Reflections of a Security CEO

Milestone Systems’ Lars Thinggaard was interviewed by SecurityInfoWatch.com, looking back on his career as he bid farewell to the global video surveillance company. Excerpts below:

Seventeen years ago, the video surveillance industry looked much different than it does today. Although Axis Communications had invented the IP camera in 1996, the market during the early 2000s was still dominated by analog technology, and migration to network solutions was a relatively new phenomenon.

While these newer IP solutions would sow the seeds that grew into the interoperable market we have today, much of the focus then was on maintaining the status quo of integrators and end-users locked into proprietary systems. That began to change, thanks largely to companies like Milestone Systems and its CEO Lars Thinggaard who preached the gospel of ‘open’.

Last month, Milestone announced that Thinggaard was resigning after spending the last 17 years of his career with the company.

“From a corporate governance point of view, 17 years is a long time for a CEO to be in the same position. For the company it is probably a good time also to have some fresh blood for the next growth phase moving forward,” Thinggaard told SecurityInfoWatch.

Aside from the desire to bring a fresh perspective to the Milestone leadership team, another reason he wanted to step away now was so he could spend more time focusing on the startup firms he’s invested in across different industries in recent years. He is also finalizing a new book he’s written called “Tech for Life,” that focuses on dilemmas that technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will pose to humans as it becomes more intertwined in our daily lives.

Company Achieves Record Growth

According to its annual financial report, Milestone Systems for the first time in 2019 surpassed DKK (Danish Kroner) 1 billion (approximately $146 million) in net revenue. Over the last five years, the company has seen annual growth of 14% and nearly doubled its staff to more than 900.

If there was one thing Thinggaard would have liked to have done differently, it would have been to introduce leadership development programs for the employees earlier than he did.

“I started leadership and development programs in 2006 or 2007, which has been one of our greatest achievements,” he says. “People were jumping ship from very large organizations and going to Milestone because they knew we had strong leadership development.”

Video Evolves

In looking at how the industry has changed since he first joined Milestone, Thinggaard said we could describe the market’s evolution from “a few good men” to “big data”. End users today have moved beyond just having their video monitored by security personnel to converting integrated digital information into actionable data for uses beyond security.

Along with that, Thinggaard says the industry now faces a whole new set of challenges related to privacy and the security of data.

“Ethics discussions have surfaced big time,” he adds. “There are now loads of dilemmas that weren’t there 20 years ago. With big data and the opportunity for applying analytics in all kinds of forms, we’re only seeing the beginning of this.”

Read about Milestone’s IPO and acquisition by Canon, and the industry move to cloud and VSaaS, in the full article by Joel Griffin, Editor-in-Chief of SecurityInfoWatch.com.