Jos Beernink, VP EMEA, Milestone Systems, looks at the role of open platform video technology to create best-of-breed solutions capable of meeting the evolving threat landscape of tomorrow
The world is changing fast. The video platforms we build for today must be advanced enough to meet the increasing needs of modern society now and must also have the versatility to step up to the evolving challenges of tomorrow. As businesses transition into a new era of security, the organisational requirements surrounding digital transformation lead to systems which are more feature-rich yet complex to administer than ever before.
Businesses are not the only entities undergoing a period of evolution. The threats they face may be evolving even faster. It is no longer possible to know one’s enemy, because attacks can come from anywhere at any time – and, in many cases, may remain undetected until it is already too late. The solution is to embrace platforms which can move at a fast pace, adapting to meet this new threat landscape, piecing together disparate technology to create a united and powerful whole.
Opening new possibilities
Open platforms can offer the agility to meet a moving target, and more besides: the combination of powerful and flexible software solutions and innovative end-point hardware makes an open approach one of the most potent and pragmatic options available in the security space. The demands of digital transformation are rarely met by off-the-shelf solutions; the complexity presented by modern organisational requirements can only be addressed by a bespoke, open installation.
At Milestone we recognize the importance of an open approach. Every security system installation is unique, and every customer’s needs are different. Open platform Video Management Software (VMS) is scalable and allows for the integration of the technologies and software which make customized, comprehensive, and bespoke security systems possible.
Seamless interoperability between hardware and software, and the ability to build AI-driven and completely custom features into the platform, means open platforms can uniquely meet users’ needs – and offer the potential for growth and adaptation should those needs change within the system’s lifespan.
Milestone has built its XProtect VMS around these principles. XProtect is a robust open platform which can accommodate thousands of cameras and other devices, allowing integrators and users to create a surveillance system which draws from diverse technology – including Axis extensive catalogue of open-platform cameras – without adding complexity or threatening interoperability.
Benefits for systems integrators
Open platforms truly are a game changer. Their flexibility offers significant benefits to large-scale projects and smaller installations alike. Both benefit from a consistent, intuitive, and manageable interface regardless of the end-point hardware in use, and both can operate with the knowledge that future upgrades will be straightforward.
Consider a city-wide surveillance project. Embracing an open platform would allow system designers to select – for instance – Axis cameras for their reliability, quality and efficiency, Milestone XProtect for its seamless integration and straightforward interface, and a third-party analytics solution like BriefCam tailor-made to suit the specific needs of city surveillance. There is no need to force-fit unsuitable hardware to maintain compatibility; the flexibility of open platforms invites the design of the best possible solution.
Smoothing the upgrade path
Of course, it is vital to stay ahead of new threats. As additional areas or zones are added to the surveillance net, an open platform VMS allows integrators to increase the number of cameras and sensors in the system, safe in the knowledge that fresh hardware will be compatible and that its addition will not disrupt the operation of existing equipment.
If new functionality is required, it can be built or adapted to specifically support its target platform. Developers might add features to a VMS, improving its functionality, or make the most of the advanced processing of modern open camera hardware, for example, to run analytics, video processing, or other applications directly on the edge.
In many cases, installers can employ or tweak open platform solutions already developed by others. As an open platform evolves, its abilities can evolve with it – and the spirit of collaboration and communication fostered by open platform development means improvements made in one place can be transferred to another.
Beating the budget through smart enhancements
Budgetary constraints can make it difficult to create or install the ideal solution without compromise. School administrators, for example, must often deliver facility-wide results on a shoestring budget – and security upgrades, despite their undoubted importance, can become lost in the shuffle. Safety is a top priority in schools but meeting that goal without the flexibility of an open platform may prove to be prohibitively costly or difficult.
An open platform solution benefits from heavy growth potential. XProtect supports a vast array of existing camera, server, and network hardware, and has been tested for integration compatibility against thousands of individual camera models. This means one’s current installation does not necessarily need to be decommissioned, and that piecemeal improvements can be made over time as budget allows. Open platform technology advocates like Axis and Milestone collaborate with numerous technology partners, and these trusted relationships allow users running a VMS like XProtect to select from a wide range of technology and software innovations, available from multiple vendors at a wide range of price points.
Open platforms are also, often, accompanied by an openness and transparency surrounding pricing. Milestone’s licensing model is simple: one device, one license, one cost. This makes scaling up a solution simple. Administrators can, for example, add an unlimited number of recording servers to most XProtect products, and these can be managed remotely. The key is that scaling up does not have to mean spending more. An open platform is ready to grow at the pace that budgets allow.
The importance of open platforms
Openness is more than a concept. It’s a core tenet of tomorrow's hardware and software developments, one which enhances innovation, efficiency, scalability, and adaptability, helping to combat unusual and unpredictable threats while protecting fragile budgets.
Whether businesses are looking for a refresh, a new integration, or a complete overhaul of their security infrastructure, an open platform provides security solutions which suit. And by working with Milestone and Axis, people, businesses and societies are empowered by data-driven video technology which safeguards everyday moments today, tomorrow, and beyond.
About Axis OPEN
OPEN a world of Opportunity, Connection and Discovery
Axis OPEN is a new event concept to showcase how technology is driving innovation in security, safety, and operational efficiency. The OPEN events aim to open new opportunities for visitors, facilitate connection with wider industry leaders and to enable discovery of the challenges and opportunities arising from the key trends in the security industry.