The New Normal: A Risk Society

In today’s global existence, new risks threaten from all sides: Fast changes in technology, climate, politics, and the economy all influence our lives, creating risks of many kinds that we never had to deal with to such a degree in the past. However, dealing with risk does not have to mean facing failure. How can we adapt and turn these into opportunities?

We live in a very different world today — full of risks, it is such a fast changing world. Looking ahead, such changes and risks will continue, so I call it “the new normal”. Let’s look at the 4 areas that influence change and how these can become new opportunities.

The Economy

Chart and calculatorWe have a completely changed world economy today, with repeated budget cuts in many countries having put our customers under pressure over recent years, especially in certain vertical sectors, yet higher spending in other areas. For example, we have experienced major changes in defense budgets in the U.S. and across Europe. We have seen higher security investments in Latin America, India, and China. The US economy regained momentum, Europe stabilized, but it’s a fluctuating situation over time that affects our businesses at all ends of the spectrum.

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 this 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.


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 affects public and personal safety, feeds vandalism or even terrorism, creating the need for intensified safety and security measures.

Since 9/11 in New York, security and public safety concerns of course have been a big focus in the U.S., and increasingly overseas. The recent attacks in Paris this fall put everyone on high alert again. On every continent, public safety has become the top concern. During the past decade, motivating incidences include other terrorist attacks in Boston, London, Madrid, and more. There was also repeated public tumult during the cascading ‘Arab Spring’ where democratic uprisings arose independently then spread across nations.

… terrorism caused around 130,000 fatalities worldwide between 2006 and 2013. In 2014 alone 13,463 terrorist attacks were recorded.  Terrorism can be described as the wrongful use of violence in order to intimidate civilians or politicians for ideological, religious, or political reasons with no regard for public safety. (source: Statista)

Attacks have also torn through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as reported by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.


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


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; mobile and airborne devices, RFID and video analytics. Much of this is thanks to the convergence of IP networking as the core infrastructure of new installations.

Milestone is living our mission and vision: to globally drive the convergence of video surveillance and IP-based business systems through our open platform 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, a professor at Munich University and 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 exploring the megatrends changing our world. This is why open platform video management software (VMS) is becoming so important to so many people.

Another-Side-From-Video-SurveillanceToday, 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, video  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 that 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 IMS Research, the IP-based video surveillance market is expected to double in size between 2012 and 2017. This will expand the market by more than 170 percent — astounding!

You have to agree that 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 developing the market, as one of the leading companies in the open platform video management software (VMS) market. With around 8,000 partners and who are trained, we have a well built-up channel and more than 150,000 customer installations with our VMS solutions. This development is a reflection of how our product portfolio is able to fit the needs of various markets.

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 percent to 57 percent, outperforming 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 some percent of the security market today but just think: this means that people are still installing outdated technology for business use that they do not 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.

With the deployment of cameras onto IT networks, the scalability and capabilities of video surveillance systems increase dramatically. Now the video surveillance market has finally reached the point where more revenues come from network than analog equipment. – IHS Research report in 2015

This has increased emphasis on offerings from IT companies, integration of different security systems, edge-to-core architecture and virtualization. At the same time, IT and security professionals are now working more in unified operation.

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 of partners leveraging the Milestone open platform. It creates opportunities for our partners when we join forces; the offerings we provide to customers are more valuable and long-lasting for their ability to expand.

In a world with such high risk factors, Milestone is ready to tackle new chances for opportunity, as well as be a problem solver in a growing community of problem solvers. We can help create certainty in an uncertain world.

Lars Thinggaard by Lars Thinggaard, President & CEO, Milestone Systems

(updated from the original speech held at Milestone Integration Platform Symposium in 2014)