Trends in Video Security for 2018

Milestone VP Americas Tim Palmquist recently gave his input for a Video Trends Roundtable by Joel Griffin, Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com. Let’s see what he observes…

What do you think will be the biggest trend in the video surveillance industry in 2018?

As our industry is maturing and cyber threats are now a daily conversation, there is no more important consideration than cybersecurity.  Buying well-made products related to IP video security and installing them in a responsible, secure manner should be a primary consideration.  Choosing products from a tier one vender that include cyber instructions, best practice and hardening guides is important.  Choosing a system integrator who is trained on best-practice installation and uses the information in the hardening guides is essential to ensuring optimal protection.

In some cases, even utilizing the installation audit capabilities from the manufacturer in collaboration with the system integrator may provide the highest level of risk mitigation for cyber-related issues.  Finally, consistent updates of software and device firmware will provide ongoing cyber assurance throughout a solution’s lifecycle.

Much has been written about the resurgence of video analytics and the potential of AI and Deep Learning platforms to shape the sector moving forward but what will be their impact in the short term?

AI may prove to be the ultimate delivery on the traditional video analytics promise.  The innovations currently underway in this area are very significant and ultimately game changing.  In the short term, expect to see AI elements make their way into traditional video analytics and synopsis solutions: innovations in machine learning algorithms will soon evolve them.  GPU processing is paving the way for more and more innovation in machine learning that will simply eclipse the more traditional developments we’ve seen over the last decade.

With VMS solutions evolving well beyond their initial purview and now serving as the central backbone of many security systems, is video management software essentially morphing into more of a sensory hodgepodge of big data analytics, situational awareness mechanisms and ERM tools? How do you see VMS technology progressing moving forward?

The future of video management software is dynamic and exciting but also will be very different than what we know today.  A lot of R&D now goes into making features in the VMS to help human operators understand what is happening and what has already happened in the properties or operational environment.  As VMS evolves we’ll see R&D investments pivot to making software that informs humans about anomalies or areas of interest, for operators to discover these events automatically.  Smarter software will ultimately render a lot of present-day features obsolete. VMS solutions will ultimately be more effective and the operational experience will be quite different.

Issues surrounding cybersecurity and protecting network surveillance systems against possible tampering by hackers has also been an area of concern in the market as of late. What kind of developments do you think we will see on this front in 2018?

Ultimately many systems and products will get better but it will require a deliberate effort to innovate with cybersecurity concerns in mind.  Products that take a holistic view of the network, and the various interdependent devices connected to it, will have an advantage.

The days are over for the notion that you can develop an application in a vacuum without regard to the interdependency of devices. Developers will have to consider the broader picture, recognizing that connected devices are related to their own application’s cybersecurity profile.

With regards to product commoditization, do you think we’re going to continue to see a “race to the bottom” in the New Year or will we see this trend leveling off a bit?

Honestly, I don’t think that we have really seen a race to the bottom overall.  Yes, the low end of the market has taken a beating and will continue to get assaulted.  But while some competitors have used price as a weapon to take market share, the industry on the whole is still doing well and making money.  Quality and stability will always command a premium price.  This is true for products, services, integration labor, etc.

What we have seen is more functionality becoming available in the mid-market than ever before.  This is natural and allows customers to buy mid-market priced products vs. premium products at a discount.  For many years we have seen a demand in the mid-market for a handful of features only available in the advanced segment.  Those features have made their way down into the mid-market. In the past we saw advanced products discounted to meet those mid-market demands.

Instead of a race to the bottom I believe we are seeing the market segmentation flesh out while low, mid and advanced tier products find their natural place.

The video surveillance industry has seen its fair share of consolidation in recent years but 2017 was a relatively quiet year on the M&A front. Do you expect that will change in 2018 or will the majority of vendors remain reserved when it comes to pursuing industry deals?

Obviously, there will continue to be consolidation, but the pace of this consolidation is hard to determine.  What is more obvious is the segmentation of the brands in the market.  It is becoming increasingly clear who the tier one, tier two and tier three players are/will be.  Revenue growth year over year and growth that exceeds the market are key indicators in understanding which brands are extending their share, which ones are standing still, and which ones are seeing share erode.  These moves I believe are the key indicators for the strength of brands and products looking forward.

Read the full Video Surveillance Trends article on SecurityInfoWatch.com with other industry pros weighing in.

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