360 Vision Technology tell us how IP CCTV will develop in the future.

360 Vision Technology Review.

One the things we were hoping to achieve at IFSEC this year was to get some feedback from the exhibitors and leading manufacturers on the future of IP CCTV and what it holds for installers and end users alike.

Mark Rees is the regional sales director of 360 vision technology. He has been associated with the security industry for over 20 years. So Integrated CCTV took the opportunity to ask Mark some questions about how he sees the CCTV industry developing over the next 5 years , what we all have have in store and what IP cameras and megapixel camera solutions will mean for all of us in the future.

The interview.


Mark, what do you see as the most important product to have effected our industry in the last 10years?

“Probably the DVR……….it allowed high quality images to be stored in a way that did not degrade over time (as with tape) but fundamentally, it allowed individual scheduling of cameras based on priority….this is important when the application requires a mixture of static and PTZ/Dome cameras because additional ips may be required for the moving cameras in order to produce meaningful recorded data………plus, we are seeing the importance of DVR/NVR capabilities in other areas of the system such as PTZ control, remote diagnostics/maintenance and also video intelligence through analytics, all of which benefit and enhance the products we make”.

When it comes to product development do 360 vision lead or do they prefer to follow the market trends?

“Probably a bit of both!!! We developed the worlds first truly serviceable product (Clip2Fit) with our dome products…….this completely changed the perception of customers and end users alike in that we wanted to empower the installer with the ability to repair or maintain PTZ dome products right out there in the field……something that previously (even for us) meant a return to factory scenario………… we have followed that philosophy even through to 2010 where our dome remains still the only truly installer repairable product in the industry……. but in other areas, I guess we monitor the market, spot the trends and with us having our own in-house Design, Software, Production and Technical staff, we can very quickly bring a ‘trend’ product to market, often with the ‘360 twist’ !!! an example is our newly launched Vision IRDome……. answering the common problem of IR requirements on PTZ Domes, we haven’t launched the first IR Dome, but we have put over 20+ years of Dome manufacturing experience and knowledge into manufacturing a great product that is backed with our quality and reliability standards”.

How has the downturn focused your strategy over the last two years?

We have taken our core strategy, Customer Service, and really pushed that through our customer base………..when times are tough, it is not always about the cheapest price but bottom line profit and customers enjoy the ‘extras’ we can provide that effectively add the few extra digits on the bottom line…………we actually took on additional Technical Staff to answer the need for commissioning and training that we offer, as well as providing future assistance for the new products we are launching……… we are lucky in that, as a privately owned UK based manufacturer, everything was under our own control and we have emerged probably stronger and more efficient than when we entered the recession.”

What sort of growth do you expect to see as we emerge from these difficult times  ?

“Believe it or not, we still saw double digit growth through 2009/10 which I think is testament to the strength and quality of our products and services…………with new products launching (and they are the best products we have ever produced!) then we have high hopes of replicating that feat for 2010/11″

Is the inevitable move to  IP camera solutions  good for our industry or is it just playing into the hands of the big IT integrators?

“I think that is a question for the installation industry really…………..we see smart, switched on independent installers either re-training in IT or employing IT specialists and these installers will always be favourable to win Security Projects than an IT organisation that is entering into the Security Industry………… I also think that Manufacturers and Suppliers need to take responsibility to ensure that training and support is paramount in the transition to IP…..which is inevitable” !

The predator camera has taken off in a big way …you must be very proud and pleased…..? did you have personnel input into the development of the product?

“I wish I could take some credit on this one, because it is simply the best product we have ever made! However, no, our MD, Phil Burton, locked himself away for around 6 months and brought this product to life……….we launched the product back in January and so far we have had wonderful success with it……….helped by very low lead times to supply and also UK support and back up” !!

Megapixel or HD or is it going to be both?

“My personal opinion is that HD would be the best way to gain volume acceptance because people ‘get’ the concept of HD through the domestic market i.e. Sky HD, HD Ready TV’s etc…….. mention megapixel and most people mist over as they comprehend the myriad of megapixel digits and options………… plain and simple, high quality images sell systems and if we can produce HD images that are affordable, installable and understandable then I think the transition will happen quicker……… I heard recently about an emerging technology called HDCCTV where HD images are sent over existing coax cable……this is exciting because it means little disruption to existing infrastructure but beneficial enhancements to the system…..end users appreciate upgrades at minimal cost & disruption”!!!

These cameras and the associated storage is still quite expensive do you see prices coming down in the near future?

“Of course…..look at HDD prices alone……problem is, there is a phase out period for manufacturers on current technology before the transition to the new technology……both in terms of support and also stocks….. so, mass production in volume reduces prices once the demand has been created”…….

Will there be any analogue cameras around in 5 years time?

“That question was asked 5 years ago as well!!! I think there will be an analogue presence in part, even if only for service supply, but I really do anticipate ip doing to analogue what dvrs did to vcr’s” !

DVRs have been a big part of 360 vision sales do you see them being replaced by CCTV software solutions in the near future?

“Take a look at most new IP based cameras and you will see some form of on board storage – whether it is an IP camera or encoder, typically support for Compact Flash or SD cards is becoming more and more prevalent……we are embarking on a very exciting project with one of our Technology Partners, March Networks, whereby we are fitting a full hard drive into the camera head ! the camera then becomes both camera and NVR all in one and with mirror/shadow archiving, then the concerns over network failure is taken away, because the camera is the intelligence…………add in analytics and really, all you need is a software front end to draw everything together to view and control”…………

How did your association with March Networks come about will it help you increase sales both here and abroad?

“Some years back, I met with their UK Sales guy who wanted to integrate one of our domes into their analogue DVR………we spent some time with their Technical guys and vice versa and it was quickly apparent that both companies could benefit from each others strengths and products…..we are both customer and supplier to each other! It has meant that new exciting products can be developed that utilise both companies skills and that offers the installer some major unique products to go to market with (such as the HD Predator seen at IFSEC)”

Analytics….your thoughts on generating alarms to central stations using this technology?

“Analytics are becoming more powerful and accurate – the autotracking analytic that March Networks have developed for our Predator and Dome products is amazing and really shows where the benefit is to the end user operator…….for central stations, to be presented with the live footage of a camera automatically tracking something or someone is very powerful, it leaves the central station operative with a pair of hands to engage audio challenges, telephone assistance and any other activity that would normally be paused whilst he/she moves the remote PTZ camera around……… I still think analytics should be complementary though in an alarmed environment……..utilising analytics and physical alarms can allow for ‘double knock’ safety and reliability”.

Where do you want 360 vision to be in 5 years time?

“Looking back at the last 5 years probably gives an insight into the direction we are heading……….with a great in-house team combined with great Technology partners, then I would like to think that we would be enhancing existing technologies and continually developing technologies for the future………..and still having fun”!

Conclusion.

Integrated CCTV would like to thank Mark for his time and insight, a very interesting look into the future and how the IP CCTV market place will develop. From what we have just heard it is very apparent 360 vision technology will be at the forefront of IP CCTV and innovation for many years to come.

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