-called "Entry Partners". As we want to make the cooperation as profitable as possible for both parties we have adapted our partner program to match current needs. "Partnership by design" is the catchphrase: that way we want to demonstrate the central role our partners play for us. We concentrate on four prime elements, namely sales, support, our new license model and the product.
What does that mean in detail?
Stephan Rasp: Our own sales force will help our partners to acquire new end-user customers and to support them. With regard to support, we are continually investing here to help our partners to improve their support for their own customers - end-user support will continue to be provided by our local partners for whom this is often a part of their own business model. Our new simplified license model will assist and support our partners in providing competitive tenders. We have altered the product itself so that it is simple for our partners to configure and so that the end-users can reliably obtain added value from it.
You just mentioned your new license program. How does it look like and in which direction is it heading?
Stephan Rasp: It is primarily a simplification of the product structure. Instead of offering numerous individual additional options, we are concentrating on three basic packets with different capacity: S50 for up to 50 cameras, S100 for up to 100 cameras and Infinity for an unrestricted number of cameras. Extension packages are also available for SeeTec Cayuga S50 and Infinity that provide additional functionality.
The new SeeTec Cayuga video management software will be available as from September. It supersedes SeeTec 5 - why did you decide on the name "Cayuga" instead of "SeeTec 6"? What does this exotic-sounding name mean?
Stephan Rasp: SeeTec 5 as a product has been with us now for many years. It was the basis of our success and has been continuously developed over the years. The new software version will now allow us to move into areas of application that have not been served by classic video technology so far - supporting our business processes is of prime importance here. This innovative approach should be reflected in the name of the new software and so we decided to name our new releases as from SeeTec 6 after North American Indian tribes - after all, the Indians are known for their ability to follow tracks using their finely tuned senses and then make the right decisions. This is what SeeTec Cayuga is all about: seeing more, understanding better and performing faster.
Could you give us an insight into the most important new aspects of the program?
Stephan Rasp: The most obvious change is the GUI - it has been totally redesigned by working together with user interface design specialists and has an appealing layout that permits very intuitive operation, above all, through the use of modern colors and a clearly structured design raster. We also apply the advantages of modern usage concepts, such as those already well known by users of tablets or smartphones, and Cayuga now supports, for example, touch-controlled input devices. SeeTec Cayuga is however not just visually up-to-date but also serves a raft of new areas of application and customer requirements. The new redundancy concept provides uninterrupted operation even if the server should go down - it doesn‘t matter whether a recording server or a central administration server is no longer reachable. The multi-level administration permits the creation of distributed responsibility (e.g. for various different locations) within the SeeTec rights system.
What else will change?
Stephan Rasp: With regard to video analysis we have followed the strategy to date of providing the customer with powerful video analysis tools through a solution deep within the system that can also be easily configured without the use of third-party software. We won‘t move away from this principle in SeeTec Cayuga. However, we are now additionally making a generic analytics interface available that, for example, provides the option of using camera-based image evaluation or server-based analytics tools from third parties with the SeeTec software and processing the images further. This makes industry-specific applications even easier to implement.
You want to move in new directions in vertical solutions with your new "Open Digital Systems" strategy - for retail, logistics and the finance industry. What is new in your approach?
Stephan Rasp: The increasing complexity of tasks requires support of the most varied software components. For this we use various different "modules", approach such integrations openly and consider ourselves responsible for the integration on behalf of our partners and end-users. We actively take on responsibility for the solution. Even if our system is just one part of a larger installation, the successful conclusion of the whole project is very important for us. We achieve this by working as closely as possible with our partners to ensure a smooth and professional implementation.
Could you give us some practical examples?
Stephan Rasp: One current example is the integration of the Siemens product SiPass integrated. Initiated by a joint project, the final solution is above all user-friendly and field proven. This is a powerful, flexible and scalable access control system that has already proved itself worldwide in many thousands of installations. The combination of access control and linked-in video surveillance provides the user with a time-saving and particularly easy solution to secure access routes. For example, it allows attempts by unauthorized people to gain access that raise an alarm in the access control system to be forwarded to the SeeTec software. The security staff are informed via an alarm situation in the SeeTec GUI so that an overview of the situation can be obtained and the necessary action taken with the help of cameras.
Could you also describe some other reference projects that have been realized with your system recently?
Stephan Rasp: We are very proud of our installation in Sotchi / Russia for the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. The stations here have been equipped with our software to ensure safe travel for all the sportsmen and women, visitors and staff. Our analytics tools here were the deciding factor for the customer. We have brought more than 570 analytics channels together - more than ever before for a single project. We are working with our local partners to complete everything before the start of the Games in Winter 2014.