Manufacturer 1-on-1: Siklu CEO Itzik Ben-Bassat

Aug. 20, 2015
An in-depth look at the company's wireless technology solutions, growth strategy in the North American surveillance market

With the proliferation of surveillance cameras in both the public and private sector in recent years has also come increased demand for wireless technology to help organizations extend the reach of their video assets. Despite increased access to high-speed internet connections, there remain numerous applications where running cabling infrastructure for cameras is not only costly and impractical, but impossible. For example, there has been a push among numerous transit agencies to implement wireless communications onboard trains and buses to facilitate the offloading of video footage, as well as provide police and security officials with live views of incidents as they unfold.   

While there are a handful of well-known providers of wireless communication solutions that have products specifically tailored to meet the demands of the surveillance industry, one recent entrant to the North American market is looking to make waves with a unique approach to the sector. Based in Israel, Siklu offers small, robust wireless radios that leverage millimeter-wave technology. In this "Manufacturer 1-on-1" interview, Siklu CEO Itzik Ben-Bassat discusses how the company’s technology differs from that of its competitors as well how they intend to meet the demands of the market.

SIW: Why has Siklu decided to enter the North American surveillance market at this time?

Ben-Bassat: The North American surveillance market is an extremely fast growing market. Consequently, it suffers from specific acute pain points, such as highly populated frequencies and unbearable interference. Today’s developments in surveillance technology often surpass infrastructure capabilities and cause network overloads. It is these very challenges - capacity and interference - which Siklu’s solutions address, and indeed successfully overcome, enabling reliable fiber-like quality video delivery and wireless flexibility in one.

SIW: What is your go-to-market strategy in the U.S. and how do you intend to compete against some of the more established players in this segment of the market?

Ben-Bassat: To make sure we are aligned with the market needs, we work closely with the security system integrators who install our products, such as Johnson Controls, Kratos and Convergint. We also have partnerships in place with A&Es and ecosystem companies such as Axis Communications, Milestone and OnSSI. Our customer orders are fulfilled through well-known channels such as Anixter and CSC, Winncom and Tessco.

Millimeter wave wireless technology solutions facilitate a forward-looking architecture and are significantly more modular than their market alternatives. Their flexible topology allows for impressively scalable configurations as the network evolves. Today's most common networks are based on sub 6 GHz, and are prone to poor quality of service (QoS), when networks become dense and capacity-hungry. This is where Siklu’s solution comes into play.

SIW: Do you believe that the industry is lacking in terms of network infrastructure for surveillance? Why?

Ben-Bassat: Absolutely. Camera quality is impacting capacity demand across all IP networks; resolution developments are on a fast track. Evolvement of the video surveillance market translates into an increasing number of bandwidth-rich applications, which necessitate an increasingly greater number of cameras. Consequently, the required network capacity to carry the video feeds, from the access point at the camera to where the video is stored and analyzed, is exponential. It is unequivocal that in order to support this growth in network capacity, a new technology supporting the video network business case must be utilized.

SIW: How does millimeter wave technology work for transmitting video surveillance data over the air and what kind of advantages does it offer over traditional mesh networks and similar wireless technologies?

Ben-Bassat: Millimeter wave technology is based on point-to-point high Gigabit capacity links and is very different than other known wireless technologies used for surveillance networks. The technology utilizes narrow beams in a license-free, or lightly licensed, high frequency abundant spectrum. These pencil beams facilitate a significant reduction in interference, and are a major differentiator of this technology. While the vast amounts of available spectrum are essentially the number one contributor to network scalability and facilitated to provide ample bandwidth for these capacity-hungry applications.

The combination of all three millimeter wave technology factors: pencil beams, ample spectrum and non-populated spectrum results in interference-free and interception-resilient connectivity in dynamic network topologies such as daisy chains, ring and mesh networks.

SIW: What do you see as being some of the biggest network connectivity challenges for large video deployments and how can end users going about addressing these issues?

Ben-Bassat: Interference, interference, interference!  As networks densify, interference increases and video quality degrades. A domino effect is in play here.  Another consequential challenge is the ever-increasing demand for capacity – a crucial and dynamic parameter in this fast-moving market.

Faced with these challenges, network operators have no option but to improve network capacity and QoS. This may be achieved through physical network infrastructure upgrades – a time and money resource-consuming task, or by simply upgrading network connectivity with a new technology such as mmWave radios. The latter requires far less resources both in terms of time and money.

SIW: What kind of impact has mobile video (cameras onboard buses, commuter trains, etc.) done to the need for enhanced network connectivity within cities and how can your technology aid in these types of applications?

Ben-Bassat: Mobile video is consumed today in a number of ways. One method is recording on buses via offline downloading to a command center; another is recording on buses, while downloading to a command center at each bus station (semi real-time); and finally there is real-time streaming.

While the first option may be supported by low speed networks, today’s market is trending towards the second (semi real-time) option. This requires high bandwidth networks capable of enabling fast downloads of video recorded on buses. The recorded video must be transmitted through the network to a command center. This mode of video downloading and transmitting necessitates a substantial amount of capacity, and only extremely high and reliable bandwidths are able to meet this scope of demand.

SIW: Are you primarily targeting large, city-wide camera networks with your technology or are there other vertical markets where you will be looking to gain a foothold in North America?

Ben-Bassat: Siklu’s connectivity solutions are ideal for a wide range of vertical markets. These include city-wide surveillance networks, sea ports, airports, campuses, parks, industrial complexes, commercial buildings, utilities and sport arenas.

SIW: What do you think the future of this market will look like given the ways that organizations are looking to leverage big data?  

Ben-Bassat: You have touched an acute market pain point. I believe that as networks densify and video quality improves, video analytics will become a must. Video analytics will be the only way to filter efficiently the desired information from the vast amount of generated data. The essential ingredients for providing big data are high quality networks combined with advanced sensors.

The lack of high quality networks enabling reliable interference-free Gigabit throughput connectivity is today’s bottle-neck and a critical mile-stone to achieving the big data revolution.

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.