Articles by Peter McKee
If a security or video surveillance / CCTV system isn’t working, who’s to blame? Or more to the point, what’s to blame? Is the problem the malfunction of a specific device on the edge of the IP network, or is it a network or other system failure? How can an end user or dealer / installer know what the problem is? How can a camera manufacturer know if a call to their overworked tech support department is really about the manufacturer’s camera or caused by some other system issue? Peter McKee, co-founder of CRAS Systems, says that the industry’s accelerating transition to IP networking makes answering these questions more complicated and more critical than ever. This article will look at how cloud-based proactive health and performance monitoring can answer these questions. Network diagnostic tools are familiar in the IT community, but they do not address the specialised needs of keeping a physical security system in operation. A health and performance monitoring system geared specifically to the physical security marketplace can benefit end users, dealer / integrators and manufacturers alike. Beyond just monitoring the network, software can now monitor each IP device on the network, each camera, switch or storage device at the sensor level. Furthermore, health and performance monitoring systems can provide manufacturers accurate and reliable data on the performance of their products, including real metrics and feedback about equipment operating in the field and directing immediate attention to any common problems to be addressed. Working with manufacturers, performance monitoring software can be preconfigured to monitor a specific supplier’s products, including multiple variables and functionalities. Monitoring IP edge devices There is a large and rapidly growing “crossover” element in today’s physical security market. Security dealers whose success has historically been anchored in analogue technologies are becoming more active in the high-tech and complicated world of computer and network-based technologies that drive new IP systems. Meanwhile, many in the IT community are “crossing over” into the realm of IP surveillance and CCTV systems as a way to expand their businesses. More integrators are under pressure to install ever-more-complicated systems demanded by customers despite an excessive amount of time required to maintain and support these systems. Troubleshooting problems of IP systems can be a huge challenge. There is more trust in a system that incorporates a comprehensive health check as a standard feature A software program, installed at the server level and communicating with secure offsite servers, can monitor operation of the network and also the actual physical devices themselves. Problems are not always as simple as knowing whether a device / camera is on or off. A camera might be partially working or appear to be working because there is an image. However, the camera may not be functioning fully; for example, it may not be recording to the storage device at the specified times or based on a preconfigured event. For security systems, partial functionality is not good enough. Without real-time health monitoring, such failures of a system component may be discovered only after a requested image, alarm or video sequence proves to be missing or not recorded. A frustrated and disappointed end user may complain to a disillusioned installer whose otherwise sound relationship with a customer has been undermined. New business and referrals could be at risk. When a system fails to record an alarm situation or incident, it has historically been difficult to ascertain quickly and effectively which component of the system has malfunctioned. The classic situation is that the camera manufacturer gets the support call; if there is no image, the easy assumption is that the camera is at fault. However, the real fault might lie in the switch or in other software on the system, or a combination of factors. The complexity makes it time-consuming for support technicians, whether from a manufacturer or an integrator, to arrive at a solution. Sometimes finger-pointing can ensue. Device health monitoring at a sensor level solves such problems. Another opportunity of health and performance monitoring systems is the ability to offer proactive as well as reactive support. This means giving customers/end users access to the tools to facilitate self-help in lieu of support calls. Customer expectations and communication preferences are changing. Many customers prefer to access a knowledge base to use as a reference and forum without having to go through tech support. Many customers are asking for a proactive outbound notification approach and interactive proactive communication. Preventing a situation keeps it from becoming a problem. Simplifying technical support challenges A health and performance monitoring system can radically improve the efficiency of IP security systems for end users and dealer / integrators, while also drastically decreasing the time manufacturers and suppliers spend on support calls. With the help of health monitoring systems, even integrators with less technical know-how can compete in the new high-tech environment. There are fewer unknowns and variables, and there is more trust in a system that incorporates a comprehensive health check as a standard feature. With the help of health monitoring systems, even integrators with less technical know-how can compete in the new high-tech environment Technical resources are freed up to focus on project sales and management rather than technical support. There’s no need to talk an end user customer through a variety of possible fixes, for example, because the integrator has a window into how each component in the system is functioning in real-time. The support function is simplified to the point that first-line support techs can identify any problem quickly and efficiently. For manufacturers, there are new capabilities for technical support. Costs of telephone-based tech support include thousands of hours of consulting time, conferences and operations research to maximise service at reasonable cost. Manufacturers are striving to achieve a better tech support cost ratio, and performance monitoring provides a useful new tool. Making the complex more transparent The critical importance of physical security to the enterprise requires rapid response to system downtime, whatever the cause. Dealer / installers build their business on satisfied customers, so they need a tool to facilitate their responsiveness. Manufacturers need to streamline support processes and tell at a glance if their products are at fault. Secure offsite server-based proactive health and performance monitoring can meet these needs and make performance of today’s complex IP systems more transparent than ever.
Veracity celebrated its 10th anniversary in October, and has grown from 3 to 50 staff with four offices across the UK & US Veracity, a leading provider of innovative, intelligent solutions that solve real-world IP video challenges in transmission, storage and display, has announced an expansion of its sales team to help it meet increased demand from international customers and partners. Previous role & responsibilities Veracity welcomes Geoff Gritton, an experienced sales executive as part of an expansion of its UK sales team. Gritton is a highly regarded industry veteran with a 20 year track record of sales expertise including senior roles at IndigoVision and Verint. “Geoff has a terrific sales track record with major video surveillance manufacturers and is well-known and highly respected throughout our industry,” says Alastair McLeod, Veracity Group CEO, “He will be yet another huge asset to our team and we are all really excited about Geoff joining us, as he can take us into a whole new range of projects and customers due to his background and experience.” Gritton’s appointment compliments Peter McKee who was appointed as Director of Business Development for Europe last month. Veracity is also in the final stages of hiring two additional staff for its engineering team and an additional member for both its sales support and design teams. Veracity, which celebrated its 10 year anniversary in October, has grown from three to fifty staff with four offices across the UK and US with products sold into more than 40 countries. Through a network of international distributors and high profile OEM agreements including Samsung Techwin and Axis Communications, Veracity has enjoyed growth of roughly 30% per annum over the last 3 years and is on target to exceed that figure during 2015. Invested heavily in EMEA sales expansion “We’re in our tenth straight year of profitable growth and have built up a truly excellent and hard-working team over these years. Veracity has invested heavily in EMEA sales expansion recently with key people now based in France, Germany and the Middle East.” “We’ll be launching a lot of new products in 2016 within all three areas of transmission, storage and display. We are looking forward to another year of strong growth, with surveillance storage shaping up to be the key growth area for us,” McLeod adds. Scott Sereboff, Global Sales Director and CEO of Veracity’s US subsidiary added, “We now have a really talented and experienced team covering UK and EMEA sales, which is exactly what we need for the large surveillance storage projects we get involved in due to the international nature of the industry partnerships we have developed. Geoff will fit in perfectly with the rest of our team and I know he will be very successful in providing customers with exactly what they need.”
Peter McKee brings over 15 years' of experience in IP based security to driveVeracity's growth across Europe Veracity, a leading provider of innovative, intelligent solutions that solve real-world IP video challenges in transmission, storage and display, has announced the appointment of Peter McKee as Regional Business Development Manager, Europe to continue its strategy of growth across the region. IP security expertise McKee, a highly regarded and experienced executive with over 15 years’ within the IP based security industry joins following senior roles at MOBOTIX, Arecont Vision and CRAS Systems. During his time with MOBOTIX, McKee was responsible for establishing and developing a pan-Global channel partner and distribution network and delivering continual growth within exciting new product areas and solution concepts. “Peter is vastly experienced and is very well respected throughout the industry which we believe is a perfect complement to help us continue to grow our business across Europe,” comments Alastair McLeod, Group CEO for Veracity, “The industry is going through a period of considerable change with innovative new technologies set to help customers solve challenges whilst allowing solution providers to deliver profitable products and services. Peter as part of the Veracity team is a valuable asset to help our community to innovate and integrate our products into their portfolios and unlock new prospects.” Based in Germany Peter will be based at offices near Kaiserslautern in Germany and serve as a European business development manager across Veracity’s broad range of transmission, storage and display products. “Veracity has built a great reputation for solving challenging issues with innovative products that deliver tangible benefits for the IP based security and surveillance industry and it is a great pleasure to join such a respected and forward thinking company who share my passion for bringing new solutions to the market,” says McKee, “Our current and potential partners across the region are keen to find new ways to deliver highly differentiated solutions and Veracity products such as its IP camera installation tools, status monitoring, COLDSTORE storage and TRINITY platform epitomises the key values of innovation, simplicity and integrity that I’m keen to bring to a wider market.”