Hikvision CEO provides a 'view from the top'

Company’s hospitality and technology on full display during media tour
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HANGZHOU, China—Hikvision’s recent media tour, which included visits to its headquarters based here, as well as cultural stops in Shanghai and Beijing, provided a unique glimpse into both a country rich in tradition and history, and a company striving to stay at the forefront in security technology.

As Hikvision CEO Yangzhong Hu (pictured on left) pointed out during a press conference at the Security China 2016 trade show at the China International Exhibition Center, the company was first started with that idea of innovation in mind.

“Hikvision is a technology company started by engineers, and our first products proved to be a success in the market and we became profitable in the first few years we started the company,” Hu said through interpreters. “We believe we have a continuous endeavor in the development of new technologies and products, and we would like to grow together with this industry.”

At its headquarters and its booth (pictured below) at Security China 2016, the company’s newest technology solutions for the home, small businesses, enterprise locations and even cities, were on display, including everything from cameras and analog and HD-TVI products to mobile surveillance and smart city applications to big data and analytics to drones and robots.

“By combining big data with intelligent analytics applications and deep learning allows operators to quickly search and study the necessary video content,” said Daisy Dai, a Hikvision technical support engineer who led the showroom tour at the headquarters facility.

She explained how the smart city system features facial and license plate recognition technology, including a car face reader that can recognize a car even if the bad guy changes the plates.

As Hu pointed out during the press conference, Hikvision “wants to be a pioneer in the areas of AI and deep learning within the industry. With all of the big data that we have collected over the years, we believe we can contribute a lot to the industry.”

A big focus for 2017 will be on “promoting AI products in the market, including deep learning and AI elements within the cameras and other products,” Hu said. “Big data collection is the first step, but we can use AI to bring meaning to that data, organize it and interpret and leverage it for each vertical.”

Hu said that he and Hikvision engineers are excited about the potential for AI in the coming years, as “it goes beyond security,” he said, noting, “Robots will become widespread.”

In the area of robotics, Hikvison is already using its automated ground vehicles or AGVs (pictured on left) in its factory, which has eight buildings comprising 300,000 square meters. With 3,000 employees and 500 AGV robots (800 by year’s end), the factory is sending out $15 million in product every day. Hikvision is currently in the process of opening phase two, which will be three times larger than the current factory.

The AGVs have transformed factory operations, as they can carry a half a ton of cargo while moving one meter per second. The robots, which are on call 24 hours a day, read QR codes to move about the factory and complete tasks, and can charge themselves when their battery is low.

According to Hikvision, the use of AGVs has allowed the factory to improve its efficiency by 2.5 times.

The media tour also included a visit to the InterContinental Hotel (pictured below), a gold colored, spherical-shaped building that was used during B20, including President Xi Jinping’s B20 keynote, which was held in the grand ballroom.

The hotel, which was honored by local police with a “best in class” award for security during B20, utilizes a wide variety of Hikvision cameras (approximately 700 overall), including night vision and thermal cameras around the perimeter.

The command center includes 2D and 3D monitoring of all 21 floors of the building, a set-up that allows operators to customize what they are seeing based on need, allowing them to click on any camera to bring that feed into Hikvision’s VMS mapping software management system. Video is stored for 90 days on eight on-site centralized video recorders.

The command center provided a good example of how Hikvision products, from video to analytics, are responding to the needs of their customers.

“Hikvision has been employing a customization strategy when it comes to modifying and designing new products, including tech support working closely with R&D to respond to needs and requests from customers and integrators,” Hu explained. “We can make minor changes or address concerns in the next generation of products. This also includes engineers working with customers—thousands of requests per year to customize. So the whole value chain from our R&D to our production to our sales team to our customer service—that is the key to our success.”

The company is also working closely with customers—and the industry as a whole—to address cybersecurity issues, which “is a big challenge not only for Hikvision but for everyone —manufacturers, integrators, end users,” Hu said. “We all must work together to harden products, including such steps as disabling default passwords, for example, which Hikvision started doing in early 2014.”

In 2015, Hikvision established a cybersecurity lab and testing process working with third party cyber experts and hackers “to help us understand and minimize the impact on our products,” Hu noted. “It is important to work with integrators who are designing the system, including the monitoring, and create a hardening strategy that takes the user perspective of what needs to be done.”

In addition to creating a “customer first” culture at the company, Hu said that he is excited about the company’s North American strategy to expand its offerings into the enterprise market.

“With our North American strategy, we started with SMB and we have been working to move to larger verticals in the U.S., create teams and develop that over time,” said Hu, who noted that the company is also planning on setting up a software team in the U.S.

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