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MIPS 2020 makes memories in Texas

MIPS 2020 makes memories in Texas Milestone's 15th annual conference focuses on the "power of open"

GRAPEVINE, Texas—The “power of open” radiated throughout the Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center when more than 700 attendees filled the halls, corridors and conference rooms for three days, Feb. 17-19, to participate in Milestone Systems' 15th annual MIPS (Milestone Integration Platform Symposium). (This was in addition to the 1,500 people who watched MIPS 2020 via live stream.)

With welcome reception on the 17th and breakfast on the morning of the 18th done, Tim Palmquist, VP, Americas, Milestone Systems took the stage to welcome attendees, live and online, with a nostalgic look back at 2006 — the year of the very first MIPS. Palmquist reminisced that the discussion back then was to talk about industry disruption taking place and how to move business forward.

Tim Palmquist, Milestone
Fifteen years later and the purpose of MIPS has remained the same: to talk about the changes ahead for the security industry to help chart Milestone's as well as their partners' futures to ensure success.

It's all about being open in all aspects of business from the hardware and software that integrator partners choose to use to coming together and having open, honest and genuine discussions about the industry to working together to solve issues and problems.

The Futurists
With this forward-looking mentality, two futurists took the MIPS 2020 stage to offer insights to help attendees think about and plan for their future.

“My job is to observe the future, not predict it,” Gerd Leonhard, futurist, humanist, author and CEO of The Futures Agency, said, adding that the future is not an extension of the present.

Leonhard went on to discuss topics such as cognification, in that “computers are no longer stupid; machines are learning,” he said; the digital world; robots getting more affordable; augmentation; and automation in which people must trust the machine to make a decision.

“Science fiction is becoming science fact,” said Leonhard as he introduced the concept of hybrid thinking: take good care of the present and plan for the future.

Concluding, Leonhard offered 10 game changers that are forcing the end of “business as usual:” data, cloud, IoT/IoE, quantum computing, voice interfaces, AI/IA, blockchain, 3D printing, VR/AR/MR and genome editing.

Because of these, business models need to shift, requiring “an ecosystem of hyper cooperation not hyper competition,” Leonhard explained. Business models now and of the future need to be agile, constantly changing structures in which provide experiences for customers, according to Leonhard.

Later during the symposium, Global Futurist and Author, Anders Sorman-Nilsson, managing director, Thinque, took attendees on a journey into change.

“Change is always going to happen without our permission, so choices must be made,” Sorman-Nilsson said. However, each choice must be made with the customer in mind.

“The customer journey should be designed to provide a seamless, enjoyable experience for end users,” he said.

Technology is moving at a pace humans find hard to keep up with and this creates distrust of technological innovation; therefore, it's up to security integrators to work with their customers to ensure technology does not scare or is not scary to end users. The goal is to help foster “confident relationships with the unknow,” said Sorman-Nilsson, through “partnership and open dialog to give end users exactly what they want.”

Sorman-Nilson concluded that because of digital data, people, as a whole, make smarter decisions; therefore, when manufacturers roll out new technology, it's important to embrace analog and digital to reduce friction.

Jumping into the power of open
Kenneth Hune Petersen, chief sales and marketing officer, Milestone Systems put it quite frankly: “openness is power.” The world offers a lot of choices and “open” positions companies to have and make choices.

“When things change fast, with the power of open, you can make the right choice to grow your business faster,” Petersen said.

Petersen offered three choices to the audience: on prem or cloud; open or closed; or hardware or software. Today's innovation is in the software so he advised to focus on software in the future while being mindful that hardware is needed to leverage the software.

“With open, you don't have to start from scratch;” Petersen said, “it offers flexibility, choices and possibilities and future proofs your solutions.”

To assist with the open decision-making process, Milestone created “Marketplace,” a free, online platform to sign up for, create a profile and promote skills/products to foster working within a community to solve end user pain points. Out of this, “Solution Services,” was created for integrators who are trying to find solutions to help eliminate time waste. Integrators can search within certain parameters and results will reflect small, relevant options verified by Milestone; end users can search to get inspired to find relevant solutions and integrators.

Friction and the cloud
Friction trends within security circle around VSaaS, cloud business models and on prem and cloud, according to Kevin Marier, director, technology business development, Milestone systems.

“There are a lot of V'S'aaS but what does the 'S' stand for,” Marier asked, offering up possibilities such as surveillance, storage, systems, solutions and software. There is no clarity or consensus within the industry as to what the elusive 'S' actually means, which tends to create friction.

With cloud business models, there seems to be a lot of “cloudwashing,” the practice of running legacy software on a cloud and renaming it “the cloud.” To sell this to end users, Marier put some of these common cloudwashing claims to rest: cloud is always about money; you have to be cloud to be good; cloud should be used for everything; we need one cloud strategy and vendor for everything; migrating to cloud means you automatically get all characteristics. If a cloud reseller uses any of these during sales presentations, it should raise red flags.

This brings the discussion to on prem and cloud, which tends to reflect an either/or mentality; however, Marier presented that a combination solution is possible, enabling data to be moved seamlessly and securely from on prem to cloud and from cloud to on prem. As such, Milestone has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS), becoming a seller in the AWS Marketplace. Milestone is set to release two products in AWS Marketplace this July that allow partners to “bring your own license” (BYOL).

“A free, dedicated training and certificate program to teach how to use XProtect with AWS will be provided,” said Marier, which carries partners forward along with Milestone.

Choices and Milestone's 2020 product roadmap
“Choices are woven into the fabric of our own lives,” Palmquist said, retaking the stage on Feb. 19. “What decisions we make has consequences.”

Choosing to become a part of the Milestone community, a philosophy Palmquist said the company has held dear since the beginning, produces a day-to-day cadence of doing business with partners who have similar mindsets.

“Open prioritizes relationships it's the notion of community working together to deliver unique solutions it's freedom with lots of options to address changing, diverse needs it's innovative to be able to source it as it becomes available and let security integrators assimilate at a pace that makes sense to them,” said Palmquist.

Understanding choices, as Palmquist presented, and how they relate to open, Milestone's 2020 product roadmap fosters openness, mobility and embracing differing customer's cloud needs.

“Milestone's SDK enables integration, configuration and customization,” Anders Bo Rasmussen, director of product marketing, Milestone Systems A/S, said.

Focusing specifically on cloud, Rasmussen indicated that cloud customers need certainty and with Milestone's cloud deployment, end users can rest assured in the company's experience, platform as a service and new opportunities coming with XProtect on AWS.
Overall, Milestone's 2020 product roadmap indicates it allows partners to take the “right steps at the right pace,” said Rasmussen.

The journey forward
The future of open in the security industry is undisputed; there will always be some who are dedicated to closed and some to open. However, looking toward the many tomorrows in the industry, humancentric design focused on desirability, customer needs; technical feasibility; and viability, customer satisfaction for the long term, is the now and the future.

“The why is critical now ,” Pierre Bourgeix, CTO and founder, ESI Convergent, LLC, said during the panel discussion. “End users are asking: 'Why do I need to buy ___________?' so integrators must tailor their message because educated end users are the key responsibility of integrators and consultants.”

With 20 years of being in the cloud, Axis communications has learned a thing or two that propels security into the future. Larry Newman, Sr. director of sales, Axis named them during his MIPS presentation: “IoT and AI are the new electricity; data is the new oil; and clouds are the new platforms.” With each of these comes responsibility of integrators and consultants to end users. “Ethics and trust will drive success, and open partnerships and working together to do things more efficiently is key,” Newman explained.

More on the cloud and moving into the future, Nigel Waterton, CRO, Arcules presented the new Arcules XProtect Hybrid VMS solution, explaining with this solution, functionality meets scalability.

“Why cloud?” he asked the audience. “Because of its simplicity, scalability and affordability. The addition of more tools increases functionality to enhance end user usage safely.”

Additionally, Waterton pointed out that Arcules Cloud is updated three times per week with actual feature improvements. The future of the power of open looks bright, taking into consideration the trends of humancentric design; integrators/consultants taking responsibility to educate end users; relationships built on ethics and trust; and a focus on cloud.

Since the beginning, in the present and into the future, it all comes down to community, partnership and being open.

“There are people out there that are a lot smarter than me, so partners are needed,” Gregory Keeling, VP, NY Security Solutions, Inc. and Milestone partner, said, harnessing the whole theme of MIPS 2020. “Openness allows the joining and collaboration of smart minds coming together.”

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