Milestone Systems, with U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore., is celebrating 25 years of providing the security industry with its open platform video management software (VMS).
The Danish-based company was founded in 1998 by engineers John Blem and Henrik Friborg Jacobsen. The pair started the business from a basement and had approximately $11,500 in seed funding. Today, Milestone has annual revenues over $140 million and employs more than 1,200 people globally.
The first version of XProtect, the company’s core product, was sold in 2002 in Canada. Since then, Milestone’s video technology products have been deployed in more than 500,000 security installations through a network of distributors and resellers.
Over the years, Milestone has played an important role in creating software that is based on an open platform, free from propriety hurdles. The company emerged during the transition from analog to IP cameras, which has enabled Milestone to build a reliable, open platform upon which third-party technology partners can create add-on applications.
The company’s products are used by a variety of end users, from airports to cities to hospitals to many others — virtually all industries use video technology software to protect people and assets and optimize workflows. XProtect can be integrated with the vast majority of cameras, sensors and other security devices.
Beginning in 2003, Milestone expanded its footprint beyond its Brondby, Denmark, headquarters on the outskirts of Copenhagen. The company now has a presence in 26 locations around the globe, including offices in the U.S., Singapore, Bulgaria, Mexico, Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates.
For Milestone Systems CEO Thomas Jensen, celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary provides an opportunity to consider how far the company has come — and what the coming decades will bring.
“During the early 2000s, together with three or four other companies, we revolutionized the security industry by leading the transformation from analog to IP (digital) technology,” Jensen said. “Looking ahead, we are preparing to innovate again. We see a future in which data-driven video technology is a game-changer that will help to make society safer and a better place for us all to work and live.”
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As the company continues to grow, Milestone aims to further its work in creating responsible technology. Since 2006, the company adopted a set of core values in which it puts people before technology. In 2009, Milestone incorporated a human rights clause into its end user license agreements. In 2017, it co-authored the Copenhagen Letter, a declaration calling on innovative companies to prioritize people when designing and using technology.
Milestone Systems Fast Facts:
- Milestone originated from an idea for seamlessly transferring financial data from the stock exchange. Founders John Blem and Henrik Friborg Jacobsen discovered the same technology could be used to transfer video data;
- During its start-up phase, the company spent some time in the Symbion incubator in Copenhagen;
- In addition to selling software, the company also provides a hardware product called Husky. The first version was launched in 2013;
- In 2014, Milestone was acquired by the Canon Group, under which it operates as a standalone company.