ISJ Exclusive: Making the world see


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Neil Killick, EMEA Sales Director, Developed Markets, Milestone Systems speaks exclusively with International Security Journal.

Milestone is on a mission to “make the world see” by giving people the power to understand video and data.

The company – which was founded in 1998 by two Danish software engineers who saw the potential of Internet Protocol video security application – goes beyond using video technology for core security applications, instead, striving to make video a part of everyone’s day-to-day lives.

In doing so, not only is Milestone improving the way users work and interact with the world around them, but the company is also enabling people to make informed decisions. To give us the bigger picture, International Security Journal sat down with Neil Killick, EMEA Sales Director, Developed Markets, Milestone.

At the heart of digital transformation

“The industry is clearly shifting towards greater connectivity and interoperability between different sensors and video,” said Killick. “We’re seeing this as a growing trend based on market analysis;

many end users see video as a core part of their wider digital transformation plans.

“Milestone is grasping this opportunity as the sector realises the potential of consolidating all video and sensor data. As Mike Jude, Research Director, Video Surveillance and Vision Applications, IDC explains: “Video surveillance data is not just for safety and security and it is finding many new applications in the business intelligence space”.”

Milestone wants to be a core part of this transformation, becoming the central hub for all uses of video technology. This does not just apply to security, but also to commercial opportunities that haven’t been identified yet, in improving efficiency, delivering greater insights and using video for behavioural analysis.

“Crucially, because Milestone is an open platform, we can leverage this opportunity more than closed systems that are restricted in what devices and vendors they can integrate with,” Killick continued.

“It’s an approach that guides every product and investment that we make – where we see a challenge that video can address, we want to be there, at the crux of it, as the foundation for more intelligent decision-making and operations.

“Take, for example, our Healthcare solution which will be launched soon. Designed exclusively for hospital units caring for patients in need of 24/7 or situational observation, our new XProtect Healthcare solution is a product extension offering a dedicated remote patient monitoring solution that allows the hospital to increase staff efficiency, react to incidents rapidly and provide high-quality patient care.”

The need for powerful, flexible VMS

Organisations are spoilt for choice when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). This has driven the demand for a powerful and flexible VMS that can consolidate all the different data coming in and, most importantly, make it actionable.

The days of being limited with proprietary recording systems are gone. Killick added: “It used to be that video was a grudge purchase that businesses needed for insurance purchases, but leaders have now realised it can achieve so much more than that. Video – with the right VMS – is integral to every facet of a business.

“To truly unlock the value of video and the IoT, you need a strong foundation with your VMS. It needs to be open source to give the flexibility to integrate with different technologies (including those not yet launched on the market).

“The VMS also has to be advanced enough to analyse video and IoT data, to display this in an understandable way to different teams (leaders, operations, control room staff etc.) and to help leadership spot trends that then inform site design, maintenance, workforce planning and more.”

Milestone XProtect is the company’s open video management software (VMS) platform that is already trusted in 500,000+ customer sites. Offered to customers in five variants – Essential+, Express+, Professional+, Expert and Corporate – the powerful platform enables Milestone to meet the needs of various sizes of installation and organisation, from single-site installations to large scale and high security installations that require 24/7 operations.

“XProtect allows any organization to grow with video technology. We also have a cloud-based VMS solution that allow the fast deployment of remote sites, something that all industries have seen a lot of in recent years. It unites the XProtect on-premises video management software, with a cloud-based Video Surveillance as a Service solution for organisations that wish to centralise their remote video surveillance operation and harness the power of the cloud.

“Finally, as I mentioned, we are excited that we will soon be announcing an addition to this portfolio, specifically for healthcare organisations. Healthcare has unique challenges, particularly in the confidential and sensitive nature of patient care. Protecting that confidentiality and building trust in the security and ethical use of video is essential. There are huge benefits for healthcare organisations in using video to improve patient care.”

Solutions with multiple interfaces

Killick explained to ISJ that instead of focusing on multiple interfaces, it’s important to understand closed versus open systems. And, with many vendors selling end-to-end solutions that are effectively closed, this is something that is not immediately obvious to buyers.

“Some might not think it matters — but eventually, that decision will come to haunt you,” he added. “Open systems give you much more flexibility; you can choose what devices best suit your needs, you can experiment with emerging technologies and you get a more future-proofed system. It becomes even more critical when you see the range of IoT and video devices coming to the market.

“Ultimately, the feedback Milestone is getting from partners and end users is that they want the ability to add, change and scale their video systems. A decade ago, key video vendors would lock users into big, inflexible contracts for years and that limited what was available.

“But, we’ve moved on from that and users want more autonomy – they don’t want to be told what they can and cannot connect to or what cameras they can use. That’s why Milestone will always be committed to being open.”

Putting things in focus

Milestone has a significant and growing presence in the EMEA region, notably in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Nordics and Benelux. There’s great potential in these regions due to the focus on smart cities among local authorities, law enforcement, travel and other third party agencies – they want greater collaboration and data sharing to become more informed and efficient.

“This is driving investments in video,” Killick clarified. “Specifically open platforms that can consolidate the ten to fifteen different technologies they have invested in and bring them into a single view for operators to improve response times and situational awareness.

“Take, for example, a big football match in a city centre. This requires cross-agency collaboration to keep spectators safe and improve the event experience (law enforcement speaking with transport and event organisers etc.). When this happens, resources and tasks are better allocated, there’s less duplicate work and the whole visitor experience is more enjoyable.

“Another key vertical is retail, specifically in connecting disparate devices (and data) to improve the customer experience. Post-pandemic, we have an interesting dynamic where retailers are trying to attract people back into stores, and onto the high street, and video technology has become more commonplace and accepted because of its help in social distancing and face mask adherence.

“Now, retailers can use this already installed infrastructure to understand more about shopper behaviour, proactively reduce queue and checkout times and plan their store layout in line with shopper movements.”

Killick also explained that there has been a rise in the number of data centres in Europe due to the acceleration of home computing during lockdown. Milestone’s solutions suit data centres perfectly because it’s an open system that can meet the stringent needs of different data centre tenants (some of which have specific vendors they work with).

“It also integrates with perimeter, access control and other solutions that give operators a complete overview of who is on-site, who is near specific racks, who is moving through a building and who is approaching.”

Education is another focus area for Milestone this year. Because of its open platform, Milestone can work with existing infrastructure, which is popular with academic institutions that need to roll out upgrades over several years or that have multiple sites using different solutions. Milestone also offers a range of options for controlling access points, which is essential for protecting faculty and students, especially in locations where entrances lead directly onto public streets.

Killick concluded: “Healthcare is another sector we’re increasing our focus on because there is a real need for a secure, trusted solution to improve patient outcomes and care. Video can support doctors and nurses by alerting them to any events that need their attention, like someone falling out of bed or wandering the corridors unexpectedly.

“Alongside day-to-day security, ensuring nobody unauthorised can get into restricted areas and that patients (particularly those with dementia) cannot wander off.”

It’s through initiatives like this that Milestone will make the world see, by giving users the ability to better understand video and the insights it delivers. It’s part of making video a key component in day-to-day life, improving the way we work, interact with the world and make decisions.

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Exclusive interview with Neil Killick.
Neil Killick

This article was originally published in the November edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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