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THE NEW NORMAL: A Risk Society

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THE NEW NORMAL: A Risk Society

By Lars Thinggaard, CEO, Milestone Systems

We live in a very different world today - a world of risks, a fast changing world - and looking ahead, such changes and risks will continue. I call it “the new normal” since this is expected to be the basis going forward.

The Economy

We have a completely changed world economy today, with repeated budget cuts in many countries having put our customers under pressure in recent years, especially in certain vertical sectors, yet higher spending in other areas. For example, we have experienced major changes in defense budgets, not only in the US but also across Europe. At the same time, we have seen higher security investments in Latin America, India and China. Now the US economy is gaining momentum, Europe has stabilized, and it seems the worst is behind us for now.

Speaking of China, we see changes in the positions of the world’s leading economies, with China expected to take over as number one within the next decade.  This increases the importance and influence of the entire Asia Pacific region. Our nations are no longer isolated entities: one country’s economic events can cascade into others – our fates are connected more than ever before.

Politics

We see political changes in many markets. Elections affect economic policies, government funding, and investment confidence. Politics can influence the degree of regulatory requirements with regard to increased security and a growing harmonization of policies, along with stricter laws on data usage and access. This is indeed affecting our industry. Political unrest also affects public and personal safety, feeds vandalism or even terrorism, creating the need for intensified safety and security measures.

Since 9/11, security and public safety concerns have of course been a big focus in the US, and increasingly overseas. On every continent public safety has become a more important concern during the past decade.  Motivating incidences include terrorist attacks in Boston, London, Madrid, and tumult during the cascading ‘Arab Spring’ where democratic uprisings arose independently to spread across nations.

According to an October 2013 report, ‘Attacks and fatalities soared to a record high in 2012. More than 8,500 terrorist attacks killed nearly 15,500 people as violence tore through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. That’s a 69% rise in attacks and an 89% jump in fatalities from 2011, according to START, one of the world’s leading terrorism-trackers.’

Climate

Our world today also has an increased focus on climate change issues, including how to monitor and tackle severe storms, more hurricanes than ever, flooding and other kinds of extreme weather. Video surveillance is proving to be an operational tool for monitoring and alerting, aiding response, measuring and tracking the effects. We also see a change in the direction of improved security systems to protect infrastructure, energy supplies and natural resources.

Technology

We are involved with constantly changing technological developments through emerging innovations such as biometrics; panoramic, high-resolution and thermal cameras; edge device storage; cloud computing; RFID and video analytics. Much of this is thanks to the convergence of IP networking as the core infrastructure of every new installation.

Milestone is living our mission and vision: to globally drive the convergence of video surveillance and IP-based business systems through our open platform and business model. We have changed the industry’s expectations of video surveillance by demonstrating the unlimited potential that comes with the freedom to choose components and the power to integrate with third-party systems. 

By working with the open platform, partners and customers get better solutions that leverage the best of our industry, that work both today and long into the future, able to add any new equipment and systems as they become available over time. What a flexible concept!  And it is flexibility that allows us to adapt to change.

Life is Change – Risk and Opportunity

Our world is indeed changing. Moreover, we are part of what has been named a ‘Risk Society’.  Ulrich Beck, who holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics, defines ‘Risk Society’ as a term to describe the manner in which modern society organizes in response to risk. That includes all kinds of insecurities induced by modernization: linked economies, political inter-dependencies, the growing importance of technology, and climate changes as outlined above.

However, risks and changes are not the same as failure. A changing world is also a world of new opportunities.  It is our job together to spot those opportunities and turn them into business.  This is how we can collaborate.  I am convinced that we are capable of adapting to and exploiting the megatrends changing our world.  This is why open platform video management software (VMS) is becoming so important to so many people.

Today, we know that video surveillance is about so much more than just security. Our partners attest from daily experiences with customer installations that for many companies surveillance has become an integrated and logical part of the daily business process. For example, in the areas of production, warehousing, shipping and other kinds of asset monitoring or process control, video is a central function for improved quality and efficiency.

We see that our surveillance technology is very helpful when it comes to assisting with environmental regulations and other compliance matters for businesses and institutions, such as safety or hygiene procedures.  Our aging population is driving demand for call alert systems and expanded alarm monitoring, as well. Hospitals are discovering video is a tool for better patient care around the clock.

So, there is indeed a growing market of opportunities out there with open platform IP video management technology and integrations. According to the market analyst institute IHS Inc. (formerly IMS Research), the IP-based video surveillance market is expected to double in size between 2012 and 2017. This will expand the market from $4.8 to $13 billion. Or put another way, by more than 170% - astounding!

You have to agree that a radical and pervasive change is happening in our lives. As a matter of fact, we are in the midst of a revolution.

Milestone plans to continue to lead in market development - and we have a proven record of doing so. We have been the number one company in open platform video management software (VMS) market for years. With around 3,000 partner companies and 7,000 certification-trained individuals who are updated every two years, not only do we have a well built-up channel, we exceed 100,000 customer installations with our VMS solutions. So it is not surprising when we look at our performance throughout the world that we see growth all over. Such positive development not only shows that our product portfolio fits many market needs, it also demonstrates the success of our combined efforts with Milestone partners.

Ability to Grow with Open Platform

So, what does the future look like in this industry?  Let me make an analogy.

Recall the development in the IP telephony market: it was a convergent market over a decade. Its market share more than doubled in that time – from 25% to 57%, out-performing the traditional technologies. It is realistic to expect similar development in our IP video industry with plenty of room for growth ahead.

Analog equipment purchases still account for around 50% of the security market today but just think: this means that half of the people are installing outdated technology for business use that they don’t even have at home anymore!  Everyone uses IP technology in their personal lives now. Its advantages are made clear in our daily lives, and we come to expect those whether at play or work.

Growth Does Not Occur by Chance

Yet growth is not something that just happens! We know that growth is the result of forces working together with 

the open platform – which you could say is a commitment to change: embracing the chances to make opportunities happen. We believe that when our company grows, it is due to the multiplier effect of our entire ecosystem leveraging the Milestone open platform. It creates opportunities for our partners when we join forces; the offerings we provide to the end customers are more valuable and long-lasting for their ability to expand.

As an open platform company, Milestone provides software that is interoperable with most security hardware products today, as well as able to integrate with other security and business solutions. We strive towards flexibility and freedom. We are enablers, opening our toolbox for the industry.

We are ready to tackle new chances for opportunity together because of our commitment to change – especially in a world with such high risk factors.  We are problem solvers in a growing community of problem solvers. We can help create certainty in an uncertain world.