John Honovich, founder of IP Video Market Info, presents “What It Means to be an Open Platform.” According to Honovich, “While many video management system (VMS) providers say they are open systems, the level of openness varies greatly. Everyone says they are open because they understand that is how the game is played. It takes a lot of time and dedication to be truly open and bring together solutions that increase functionality, meet customers’ specific needs, and help you win deals.” 

There’s a lot to talk about at Milestone’s Integration Platform Symposium 2009 (MIPS), Las Vegas, because, frankly, there is a lot going on in the industry right now – and a lot of it, like the current down economy, is serious.
During the Opening Introduction and Welcome session, there was some tongue-in-cheek, comic relief to break the gravity of some of the topics to come -- the sound effects of thunder and lightening. “Looks like we are in for a storm,” Mark Wilson, marketing director, Americas, Milestone Systems, joked. “And how do you achieve safety from a storm? You go into a safe, strong house.” The theme of this year’s symposium is “Our House” – reflecting the eco-system, or “house,” made up by the customers, partners, manufacturers, solution partners and Milestone – and the stability that working with Milestone as a long-term partner can bring, even in the middle of a storm.
So what about that storm the industry seems to be in for?
In the morning session, “2009 & Beyond: Challenges, Opportunities, Trends,” Stan Schatt, vice president, ABI Research, New York, looked at the upcoming year in video surveillance – the good news and the bad news. And the good news is that there are both.
According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a study put out by The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) that indicates the economic health of the manufacturing sector, this recession matches what happened in 1974. Currently, the PMI indicates that it will be March 2010 before there is marked improvement in the economy. Not the best news. But, according to Schatt, video surveillance is stronger than that, and many of the factors tied to the market are actually beneficial for video surveillance, and there are many long-term drivers in place that guarantee continued success. For example, a number of government projects will continue, and, especially with the new stimulus bill that was just passed, will most likely go up.
While large enterprises are weathering the storm in terms of video surveillance purchases, the real hit is found in small to medium businesses (SMBs). Schatt offered the following encouragement for SMBs. While they are hit first in an economy like this, they also recover first. So hopefully, they will see a positive change in the near future.
Schatt pointed out that, for all the negative news, there is still usually a positive flip side for the industry. When you are hearing about major retailers like Circuit City filing for bankruptcy or Macy’s closing stores, you’d think the news would all be bad. But, in reality, while retailers aren’t opening new stores, they are putting money into current stores. Last year, retailers lost more than $13 billion due to shoplifting, and with the current economy, they only expect it to increase. So, they are putting a lot of money into their surveillance systems, which translates into opportunity for video surveillance companies.
Schatt encouraged the attendees that for all the bad news, or the reality of the “storm” that the economy is going through, there is good news to be found. There are ways to make lemonade from the lemons, and the video surveillance industry remains among the brightest of any technology in the future moving forward.