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Milestone promises community approach

Leading VMS vendor Milestone Systems says it is moving to a business model that is more community-oriented, helping to foster relationships between the company’s partners.


February 24, 2016
By Neil Sutton
Neil Sutton

The words “Together we are the Open Platform Community” are inscribed on every attendee’s badge at the company’s Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) 2016 conference held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. Milestone chose its annual North American partner forum and showcase, which this year drew more than 500 attendees, to introduce its new ethos.

“We at Milestone must change the way we work. We will transform Milestone from company to community. 2016 is a defining moment for our ecosystem,” said president and CEO Lars Thinggaard during his opening keynote address Tuesday. “Our future task is to drive collaboration within the community.”

Kenneth Petersen, chief sales and marketing officer, added that the company has already laid the foundation for growth, expanding its global sales and marketing team by 25 per cent in 2015 — also achieving 30 per cent business growth in the same year.

He said the company is entering the third phase of its evolution: it began as a product company 18 years ago, evolved into an open platform company in the mid 2000s, and is now in the early stages of its new “community” approach.

“To enable our collective success, we must all work together,” he said.

At an operational level, the company will establish a new advisory board made up of partners and customers to help steer product development. Other changes coming include the establishment of a developer forum, an enhanced SDK, an expansion of solution certifications to manage quality control and the creation of a Milestone marketplace where partners can sell their solutions.

In some ways, the community approach isn’t new, said strategic alliances manager for the Americas Reinier Tuinzing in an interview with SP&T News. Partners who work with Milestone organically develop their own community through the process of doing business. But by creating more of a structure around that process, partners can potentially work together more effectively, create more marketing opportunities around product sets and ultimately deploy tighter integrations for the end user.

“Instead of this happening on its own, let’s organize it and develop it,” he said. “How do we get the word out in fashion so our customers can understand what’s available? Right now, they don’t know what they don’t know.”

The community approach will encompass all participants in the product lifecycle, from developers to third-party vendors, distributors to dealers and installers. Tuinzing added that it may take a few years for the community to coalesce and for all the benefits to be realized, as there may be some fine-tuning along the way.

During MIPS, Milestone also laid out some of its product roadmap for 2016, including improvements to XProtect system performance, such as optimized incident handling, private to public video integration, a simplified user interface for XProtect Smart Client designed for novice users and a Milestone ONVIF bridge to standardize the way video is viewed. The company is also looking at ways to better manage audio integration, possibly using it to improve the way video can be navigated. There will also be a new Husky NVR model this year, placed between its M10 and M30 pre-existing products.

The company is adopting an “agile development model,” which will help to improve its product release schedule. Going forward, there will be three release windows a year for XProtect, with new product coming every four months.

Finally, Milestone took the opportunity to flex some muscle, offering some insight into future R&D efforts with its corporate parent Canon.

The imaging giant is working on major projects such as photoacoustic tomography, a technology that can take 3D images of blood vessels in the hand as well as other potential medical applications. Canon has also developed a new 250 megapixel chip capable of producing images with 30 times the resolution of 4K video.