Exceptional momentum for surveillance industry


The demand for surveillance solutions continues to be a robust trend for securing people, premises and property. New technologies such as the exceptional detail provided by 4K HD technology cameras are enabling coverage over broader areas and of better clarity irrespective of how challenging the conditions are. The deployment of IP surveillance solutions in traffic, smart city projects as well as in healthcare and retail, to name a few, reveal not just how essential these solutions from a security standpoint are but also offer added utility in terms of analytics and management.

“There is a strong push by local regulatory bodies and security agencies to enforce IP CCTV standards across the commercial business spectrum which has helped IP CCTV gain a strong foothold in the Middle East,” says Bhushan Kate from N2N Distribution, a Gold Distributor for HID and distributor for some very well-known brands of IP CCTV like Indigovision, Bosch, Hikvision etc as well as its own OEM brand “VeriPhi” for both IP and Analogue CCTV cameras.

The strong enforcement towards complying in meeting IP surveillance requirements is indeed driving the demand in the region. This is expected to keep the pace and should benefit all vendors across the spectrum who provide various building blocks or provide end to end IP surveillance solutions.

John van den Elzen, General Manager, Worldwide Surveillance Business Unit at Promise Technology says, “The Middle East is still one of the strongest regions in the world when it comes to IP video surveillance and storage. There are several factors contributing to this, such as progressive legislation in regards to retention time as some regions now require organizations to store video for 120 or 180 days. There is still strong demand as there are many new building and infrastructure projects throughout the region, so we expect the Middle East to continue to grow very fast.”

The growth in the IP surveillance segment is also being seen in the relatively niche thermal camera segment.

“We see a growing demand for thermal technology in the security segment. The traditional marketplace for thermal-based video surveillance—which includes critical infrastructure, airport and mass transportation, energy, power grids and utilities—is growing continuously. We are seeing emerging demands for thermal security in other areas, such as education, healthcare, city surveillance and correctional facilities, as well,” says David Montague, Security Sales Director EMEA, FLIR Systems.

FLIR’s product portfolio includes a full range of IP-based thermal cameras, enterprise-grade visible light cameras—including stationary and motorized form factors supporting resolutions up to 4K—and dual sensor PT cameras.

Firas Jadalla, Regional Director – Middle East and Africa, Genetec claims Genetec has seen healthy growth rates in the region over the past few years, riding on this demand. He cites figures from Global analysts Frost & Sullivan which put the 2016 value of regional demand for physical security at USD 5.2 billion (AED 19 billion), or nearly 37% growth from USD 3.8 billion (Dh13.94 billion) in 2015. Further, Frost & Sullivan expects that investment in this regard will reach its peak in the next two years towards 2020 when spending on physical security will reach USD 10.2 billion, which will be 10% of the global market.

“We have grown in the ME Region by over 40 per cent in the last five years, and we expect this upward trajectory to continue in the future in light of the increasing online security awareness in the Middle East. In fact, an industry research has predicted that spending on the physical security market is set to surge in the region by 36 per cent in 2016 as infrastructure investment coupled with increased urbanization fuels demand for equipment to protect critical assets and people.”

He further adds that many countries in the region have already undertaken new security directives as a result of this increased public awareness.
“Numerous physical security solutions, including intruder alarms, video surveillance, electronic locks, perimeter protection, door alarms, access control protocols, and identification systems, are climbing at an unprecedented rate. The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) will also mean an increase in smarter and networked systems available in the market,” he adds.

Shift continues
The strong transition towards IP based surveillance systems has seen the older analog based surveillance systems fall out of favour, especially as part of the regulatory requirements that emphasize on IP based surveillance.
N2N’s Bhushan elaborates that while they do still carry analog CCTV cameras as well including their own brand VeriPhi, they have seen the demand for analog CCTV cameras has dropped considerably at the moment as most customers are indeed migrating towards IP CCTV.
He explains, “This migration has also been motivated by the regulatory approach of almost all Gulf countries to insist on IP CCTV as the minimum requirement for most commercial establishments.”

However Bhushan believes that the high costs and ‘inherent vulnerability’ of the IP network security are a deterrent and speculates that the landscape will change to accommodate A-HD technology in the near future. AHD CCTV is an analog high definition closed-circuit television video surveillance standard that uses coax cable to transmit HD video from security cameras to DVRs. He opines that owing to pressure on security budgets, if not the quality A-HD delivers at affordable prices, this could be possible, at least in limited customer scenarios as arguably, the performance of these A-HD CCTV systems is debated to be as good as the high megapixel IP CCTV systems and are much more cost-effectively priced as compared to the IP CCTV systems.

Of course, several manufacturers of IP surveillance solutions continue to offer options for hybrid enviornments where there legacy analog deployments in place.

David adds, “FLIR continues to serve the needs of legacy analog systems by offering an analog interface to its IP-based thermal cameras, as well as MPX cameras that allow users to upscale a standard definition video surveillance system to high resolution video using existing coax infrastructure.”

Building blocks: Storage, VMS, analytics
While camera are in the forefront, Storage along with the VMS work in the background and are key building blocks for effective IP surveillance deployments. One of the focus areas for storage innovations for IP surveillance for instance has been to bring in technologies that help lower bandwidth and storage requirements considerably as need for recorded data grows manifold.

John elaborates, “Storage is incredibly important as it is the underpinning that makes surveillance ultimately work. With the raw capacity of video surveillance data expected to grow by 48% in 2016, there is an increasing importance placed on solutions that help ensure surveillance data is recorded and stored safely no matter the retention period, “

Vess NVRs and external storage solutions from Promise are purpose-built for IP video surveillance and Promise is able to provide a solution for deployments of any size – from standalone NVR appliances to scale-out storage solutions for large deployments and video surveillance cloud services.

John explains, “Promise Technology is the developer of the open storage platform for video surveillance. We develop a range of network video recorders (NVRs) and external storage solutions. In regards to NVRs, we have the Vess A2330 for small scale deployments, Vess A2200 and A3340 for mid-sized projects and Vess A26000 for large scale projects. Our Vess R2000 external storage solution can be added to provide additional storage space to between the retention requirements of even the largest projects.”

On the other hand, for Genetec, its flagship is its Security Centre, a unified security platform that blends IP security systems within a single intuitive interface to simplify operations. From access control, video surveillance, and automatic license plate recognition to communications, intrusion, and analytics, the Security Center empowers organizations through enhanced situational awareness, unified command and control, and connectivity to the cloud.

Firas elaborates, “Further adding value to our service is the latest Security Center 5.5 launched to address new security challenges. This program is not only equipped with disaster recovery features but also offers greater security via its enhanced authentication and encryption, new hardware integrations, and improved scalability, to name a few. With its innovative capabilities, Security Center 5.5 helps organizations monitor their sites, while offering administrators greater control and visibility of their security infrastructure.”

The Security Centre includes Omnicast IP video management system (VMS), which includes deep support for a wide range of industry-leading cameras, encoders, and CCTV equipment. Among its new capabilities are system protection against cyber threats, uninterrupted video streaming, and optimized post-incident handling and editing of snapshots and exported video.

It is essential to choose the VMS solution with care as this will be the hub that will help control and manage the network of camera and storage installations. Further, it needs to scalable and ready for future upgrade scenarios.

Firas elaborates, “You have to keep in mind that VMS is more than just choosing the right HD Camera. Your choice of a VMS today will eventually impact your future security efforts in light of ever-evolving security and video technologies. Other fundamental considerations when choosing a modern VMS platform include deep integration of the latest IP cameras, readiness to support the computational needs of HD and 4K video, and adaptability to complex network topologies and new storage solutions.”
David says that FLIR’s cameras feature built-in video analytics capable of transmitting alarm and metadata through the IP network.

He elaborates further, “In addition, FLIR’s United VMS platform is comprised of network-based video management and recording solutions, including advanced NVRs that correspond to the latest requirements of IP-based video surveillance networks, such as web-based and mobile client interfaces, cyber security layers and cloud-based maintenance services.”
Video Analytics, is a key attribute in state of the art IP surveillance installations. This is a key requirement that is especially relevant in retail. Therefore, the decision for the video management and analytics platform has to be very carefully evaluated.

John says, “Analytics will become increasingly important as the supporting technologies, such as video quality, continue to improve. The ability for a retail store to use analytics to see how it can alter the layout of the store or change the positions of advertisement and signage to boost sales or for a casino to use analytics to track why profitability is low at a certain table is an incredibly powerful tool. All of these surveillance and analytics applications require storage solutions to preserve their large amounts of data and Promise is excited to be trusted by so many of these innovative companies.”

Bhushan agrees that there is definitely a growing demand for good analytics software with IP camera installations. It also comes in handy in deployment for managing traffic.

He adds, “Good analytics software offer advantages when it comes to overcoming lapses by human operators such as caused due to lack of attention, fatigue etc. They also provide additional functionality such as Number plate recognition, flagging pre-defined behavior among people and objects, identifying theft etc. Key segments demanding such solutions include public transport, retail, public area surveillance like in malls, parking areas, traffic management, sports venues etc.”

As Traffic management and analytics is a key application area for surveillance solutions, Genetec offers AutoVu, the automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system in Security Center that makes license plate reading and identification easier.

Firas adds, “Law enforcement agencies, municipalities, and relevant commercial organizations can easily locate vehicles and enforce parking restrictions through this system. AutoVu is designed for both fixed and mobile installations in a variety of applications.”

Collaboration leads the way
With numerous components that go into the deployment of medium to larger scale deployments, it becomes quite necessary to use solutions that are compatible with a large number of industry standard products from other vendors as well.

According to Firas, Genetec’s advanced security solutions have always been built as open architecture systems. This allows customers to optimize a combination of solutions from Genetec, choose their preferred brand of hardware or leverage previous hardware and infrastructure investments.

Firas elaborates, “We have forged partnerships with like-minded technology organizations that equally thrive on innovation and are customer focused. Our partners’ products help enhance and maximize the superior features of our video surveillance and access control systems. By collaborating, we deliver the best solutions and offer boundless application possibilities to various markets with numerous security requirements.”

He comments that strategic partnerships not only help enhance existing product offerings but also open doors to new applications and infrastructures that address current and future requirements.
“In our case, we support a wide range of industry-leading cameras, encoders, storage, and CCTV equipment. Our customers benefit from the largest selection of integrated best-of-breed solutions, trusting completely in the reliability and performance of our joint offerings.”

FLIR offers complete, end-to-end solutions comprised of seamlessly integrated components designed for efficiency and simplicity. In parallel, each component within FLIR’s portfolio is fully open for 3rd party integration, including its entire range of cameras and United VMS platform.
David adds, “Our entire product portfolio supports ONVIF protocol. In addition, FLIR cameras are fully integrated and certified with our VMS, and Latitude, FLIR’s enterprise grade VMS platform, integrates with all the major players that offer complementry VMS technologies, such as access control, analytics, gunshot detection, license plate recognition, and more.”

Focus on channel partnerships
The key for vendors looking to conolidate and continue making inroads into differnt markets and verticals is to have access to as many number of active partners with a strong focus on the physical security domain.
FLIR Security maintains a number of partner networks as part of its global business, including business and sales partners, distributers, certified systems integrators and value-added resellers. The vendor has initiated a number of strategic activities, including the launch of a new channel partner program, as well as training for both thermal products and United VMS platform.

David says, “We’re continuing to enhance our distribution network, from local to global distributers that are opening new markets. Lastly, we continue to enhance our Raven, our industry-leading site planning tool that is used daily FLIR integrators needing to design perimeter applications and video surveillance projects.”

Promise technology has focused on strong channel development including training session for its partners. It had recently held it Surveillance Summit in Dubai where it focused on revealing updates and roadmap to partners.
John adds, “We have very strong and committed partners throughout the region and we work together with them at roadshows and forums and they also play a key role in the solutions summits and certified training courses which we host. Working closely with our partners at these events has proven to be invaluable as we develop great relationships with major system integrators and demonstrate what Promise offers in video surveillance.”

Apart from regulatory requirements that are noted as key drivers of the segment’s growth, the fact is that in any case this always looks to be a safe bet in terms of growth and which can survive slowdown scenarios. After all, not many would be willing to discount the importance of physical security and moreover, the add-on benefits of good Business insights from analytics is a necessity in tough Business environments.

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