Video Surveillance: Manufacturers' perspectives on the year ahead

The rise of high-definition video, enhanced video compression standards and the movement to create open standards in the IP Video market are some of the driving forces behind change in the video surveillance industry in 2010.

SecurityInfoWatch.com recently caught up with several of the major video surveillance technology vendors to get their take on what 2010 and the future holds in store for end-users, vendors and integrators alike. (The full roundtable appears below on the following pages of this article; you may also be interested in our Integrators' Roundtable on this same subject.)

To summarize, the panel pointed to several different technologies that could have a potential major impact on the video surveillance industry in 2010. They include edge technologies for recording and storage; H.264; high-definition video; open standards, such as those being created by the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) and the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA); IP video management systems; and video content analysis. "The H.264 video compression standard will continue to have a huge impact on cost and adoption of IP video surveillance this year and for years to come," Arecont Vision CEO Dr. Michael Kaplinsky says.

The panel agrees for the most part that video analytics is gaining traction; however it still has a ways to go before the industry sees widespread adoption of the technology. "Adoption of video analytics as a security tool is, relatively speaking, in the early stages," says Panasonic president Bill Taylor. "As customers see the benefits in these analytic tools, the market will respond. Right now, customers with specific needs will certainly lead the market in their use of video analytics for targeted applications."

"Analytics won't truly gain traction in the market until integrators and end-users recognize it as a reliable technology," adds Bosch's Chris Johnston.

Not surprisingly, the manufacturer's panel foresees a continued growth of IP video in the market, although some differed on how much of that growth to expect in 2010. Many agreed with the sentiments of Gadi Piran, president of OnSSI: "As the economy continues to rebound, we expect a renewed interest from companies and institutions to invest in video and security technologies," Piran says. "Certainly, many companies are realizing that the economic justification is there for video and security systems to protect critical assets."

"If the economic situation persists, opportunities in retail, banking and key segments in the private sectors will continue to be scarce," warns Sony's Miguel Lazatin.

With so many IP video products coming to market, another issue comes to the forefront - how to train and support the many integrators who are deploying these systems. The panel differed considerably on the question of whether North American systems integrators are truly ready to install IP video systems. "IP video is now a mainstream solution - the costing is now competitive, it is much easier to install, there are network-savvy employees with the bulk of the integrators, and the products are much more mature and easier to manage," says DVTel president and CEO Eli Gorovici. "System Integrators who are not offering IP video solutions should not delay and get the skills and knowledge needed to provide networked-based offerings."

Milestone Systems' Eric Fullerton disagrees: "The bulk of them [are not ready]. If you look at the partner channel knowing that they are the ones selling into a market that's only 20-percent converged to IP, and recognize the relatively low number of channel partners who have been trained and certified in advanced IP technology, there's still a lot of work to do to get these people ready."

Despite the rise of IP video products and technologies, many manufacturers agree with the sentiments of Honeywell Video Systems' Marek Robinson, that "we're not going to see the complete death of analog video anytime soon."

Finally, the recent spate of M&A activity in the video surveillance sector may actually be a good thing: "These past acquisitions and mergers are a sign that the market is continuing to mature," says Verint's Eran Wachman. "Organizations will continue to seek flexible, IT-friendly solutions that maximize their investments and provide lowest total cost of ownership."

Next page: The full roundtable Q&A

The Full Roundtable: Hear exactly what our panel had to say...

The participants:

  • Eric Fullerton, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Milestone Systems
  • Gadi Piran, President, On-Net Surveillance Systems
  • Eli Gorovici, President & CEO, DVTel
  • Eran Wachman, Vice President of Product Management, Verint
  • Dr. Michael Kaplinsky, CEO, Arecont Vision
  • Miguel Lazatin, Senior Marketing Manager, Sony
  • Bill Taylor, President, Panasonic
  • Chris Johnston, Product Marketing Manager, Bosch
  • Marek Robinson, Director of Sales, Honeywell Video Systems

What is the one technological innovation that will have the greatest impact on video surveillance this year, and how will it do it?

Gorovici: As the technology for high-definition and megapixel cameras continues to improve and applications are created to use these IP cameras, processing on the edge is the technology innovation to watch. All of these factors are forcing the industry to put applications such as analytics on the edge to stream less video data to the center and to balance the load to improve functionality.

Taylor: The newest standard in IP video compression, H.264 will continue to gain traction as more manufacturers, resellers and end users embrace it. By minimizing bandwidth consumption, this technology will continue to pave the way for greater use of analytics and megapixel cameras.

 

Kaplinsky: The H.264 video compression standard will continue to have a huge impact on cost and adoption of IP video surveillance this year and for years to come. H.264 compression makes video stream sizes more manageable, which greatly reduces issues of bandwidth and storage. Lowering the video demands on busy networks makes H.264 video an IT-friendly technology. H.264 compression also opens the door to industry-wide uses of previously bandwidth-intensive state-of-the-art technologies such as megapixel video.

Lazatin: As the industry migrates toward IP-based video solutions, the need for higher resolution image capture and recording is becoming more important; thus, high definition video in security will have the greatest impact in 2010. Continued success of HD in 2010 will be facilitated by manufacturers that are committed to developing and introducing products that seamlessly integrate with various software platforms including video management, access control, PSIM and POS.

Johnston: The movement to create and popularize open standards - such as ONVIF - within the industry will have the greatest effect on video surveillance this year. Already, many major manufacturers' product lines are gaining certification by ONVIF, and most software head-end manufacturers are in the process of integrating ONVIF into their offerings.

Fullerton: 2010 is going to be the year where low-end appliances carrying IP VMS already installed will become competitive with the low-end DVRs, thus making a large dent into the DVR (and analog) market that previously has not been accessible due to price and form factors.

 

Piran: Video on the network platform will continue to transform video surveillance and management across the enterprise with a new level of integrated physical security and shared event-handling capabilities. Video and data management technologies will continue to gain traction as more organizations move to network-based integrated systems. As more organizations move to network-based integrated systems, the need for control and management on a single platform becomes increasingly important.

Wachman: Video content analysis (VCA) will continue to be a key innovation impacting the video surveillance market. VCA provides organizations with a sophisticated, proactive, network-based IP video platform that leverages video management and analytics software solutions. As an organization's security requirements evolve, they need the assurance of a tool that is highly scalable, capable of supporting any number of locations and equipped to expand video operations easily. VCA is able to do just that.

Next Page: Is video analytics gaining traction?

How will video analytics gain traction and become a profitable part of the video surveillance industry in 2010?

Taylor: Adoption of video analytics as a security tool is, relatively speaking, in the early stages. As customers see the benefits in these analytic tools, the market will respond. Right now, customers with specific needs will certainly lead the market in their use of video analytics for targeted applications. As time goes on, it will become apparent to the remainder of the market that intelligent video technology can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the security staff.

Piran: Video analytics are an effective tool in the broader-based environment of a video-based physical security information management (PSIM) system. Linking video analytics events to other components in an overall system - from access control systems to point-of-sale systems - creates a composite alert and can confirm an alarm and provide the operator real-time video. It's a way to improve efficiency and effectiveness while preserving the critical element of human intervention.

Kaplinsky: Mainstream deployment of analytics on the edge devices will probably be impeded by the lack of clear standardization of functionality and interfaces for camera-based analytics. Furthermore, many algorithms are computationally expensive causing substantial cost increase of the camera, making deployment unfeasible for camera manufacturers. Analytics will likely remain a niche market for a while, evolving into features in network video recorders (NVRs), where it can be implemented as user-selectable option without affecting system cost.

Gorovici: No longer is video analytics the "black magic" that it was just a few short years ago. With all of the gathered field experience and product modifications, it is now a technology that improves surveillance and security performance in installations in which it is deployed. This trend will continue to push intelligence to the edge so that more behaviors can be installed using less central processing power, making the total solution a more affordable proposition.

Lazatin: While use of analytics is not prevalent in most security applications, successful deployment in high-risk, high-profile areas, such as airports and stadiums, will ultimately accelerate adoption of video analytics in more common market segments and applications.

 

 

Fullerton: It's questionable that this will happen in 2010. Video analytics has been the promise of the future for the past half decade; however, no VA companies have proven what an acceptable, sustainable business model would look like - and there's little on the horizon in 2010.

 

Johnston: Analytics won't truly gain traction in the market until integrators and end-users recognize it as a reliable technology. Using features like the ability to perform a forensic search on pre-recorded video can help; technicians can fine tune algorithms to customer specifications during initial system setup instead of making repeated trips to the site to adjust for changing conditions. Dropping price points will also help more end-users make the leap into using analytics.

Next Page: Assessing IP video's market growth

2009 saw a slow-down in the overall market growth projections for IP video. Do you expect 2010 to be similar to 2009 in terms of market growth, or if not, what will turn it around in 2010?

Kaplinsky: The second half of 2009 has already shown marked upturn in our market and I think we can expect 2010 to be even better. The economic slow-down in 2009 has forced many manufacturers to invest heavily into cost-reduction redesign of their products using most modern and efficient components. These lower cost and often higher performing products will hit the market in 2010, promoting an increased market growth.

Fullerton: Most markets have already returned to the growth patterns we saw before the slowdown at the end of 2008. The factors helping the market come back include the fact that there's a continuous need for physical security and that the extent of the financial crisis is now better understood, so customer confidence has returned and budgets are being released for necessary projects.

Piran: As the economy continues to rebound, we expect a renewed interest from companies and institutions to invest in video and security technologies. Certainly, many companies are realizing that the economic justification is there for video and security systems to protect critical assets. Adoption of IP-based technology solutions will accelerate in 2010, fueled in part by advances in investigative functionality.

Taylor: The improving economy certainly suggests that IP video will continue to grow and most likely will exceed 2009 growth rates. In addition to a better market outlook, the benefits of networked video are becoming better known among integrators and especially end-users, whose buying decisions are increasingly influenced by IT professionals inside their organizations. Also paving the way for broader market growth is development of standards by the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) and the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA). Among other advantages, standardization can help to simplify installation of IP-based systems.

Lazatin: We expect that 2010 growth rates will be similar to 2009. Success in key sectors such as government will depend on how quickly stimulus funds funnel to government-funded projects. If the economic situation persists, opportunities in retail, banking and key segments in the private sectors will continue to be scarce.

 

Wachman: We expect to see continued migration from analog to IP-based video over the next few years. Further, we expect there will be a growing trend in the number of customers that purchase end-to-end IP solutions to help ensure optimal system interoperability and lower integration costs.

 

Gorovici: In addition to the economy improving slowly but surely, the launch of new products and innovation shows overall confidence in the market. We have seen availability of more funds made available for security projects, and the landslide of recent security breaches and events all lend itself to a much-improved 2010.

Next Page: The death of analog video?

Have the rumors of the death of analog video been highly exaggerated?

Robinson: Yes, the rumors are a bit exaggerated. At this point in time, we're not going to see the complete death of analog video anytime soon. While IP-based systems are growing in prevalence as viable video options, it's still difficult for many organizations to rationalize and navigate a complete switch from analog to IP given factors such as tight budgets, unsettled industry standards and increased scrutiny on new expenditures. Analog is also still very much a relevant factor in the IP migration equation due to the use of hybrid solutions, which incorporate both IP and analog-based technology. We're seeing a number of companies adopting hybrid strategies and further proving that analog is not dead yet.

Fullerton: We've always known that analog would live on for a long time, like the typewriter continued to live for years after the PC was introduced. It is expected that the technology is a sunset industry, but there are installed bases with cycles that are 12-15 years long that will continue for that reason.

 

Lazatin: Although there was demonstrable slowdown in sales of analog video in 2009, end-users can realize cost advantages to installing analog based systems. This trend is more prevalent in small- to medium-sized surveillance applications, in segments such as retail, restaurants, houses of worship, etc. The decline of analog video and the growth of IP video will be slower than predicted.

Johnston: While the rate of change from analog to IP video is certainly increasing, 2010 will not be the year that IP sales exceed those of analog systems. Many customers, such as large retailers with thousands of stores, have significant investments in analog technology. The owner of a delicatessen or pizzeria isn't likely to prefer an IP system to an analog system, but it's likely that cost will factor highly in the sale.

Piran: Analog video systems are still alive and will generally remain in place until upgrades are required, but they are facing a slow death. IP-based video systems are the superior technology, although there may continue to be installations for which analog systems are "good enough," and can be integrated onto a networked platform to some degree.

 

Gorovici: There will always be applications for analog video, but the need is becoming less and less. IP Video is now a more accepted technology and the trend is certainly for network-based solutions and applications.

 

 

Kaplinsky: Given the convergence of corporate IT infrastructure with security, it is likely that within five years, analog video will be a small percentage of new systems sold. Analog video does not offer a clear resolution upgrade path, and greater resolution is critical for the security industry.

 

Taylor: Analog is still alive and is a perfectly viable solution for certain applications. Customers need to work with resellers and manufacturers to determine the best solution for their security needs and choose the most beneficial solution based on cost-comparisons.

Next Page: How is the industry doing on IP video training?

In your opinion, are the bulk of North American systems integrators truly ready for IP video? Why or why not?

Fullerton: Not the bulk of them. If you look at the partner channel knowing that they are the ones selling into a market that's only 20-percent converged to IP, and recognize the relatively low number of channel partners who have been trained and certified in advanced IP technology, there's still a lot of work to do to get these people ready.

Piran: The most capable integrators are certainly ready for IP video. Transitioning to networked video also requires security professionals to work closely with IT professionals in the customer's organization. Channel partner training programs ensure that systems integrators know how to design, configure and install professional IP video surveillance solutions in a complex networked environment. Effective training ensures successful implementation of IP video solutions that are customized to the precise needs of end-user customers. Supplier companies must work to educate distribution and channel partners and to communicate the benefits of IP-based technologies to customers at all enterprise levels.

Gorovici: Absolutely. IP video is now a mainstream solution - the cost is now competitive, it is much easier to install, there are network-savvy employees with the bulk of the integrators, and the products are much more mature and easier to manage. System Integrators who are not offering IP video solutions should not delay and get the skills and knowledge needed to provide networked-based offerings.

Wachman: The technology transition from CCTV systems to IP-based video solutions should be looked at as an evolution, rather than a revolution. Many users of analog technology will need to continue using their existing analog video infrastructure in parallel to newly introduced IP-based video solutions. As this technology evolves, the market will favor those able to support their customers through the transition.

Kaplinsky: North American system integrators are learning quickly about IP video. Certainly, corporate IT management is now a large part of the purchasing decision, which suggests an expanding level of comfort with new and emerging IP technologies. Even analog systems use encoders and IP-enabled DVRs/NVRs, so the technology is already familiar to integrators. While industry leaders work hard on promoting the market awareness of the advantages of the IP and megapixel video, it is quite clear that many integrators have already embraced the technology and the industry transition to IP video is well under way.

Lazatin: The bulk are not; however, larger system integrators, system integrators with a strong IT foundation, and those who hold government contracts will continue to be successful in the IP video surveillance market. Once standards such as ONVIF become more prevalent, traditional security integrators will experience greater success in the IP market.

Taylor: More and more systems integrators in the security market have taken the necessary steps to provide IP-based video solutions. They have added professionals with networking expertise to their staffs and have also trained existing sales and support teams. Integrators with that area of expertise will be more valued as the market continues to transition to IP solutions.

Johnston: Security integrators are very good at low-voltage wiring - installing cameras and other equipment - but very few have the expertise to do both the security installation and network infrastructure. Many have chosen to partner with IT vendors to complete the network piece; some outsource it directly to a customer's internal IT department. This approach also allows them to be free of the liability of the network piece of the installation.

Next page: The effect of acquisitions

With a high number of significant planned and/or completed acquisitions, mergers and product division sales across our industry (UTC/GE, DVTel/Ioimage, Bosch/Extreme, Nice/Orsus, Panasonic/Sanyo, SCM/Hirsch, March Networks/Cieffe, L-1/Bioscrypt, General Dynamics/Axsys, GVI/PacketNVR, GE/Safran, Moog/Videolarm, Orsus/Cinario), how is the future of video surveillance innovation being spurred (or stymied) by mergers and acquisitions?

Taylor: Consolidation in the crowded field of security providers will ultimately give customers better solutions at lower price points. Mergers and acquisitions are inevitable in every field as manufacturers seek to be more competitive and to expand their offerings to include complete solutions. The goal of providing innovative and productive systems that meet customer needs doesn't change when a company changes owners. If anything, it becomes more important.

Wachman: These past acquisitions and mergers are a sign that the market is continuing to mature. Organizations will continue to seek flexible, IT-friendly solutions that maximize their investments and provide lowest total cost of ownership.

 

 

Piran: The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the professional security industry is surely on the rise as companies look to increase their core competencies with related offerings and services that supplement their business model. The effect on innovation when a company changes hands varies from one to the next. We've witnessed larger companies acquire innovative smaller players and then systematically stifle their innovation. Conversely, smaller companies have thrived using additional resources available from a new owner.

Gorovici: I believe that the industry is still fragmented and we will see more of these types of mergers and acquisitions in the future. Consolidation will create growth in the industry. Rather than smaller, niche providers, companies will gather strength from each other to provide more robust solutions and services.

 

Kaplinsky: Acquisitions and consolidations are typical for any maturing market, and IP video is no different. Purchasers require complete and flexible solutions that can only be provided by well-established, reputable manufacturers. In the end, the players with more complete product lines and best innovators will be able to compete, and most others will disappear or will be bought out.

Fullerton: Those in the past year have not and will not affect innovation in our industry. They were caused by necessity when companies could not fund their own future growth alone. Most of the businesses driving innovation in our industry are profitable on their own or well-funded and these will continue to drive the paths they've been on in recent years, despite the crisis year of 2009 we've just come out of. Thus, innovation will continue on the same path it has for several years.

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