Cruzin' with Susan Gareth McClean, Director of R & D for American Dynamics, Discusses the Process of Product Development
Gareth McClean was recently appointed a new role within American Dynamics and I thought a little chat was in order to find out how he feels about trends in video (analog to digital, digital to IT) and where these technologies make the most sense. McClean also offers insight into what types of new products and technology you can expect from American Dynamics.
Susan: What trends do you see in digital video?
Gareth McClean: Obviously, the first initial trend in digital video was the introduction of digital video recorders which basically alleviated the need for videotapes. Now, you're starting to see the introduction of IP cameras and basically the introduction of IP technology where there is more networking involved.
Susan: Does that mean that dealers can offer a complete digital solution?
Gareth McClean: You will see American Dynamics moving more and more into the digital and IP arena. While there is a lot of market hype, the industry has not really started deploying total digital solutions at this point in time. It counts for a very small proportion of the overall install base. Most systems are still analog based systems?analog cameras, analog switches, digital video recorders. In the longer term, that will change. There will be an increase in the deployment of digital solutions with digital IP cameras, ultimately leading to mega pixel cameras.
Susan: Are these in the development stages?
Gareth McClean: Some are. In some cases, you can already buy these products in the marketplace, but they're typically very expensive and not necessarily well defined for the security marketplace. Many of the existing digital products and digital cameras are really destined for the web applications for use with PCs or for video conferencing style applications and not for the security applications.
Susan: What makes them different?
Gareth McClean: The difference is, typically, their mechanical construction in terms of high resistance to vandalism, or their quality in terms of how high they can cater to various light levels where it works from really bright sunlight through to nighttime use. American Dynamics has, in development, these types of products. The first product we are releasing is our Intellex IP, which is an IP-based digital recorder. In the not so distant future, you will also see us following this up with IP cameras designed specifically for the security marketplace.
Susan: You mentioned other auxiliary equipment, such as a switcher. Is that something that has to be digital?
Gareth McClean: In the CCTV marketplace, there is a transition going on which is really the convergence of technologies. You have the analog technology and the existing network technology in the Internet. That's driving the use of IP cameras; you'd no longer require an analog video switch and you can use the network to create what is called a virtual network switch.
Susan: What criteria do you use when you develop new products?
Gareth McClean: We very much base it on what our dealer customers are asking us for and also how we believe we can meet their customers' needs.
Susan: What concerns are you addressing presently?
Gareth McClean: To put it simply, what is happening is there is a continual deployment of cameras. There are more and more cameras being installed. That, in turn, has a number of consequences. First, it means people want to review more cameras. They also want to archive the video footage from those cameras. They need more storage requirements to archive that video, but, at the same time, they want to reduce costs. Therefore they want to reduce the number of people they have looking at all those cameras. That, in turn, is really driving some of the features that you are starting to see companies like American Dynamics include in their products.
Susan: Such as?