Megapixel IP cameras
Round table contributions
Remarkable changes are happening in the video camera market for surveillance applications, including the emergence of lower-priced products that offer features that previously were only available at a much higher price point. Deflating prices of cameras are sometimes referred to as a “race to the bottom” – foreshadowing a market of low-cost cameras that all provide similar features. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable to comment on camera pricing trends and how customers can continue to find real value in the changing environment. Specifically, we posited: Lower-cost cameras have more features than ever. Why should a customer continue to buy “premium” cameras?
The world of politics, like the world of security, is an environment of constant change. But do changes in one have an impact on the other? Governments around the world are involved in buying a wide variety of physical security systems, so how those governments operate certainly affects how they spend money on security. But in a broader sense, governments (and the associated political forces at work) also impact how their citizens and those in the private sector view threats and, as a logical extension, the security systems they need to address those threats. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does the political climate affect spending on security systems?
Open systems are great at providing freedom for end user customers. But does the term “open system” mean the same thing throughout the industry? In the bad old days before the introduction and broad acceptance of open systems, security vendors produced proprietary systems that used only their own hardware and software. This locked in a customer to a specific vendor’s product line, and if another vendor offered a better product, the only way to get it was to switch to that vendor’s total solution. Open systems changed all that, in theory allowing the selection of best-in-class hardware, software and other components to meet customer requirements. But is the term “open” understood consistently in the market? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is an open system? Is there a consensus in the marketplace of the definition of “open?” Although there is mostly a consensus in the panel’s answers, we did notice some variables.
Our society is engulfed in social media, from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube and all the rest. Among other benefits, social media provides an immediate and accessible form of communication. They say that social media is changing everything in our society, so we wondered what specific impact social media might have on the security marketplace. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general?
The security market in the United States has been in a collective state of exhilaration since ISC West. The (possibly) unprecedented success of the big trade show has left us all feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Members of our Expert Panel Roundtable are joining the chorus of compliments for the show as they answer this week’s question: How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations?
A major benefit of technology innovation is more application opportunities. As video cameras become better and more versatile, new uses are emerging that extend the benefits of video surveillance, often outside tried-and-true parameters. Sometimes security camera manufacturers are on the front lines to see new ways video is contributing value to integrators and end user customers. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable participants: What is the most unusual application of surveillance cameras you have seen recently?
We asked this week’s Expert Panel: What are the limitations on where video cameras can be placed because of privacy? With hundreds of new cameras installed every day, the likelihood increases exponentially that a camera will be placed in a location where it violates privacy. In fact, threats to privacy are often among the largest objections when video surveillance is proposed, whether in a public area or in the workplace. Allaying fears about undermining privacy is a basic requirement to make such systems acceptable to the public. It’s a touchy subject, but one our Expert Panel is willing to address.
We have all heard the sales pitch: Use of megapixel cameras lowers the camera count needed to provide adequate video coverage, thus making the overall system less expensive. Use of fewer cameras equates to less infrastructure, bandwidth and storage, according to the claims, and megapixel cameras provide enough detail that you don’t miss anything using fewer cameras. It’s a compelling pitch, but one that has sometimes been questioned in the market. To look beyond the marketing hype, we asked our Expert Panel: How effectively can megapixel cameras take the place of multiple standard-resolution cameras? Has the ability of megapixel technology to lower the required camera count been overstated (or oversold) in the market? Some of the answers may surprise you.
The crystal clear images provided by new 4K cameras have attracted a lot of attention at recent industry trade shows in the security market. But the improved video resolution comes at a price. The cameras are more expensive, and the systems to support them – more bandwidth, more storage – portend even more expense. There have been higher-resolution cameras on the market for years, of course, but an advantage of 4K security cameras is that they represent a standard that could be applied industry-wide, much as HD has recently led a transition from standard (VGA) resolution. We asked our Expert Panelists: Is HD still the standard of resolution in the video market? For how much longer?
The evolution of IP video has placed a lot of attention on the resolution of video, as measured in the growing number of pixels in a frame. But another variable, receiving less attention, is the number of frames captured per minute (fps). We inherited the idea of “full-frame-rate” video from the analog world, but increasing numbers of pixels (and more data!) have sometimes led to use of slower frame rates. We asked our Expert Panel: What is the value of “full-frame-rate” video? Absent specific compliance requirements, what might suffice as an acceptable frame rate (i.e., less than 30 frames per second [NTSC] or 25 frames per second [PAL])?
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has identified and announced the 2019 Security Megatrends – the foundation of SIA’s signature yearly report defining the major trends and forces at play in the global security industry. Forecasting of 2019’s top 10 Security Megatrends was based on survey data generated in September and October 2018 from top security industry business leaders, association leadership and key volunteers and speakers for the next Securing New Ground (SNG) – the security industry’s executive conference – taking place Oct. 25-26 in New York City. Modern Security Solutions By nearly 30 percentage points, industry leaders said cybersecurity’s impact on physical security solutions was the most impactful trend The Security Megatrends report is provided each year to SIA member companies and registered attendees of SNG. These trends – the top factors influencing both short- and long-term change in the global security industry – are expected to have sweeping impact on almost all businesses within the industry. As such, these Security Megatrends are an essential component of the thoughtful discussions at SNG, an annual conference attracting security industry business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, industry visionaries and senior-level chief global security officers. Cybersecurity was identified in the 2019 report as the standout trend shaping the security industry. By nearly 30 percentage points, industry leaders said cybersecurity’s impact on physical security solutions was the most impactful trend they were expecting to face in 2019. A resounding number of respondents also called for artificial intelligence (AI) to be recognized as a megatrend, noting that AI is becoming vital to supporting the heightened volume of data produced by modern security solutions. Increases Responsiveness Other new Security Megatrends emerging for 2019 include workforce development, the emphasis on data privacy, advancements in digital identity and the integration of security into smart environments like smart buildings and smart cities. The 2019 Security Megatrends are: Cybersecurity Impact on Physical Security Internet of Things (IoT) and the Big Data Effect Cloud Computing Workforce Development AI Emphasis on Data Privacy Move to Service Models Security Integrated in Smart Environments Advanced Digital Identities Impact of Consumer Electronics Companies “Today, modern physical security solutions are comprised of IoT devices and sensors that generate high volumes of security data. Applying analytics and artificial intelligence systems makes this data more actionable and increases responsiveness for security systems users,” said SIA Chairman of the Board Scott Schafer. Noticeable Impact “Cybersecurity continues to be at the top of the list of the most important trends identified by security industry manufacturers, systems integrators, security practitioners, architects and engineers, and SIA will continue to address this trend over the next year and in the foreseeable future.” The forecast for 2019 also identifies other forces at play in the security industry that may have a noticeable impact on some or all businesses In addition to defining the latest Security Megatrends, the forecast for 2019 also identifies other forces at play in the security industry that may have a noticeable impact on some or all businesses, and the research identifies three potential areas of business disruption the security industry may face in 2019. Residential Security Market The official 2019 Security Megatrends report will be published in late November 2018 and available online for download and/or purchase. The 2018 Security Megatrends report is currently available to all members and non-members. Each year at SNG, senior-level industry leaders and financial partners gather, trends are spotted, connections are formed and minds are opened. In addition to highlighting these Security Megatrends, SNG 2018 will feature keynote remarks by Jerome Pickett, senior vice president and chief security officer at the National Basketball Association, and Valerie Thomas, executive information security consultant at Securicon, and panel discussions on topics like the shift from smart cities to conscious cities, harnessing cyber-physical security technologies and how the changing residential security market is staying nimble.
The Security Industry Association (SIA) welcomed a new Chairman and new Directors to the SIA Board of Directors during ISC West 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The SIA Board of Directors ratified the selection of Scott Schafer, Principal at SMS Advisors LLC, as SIA Chairman of the Board during an organisational meeting of the Board held at ISC West. “I thank the Security Industry Association for entrusting me with the responsibilities of SIA Chairman of the Board,” said Schafer. “As a longtime member of SIA, I understand the value the association has delivered to its members the importance of driving even more value though great execution of our strategic plan going forward. I would like to thank Denis Hebert for his many contributions to SIA during his term as chairman. We look forward to his future engagement with the SIA board.”These leaders will help SIA navigate through emerging opportunities while ensuring the association’s programmes are achieving their full potential" SIA Executive Committee Following the ratification, the SIA executive committee for 2018 now includes: Chairman: Scott Schafer, SMS Advisors Vice Chairman: Dan Moceri, Convergint Technologies Treasurer: Rich Cillessen, Siemens Industry Secretary: Pierre Trapanese, Northland Controls Immediate Past Chairman: Denis Hebert, Feenics Voting Members The SIA membership ratified new voting members of Board of Directors (listed alphabetically by last name): Scott Dunn, Senior Director, Business Development Solutions & Services, Axis Communications Janet Fenner, Director, Business Development, Dahua Technology Mike Foynes, Senior Director, Global Security, Microsoft Corporation John E. Mack III, Executive Vice President, Co-Head of Investment Banking, Imperial Capital, LLC Tom Nakatani, Vice President, IT, Customer Monitoring Technology, ADT The Chairman and Directors of the SIA Board serve two-year terms. “SIA members will continue to be well-represented through an impressive set of directors who are well-respected within the global security industry,” said SIA Chairman Schafer. “Collectively, these leaders will help SIA navigate through emerging opportunities and challenges while ensuring that the association’s programmes and events are achieving their full potential for all of our members.”
Technology, products and services are vital to the security market, but so are the people behind them. This year, SourceSecurity.com has been highlighting some of the key characters who make up the security market. Along the way, we’ve discovered a broad spectrum of experiences and viewpoints that make up the industry. Many of the most insightful responses were to the question: What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)? Don’t underestimate yourself, says Don Erickson, CEO of the Security Industry Association Scott Brothers, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Oncam Listen, listen and listen some more. Which continues to take real training because of my passion over spilling into a “need to be heard” when really, I should be listening. It’s a trait I continually work on and seek feedback on. Listening for me equals learning and the best ideas sometimes come from the unexpected voice in the room. The open environment we cultivate at Oncam really promotes this kind of interaction at all levels. Don Erickson, CEO of the Security Industry Association Don’t underestimate yourself. John Stroia who is a former chairman of SIA and presently the president of Hamilton was literally the first person who encouraged me to apply for the CEO role at SIA. I was perfectly content handling government relations at the time the position opened. I also hadn’t aspired to the role. John actively encouraged me to go for it despite my reservations about whether I was ready for it. Liam McShane, Sales Director at Perfect Display Technology Take whatever chances come along. It’s much better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do! (From a mentor at my first financial services company) Return all calls as soon as possible and no later than the end of each day, advises Scott Schafer Eddie Reynolds, President & CEO of Iluminar Many of my childhood friends' parents would always say to me, “If no one wants to give you an opportunity, create your own.” Scott Schafer, Chairman-elect of the Security Industry Association My father was in the major appliance industry and showed by example the importance of outworking your competitor. He also made sure to return all calls as soon as possible and no later than the end of each day. Kim Loy, Director of Marketing at Vanderbilt Industries The best advice I have received is that we are only in competition with ourselves. If we strive to always improve our knowledge and performance, success will follow. That there are no boundaries, we are all capable of doing anything we strive to do as long as we don’t set limits for ourselves. This advice is something that I heard from a very young age and grew up completely believing – it came from my dad, Chuck Robinson. Thomas J. Langer, President of ASIS International From my father and totally by accident. He was 60 and learning computer aided design which was making his drafting table obsolete. I asked him why, at 60, do that now? His response was that he doesn’t get to choose where advancements take his profession. I have never forgotten that and therefore never settled for the status quo. Change and advancement are a constant in everything. You have to have a work life balance and be resilient in order to manage the ups and downs of business and your career Thomas Cook, Vice President of Sales at Hanwha Techwin America My first manager, Marty Meyer, told me when to keep emotion out of everything you do at work; especially when you are negotiating and presenting your side or case. Fredrik Nilsson, Vice President of the Americas at Axis Communications My manager, Bodil Sonesson, VP of Global Sales at Axis has given me great advice over the years. She says that your career “is a marathon not a sprint,” meaning, in order to be successful long-term you have to have a work life balance and be resilient in order to manage the ups and downs of business and your career. Kenneth Hune Petersen, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Milestone Systems Flemming Tamstorf, CEO of my former company, showed me by example that you should never tell anyone “See, I told you so.” He never did it himself. If you play to the limit, there is a risk that you will fail. If you’re taking a risk, things can go wrong. And he never said “I told you so.”
Scott Schafer was formerly Arecont Vision's Executive Vice President, and serves as the Chairman-elect on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Security Industry Association. Scott started out in the IT industry with NCR, where his teams introduced many breakthrough technologies including the first commercial notepad computer. After joining Pelco in 2004, Scott moved on to Arecont Vision. How did you come to work in the security industry? I was recruited by David McDonald, the CEO of Pelco, to join the company. Pelco was just starting its move from analog security products and was ready to release its first IP/Networking based products. I joined to help the company prepare for and execute the changes needed to be a strong player in this new technology platform. What is the best professional advice you have received? My father was in the major appliance industry and showed by example the importance of outworking your competitor. He also made sure to return all calls as soon as possible and no later than the end of each day. Quick Facts Biggest hero Orville and Wilbur Wright Last thing you cooked Paella First job Financial planning at an appliance factory Dogs or cats? Dogs Morning or evening? Afternoon! What's something few people know about you? That most of my career was in the IT industry, not the security industry. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of my job is coaching people in my organisation. I really enjoy helping them understand how to successfully plan and deliver results that prepare them for their future. I keep in touch with many of my former direct reports and peers and it is terrific to see what they have accomplished. A very close second is the great opportunity I have experienced in delivering outstanding solutions and business opportunities to my customers. It is very rewarding to see the clients we serve get the advantages from the products and services that we deliver each day. Stepping back and realising how these systems helped customers protect their organisation, their employees and their clients is really gratifying. Scott Schafer admires the Wright brothers, generally credited with inventing the first successful airplane What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? Family, friends, and sports! Nancy and I are lucky to have come from big families and we have a large family of four children. We take every chance we can to spend time with them out here in California, Ohio and other parts of the USA. Our kids are all leading exciting lives, making exciting contributions, and are all off the payroll! I also enjoy playing golf. I have not played much business/customer golf in the past 10 years so I need to figure out a better schedule! Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others and why? Our last vacation, or holiday as you would say in Europe, was to Greece. We visited Athens, Santorini, and Crete as one of my sons is a doctor in the United States Navy and was stationed in Chania. I would recommend this trip as you get a chance to see where a lot of where history was made, enjoy great food, and terrific weather and scenery.
Arecont Vision, the provider of IP-based megapixel camera technology, announces that its IP megapixel surveillance cameras meet the requirements of the April 18, 2017 Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American for manufactured goods. Arecont Vision is the only US-owned company making video surveillance cameras in the country. Executive Order For Manufactured Goods “Arecont Vision is an American company that designs and builds customer-proven, award-winning megapixel surveillance cameras here in the USA, qualifying under President Trump’s recent Executive Order for manufactured goods,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision. “The company has contributed more to the development of the megapixel camera industry through innovative design, outstanding quality, and advanced capabilities than any other vendor. Arecont Vision cameras are used by government and commercial customers for surveillance projects across a wide range of requirements.” Arecont Vision designs and assembles its products at the company’s headquarters and R&D facilities in Glendale, CA. The company-designed circuit boards used in each camera are built in Los Angeles county with a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) integrated circuit at their core. The FPGA is used to run the Arecont Vision-developed Massively Parallel Image Processing (MPIP) architecture, which is now in its 5th generation of development. The MPIP architecture reduces the cybersecurity risks and hidden backdoors that common embedded operating systems and licensed code or chipsets may provide in surveillance cameras from other vendors. The architecture also extends the useful life of Arecont Vision cameras by allowing new features and security updates to be applied after installation for increased customer value and protection. Arecont Vision Cameras Arecont Vision builds a comprehensive selection of American-made, feature-rich, single- and multi-sensor megapixel surveillance cameras for indoor/outdoor and day/night use. Arecont Vision cameras are integrated with the industry’s leading Video Management System (VMS) and Network Video Recorder (NVR) platforms to deliver world class video surveillance systems that address customer requirements. Arecont Vision cameras are available from the industry’s leading security systems integrators and dealers, and are proven in hundreds of thousands of government and commercial video surveillance projects.
Project registration programs are a benefit manufacturers provide to systems integrators and security dealers who are bidding on an upcoming installation project. In effect, the integrator registers a project he or she is bidding on with a manufacturer, which offers pricing discounts to that integrator for that specific project. Such a program seeks to encourage an integrator to specify a manufacturer's products, while making it more difficult for a competing integrator to bid lower on a project (because they do not have access to the discount). Megapixel camera manufacturer Arecont Vision has one of the most generous product registration programs in the security marketplace, offering substantial discounts beyond the norm among other manufacturers. To find out more about the company’s project registration system for systems integrators and security dealers, we interviewed Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President of Arecont Vision. Following is that discussion. SourceSecurity.com: Project registration is offered by many manufacturers in the security industry. Some say these programs are all similar and of limited practical value to a systems integrator or security dealer. How is Arecont Vision’s Project Registration Program different? Scott Schafer: Arecont Vision’s Project Registration Program is very different from competitor programs. We believe that the systems integrator/dealer who registers a project has done valuable work with the end-user customer in defining the project requirements and determining the best possible solution. Many systems integrators do migration plans, job walks, demonstrations, proof-of-concept and pilots. We reward that effort by providing the systems integrator/dealer with significantly enhanced discount. The additional discount is typically 25 to 30 percent off normal purchase price from an Authorized Distributor. Significantly, only the initial registrant and distributor receive the project registration discount, except in a very few exceptions such as when the end user customer requires multiple installers in various geographies and advises Arecont Vision of that fact. SourceSecurity.com: How do integrators and dealers benefit? Schafer: The Arecont Vision program protects systems integrators and dealers from last-minute competitors through this extra discount, at a time when most dealers selling security products are concerned with declining margins. The enhanced discount allows the registering systems integrator/dealer and the authorized distributor to earn more margin on the project, while offering an even better price to their customer. This model is unique to the Arecont Vision Project Registration Program. “The additional discount is typically 25 to 30 percent off normal purchase price from an Authorized Distributor” Most competitor programs have common issues; for example, multiple systems integrators/dealers often get the same discount for any registration project. This means that the integrator who did the initial work isn’t rewarded for it; all who register get the same or very similar discount. And these “special prices” are usually only 2 to 5 percent better than contracted prices. Often this can also cause conflict for programs that have multiple levels of partnership, where a lower level program member can get a few points of extra discount that matches the discount available to a higher-level program member. This negatively impacts margins for systems integrators, dealers, and distributors. Other issues include minimum deal sizes often required or strongly suggested in competitor programs. Another common complaint we hear is that the submission and approval process can be complicated and take days or weeks to get a decision from a competitor. The deal may already be lost before the approval comes through in those situations. These issues are eliminated with the Arecont Vision program. SourceSecurity.com: How long do registrations take to be issued, and how long are they good for? Schafer: Approvals for projects that don’t require additional information are issued within 24 hours, and often approved in two hours the same day. Unless otherwise noted, registrations are in effect until 60 days after the “Estimated Close Date” entered for the project. When necessary, a registration can be extended upon request. SourceSecurity.com: Can any systems integrator/dealer register a project? Schafer: Any authorized systems integrator/dealer can participate in the Arecont Vision Project Registration system. SourceSecurity.com: How does a systems integrator/dealer become authorized to sell Arecont Vision products? Schafer: It is quick and easy for a systems integrator/dealer to participate in the Arecont Vision Channel Partner Program. First, they sign up online at arecontvision.com (Click on Partners and “Become a Channel Partner”). The required form is short and, once completed, the systems integrator/dealer will be taken to the online Partner Portal. The portal contains links to the registration system, a link to a video explaining how to use the registration system, plus links to Arecont Vision University channel partner training, design tools, the Technical Assistance Center, and other useful things. SourceSecurity.com: What is the registration process? Schafer: The entire registration process for an individual deal or project is online. Arecont Vision authorized distributors participate in the project registration program worldwide. Project registration requestors use the Partner Portal. Each requires sufficient information to provide Arecont Vision sales management with an understanding of the project scope and requirements. Once the application is completed, a project registration number is issued, available for review on the online dashboard with current registration status. Only Arecont Vision and the registering systems integrator/dealer can view the dashboard. An email confirming that the registration request has been received by Arecont Vision is issued, and may be followed up with another or phone contact if any clarifications are required. Once the registration has been approved (or declined), the dashboard is automatically updated and a confirming email sent to the systems integrator/dealer. SourceSecurity.com: Many manufacturers have minimum size requirements for project registrations. Is the Arecont Vision registration program only for big project opportunities? Schafer: There is no minimum order size required for Arecont Vision project registrations. We encourage authorized systems integrators/dealers to register their projects to ensure the best possible pricing for them, their authorized distributor, and for the end user customer. SourceSecurity.com: Is project registration available outside the United States and Canada? Schafer: Yes. Arecont Vision authorized distributors participate in the project registration program worldwide. Systems integrators and dealers can log into the Partner Portal on the Arecont Vision website 24x7 and register new projects or review their existing registrations, regardless of their location. SourceSecurity.com: Have systems integrators and dealers responded well to the Project Registration Program? Schafer: Absolutely. We poll a representative sample of our authorized systems integrator and dealers each month on how we are doing with product innovations, reliability, pricing, support, and on project registration. We use that feedback to make our products, programs, and support better.
SourceSecurity.com’s Expert Panel covered a lot of ground in 2016 about a variety of topics in our Roundtable discussions. The very most-clicked-on Roundtable discussion in 2016 was about how to choose between a cloud-based system and a server-based system. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of Roundtable discussions included edge-based video storage, the challenges of commoditization, and mistakes customers make when buying and installing security systems. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2016 at SourceSecurity.com, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2016, including the quotable panelists named below! 1. What factors should a customer consider when choosing between a cloud-based system and a server-based security system? "Invariably the choices will be driven by security processes in place within the corporate environment and by ensuring the remote system is as impenetrable as the corporate network. Both options potentially leave the corporate network vulnerable to a determined cyber attacker, so the systems and access points to the network need to be sufficiently hardened to deter or prevent attacks.” [John Davies] 2. What is the most unusual application of surveillance cameras you have seen recently? "The most unusual application I’ve seen is the use of 360-degree fisheye cameras mounted on mobile poles for security along a marathon route. The poles were mounted on mobile units that contained power and communications infrastructure. Multiple mobile units were driven and placed along the route so that the entire route was constantly under surveillance. " [Jumbi Edulbehram] 3. What is the biggest mistake you see your customers make when it comes to buying or installing security or surveillance systems? "Too many businesses fail to take full advantage of the breadth of services available for maximizing tools like remote diagnostic services, for example, which allow customer service teams to regularly and proactively check equipment quality and make repairs remotely." [Joe Oliveri] A number of major security companies are offering cloud video surveillance solutions apart from the traditional server-based systems, but which is best for the customer? 4. How many megapixels are enough? At what point does additional resolution not matter, or not make economic sense? "The industry commonly holds that 20 pixels/foot is enough for general surveillance, 40 pixels/foot is the minimum for facial recognition and license plate identification, and 80 pixels/foot is used for higher detail like reading logos, names embroidered on a shirt, etc. " [Jason Spielfogel] 5. What is the value of edge-based storage and in what specific applications? "Recording at the edge frees up network bandwidth and PC processing power, allowing users to view and manage video feeds and store applicable images for later use or transfer to the network when necessary. " [Dave Poulin] 6. How can security integrators replace revenue in the age of commoditization? "The integrator community needs to learn to embrace what hundreds of other contractor businesses have. They need to improve their predictable cash flow and margin by offering contracted services. Call it what you like – RMR, managed services, monitoring – the description makes no difference. The integrator community simply needs to get off their butt and make it happen. " [Bill Bozeman] 7. How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations? "It was unanimous that 2016 ISC West was the best show we have participated in Arecont Vision history! Activity on the first two days was especially strong with Systems Integrators, Dealers, Distributors, End Users, and A&E/Consultants. These people all came to see our new product line and were especially interested to see the product performance improvements and ease of installation and setup." [Scott Schafer] More of us are depending on social media smart phone apps as a source of information, providing new levels of immediacy that dovetail well into security, specifically in areas of emergency notification 8. What are the physical security challenges of "safe cities" applications, and how is the market meeting those challenges? "One of the challenges is, of course, to make systems from different manufacturers work together. Interoperability is important not only from an operator’s point of view, but also in how cities and their internal divisions should respond to incidents reported by the security systems. " [Per Björkdahl] 9. How should integrators/installers differentiate themselves or make themselves stand out in today’s market? "In today's market, it's all about customer service. Almost every integrator has good product – and most of these products do a lot of the same things – but what sets integrators/installers apart is the level of value-added support they are providing to their accounts. Increased support through training, follow-up, open communication and keeping them informed on emerging technologies can really speak to the needs that end users have and why they will remain loyal.” [Mitchell Kane] 10. What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general? "Social media has weaved its way into our daily lives and is an integral part of our interaction with customers in the marketplace. Social media outlets bring the human element to interfacing with our communities and customers. This humanization allows us to address sensitive topics like the recent events in Orlando and how to take preventative measures in the future." [Melissa Stenger] See the full coverage of 2016/2017 Review and Forecast articles hereSave Save
2016 was a year of fast-paced changes in the market for video surveillance, especially for higher-resolution and panoramic cameras. We spoke with Scott Schafer, Arecont Vision’s Executive Vice President, for his thoughts on 2016 and the year ahead. SourceSecurity.com: Did your predictions for 2016 match up with what you thought back at the end of 2015? How has the intervening year changed the thoughts? Scott Schafer: Looking back on our predictions for industry trends and directions for 2016, we anticipated most of the technology announcements but some were a little faster than we thought. Several more firms have entered the multi-sensor panoramic and multi-directional product sets that Arecont Vision pioneered 10 years ago. These copies may look similar to Arecont Vision designs but they are still first-generation offerings from these vendors. These firms have not done the product hardware, firmware, and software design and integration work that takes time and outstanding engineers to do. This has resulted in products that are much bulkier and harder to install from competitors in this market space. New 4K products will make a substantial impact going forward for the industry, but the volume purchases are still in the 1080-5MP, and 10MP platforms. Pricing continues to be interesting. Many new entrants and established firms continue to release new low cost products and lower the prices of their legacy products. This was expected. On the channel changes that happened this year, we did not expect major combinations to happen, for example Tyco and JCI. The great thing about it is that we enjoy very good relationships with both firms and are enthusiastic about our future partnerships. Similarly, Convergint made strategic acquisitions that will benefit their organization and the industry. SourceSecurity.com: How did the overall economy impact the security marketplace? What important trends did you see developing? Schafer: The economy and currency changes had their biggest impact in Europe and the Middle East. I think both these regions will rebound in 2017-18. Pent-up demand for security systems by retailers, banks and governments will cause these markets to expand over the next three years. Pent-up demand for security systems by retailers, banks and governments will cause these markets to expand over the next three years SourceSecurity.com: What notable trends do you see playing out in the new year and what will be their impact? Who will be the “winners’ and who will be the “losers”? Schafer: For manufacturers, companies with great, valuable technology will be the winners. Companies that depend on third party platform designs and a low-cost price point for their success will not flourish. Low-price product providers have played an important role throughout the history of the security industry, but that position is not sustainable long-term. And their channel partners may get some upside in the short term, but they will be relegated to low-margin dollars and percentages on the low-price products. Selling low-price, low-margin products can cause firms to think they can make it up in volume, which of course only works in the short term. Low-price product selling can also diminish brand equity. SourceSecurity.com: What have been Arecont Vision’s successes and challenges in 2016 and looking ahead to 2017? Schafer: Arecont Vision continues to grow as a company. Our people have developed even faster than we predicted in sales, marketing, customer service, engineering, quality, and operations. It is truly amazing to see how far we have progressed as an organization. Our product line has matured as we released several unique, first-to-market, highly awarded products. In addition, we made strong moves to improve the performance (image quality, low light performance, compression, noise reduction) of our new products, and those improvements in technology can be pushed to many of our past-generation platforms. That’s right. Our new technology is capable of being downloaded to many of our earlier generation products. This is a value that many of our customers use to add additional performance in the form of software/firmware updates that are unique to Arecont Vision’s Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) architecture. That is real investment protection, the Arecont Vision way. And “Made-in-the-USA” will continue to be a unique position that resonates globally, not just in the United States. See the full coverage of 2016/2017 Review and Forecast articles hereSave Save
Ms. Dougan was named 2012 Woman of the Year in the manufacturer category by the Women’s Security Council Arecont Vision has announced the retirement of Carole Dougan as Vice President of North American Sales. “Carole joined Arecont Vision six years ago as our Vice President of Strategic Accounts for the Americas. She did an excellent job building our business with our top distributors and systems integrators based in the USA,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision. “When we promoted Carole to Vice President of North American Sales in 2012, she built a strong sales organization that brought many new field sales people into the company that are contributing to our success today and will continue to do so in the future.” Growth Of The Company During Ms. Dougan’s tenure with Arecont Vision, the company dramatically grew its business in North America. North American sales are on plan for the first half of 2016, achieving significant year-to-date growth over the same period in the preceding year. “I leave Arecont Vision feeling very thankful,” said Ms. Dougan. “Being a part of this company has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally, working with an outstanding group of people and offering industry-leading products and support. It is now time for me to play a larger role in the lives of my spouse, my step-children and grandchildren, my family in New York, and my circle of friends.” Work History Ms. Dougan began working part time at age 14, and while still in school at age 16 she began working full time. Her forty-year career includes over 31 years in the security industry. Ms. Dougan was named 2012 Woman of the Year in the manufacturer category by the Women’s Security Council. During her tenure, Arecont Vision won significant channel partner awards and industry recognition in North America. “Carole and I have worked together for 12 years at both Arecont Vision and in previous assignments, and I will miss working with her going forward. She was someone we could always count on,” said Mr. Schafer. “I do know how excited Carole is about the next stage of her life, and that all of us at Arecont Vision wish her the best in the future.” New Promotions Arecont Vision has also announced important promotions in the North American Sales organization. Two proven sales directors were promoted to regional vice president positions. Kyle Parker has been promoted to Regional Vice President, North American Sales West. Mr. Parker joined the company as Sales Director, North Central Region in 2013. Chris Sessa has been promoted to Regional Vice President, North America Sales East. Mr. Sessa joined Arecont Vision in 2009 as Sales Director, Eastern Region.
Under Sanjit’s leadership, MEAI has become one of the fastest growing and most important regions for Arecont Vision Arecont Vision has announced the promotion of Sanjit Bardhan to Vice President, Middle East, Africa, and India (MEAI). “Under Sanjit’s leadership, MEAI has become one of the fastest growing and most important regions for Arecont Vision,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision. “We fully expect that with his new role, Sanjit will continue to accelerate company growth, market presence, and customer satisfaction in the region.” Promoted to Director of Middle East, Africa, and India in 2013 Mr. Bardhan leads an experienced team for the complex, multi-national region which supports Arecont Vision end user customers, integrators, and distributors with expert level sales, training, and technical assistance. He joined Arecont Vision in 2011 as Regional Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. Mr. Bardhan successfully drove the business across the region in this role, and in 2013 was promoted to Director of the expanded territory of Middle East, Africa, and India. “Bringing Arecont Vision’s megapixel camera products to the Middle East, Arica, and India is extremely rewarding as customers learn of the benefits, quality, and reliability of our unique Made-in-USA technology,” said Mr. Bardhan. “We will continue to rapidly increase our customer base and provide world-class support throughout the region.” Prior to Arecont Vision, Mr. Bardhan held sales assignments with Clipsal Datacomms by Schneider Electric and later with Anixter Middle East. Bardhan holds a B.E. (Honours) in Computer Science and Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science. He is based with his family in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Projects can be registered on-line in real-time to ensure rapid acknowledgement and turnaround of registration requests for Arecont Vision® Authorized Resellers Arecont Vision®, the industry leader in IP-based megapixel camera technology, is helping its partners to address their top business challenges quickly and efficiently with its online Project Registration Program. The program enables projects to be registered on-line in real-time to ensure rapid acknowledgement and turnaround of registration requests for Arecont Vision® Authorized Resellers. Protection And Rewards The Arecont Vision Project Registration Program provides Authorized Resellers with assurance that they will be rewarded with additional discounts for their sales efforts, thus raising their margins. It also protects Authorized Resellers by reducing the ability for other resellers to enter the bidding process at the last minute in attempts to undercut pricing. “Security resellers have indicated that eroding margins and lack of training are among the main business challenges they face today,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision®. “Our online Project Registration Program ensures that our Authorized Resellers receive price protection and excellent margins along with industry-leading training and support. It also allows our reseller partners to provide outstanding value to end users.” Rather than simply providing two or three additional discount points which is common practice in most project registration programs, Arecont Vision® provides substantial discounts for registered projects. This allows Authorized Resellers to offer their customers superior megapixel video technology with greater profitability. Arecont Vision’s Project Registration Program is built on an easy to use on-line tool.
TAC better assists systems integrators and dealers with system design, implementation, and post-installation support Arecont Vision®, the industry leader in IP-based megapixel camera technology, has announced the opening of the new Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to further enhance the company’s award-winning support services. Customer satisfaction surveys conducted by Arecont Vision® in the first half of 2015 indicated extremely high ratings for product quality and support. These findings were confirmed independently according to a survey of systems integrators conducted by Security Sales and Integration (SSI) magazine. Arecont Vision® subsequently received the SSI Stellar Service Award for Customer Service at the 2015 Electronic Security Expo (ESX) in Baltimore, MD. “We established Arecont Vision’s Technical Assistance Center to better assist systems integrators and dealers with system design, implementation, and post-installation support,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision®. “This further enhances our proven and industry-recognized ability to provide best-in-class technical support for our customers.” TAC Support Initiative The Arecont Vision® TAC delivers live and on-line support for the company’s industry-leading megapixel cameras that are deployed around the world in a wide range of mission-critical and general surveillance applications. Arecont Vision® has invested in new management, additional technical representatives, and new online services as part of the new TAC support initiative which is built on four primary operating principles: Ownership – The TAC provides “Cradle to Grave” support for each individual request for assistance and the creation of a support ticket. A technical representative is responsible for each support ticket from creation through to resolution. Timeliness – All support tickets are managed to ensure that open issues are escalated and resolved in a timely manner. Responsiveness – Notification is issued whenever the status of a support ticket is updated by the TAC team. Convenience – Support tickets may be opened, updated, and status-checked online 24/7 using the TAC secure support portal. User-Friendly, Self-Service Portal The Arecont Vision® TAC is ready to assist with support issues around the clock. This is provided securely through a user-friendly, self-service web portal to open new support tickets or check the status of existing ones. Email alerts are available for those who require instant updates to their support ticket status from creation through to closing. Software and firmware downloads and tools for Arecont Vision® cameras also available online. Operating in conjunction with the TAC are several other Arecont Vision® teams: Inside Sales personnel provide expert sales support to customers and resellers seeking megapixel camera solutions, sales and technical materials, pricing, and project registration. Field Application Engineers provide megapixel camera system design assistance, implementation guidance, and pre-installation help for Arecont Vision® products. The TAC also calls upon the resources of the FAE team for on-site post-installation assistance as needed. When an issue involves video management system software or other technology integrated into the video surveillance solution, the Arecont Vision® Technology Partner Program team is engaged. The team’s MegaLab™ facility is able to duplicate real-world environments for problem identification and resolution. The Technology Partner Program team is also engaged with certified technology partners to quickly escalate and resolve support issues. Arecont Vision® also provides the Advanced RMA Replacement program. Product replacements can be requested online or by contacting the TAC.
Can a U.S. manufacturing company compete and thrive in the global security market? Megapixel camera manufacturer Arecont Vision makes a strong case that it can. Dialog And Integration With VMS Companies Assembling products in the USA helps Arecont Vision ensure quality. If there is a quality issue, the company can stop the production line and fix it. Although some of Arecont Vision’s components, such as camera housings, are manufactured in low-cost regions of the world, including China, everything is assembled in Glendale, California, with additional quality checks. The “Made in USA” tag line is a statement of quality in much of the world, says Scott Schafer, Arecont Vision’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service. Arecont Vision is expanding its technical support, especially maintaining a regular dialog with technical support personnel from various video management system (VMS) companies. In effect, the goal is an “on-purpose, proactive teaming in the field” to provide a joint value proposition in the security market. Arecont Vision integrates with more than 100 VMS and NVR companies, including all the big ones such as Milestone, Genetec, Exacq, Lenel, DVTEL, 3VR and many others. “It depends on what the client wants,” says Schafer. "We have come a long way in ashort period of time. Our numbersare reflecting that. We are pleasedwith the progress we have made",said Sasha Ross, Senior Managerof Arecont Vision Technical SupportDepartment Faster, Stronger Technical Support For Customers Speed of technical support is another priority, and Arecont Vision is establishing processes and metrics to achieve faster support. Arecont Vision is strengthening its support team with new people, processes and systems. The company may have the same number of online and support calls as it did in 2012, but the business volume has tripled since then. The team is better organized, and behaviors are being established to prepare for installation of a help desk software solution to track service level agreements (SLAs), escalation procedures, etc. Technical support in the Glendale office opens at 5 a.m. Pacific time and closes at 6 p.m. Pacific, handling more than 91 percent of technical support calls (there is also technical support in Europe, and a French-speaking team in Montreal.) “We have come a long way in a short period of time,” says Sasha Ross, Senior Manager, Technical Support Department. “Our numbers are reflecting that. We are pleased with the progress we have made.” Technical support calls reflect any product problems, and the nature of calls has changed as quality improvements have been put in place. In fact, many of the calls are now from integrators who are installing IP systems for the first time and need extra hand-holding. Arecont Vision technical support personnel go out of their way to avoid finger-pointing and to help customers diagnose a problem, even if the problem stems from another company’s product and is not related to the cameras. “Overall, the process we use isvery robust. Because we work withthird party software providers, partof the QA cycle is to look at howour cameras work with the top five[VMS] products [in the market]”, saysDarrel Tisdale, Director of Quality atArecont Vision. Robust Quality Control Process Arecont Vision is embracing best practices related to quality control. They have better testing facilities, are using new metrics, and have a new quality director. Quality meetings are held often. All products get full quality inspections -- two of them -- and there are no more issues with wrong labels or missing screws or other problems with the cameras. Overall quality metrics have improved, even as growth in the company’s volume has exploded in recent years. Return rates have plummeted; RMA (return merchandise authorization) rates have dropped three- or four-fold. In addition to quality control, cameras are tested – how do they work in low light, bright light or mixed lighting? How does a camera work inside an enclosure? “Overall, the process we use is very robust,” says Darrel Tisdale, Arecont Vision’s Director of Quality. “Because we work with third party software providers, part of our QA cycle is to look at how our cameras work with the top five [VMS] products [in the market].”
Check out our recent interview with Scott Schafer at IFSEC 2015 hereScott Schafer of Arecont Vision is outspoken about the limitations of standard resolution/VGA video cameras. The megapixel camera company’s Executive Vice President says standard resolution and analog video cameras are the “most toxic asset” at end user companies because they produce the least value for the money. Megapixel video cameras, like those made by Arecont Vision, are much more cost-effective, says Schafer, citing “cost-per-pixel” calculations that support the claim. He says Arecont Vision has sold “probably nearly 3 trillion pixels by now.” Eliminating Manufacturing Costs I had an opportunity recently to tour Arecont Vision’s Glendale, Calif., facilities. They were a pioneer in the use of CMOS sensors for video surveillance and an early adopter of H.264 video compression to lower bandwidth and video storage needs. Miniaturization of electronics has enabled Arecont Vision to eliminate much of its manufacturing costs – and to assemble its cameras in a Glendale office building. The labor component of each camera is small – the parts go together fairly easily. Circuit boards used inside the cameras are assembled in another nearby facility in the Los Angeles area. Smaller electronics allow some cameras to operate using one circuit board instead of three, and the cameras now come in smaller form factors that reflect the change. Microdomes and other smaller camera formats provide the same functionality in smaller designs. Components such as lenses and day/night switchers come pre-assembled. Camera housings are imported. Miniaturization of electronics has enabled Arecont Vision to eliminate much of its manufacturing costs – and to assemble its cameras in a Glendale office building Assembling its products in the United States avoids overseas shipping costs and minimum order quantities. More manufacturing flexibility enables Arecont Vision to build its cameras almost to order. If a big order comes in, the manufacturing operation can gear up on short notice to fill the order without interfering with day-to-day workflow. Competing With The Best In Security Industry Arecont Vision cameras that are “Made in the USA” compete successfully worldwide – even in China, the centre of manufacturing for the latest wave of lower-cost cameras. Throughout Beijing, a city-wide surveillance system uses 4,000 Arecont Vision 5-megapixel cameras to capture license plate numbers in multiple lanes of traffic, to enforce red lights, and to watch for jaywalkers. Twenty of Arecont Vision’s 20-megapixel cameras are installed around historic Tiananmen square. The cameras are designed with backwards compatibility. The same circuit boards are used with multiple generations of a camera, so firmware upgrades can provide more up-to-date features, in effect, ”future-proofing” a customer’s investment. Field-programmable (FPGA) chips are used inside Arecont Vision cameras. The same basic architecture is used throughout the camera line, and firmware upgrades can add new functionality to existing cameras – even those that have already been installed. Arecont Vision’s rapid growth reflects the use of their cameras all over the world in a host of applications “The reason we can do all these things is that we are more like a software company than a hardware company,” says Schafer. “That chip in the middle of that board is field-programmable. It’s a more expensive architecture.” It’s also easy to update firmware remotely. One customer updated 5,000 cameras to accommodate a change in their video management system (VMS), says Schafer. Rapid Growth And Expansion Arecont Vision’s rapid growth reflects the use of their cameras all over the world in a host of applications, including data centers, retail, banking, universities, healthcare and government – and many Fortune 500 companies. Performance of megapixel cameras excels in big open spaces, whether a large auto dealership, a campus courtyard or a university auditorium. At Met-Life stadium in New Jersey, for example, 75 Arecont Vision 10-megapixel cameras (with really good lenses) can recognize faces in stadium seats 150 meters (about 500 feet) away. Schafer says it would have taken 2,500 standard-definition cameras to do the job. “The customer says unless two identical twins wearing the same outfit get into a fight with each other, he will be able to tell who caused the problem,” Shafer comments. Well aware of increasing competition from total solution providers, Arecont Vision continues to enhance integration of its cameras with video management system providers through their Technology Partner Program. The goal is for each VMS to be able to control every feature of every Arecont Vision camera -- and they’re almost there, says Schafer. Another important goal is to simplify setup. Working to increase integration is Arecont Vision’s MegaLab, an advanced certification and testing environment launched in 2010 at the Glendale headquarters.
The company’s latest products deliver increased performance and situational awareness while lowering Total Cost of Ownership Arecont Vision®, the industry leader in IP-based megapixel camera technology, is showcasing its impressive offerings here at IFSEC International 2015 (stand #c1075), backed by a host of unique support programs and business best practices that benefit both integrators and end users. As the pioneer in megapixel imaging solutions specifically engineered for professional surveillance applications, Arecont Vision® continues to drive the widespread deployment of megapixel cameras globally. The company’s latest products deliver increased performance and situational awareness while lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). According to Arecont Vision® Executive Vice President Scott Schafer, the success of the company’s megapixel camera portfolio is equally attributable to both its superior technology and to the outstanding support processes and programs behind them. “From the beginning we believed that megapixel imaging was a disruptive technology that would significantly impact the professional security and surveillance industry. This has undoubtedly proven to be true,” said Mr. Schafer. “We have been on a deliberate path delivering high levels of education, programs, and support to drive this trend, while maintaining our technology leadership.” Arecont Vision Offers Comprehensive Line Of Megapixel Cameras “We believed that megapixel imaging was a disruptive technology that would significantly impact the professional security and surveillance industry" Arecont Vision® offers the industry’s most comprehensive line of megapixel cameras, ranging from compact single sensor 1.2MP cameras to multi-sensor panoramic cameras with up to 40MP resolution. Arecont Vision® cameras are further differentiated by their innovative processing capabilities and features, such as STELLAR™ (Spatio TEmporal Low Light ARchitecture) technology which dramatically increases low light color imaging performance. In addition, features like remote focus/zoom are now offered across an entire range of Arecont Vision® cameras while the new AV-IP Utility software delivers further simplified setup, operations, and firmware updating. The Arecont Vision® MegaLab™ helps ensure seamless integration of a wide range of leading VMS solutions and other system components for design, installation, and support activities to further enhance the end user and reseller experience. These features and programs combine to make new installations both faster and easier, saving time and money for installing systems integrators and dealers. “The unique combination of performance and support benefits incorporated in Arecont Vision® megapixel cameras provide integrators and users with the complete package,” said Mr. Schafer. “To complement these technology advancements, we have paid close attention to the educational and operational needs of our reseller partners and customers.” TAC For Live & On-Line Support For Authorized Reseller Partners & End Users Arecont Vision’s new Technical Assistance Center (TAC) and the enhanced Reseller Partner Program are perfect examples. Initiated to further assist integrators with system design, implementation, and post-installation support, the new TAC provides live and on-line support for authorized reseller partners and end users. The TAC delivers world-class responsiveness, currently answering approximately 90% of incoming tech support calls during primary support hours in less than 60 seconds and escalating support requirements appropriately for rapid problem resolution. Arecont Vision’s leading advanced replacement RMA process is part of the program. "We provide our reseller and technology partners with the tools they need to help grow their businesses” The updated Partner Program provides two entirely online programs to assist in the sale of Arecont Vision® products. The online demo equipment loaner program provides fast access for resellers to the products they need to effectively demonstrate the value of megapixel solutions. The project registration program ensures authorized resellers receive strong price protection and excellent margins while delivering outstanding value to end users. Arecont Vision University’s Channel Partner Certification Program Authorized resellers are also supported by Arecont Vision® University’s Channel Partner Certification Program, which provides the education and tools needed to sell, design, deploy, and support megapixel surveillance solutions. “We continue to make it as easy as possible for security professionals to capitalize on the performance, convenience, and cost advantages that Arecont Vision® megapixel cameras offer. We provide our reseller and technology partners with the tools they need to help grow their businesses,” said Mr. Schafer. “We believe we deliver the best combination of technology and support in the security industry, attested by the numerous accolades we’ve received and our continuing customer satisfaction survey results.” Arecont Vision’s commitment to reliability, quality, and performance continues to drive high levels of satisfaction with both our valued channel partners and customers around the world.
Arecont Vision® was also recognized for ten years of corporate commitment and membership Arecont Vision®, the industry leader in IP-based megapixel camera technology, is pleased to announce that Executive Vice President Scott Schafer was honored today with the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) Chairman’s Award for his successful leadership and contributions to the organization. Background Schafer has served on the Security Industry Association board of directors, in the Executive Committee, and in the roles of Membership Chair and as Secretary. “SIA delivers immeasurable value to its members and to the security industry in general, and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to help grow this industry alongside the SIA Board of Directors, the membership team, and the association’s staff,” Schafer said. “To receive the Chairman’s Award is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful to SIA for this recognition.” SIA Chairman of the Board V. John Stroia presented Schafer with the award at the Sands Expo and Convention Center here in Las Vegas, during SIA’s annual meeting held at ISC West 2015. “Scott is always there to answer the bell, no matter what project or program we are working on,” Stroia said during the ceremony. “Thank you Scott, you helped make the SIA a stronger organization.” Arecont Vision® was also recognized for ten years of corporate commitment and membership in the SIA at the event.
Commoditisation of cameras and downward price pressure are big topics in the video surveillance market. There was an interesting discussion about pricing and its impact on the integrator community at last month’s MIPS 2015 (Milestone Integration Platform Symposium). Participants were several of the major camera manufacturers, who provided a variety of viewpoints. Prompting the discussion – but with no representative on the panel – were the emerging Chinese manufacturers, who are helping to drive downward pricing. I guess we’ll have to hear from them another time. Meanwhile, here are some of the comments from the major manufacturers who were present: Matt Soga, senior vice president, business development, Sony:“We’re not the pricing leader, and we don’t compete on low-end solutions. What we focus on is to keep developing solutions from products and working with partners like Milestone to present end-to-end solutions for the customer. We also provide support and pricing programs to our partners.” "What we focus on is to keep developing solutions from products and working with partners like Milestone to present end-to-end solutions for the customer" Tom Cook, vice president of sales, Samsung: “I basically disagree with that philosophy. You’re giving up on an extremely large market that companies at the lower-end are penetrating. They’ve been very successful in Europe. Honestly, our company is reacting to that. Obviously, you have to create innovation, and you have to have the upper echelon of product, 4k and multi-megapixel, that will fit that market, but the other market segment is actually bigger. Everyone here has a large R&D group that has to sustain, whether it’s analogue or IP, high-end or low-end, and you have to choose strategically what you want to focus on. We want everything. And we will grab that market share and make sure the Chinese manufacturers will not have it. So you will see some major announcements from Samsung at the ISC show (about pricing).” Soga: “We are not giving up the segment, but there are certain areas that we cannot offer, and we need to keep investing for the technology and also production costs to generate a profit.” Brian Wiser, president of sales, Americas, Bosch: “What are you (as an integrator) looking for in a manufacturing partner? We don’t necessarily claim the low price point. You have to look at it holistically in terms of who you partner with and who you go to market with. Is it reputation, longevity, reliability, quality in the marketplace? It’s also what’s behind the curtain, is there infrastructure to support the business? Is there in-field technical support? Is there training? Is there marketing support? From the product side, is there 4K and Ultra HD? Is there megapixel? Is there intelligence? You have to look at your business and where you want to go, and the product roadmap. Does the manufacturing partner you pick have a vision of where they want to take the product, so you can grow your business with that? That’s what we try to focus on at Bosch, but it’s hard because the market is huge. We’re trying to focus on how we help our customers adapt.” Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications: “Companies must decide how they want to compete, whether on price, or on value or somewhere in the middle. Most manufacturers of a reasonable size have similar costs to producing the cameras; China isn’t any cheaper, and anyone here could manufacture in China if we thought it was cheaper, but typically it isn’t, at least not nowadays. The manufacturing cost is one thing. The other cost in the camera is quality, basically on the software side. So what’s the value of quality of the software in a camera on a pole for seven years? It’s relatively high. Another cost is service, tech support, sales people, and people to educate you. Then the fourth is profit, and you want to work with a company that makes some level of profit because it means they will be there when you need them to support the camera. It’s the same for everyone. So if you want to compete on price, to buy some market share, you need to make sure you are the lowest, because someone will come in a little bit lower. It’s a difficult position to hold. It’ll happen; it’ll consolidate the market a little bit, but it’s not a long-term strategy.” “Companies must decide how they want to compete, whether on price, or on value or somewhere in the middle" Scott Schafer, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Arecont Vision:“Innovation is the number one thing. You listen to customers and anticipate what you need to build for them to meet their requirements in the future. Sometimes, though, you can’t rely on what our best end users or systems integrators say they need because there are things they haven’t even identified is a need for them yet. So companies like ours, we try to anticipate those from a technology bent and also from an end user solutions bent. If we can figure out what those next solutions will be — such as using CMOS sensors or H.264 as a platform — those things that are commonplace now were not commonplace 10 years ago. Also, integration is key, and it’s not the casual integration with an SDK or through ONVIF. It’s direct integration and making sure the quality engineer-to-engineer work happens to provide a seamless solution. Teaming in the field to win projects together adds cachet. We can understand what the customer needs together and build a solution. On the technology side, we design the chipset for our cameras rather than use a third-party compression chipset, so we can control the performance of our cameras. By doing that, we produce the best low-light technology. If you control your own base architecture and technology, that goes a long way toward competing with anybody.” Cook: “There is going to be price erosion. We are seeing price constantly being pushed down. From a manufacturing standpoint, we are trying to provide the best quality at the lowest cost so you (integrators) can make the margins you want and need to make. There’s also innovation. It’s our job to make innovative products and expand the dealers’ capabilities. Innovation allows us to bring the price level back up, so we have to think about it, and also to train the integrator on how to sell the innovation, analytics and 4K. We will come out with innovation, it’s a competitive treadmill. But we also have to teach integrators about innovation and how to sell it.” Wiser: “Integrators have to wrap a complete solution around the product. Are you selling beyond the margin of the product? You have to provide a complete solution, and the integrator has to be the brand to the end-client. That means having the best product, but also the services and solutions that go around it. Having the best products means you can build really good solutions with the additional capabilities. In the IT market we saw this, a general “race to the bottom” (on price); IT was a little more exaggerated and steep in that integrators and resellers very quickly made hardly anything on the product. They made all their money in solutions, managed services. The integrator has to be that true solutions provider and be the trusted brand to their client.” "We deliver enough additional discount to allow our systems integrators and distributors to make more money when they sell our product line" Soga: “Another point is the distribution policy. At Sony we deal with only four distributors – we don’t want to over-distribute the product. And we have a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) program and a project registration program to avoid price competition among the partners.” Schafer: “One thing manufacturers can do is a project registration program that has real teeth. Those that provide two or three additional discount points don’t really do much to separate the designing integrator from the others that may swoop in and try to steal the deal away. And for those companies that take it seriously like we do, we deliver enough additional discount to allow our systems integrators and distributors to make more money when they sell our product line. That becomes an important part of how you can make money in a changing market.”
The Advance will include awards for distinguished SIA Members in recognition of their accomplishments For the first time this year, the Security Industry Association (SIA) will hold its annual meeting The Advance at ISC West, produced by ISC Events in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, April 14, the program for The Advance will include awards for distinguished SIA Members in recognition of their accomplishments in the previous year, announced V. John Stroia, SIA chairman of the board. For 2014, SIA has identified two key honorees: Scott Schafer, executive vice president of Arecont Vision, 2014 Chairman’s Award for his championing of SIA Membership recruitment and SIA promotion efforts Richard Brent, CEO of Louroe Electronics, 2014 Committee Chair of the Year Award for his extraordinary work as the chair of the SIA Government Summit PRicharlanning Committee Of the Chairman’s Award, Schafer said, “It is rewarding to be able to contribute to the growth of the security industry with the SIA Board of Directors and the employees of the association. The Security Industry Association delivers important value to our members every day. The Membership Team at SIA has done an excellent job of describing how security companies benefit from membership and how they can contribute to the association. It has been great to see so many new members take advantage of what SIA can deliver to their companies.” Of the Committee Chair of the Year Award, Brent said, “To be named SIA 2014 Committee Chairman of the Year is a genuine honor. The commitment of the SIA Members and Staff to make a difference for our industry association is top shelf. To be selected for this award is incredible because it recognises my commitment to the continuing relationship with SIA and our combined mission to strengthen the security industry. Thank you.” Stroia will present recipients with the SIA Chairman’s Award and SIA Committee Chair of the Year Award, along with SIA Volunteer of the Year Awards (to be announced in a separate statement), at The Advance, held during ISC West at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday, April 14. Honorees and all SIA Members are welcome to gather for the program from 10:30-11:30 a.m., followed by a free buffet lunch, where members and honorees can network with each other and the SIA Board. The Advance is co-located with ISC West, and individuals can register to attend the ISC West exhibit hall, which opens April 15-17.
Whitney brings over 25 years of marketing experience in video security, network security, and IT Arecont Vision®, the industry leader in IP-based megapixel camera technology, announces the appointment of Jeff Whitney as Vice President of Marketing. Whitney brings more than 25 years of global experience in marketing for fast growing high technology companies in video security, network security, and information technology. Whitney will lead worldwide marketing at a time of strong global sales growth for Arecont Vision®. “Jeff’s experience and track record of success introducing new, groundbreaking technologies to market make him a valuable addition to the Arecont Vision® team,” said Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President, Arecont Vision®. “Jeff’s high level of expertise will be an asset to Arecont Vision® and to our customers as he works to generate and build greater awareness of the extensive benefits of IP and megapixel camera technology.” Prior to joining Arecont Vision®, Whitney served as Vice President of Marketing for a number of high-technology firms, including video appliance pioneer Intransa, network flash vendor Astute Networks, and encryption/key management developer MaXXan Systems. He has also held marketing leadership positions with Fujitsu, NetApp and Spinnaker Networks. “I’m extremely excited about joining the industry’s most innovative manufacturer of IP megapixel camera technology”, said Mr. Whitney. “The opportunity to lead global marketing at this time of Arecont Vision®’s accelerated growth is a truly outstanding one, and I look forward to engaging with our customers, partners, and the industry overall in the days and months to come.”
Low-light imaging has historically been a problem for megapixel cameras. Arecont Vision, like other megapixel camera manufacturers, has struggled to solve the dilemma of low-light images, which are plagued by noise, smearing of video, high bit rates (requiring additional storage) and loss of color. Arecont Vision says it now has the answer, dubbing it STELLAR technology. The “LL” in the middle of STELLAR stands for “low-light;” the entire acronym stands for “Spacial TEmporal Low-Light ARchitecture.” (The words “spacial temporal” relate to data captured across time and space; in this case, the phrase refers to how video images are processed, including analysis of two dimensions [x and y] and across time, specifically use of multiple successive video frames together.) Jargon and branding aside, Arecont says the new technology provides extreme low-light sensitivity in color mode. Scott Schafer, Arecont Vision’s executive vice president, says the system provides “beautiful color as low as 0.01 lux.” STELLAR technology, previewed at ISC West in March, purports to stream color video in low-light conditions with low noise, no motion blur, and lower bit rate and video storage requirements. “When I took people through the booth [at ISC], they were amazed,” says Schafer. “They couldn’t believe you could see that much in low-light.” The STELLAR introduction is part of Arecont’s strategy to claim leadership in low-light performance in the megapixel camera market. Leading the research behind STELLAR has been Sri Rama Prasanna Pavani, Arecont Vision’s vice president of engineering. He came to Arecont about a year ago to tackle low-light imaging, addressing all the various elements of image capture and processing to maximize the quality and visibility of low-light video. The holistic approach considered each aspect of the camera affecting low-light performance. Prassana’s expertise includes multiple degrees and a career spent developing better imaging instruments. “The surveillance market is growing, and there are lots of unsolved challenges,”he says. STELLAR technology, previewed at ISC West in March, purports to stream colour video in low-light conditions with low noise, no motion blur, and lower bit rate and video storage requirements STELLAR includes four patent-pending video algorithms used to achieve better low-light performance; extra processing power is loaded onto Arecont Vision’s new field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip inside the company’s new cameras that will incorporate STELLAR technology. Because the chip is field-upgradeable, new firmware downloads can be used in the future to update the processing algorithms to take advantage of any additional low-light imaging processing capabilities Arecont were to devise. Arecont will offer remote upgrades of the firmware on all cameras in a system. In addition to the new algorithms, elements of the new STELLAR-enabled cameras include new CMOS image sensors with dual-conversion gain mode. New lenses are optimized to collect as much light as possible. The various components work together to deliver STELLAR’s greater low-light sensitivity. Among the benefits is “adaptive contrast enhancement” – essentially, contrast levels change based on specific scenes and lighting conditions. The first Arecont Vision cameras offering STELLAR will be new 1.2-megapixel cameras added to the company’s MegaDome 2 line; introduction of the new cameras is expected in July 2014. (The new MegaDomes will also include an SD card and “corridor view” – 90-degree rotation.) STELLAR-equipped cameras in the MegaView line will be introduced in September 2014, also at the 1.2 megapixel level. Over time, Arecont plans to feature STELLAR on other cameras. “The algorithms and optics packages will also make sense for our other cameras,” says Schafer. “We will be moving into the [multi-sensor] panoramic cameras and then into the larger pixel counts.” The new STELLAR technology can be used with frame rates up to 37 frames per second and is adaptable to lower frame rates to achieve better low-light quality. Prassana says the technology can do as high as 17 frames per second at 0.01 lux. “We lower the frame rate in low-light conditions to allow the camera time to capture more light,” he says. The first Arecont Vision cameras offering STELLAR will be new 1.2-megapixel cameras added to the company’s MegaDome 2 line; introduction of the new cameras is expected in July 2014 Arecont’s other approaches to deal with the low-light challenge have included use of day/night switches, dual-sensor cameras, infrared (IR) illuminators, and “binning,” or combining data electronically from four adjacent pixels into one when viewing dark environments (in effect decreasing pixel count 25 percent to capture more light). As the technology moves up Arecont’s camera line in terms of pixel count, development will leverage STELLAR as a complementary technology to existing low-light camera features, such as binning. “It’s an enabling platform for us,” says Schafer, who notes it is the next step in the company’s innovation roadmap that included introduction of H.264 encoding. He sees opportunities for indoor use along hallways and stairways, anywhere lights are dimmed, and in outdoor areas. He says the technology could even be applicable to casinos, where gaming tables have dark backgrounds that can be a challenge. Schafer says Arecont’s low-light cameras are “a different animal” than thermal cameras, which detect heat but not light and can “see” in total darkness. Thermal cameras can’t see color and have poor resolution. In contrast, color images in low light can provide benefits such as the ability to see what a person is wearing, the color of a car, and in general to have a better characterization of a scene.