Cruzin' with Susan

Gareth McClean, Director of R & D for American Dynamics, Discusses the Process of Product Development


Gareth McClean: Such as the ability to actually automate the process of reviewing video. For example, we have smart searching capabilities in our products. The system can identify certain events that have been programmed in advance and notify individuals that there needs to be some action taking place.

Susan: Are there going to be more features than what you mentioned added, or basically, what you have now is enough for every event that could happen?

Gareth McClean: No, I think you are going to see continual development in our product line. We're always adding new features, both in terms of the capabilities in the systems and how we can simplify the use of the system.

Susan: Is there anything in particular that is not out yet that you see in the very near future?

Gareth McClean: We are in the process of introducing in the not so distant future some additional video analysis tools. They allow the system basically to monitor the video for things such as object insertion and removal. Say you have a museum, for instance, and you have a particular item which is maybe a painting hanging on the wall. A camera is positioned to view the painting. The system can be programmed to alarm if that picture should, for some reason, disappear, be moved or taken away.

Susan: Are you building any data management software based features into products?

Gareth McClean: We have introduced a software package called Policy Manager which allows the customers to manage the security of their video networks. They can, for instance, control who can see what video, and when they can see that video on workstations. This obviously has certain benefits for clients such as hospitals where you have to comply with certain regulations. We also have products like Archive Manager where you can specify how long you can actually hold data for.

Susan: How do you suggest dealers become more proactive about new technology, as opposed to waiting to see what is going to be developed and then having to get up to speed on it? Is there a way that they can get ahead of the curve?

Gareth McClean: From American Dynamics prospective, we are presently in the process of introducing a whole number of schemes to try and get our dealers, distributors and end users more involved in the process of product development. We are asking questions about what features they would like to see, how they think the industry is moving forward, and, basically, how we can help them. Historically, we have done that, but now we are actually trying to become better integrated with our dealers so they become informed about where American Dynamics is going as an organization and also have some input into that development process.

Susan: Do you see residential video applications as a viable market?

Gareth McClean: It's a market we're looking at. The area of concern is financial. Basically, for what people actually want to do, what they are prepared to spend, that price point is not quite there just yet. But, it is becoming more realistic.

Susan: On the reverse side, the commercial end, is the total digital solution currently at an acceptable price point?

Gareth McClean: At this point in time, the cost point for total digital solutions is really more expensive than an analog solution. That is why American Dynamics believes in providing the hybrid solution supporting both analog and digital solutions. It is something we are quite committed to in terms of providing an upgrade path for existing customers.

Susan: Sort of ease them into it?

Gareth McClean: It's really a migration path. Our development plan includes a process which will help dealers' existing customers migrate into digital solutions?they can have half analog and half digital. For clients who do not have analog cameras, they would be able to go to a total digital solution. The IP solutions will become much more prevalent and probably account for the majority of the marketplace in the next few years. What really is constraining is the cost of the IP equipment because, while it does reduce your installation costs, it is still more expensive. However, that will change rapidly over the course of the next 12 to 18 months.

Susan: Do you see the IP cameras being used in application specific situations where they might want to just switch out an analog camera for an IP camera because they want it in one particular spot?