An expert with over two decades of experience in the enterprise software and networking industry, Milestone Systems has been a part of his DNA since 2011. He was running the local business until 2016 driving India sales growth by 40% YoY before moving on to Allied Telesis, a network infrastructure, and telecommunications company. Sandesh Kaup returned to Milestone recently, taking over as its Country Manager for India and the SAARC region. In an interview with Voice&Data, he talks about the evolving role of video technologies in the post-pandemic normal. Excerpt:
How will video technology play a key role in the next normal?
As the world and economic activities begin to reopen, we are seeing faster demand and adoption of video technology, especially video security. According to 6Wresearch, India Video Surveillance Market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 16.6% by 2026.
In fact, with the pandemic taking center stage, video has evolved and taken on a bigger role in the fight. Hence, we expect a higher demand coming in from the healthcare sector. For example, last year, the Maharashtra government had made CCTV mandatory in all the COVID-19 wards and the Delhi government instructed its Public Works Department (PWD) to equip CCTV cameras in COVID-19 wards of all Corona virus-designated hospitals in New Delhi.
An open video management system (VMS) allows easy integration with new technologies such as thermal imaging cameras, fall and sound detection analytics so frontline workers can respond quickly without having to physically be near the patients all the time. Besides, the importance of video will be accentuated across all sectors, when social distancing becomes a thing we learn to live with. As measures are relaxed, public safety is becoming paramount. Workplaces will need to have safe distancing measures in place as in common public areas such as cafes, entertainment zones, and retail malls. This is where the power of video can be utilized and integrated with tech solutions such as people counting and access control systems. There is no doubt that video technology will enable the next normal.
Video technology with advanced analytics is one of the most efficient tools to ensure business continuity and help companies prepare for future challenges.
By combining video with audio, health workers can be informed of a cry of distress and respond quickly. This relieves manpower from an already strained healthcare system.
How can video technology aid in pandemic response? Which sectors will see adoption?
Video technology with advanced analytics is one of the most efficient tools to ensure business continuity and help companies prepare for future challenges. The key sectors that will see adoption include healthcare, retail, education, and transportation. It will also play an important role in making cities safer.
When the risk of contagious transmission is high, video can be integrated with AI to send analytic notifications, for example, if a patient has had a fall or is experiencing breathing difficulties. Also, by combining video with audio, health workers can be informed of a cry of distress and respond quickly. This relieves manpower from an already strained healthcare system and can help keep a continuous eye on patients. To maintain patient privacy, video can also be combined with privacy masking.
As more physical stores re-open, adherence to social distancing is critical to reducing the likelihood of viral transmissions in the retail sector. Through video, crowd control can be better managed when combined with frontline security. With a proper video strategy, video can help businesses control queues, and even manage the better distribution of products by measuring footfalls.
Video can also be used to connect various remote sites together for video management purposes. Coupled with intelligent analytics, video can be applied to flood detection, manage traffic control, and as mentioned previously, crowd detection and safety.
On the education front, the Government of India and organizations have put together policy frameworks to sensitize and educate the educational sector regarding the importance of security and safety measures. Cameras can be placed in common areas such as cafeterias, libraries, outside washrooms connected to audio systems that provide alerts or announcements to avoid any crowding by students.
While lockdown measures have started to ease, governments must still ensure that citizens do not breach non-essential travel restrictions outside of their local or approved regions. Video technologies such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) capabilities help to ensure that errant travelers can be identified when required and the same technology can be used to control traffic flow on roads. It can play a major role in the transportation sector.
How will innovation and integration lead to business growth?
Milestone’s video solutions are sold through our channel partners, providing us with great scalability and we are continuously adapting the way we do business to fit market conditions and customer needs. Our focus on open platform VMS connects our channel and technology partners to each other so they can build best-of-breed video solutions. This is done through Milestone’s Marketplace, which is developed around the idea of growing together with our partners.
Cloud solutions are also an integrated part of our offering and business model. Our hybrid cloud solution offers more deployment options, supporting our end-customers preferences and empowering our partners to deliver solutions that directly address a need.
AI will continue to augment security cameras – equipping them with digital brains to match their eyes and enabling systems to analyze live and recorded video.
Video technology with VMS will be integral to the Smart City mission and can be invaluable to governments that are looking to control and mitigate the detrimental effects of the pandemic.
In addition to innovation, we also believe that companies who use technology responsibly will enjoy good business growth. As an industry player, we take the responsible use of technology very seriously as stated in the Copenhagen Letter. We encourage all our partners and end-users to respect local law regarding data protection and data privacy. It is for this reason that we added the Copenhagen Clause to our software licensing agreements to encourage those that use its software to do so responsibly.
How is video technology helping government authorities in monitoring and managing cities in the times of pandemics?
Video technology with VMS will be integral to the Government of India’s Smart City mission and can be invaluable to governments that are looking to control and mitigate the detrimental effects of the pandemic. In the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia, for example, the authorities made it a point to upgrade their video network by integrating it with a video management software platform that had an open architecture. It allowed them to integrate sensors from different manufacturers. This drastically cut down the incident response times and provided post-event investigations, crucial during a pandemic as well as a security situation.
Similarly, in Calgary, Canada, the authorities decided to use a video management software platform to replace their legacy video systems, which had 1,800 cameras and 300 Network Video Recorders (NVRs) in many locations that were not connected to a centralized operation. This allowed them to have a unified proactive solution to deal with incidents at multiple sites.
Similarly, the Government of India is concentrating on safeguarding people and is keen on safe cities. All critical infrastructure that the government is currently undertaking, for example, the new Parliament building, is seeing huge investments for security. Going forward, building a video network platform with open-source architecture can pay huge dividends in a country with 1.3 billion people.
How are AI, IoT, analytics, and other cutting-edge technologies getting integrated into the video? What is the real advantage?
As cameras and sensors become more advanced and emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) become comprehensively integrated with video management systems, video technology is no longer confined to the security sector but is being used to add value right across enterprises and the public sectors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to augment security cameras – equipping them with digital brains to match their eyes and enabling systems to analyze live and recorded video in greater volumes, but with less human intervention. Behavior analysis and proactive insights are already turning passive cameras into active assets, adding value in areas such as retail, crime prevention, and workspace management. With an increasing number of connected IoT devices and the large number of datasets being produced, video analytics will accelerate the automation of large volumes of unstructured data to generate actionable insights and unlock business value.
With reference to the pandemic, in open spaces, for example, cameras operating on an advanced VMS can pick up patterns of people’s movement in a hot zone or near a hospital or camp that is a containment zone. It can track anyone entering or exiting via alerts. Airports can deploy thermal cameras to scan crowds for people who are running a temperature, which then alerts the authorities on-site through their audio systems. It can ensure safe distancing is maintained while check-in or ticketing and ensure people are always wearing their masks.
While the advantages of VMS are immense, key benefits include better crowd management, social distancing, reduction of theft, and prevention of losses. It also helps in increasing staff safety, efficient daily operations, better RoI, lower costs, higher scalability, and providing increased support to security personnel.
Kaup is Country Manager, India & SAARC region, Milestone Systems