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MIPS 2015: Largest-ever Milestone symposium keeps focus on partners

Published on 12 March, 2015

This year’s 10th anniversary Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) was the largest ever, with 463 participants, including manufacturers, integrators and thought leaders from throughout the industry. Emphasizing Milestone’s “open platform” approach to the market, the 2015 event highlighted successful Milestone end users, new integrations with a variety of manufacturer partners, and a theme of “winning together.”

Keeping Mum on the Canon-Axis acquistion 

Fresh on attendees’ minds at the event, but only mentioned once and then dismissed from discussion, was the pending acquisition of major camera company Axis Communications by Canon, whose European subsidiary acquired Milestone last year. After acknowledging that a lot of attention in the industry has been on the pending Canon-Axis acquisition, Milestone CEO Lars Thinggaard emphasized: “This is an offer, not a purchase yet.”

“We will keep our focus on partners, not on Canon or Axis. You won’t hear me speak about it again”, says Milestone CEO, Lars Thinggaard.

“We will keep our focus on partners, not on Canon or Axis,” he added. “You won’t hear me speak about it again.”

Reflecting on Canon acquisition of Milesone Systems

Less than a year ago, industry attention was focused on Canon’s acquisition of Milestone. Thinggaard filled in some of the back story on that headline-grabbing transaction, which had raised some concerns in the industry at the time about Milestone’s continued commitment to open systems.

Under Canon’s ownership, Milestone is now “backed” by a 200,000-person global Fortune 500 company, Thinggaard said. “Two things were paramount (during the acquisition),” he added. “To protect the Milestone ecosystem was a prerequisite, and second was to protect the open platform. As we learned Canon’s plans for the future, we could have these prerequisites met.” He pointed to Canon’s “long tradition” of owning stand-alone companies. An example is Onyx Graphics, owned by Canon but working independently and with Canon’s customers.

Thinggaard also mentioned Google as an example of a company that both has its own operating system and also works with other players to build open platforms.

“Nothing has changed in how we work with partners,” said Thinggaard. “We are accustomed to working with competing companies for 17 years, so confidentiality is high on our list. This is how we treat all the partners, pre- and post-Canon, nothing has changed.”

Milestone Systems remains an open platfom advocate

“When you get to the Technology Showcase, there are 48 partners exhibiting, and it’s testimony to the open platform,” said Thinggard. Exhibitors at this year’s MIPS Technology Showcase exhibits included camera companies Axis, Bosch, Canon, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Vicon and Arecont Vision. Also on hand were video storage companies (DDN Storage, EMC Corp., Oracle, HP, Quantum, Seneca); video analytics companies (Agent VI, BriefCam, Ipsotek, Mango and Mate, Snap); access control companies (Open Options, Isonas, Keyscan), and other innovative solutions (Razberi Technologies, MicroPower Technologies, and others.)

Tim Palmquist, Milestone’s vice president of the Americas, even joked about the negative publicity that surrounded Canon’s acquisition of Milestone last year, displaying mock-ups of fake tabloid headlines, such as “DEAD Open Platform. Heart-breaking details of SDK final days.”

He then listed the “Five Hallmarks of an Open Platform.” The hallmarks are 1) an application programming interface (API); 2) a software development kit (SDK); 3) a partner-focused program; 4) certification and testing of third party integrations, and 4) demonstrated behaviours (“walking the talk”).

Looking ahead to next year, Kenneth Hune Petersen, Milestone’s new chief sales/marketing officer (CSMO), pledged to invest more in sales and marketing to strengthen how Milestone works with partners. “Expect us to work together with you in a more structured way, with more and better qualified leads,” he said. “Sales and marketing will be more aggressive in hunting business with you. We will increase the number of salespeople and feet on the street.”

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