The last two years have been pivotal for MOBOTIX, the German IP surveillance manufacturer. In 2016, the company entered into a share transfer agreement with Konica Minolta, a provider of advanced imaging and sensor solutions. More recently, the company has welcomed new CEO Thomas Lausten, who joins MOBOTIX with a wealth of experience from companies including Siemens, ADI Global Distribution and Milestone Systems. The changes have been accompanied by an updated look for the MOBOTIX brand, with a simpler logo and more unified branding across solutions and regions. SourceSecurity.com caught up with CSO Dr. Tristen Haage and CEO Thomas Lausten [pictured left-to-right] to find out what we can expect from the new-look MOBOTIX.

High-quality IP solutions in a commoditised market

With a new CEO and Konica Minolta on board, MOBOTIX is set for expansion on a global scale. But how much growth can we expect for a company like MOBOTIX in an increasingly commoditised surveillance market, where many of the larger players compete on price as a key differentiator? While MOBOTIX respects those players, says Lausten, the German manufacturer wants to tell a different story. Rather than competing as a camera hardware manufacturer, MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software – camera units are just one part of an intelligent system. When MOBOTIX succeeds in telling this story, partners understand that it’s not about the price. "They stop selling boxes,” says Haage, “and start selling IoT devices."

To this end, the company is deliberately moving away from promoting individual products and features, and instead concentrating its efforts on complete vertical market solutions where IoT devices can add the most value. These vertical markets include retail, transportation, perimeter protection and industry – although the list is set to expand with the addition of Konica Minolta’s expertise.

When you look at companies like
MOBOTIX where there are people
who have been on this ride for years,
it’s clear they are passionate people

MOBOTIX has the potential to stand out in these markets; not only because of the company’s advanced IoT and sensor capabilities, but also because of its famous robustness. In challenging environments such as transportation and industry, MOBOTIX devices are ruggedised to withstand motion and shock, all the while providing reliable image quality and detection with fewer cameras. In the retail sector, MOBOTIX is already working on integrations with Point of Sale (POS) technologies, and hopes to add value for end users by partnering with experts in the fields of analytics and facial recognition. As Haage explains, “Driving innovation is not just about finding the best image resolution. It’s about finding new ways to innovate.”

What makes MOBOTIX unique?

Lausten sees MOBOTIX as distinct within the industry. This is due to the unmatched passion and longevity within the MOBOTIX community. “The passion in this company is unique,” says Lausten. “When you look at companies like MOBOTIX where there are people who have been on this ride for years, it’s clear they are passionate people.” The company has kept this enthusiasm from the beginning, through MOBOTIX’s continuing transformation to its new-look incarnation today. “It comes back to what [Dr. Ralf] Hinkel made: A community of partners.”

According to Haage, this enthusiasm boils down to MOBOTIX’s mission to provide integrators with high-quality, smart products: “The people on the sales team appreciate they are not selling a commodity – not just a camera – but a smart IoT device with German quality, and this is what drives people in the company.”

While MOBOTIX is 65% owned by Konica Minolta, with many other shareholders, it remains an independent company
MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software – camera units are just one part of an intelligent system

Developing MOBOTIX on a global scale

Might the majority acquisition by Konica Minolta alter MOBOTIX’s distinct “Made in Germany” DNA? No, says Lausten, who wants to reassure partners. While MOBOTIX is 65% owned by Konica Minolta, with many other shareholders, it remains an independent company. What Konica Minolta brings to the table is a financially strong owner who can advise on technology development. By leveraging MOBOTIX’s existing IP technologies and Konica Minolta’s advanced optical systems, the companies can work together to develop Intelligent solutions for specific vertical markets, including perimeter security and healthcare, according to Lausten.

The challenge is to take what is
already great about MOBOTIX –
proven quality, made in Germany –
and develop this on a global scale

In addition to technology advances, the deal aims to broaden the distribution of MOBOTIX products by leveraging Konica Minolta’s global direct sales network and support systems. Although there are no “open doors” between the two companies, there is ongoing collaboration between Konica Minolta and MOBOTIX channel partners. Konica Minolta has a customer-centric approach and good relationships with end users in Europe and beyond, and can share this experience with MOBOTIX and its partners. While MOBOTIX has traditionally had a headquarters-centric approach, says Haage, the introduction of Thomas Lausten and Konica Minolta allows the company to cater to the individual needs of various regions, including the US.

One might expect this increasingly global focus to mean that MOBOTIX will be varying its approach to products from region to region. On the contrary, explains Lausten, the challenge is to take what is already great about MOBOTIX – proven quality, made in Germany – and develop this on a global scale. Unifying the company’s approach globally is the best way to ensure customers’ needs are met efficiently. “When we do something,” says Lausten, “we do it properly.”

Cybersecurity concerns drive innovation

The company’s focus on innovation and quality is increasingly important in a market beset by cybersecurity concerns. Whereas two years ago end users were choosing products based on price, they are now asking whether devices have a back door to cyber threats. "The biggest concern for C-level people is cybersecurity,” predicts Lausten, “This will be a key driver moving forward."

MOBOTIX's quality-driven focus means the company is well-prepared for this change: One hundred percent of software is programmed in-house, with frequent firmware and software upgrades to fix weak points. In the case of a software reset, this can only be carried out by sending the device back to MOBOTIX, which may seem less convenient from an end-user perspective, but significantly increases the security of the process.

In light of cyber security threats, should users be concerned that MOBOTIX is becoming increasingly open to integrations with other video surveillance partners? The company is aware of the concerns, says Haage, and can therefore take countermeasures. While the market today is based upon open systems, MOBOTIX does not take partnership lightly. By integrating with key players only where there exists a synergy with MOBOTIX’s own technologies, the company can work on new aspects such as IT systems and processes, while taking MOBOTIX’s core products to the next level. “You have to comply with industry trends,” concedes Haage, “but that’s not the whole story.”

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Jeannie Corfield Editorial & Content Manager, SourceSecurity.com

Jeannie is Editorial & Content Manager at SourceSecurity.com, where she keeps up-to-date with the fast-paced security market.

In case you missed it

What’s the next big thing in video image quality?
What’s the next big thing in video image quality?

Superior image quality has been the “holy grail” of the video surveillance business for several years. A transition to 4K images and a race to ever-higher pixel counts have dominated product development conversations for a while now. However, it’s now possible that the tide has turned. These days, data is sometimes more important than image quality, and increasing use of smaller-format mobile devices has helped to make image quality variations moot. As the industry changes, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What’s the next big thing in video image quality (beyond 4K and megapixel)?

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems?