Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), held its 11th annual MIPS partner conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., February 23 through 25, at the Talking Stick Resort. There were 520 attendees and 60 exhibiting companies in the Community Technology Expo, which explored the latest ideas and solutions for enhancing safety and optimizing business.

The first day roused participants to action, drumming along with the Arizona Rhythm Connection band, before CEO Lars Thinggaard and CSMO Kenneth Petersen welcomed the Milestone distributors, systems integrators, end users, software solution partners, camera manufacturers and storage providers. They spoke about using the Milestone Open Platform Community to magnify the power of partnership for faster innovation and true customer focus.

“Ahead of us now, it’s a different game. In the future economy, companies will deliver the most value through collaboration. The products of the future are solutions, and to get the solution they want, customers will combine products from different vendors. This requires technology that makes combined solutions very easy to use and brings more innovation. Together with our open platform community, we are stepping into this future, setting the agenda and changing the rules,” said Lars Thinggaard, President and CEO, Milestone Systems.

Milestone reported that the new business initiatives introduce forums for partners and customers to give and share advice on future solutions, services and appliances from Milestone. Developer resources will be boosted to further ensure that all partners developing XProtect add-ons meet the highest standards for reliability, openness, security and dependability. Ease of developing solutions with XProtect interoperability will be accelerated through educational and advisory services. Milestone will also allocate additional marketing resources to increase emphasis on these add-ons for existing and new channel partners and customers.

The enhanced focus on Milestone and partners as one community is a continuation of Milestone’s ongoing commitment to maximize the business value of video management systems for partners and customers.

Topics addressed by speakers, industry panelists and interactive breakout sessions highlighted how new initiatives from Milestone mark a move from products to solutions, with the intention to incite continual interaction through the global open platform community of partners and customers. Milestone Diamond Partner, Stone Security, spoke about “Betting Your Business on the Community,” illustrating his company’s growing success with the open platform.

A lively industry panel discussed the impact on business of commoditization from lower-priced vendors. Camera manufacturers Axis, Arecont Vision, Samsung and Sony touted the higher value success criteria of good tech support, integration APIs, more innovation and the importance of partnering. The “anthill” of low-end competitors coming up in the market was noted, with the Internet “becoming its own animal” for sales that include no warranties or service such as those provided by the tier 1 vendors.

A Milestone Solutions Partner panel looked at future trends, sharing their opinions on what’s next in the industry, including thoughts on 4K expectations; recording at the edge; cloud technology progress and its potential impact; big data storage and gleaning intelligence with analytics.

Dave Taylor, executive architect at IBM, said: “The cloud will enable installers to provide a service model but how do we mine all the data? There’s a need for standardization for managing so many sensors, and the rapid pace of change requires an open platform approach. Change is going to happen so be ready for it or you will have pain to make the changes. I see the open platform as a palette to create.”

Rob Lydic, Global vice president of sales at ISONAS, said: “No man is an island; the old monoliths are disappearing. Partners need to engage with each other for a valuable feedback cycle that empowers better solutions for the customers. They want options. They don’t want to be trapped.”

Lee Mehler vice president of Global Security Solutions for Anixter, said: “The open protocols have expanded the conversation to global scope: it’s the road map to the future.”

On the final night of the conference, the Milestone Partner Awards were announced to celebrate top performances in sales, marketing, technology, collaboration and innovation for the year 2015:

  • Regional Partner of the YearSouth America: Prosegur
  • Regional Partner of the YearNorth America: Stone Security
  • National Partner of the Year – Convergint Technologies
  • Distribution Partner of the Year – Americas: Anixter Inc./Tri-Ed
  • Distribution Partner of the Year – USA: ADI
  • Rising Star of the Year – Netech, a PRESIDIO company
  • Camera Partner of the Year – Axis Communications
  • Milestone Supported Camera #5,000 – Bosch AVIOTEK
  • Technology Partner of the Year – INTEL QuickSync Video
  • Integration Partner of the Year – IMRON Corporation Access Control
  • Solutions Partner of the Year – Snap Surveillance
  • Outstanding Achievement in Public Safety – City of Phoenix Police
  • Installation of the Year –Quicken Loans/Rock Security