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Boston Marathon bombing could accelerate video surveillance spending


WELLINGBOROUGH, U.K.—In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, spending on video surveillance equipment may experience a spike that augments already lofty expectations for the market, according to a statement from IMS Research, a market research firm based here.

Authorities closing in on marathon terrorist suspect?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Updated 3:40 p.m. April 17

Both CNN and the Boston Globe on Wednesday, April 17 reported that a suspect has been identified in the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing and that an arrest has been made or is imminent. Both backed off of that assertion about an hour later, and the Boston Police made a statement saying that no arrest had been made.

From the Globe:
“ …authorities have an image of a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene on Boylston Street, outside of the Forum restaurant.
Investigators are “very close” in the investigation, said the official, who declined to be named.That official said authorities may publicize their finding as early as this afternoon.The same official also said a surveillance camera at Lord & Taylor, located directly across the street, has provided clear video of the area, though it was unclear whether the image of the suspect was taken from that camera.  “The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far,” said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “All I know is that they are making progress.”

Most experts hope that crucial information will be gleaned from video—footage from city surveillance systems, local businesses and videos from the smartphones of those watching the marathon.

This morning the LA Times reported that analysts from the FBI are “sifting through more than 10 terabytes of data for clues about who might have placed the bombs near the finish line. The data include call logs collected by cellphone towers along the marathon route and surveillance footage collected by city cameras, local businesses, gas stations, media outlets and spectators who volunteered to provide their videos and snap shots, said the federal law enforcement source.
The FBI has flown analysts from field offices across the country to Boston to watch and log hundreds of hours of video, he said.

I asked Amit Gavish, GM, Americas, BriefCam, via email, what he thought the prospects were for finding clues in the various video footage taken in the area of the finish line. In addition to working for Briefcam, a manufacturer of video synopsis systems which enable the very quick review of hours of video [],
Gavish, is a CPP, with 16 years of security and military experience in the U.S. and Israel. He served as the Deputy Director of Security at the Office of the President of the State Israel and was in charge of physical and information security. Before joining BriefCam, Gavish was a risk management consultant specializing in risk assessment, development of emergency plans and training programs.

Gavish said it will be important to look at video footage taken days before the marathon: “In my opinion, the person was there before. The person who did this most likely did some dry runs before the event, even days before and probably was there hours before the event.”

He said the footage from Monday is likely “crowded to the point where you can’t see who put the device at the scene, and you have to go back a few days prior and see who was there … who looked suspicious, who was just walking by or loitering.”

He said there “are hundreds of cameras that could potentially have something. There are good cameras there—Boston PD, public cameras, stores in the neighborhood—but part of the effectiveness of the investigation is how fast you can get to something that you can work on,” he said.

I also did an email interview with Zvika Ashani, CTO of Agent Video Intelligence (Agent Vi). I asked Ashani how a product like Agent Video’s VI-Search would  examine video from multiple sources.

Vi-Search can be “used in an offline mode on cameras that are not part of a large pre-installed surveillance system. For example, video can be retrieved from a store or a gas station, which is in the vicinity of the event. This video can then be quickly processed by the software (at a rate of about 10x) and then searched using the same query structure.”


IMS: Analog video surveillance still dominant in consumer market


YARMOUTH, Maine—Analog security cameras continue to dominate the consumer and do-it-yourself video surveillance market, accounting for 87 percent of shipments, according to a new report from IMS Research. And analog is expected to stay strong in that segment, with a significant revenue shift to network products unlikely in the next five years.

Banks are a key vertical and video surveillance is central to solution

Regulatory compliance a top concern, use of analytics on the rise

Several national security providers—among them Diebold, Stanley Security Solutions and Protection 1—said they would be focusing on the financial and banking vertical market in 2013.

The nine-percent solution

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That’s a Sherlock Holmes reference, the title (I actually had to look up what I was referencing - looks like a killer movie).

Which is apt, since I’m referring to the IMS Research release of yesterday (or whenever) that predicts a nine-percent market growth for the global video surveillance market in 2010, and you have to be a bit of a sleuth to figure out exactly what they’re saying in the release.

Bare bones, they’re saying 2010 will, globally, be nine percent better than 2009. Sounds great, right? What could be better than “A short and sharp recovery for the total market for video surveillance equipment”?

But it’s kind of important how crap 2009 was, right? Many people tell me that 2009 was an abomination. And IMS says analog was down 5 percent, while IP was up 18 percent. So, can we figure out if that means the market as a whole was down last year, in their opinion?

Well, say the market was $1 billion in 2008 (I’m using a round number for purposes of illustration). Also say the analog market was 85 percent of that number, and the IP market was 15 percent of that number, which I think is the general average of what people tell me, and maybe a little liberal.

That would mean analog fell from $850 million to $807.5 million, while IP grew from $150 million to $177 million. For a new total in 2009 of $984.5 million. Which would mean the market as a whole fell by 1.55 percent (I believe this works no matter what the actual size of the market was, but someone please correct me if I’m being dumb).

In order for the market to have stayed flat last year, using IMS’ numbers for analog and IP, IP would have had to have represented at least 21 percent of the market in 2008.

Was IP at least 21 percent of the market in 2008?

I guess if I consider that every major consultant or significant integrator now tells me that every single new greenfield, enterprise-level surveillance installation is all IP, it probably must have been.

But everybody keeps telling me there’s no way it was more than 20 percent in 2008. No. Way. Maybe they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Anyway. Let’s continue the thought experiment. For 2010, we get this prediction from IMS:

A short and sharp recovery for the total market for video surveillance equipment is forecast for 2010, bolstered by strong network video surveillance growth. The introduction of high definition (HD) network cameras and the increasing adoption of open standards (e.g. ONVIF/PSIA) are expected to further accelerate the migration towards network video surveillance.

Conversely, the market for analogue video surveillance equipment, with the exception of China, is forecast to recover more slowly and to remain challenging for vendors, particularly as the enterprise market segment continues to transition quickly towards network video surveillance solutions and the low-end market becomes increasingly price competitive. That said, analogue video surveillance equipment still represents the majority of annual unit shipments and demand shows no signs of disappearing in the foreseeable future; however, the market for analogue video surveillance products is expected to become increasingly commoditised.

Note the bolded parts. So we’re going to grow by nine percent this year, but analog is going to remain pretty stagnant, while IP grows quickly, but analog is still “the majority” of the market.

So, let’s run my little exercise using the 15/85 market split that supposedly existed in 2008 to see how fast IP has to grow to create this 9 percent growth overall.

In my new mythical 2009, IP now represents 18 percent ($177 million) of the market, and analog 82 percent ($807.5 million), for a total market of $984.5 million.

Analog is going to be pretty stagnant, but will grow, I guess, according to IMS (thanks China!), so let’s give analog 3 percent growth (an eight percent turnaround) to $831.725.

But we’re going to get to $1073.105 million with our nine percent overall growth, so that means IP is going to have to be $241.38 million in my mythical 2010, which represents a growth of 36 percent.

This would also leave IP with 22.5 percent of the overall market.

Hey IMS is the one talking to all the vendors and the component makers, etc. There’s no doubt they would know better than me, but I’m curious what people think: Is IP growing at a near-40-percent rate in 2010? Is anyone in North America growing significantly in 2010? Is analog still growing at all?

Just felt like doing some math on a Tuesday afternoon, I guess, but it helped me crystallize the prediction a little. Or confused me. One or the other.

Acuity lands $1 million in funding

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hey folks - sorry for the long drought of posts. I’ve been soaking up rare summer rays here in the great state of Maine and basically ignoring the security industry as much as possible (though I was extolling the virtues of the alarm deal to my lawyer cousin Ricky this weekend - sorry about introducing competition Pritchard!).

Anyway, wanted to give a quick thanks to Alan McHale at Memoori, whose collection of industry deals in the June Memoori Executive Brief pointed me toward a small deal filed with the SEC by Acuity, which I hadn’t seen previously.

After tracking down the original document, it looks like a funding round that could grow close to $2.5 million, but which has raised about $911k thus far.

No investors are listed specifically, other than company execs, so it may just be the founders throwing in some extra cash to keep things moving along.

When they first launched, I wrote a fairly inflammatory piece wondering if they were the next big video company, as they’ve got great Pelco/American Dynamics pedigree, but they’ve been fairly quiet recently.

Their news page doesn’t have anything more recent than July 16, 2009, though that’s not all that rare in the security industry, I suppose.

I’ve got an email into Glenn Waehner, founder and CTO, to see what’s up.

Hikvision files for large IPO

Friday, May 28, 2010

I don’t have a link, as I received the press release as a Word document, but Chinese video products manufacturer Hikvision has announced an initial public offering that should raise a big chunk of change:

“50,000,000 shares at the price of ¥68 per share on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.”

So, what’s that in dollars? By my math, they’re talking $10 a share, times 50 million, equals a $500 million capital raise.

That should definitely fuel some R&D.

This listing will allow Hikvision to invest in product research and development to continue to deliver state-of-the-art products and solutions for customers around the world. Hikvision plans to continue to invest in its logistics and technical service centers in the US and Europe, as well as other regions and markets, in order to provide better service to customers.

I think the company still isn’t well known here in the US, and they’d like to change that. The number 1 maker of DVRs in the world probably isn’t happy that no one in the largest security market (if the US is still the largest security market) really knows who they are.

With 2,700 employees, 700 of whom are engineers, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company made serious in-roads here in short order. But their brand is not well known from the consumer side, for example, the way Samsung/Panasonic/Sony and other Asian firms are, and I think the North American market will remain skeptical for some time until channels and relationships are well cemented.

I’ve got a request in for interview, so hopefully I’ll have some more information soon on North American plans.

Ksenia’s right: Grey’s Anatomy finale was a joke!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yes, this sounds silly, but bully for Firetide’s Ksenia Coffman for blogging about how ridiculous the Grey’s Anatomy season finale was, and what a mockery it made of the security industry.

I was watching and screaming at the TV in similar fashion (my wife is a fan and I’ve been sucked in - you don’t want to know the amount of time I wasted in college watching soap operas). Ksenia sums it up pretty well, but here’s the jist in case you don’t feel like clicking through: Shooter walks into a hospital, has free reign of all areas without needing a pass-card or PIN to get anywhere, there’s no video surveillance, the chief of surgery doesn’t know what to do in case of an active shooter, there is no evident chief of security, etc., etc.

Why does it matter? Well, just as it’s dodgy when Cisco buys time on 24 to show of capabilities that are likely not real, it’s unfortunately true that the public gets much of their perceptions of security practice and ability from mainstream entertainment. When a show like CSI, which people think is striving for accuracy and gritty detail, zooms in a thousand times and gets a person’s identity from the reflection of a chrome bumper, that skews the perceptions of what’s possible and what end users could theoretically be tasked to execute.

And when Grey’s Anatomy, which people think strives for accuracy in its medical depictions (which are also a joke, by the way - my wife is an audiologist and the storyline about the woman with a hole in her head being schizophrenic was just as ridiculous as the security depiction), shows hospital security equipment and staff as woefully inadequate it colors the expectations of the people who will be entering and using hospitals all over the country.

If they don’t feel safe in the hospitals, if they make ridiculous requests because of feeling unsafe, that makes professionals’ jobs harder. So it’s great for people like Ksenia to get out in front of people and say, hey, that’s a bunch of crap.

Though if there’s anyone out there in the viewing audience who thought it made sense that SWAT could wing a guy with a high-caliber assault rifle but not be able to then subdue him? Well, I hope to sell them a bridge in Maine someday.