Milestone System held its annual Milestone Community Days (MIPS) in March 2019. The event was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and saw nearly 1000 partners and customers from EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) attending to hear the latest developments from Milestone and many of its partners who exhibited at the event.
There was too much going on at the event to report on everything, but in this article we highlight a few of the notable announcements Malou Toft, Milestone’s vice president of EMEA spoke to Hi-Tech Security Solutions about.
Before getting onto the Milestone announcements from MIPS, it’s worth taking note of the keynote presentation by futurist Brian Solis (www.briansolis.com). Solis presented a keynote focusing on Digital Darwinism. The presentation touched all the important buzzwords going around these days, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, innovation, disruption and so on.
What Solis did differently, was that he put all the buzzwords into context, integrated them and made them all relevant to today’s rapidly changing world. While two of the greatest disrupters today are AI and machine learning, these are also two of the greatest drivers of innovation today. With these as a foundation, Solis explained that effectively balancing business as usual and disrupting that business with new innovations is the key to future success.
It’s normal, Solis said, that companies and industries ride on their successes of the past, and that is good. However, you can’t ignore the changes that are happening in front of us – riding on the past without innovating for the future leads to ‘Kodak moment’ where you completely lose the plot and are made irrelevant when the world changes.
Innovation and understanding the future of your market is therefore the key to longevity. Most importantly, he said, is to understand that innovation is constant. Uber may have seemed to appear overnight, but there was a long development and growth period before it became an overnight success.
Solis suggested companies need to build disruption into their business models to ensure continued innovation in your space and to ensure you remain relevant. More specifically, to highlight that disruption is not simply a marketing idea, but critical to the future of every business, he noted: Disruption is a gift you receive or give someone else.
The full keynote with far more information from Solis can be watched at www.securitysa.com/*MIPS2019_1 (redirects to https://www.milestonesys.com/live/emea-brian-solis/).
Supporting the open community
Milestone has always been an open platform that partners with a variety of companies in the security industry and beyond to deliver value to the end customer. This openness and focus on community was further augmented at the MIPS conference.
In her presentation, Malou Toft noted that power is the product of innovation and reach, and while a company like Milestone is continually innovating, its community is the mechanism through which it reaches users and empowers them to achieve their business goals. Currently there are over 200 000 installations of Milestone software around the world, most of which are enhanced by additional value-adding products from its community of partners. “Reach is powerful when combined with innovation,” said Toft.
To support this community approach, a major focus of the conference was the launch of Milestone Marketplace. The Milestone Marketplace is the equivalent of an online store where partners can market their Milestone solutions to thousands of partners, integrators and customers. The market is not only a place to sell software, but also the associated services and hardware designed around the platform, as well as a source for additional information, like installation guides etc.
After some 20 years of growing its network across the globe, the Milestone Marketplace makes what is potentially the widest network in the industry available to large and small partners. This means partners who develop add-on products to the platform can now market themselves to potential customers and partners around the globe. At the time of the conference there were already 150 partner solutions available in Marketplace, less than two months after its launch.
A path to cloud
No event dealing with technology could ignore the impact cloud computing has, is and will have over the next few years. Toft says that while Milestone has catered for onsite solutions in the past, it is also helping customers make the transition to the cloud in a phased manner.
The company, along with its parent, Canon, launched Arcules as a ‘cloud first’ approach to intelligent video. This is the disruption Solis spoke about in action as Arcules may be ahead of the pack as a cloud-based solution. Toft notes that Milestone realises that all companies cannot simply switch to cloud services immediately and Milestone is working with its community to create a hybrid approach where some cloud and some onsite services are integrated to deliver the optimal solution.
Milestone is ‘deconstructing’ its management platform to create a new architecture in which customers will be able to build the solution they require via ‘building blocks’. These building blocks will allow companies to choose a hybrid cloud and onsite approach that meets their requirements today, but which can evolve as time goes on and their needs change. Freedom to choose the solution that best suits your needs is the key to the company.
Technology and ethics
As a surveillance leader, Milestone has also taken the ethical lead by highlighting the concerns many have about privacy and confidentiality in today’s world of technology and AI enhancements. The company will be including a new ‘Copenhagen Clause’ in its end-user licensing agreements to support the ‘responsible use of technology’.
Technology can’t tell the difference between good and bad. It is therefore imperative that those creating and using technology ensure it is used ethically and responsibly. The questions Milestone will ask in future when selling its solutions include: Who do we sell to? Who do we partner with? And, what is our technology used for?
The Copenhagen clause is based on the Copenhagen Letter, a document published in 2017. It has been signed by over 5000 people at the time of writing. The letter calls for “organisations to consider the impact of technology on humans ahead of what it could potentially do for their business or profits”.
The idea of responsible use of technology will see Milestone and others joining the move from “human-centred design to humanity-centred design”. The original Copenhagen Letter can be found and signed at www.copenhagenletter.org
To view Toft’s presentation, readers can go to www.securitysa.com/*MIPS2019_2 (redirects to https://www.milestonesys.com/live/emea-malou-toft/).
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