More crowded aisles and productive conversations continued to set the tone on the second day of ISC West in Las Vegas. No big technology breakthroughs have surfaced, but there is plenty of interest, and some degree of curiosity, about whether (and when) the recent hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning will translate into usable products.
Vertical market solutions
“Yesterday we saw a tremendous amount of traffic in the booth, and today is more of the same,” said Miguel Lazatin, Director, Product and Channel Marketing, Hanwha Techwin America. The layout of the Hanwha Techwin booth is different this year, although the “footprint” is the same size. “We lessened the number of kiosks within the booth, which allows for better flow, and the ability to accommodate more customers and do the demonstrations more effectively and focus more on product solutions,” Lazatin adds.
“We are introducing products in new categories for Hanwha Techwin,” Lazatin says. “We have new thermal cameras, new stainless steel cameras, new multi-sensor cameras, as well as new mobile products. We are expanding our product set to address new applications and new markets.” The new products are tailored and specific solutions for those new markets, which include food processing plants, oil refineries and areas where Hanwha Techwin has not played in the past.
Although there is a lot of talk about deep learning and artificial intelligence at this year’s show, there don’t appear to be a lot of actual products being introduced in those categories. Companies of all shapes and sizes are embracing the new buzzwords, leaving some attendees unsure how these new ideas — or marketing concepts? — fit into the “real world.”
Hanwha Techwin America lessened the number of kiosks within the booth, which allows for better flow
Meeting customer needs with AI
A key to leveraging the value of new technologies such as AI and deep learning is to get beyond the buzzwords and position the new capabilities in the context of actual end user benefits such as operation efficiency and automation, says Stuart Rawling, Director of Global Business Development, Pelco by Schneider Electric. “The customer doesn’t care about buzzwords, he just wants to know what are the benefits? What solutions are we offering?” At the show, Pelco announced a new alliance with IBM that will leverage Big Blue’s advanced knowledge of deep learning and analytics, and combine it with Pelco’s VideoExpert video management system (VMS). “We have a version of that integration at the show, but the real news is that we are merging our development plans to solve specific use case problems,” says Rawling.
Video analytics in the cloud
Cloud applications are also gaining traction, including the Avigilon Blue cloud platform. “It allows integrators to manage everything from one easy, central site,” says Willem Ryan, Avigilon’s Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications. “They can respond quicker and with knowledge of what the system is doing.” Video analytics are built in as an inherent part of our solution. Any IP cameras — Avigilon or ONVIF-conformant — become equipped with analytics when they are connected to the Blue platform. A new announcement at the show is Avigilon’s ACC System Health Monitoring, a new service added to the Blue platform. Health monitoring enables integrators to be more proactive in their service and keep systems running smoothly.
“Cloud allows you to scale how you can manage systems and service systems rather than having to go on site to upgrade systems,” says Ryan. “People think it’s a buzzword, but really it’s a means to an end to make systems more secure, more efficient, more responsive. We’re putting a lot of investment in it.”
A new announcement at the show is Avigilon’s ACC System Health Monitoring, a new service added to the Blue platform
Building RMR for customers
The cloud also enables integrators to build more recurring monthly revenue (RMR). A cloud approach that encompasses products and ongoing service ensures that an integrator continues to “touch” customers. “For us, they can package this around service in a new way,” says Ryan. “The customer doesn’t have to worry about a large capital expense in the beginning. And as new capabilities come along, they can be added. So it becomes a way to sell a package around their company, service and products; but less about the products and more about a platform that allows them to sell their [integration] company in a new way. What we’re hearing is, it’s a change in mindset, and you need buy-in from the top of the organisation. And the sales people have to get used to selling in a different way. It’s going to take time, and our industry needs to evolve. Customers love the flexibility. And integrators need stickier customers and better profit margins.”
Avigilon also continues to upgrade its Appearance Search product to enable faster review of stored video. Now a search for video related to an investigation can begin with a physical description of a person (rather than using a reference image as a starting point in the search).
There’s one more day for attendees to roam the aisles of ISC West in search of new and useful technologies. Foot traffic historically drops off on the final day, but that just leaves more quality time for interaction among those staying until the bitter end. Count me among that group, and I will have much more to report after the show ends.