Jos Beernink, Director Channel Sales, Milestone Systems, spoke in July with Safety & Security about how Artificial Intelligence is a gamechanger, being leveraged to process much more data in much less time, how the safety and security market is growing exponentially and how it will be a while before AI can replace human capabilities. A few excerpts follow:
How has Artificial Intelligence helped to consolidate your market presence and keep abreast of trends?
Milestone Systems video management software (VMS) helps the world see how to ensure safety, protect assets and increase business efficiency. With its open platform approach, Milestone is making innovations easily available to integrators, consultants and end-users – enabling the industry to build intelligent solutions together. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is delivered to our customers through our partner community.
AI systems can analyze massive amounts of data, which is very beneficial for reviewing hours of surveillance footage. By learning how objects move and look, AI applications can rank the data and make decisions based on it. Machine learning assists by analyzing data that has not been organized or labeled in advance, finding discernable patterns and helping to search for unknown output to solve problems.
How has AI reshaped your product portfolio?
The most basic definition of AI is the ability for a machine to learn on its own. The expectations are that it would provide actionable results and even take intelligent action based on those results. Manufacturers in the security industry are aware of AI’s possible applications. They need to be thinking not about technology today but innovating the technology of tomorrow. Milestone believes intelligence has a huge role in that.
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and consider anything “smart” as AI. To date, in our industry, most analytics are smart, not intelligent – meaning they can analyze video and conclude some fairly amazing things. However, most are simply algorithmic and not necessarily learning anything new over time.
It will be some time before AI has the potential to replace the capabilities of the average security industry end user. The more likely scenario is that AI will be leveraged to process much more data in much less time, empowering end users to make better decisions more quickly.
In a post-event scenario (investigative forensics), speed can matter substantially. In a pre-event scenario (prevention), more data from more sources provides more intelligent decision-making regarding potential outcomes. We still need people in the AI equation; we just want to give them better data to make their decisions.
Today security officers are challenged and asked to constantly ‘do more’ with less budget. Milestone can offer great tools to contribute to that, as AI and machine learning start to play a significant role within our platform.
How would you describe the growth of the safety and security sector in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region today?
Generally, we see strong growth potential in the MENA region. Recent market figures released by 6W Research estimates that the Middle East market for commercial security will reach US$ 7,4 billion by 2024 achieving a sustained CAGR of 16,6%. (International Security Journal, JULY 2019). Milestone is well established in the market with a fast-growing team.
How receptive has the MENA region, especially the UAE, been to new technological trends and developments?
The UAE has been leading the adaptation of new technological developments. An example of this is the recent launch of a National Cybersecurity Strategy, with the aim to create a safe and resilient cyber infrastructure in the UAE following the EU GDPR initiative. From a business perspective we see a rising demand for bringing AI and business analytics into the projects, which we can deliver thanks to a strong partner base that integrates market-leading solutions with our VMS.
What is your market strategy in this AI era? How do you plan to differentiate?
Milestone early identified the value of partnerships, and we extended this approach to our entire business model, creating a community that is the driving force of our success. Today, Milestone’s global open platform community is a network of over 10,000 resellers and integrators who integrate their products and applications with Milestone’s video software platform.
We are investing significantly in our development teams to increase capacity by 45% by year-end, to develop innovations that meet future demands in six key long-term areas: deep driver integration, advanced rendering, IoT and metadata sources, online services, advanced data management and Milestone’s software development kit (SDK). We aim to accelerate the processing of video and data with solution partners who use neural networks, deep learning and AI technologies, device aggregation and visual intelligence.
Read the full interview here: