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Magnus Ekerot
Magnus Ekerot

MOBOTIX AG announced a new platform strategy for their video security systems last year. Dr. Magnus Ekerot, CSO of MOBOTIX AG, talks about the motives behind the move, which systems it would affect and what it would mean for installers and users.

Vigilance: Dr. Ekerot, what exactly do you mean when you talk about a platform strategy for video technology?

Video technology requirements vary greatly depending on application and industry. The idea of a platform strategy is increasingly coming into focus. Demand is high for flexible, compatible systems that can be expanded and customized and grow with the changing requirements of a video security solution. For manufacturers, this means offering customers a technical solution that is easily scalable and can be customized to specific requirements. The solution must also be future proof; in other words, new functions can be added to "old models" using updates. This requires a certain degree of product intelligence.

Manufactures will have to focus on more than just functionality and design when developing products in the future.

Vigilance: How are you going to put this into practice at MOBOTIX?

We offer complete systems for video security that are perfectly matched to our cameras, software solutions and the Door Station, in addition to stand-alone products. This way, users can put together a video security system to suit their individual requirements. We're not talking about a platform that can come onto the market overnight. It's about a process where we can learn from our customers' requirements, and develop and offer innovative, intelligent products.

By adding new features to our existing products and placing a greater focus on scalability in the development of future solutions, we are moving down the path toward a comprehensive MOBOTIX platform strategy. The network technology we have relied on from day one comes into play here. It forms the basis for a common technical platform for video security, access control systems, fire alarm systems and intrusion systems.

Vigilance: Which products and systems does this relate to specifically and where can we see changes compared with the approach used up to now?

Let's start with the S14, one of our cameras. Here, for example, users can decide whether they would like to install one or two sensor modules, depending on their needs. The S14 is equipped with two miniature hemispheric lens units, meaning two horizontally or vertically adjacent rooms can be monitored with just one S14. It is possible to select day and night versions for all other lenses too, ranging from super-wide angle through to telephoto, depending on the intended application. The MOBOTIX M15, set to be launched on the market this year, goes even further. Users can simply interchange "click-on" lens units on the installed camera in order to take night images, for example.

The free video analysis, already integrated in the Q24 and planned for the S14, is a further step toward enhancing our products. This is particularly well suited for the retail industry as it is an interesting tool to optimize business processes and collect data for marketing activities.

It goes without saying that we provide the appropriate software solution free of charge to ensure that users can control our video systems optimally. We recently added the MOBOTIX App for iOS devices to our list of solutions. Be it a Door Station or a camera, users can take advantage of the App to conveniently control and manage our systems on the go. And as far as accessories are concerned, our functional boxes increase the utility of an entire video system, even in the simplest installation case.

As you can see, our products are becoming more flexible and offer more extensive features. But our technological approach remains unchanged: Thanks to its many advantages, we remain true to the decentralized concept with on-board image processing.

Vigilance: How far along in the implementation process are you? (When will the first systems be available? Which systems are already available and which are set to follow?)

Users already have the opportunity to build an appropriate video system using our products. Of course, we and our qualified partners are always on hand to provide advice and assistance. There are already a number of application scenarios in which our cameras, software solutions and the T24 are up and running with third-party systems such as intrusion or fire alarm systems. And in terms of our new products, flexible features and accessories will be at the top of our agenda in the future. It's a very exciting time for us!

What will your installers get out of the platform strategy?

It's much easier for our installers and integrators to respond to customer-specific requirements and desires in order to find a custom solution. They are more flexible and can therefore access a wider audience. The system concept also generates follow-up business. I'm thinking in terms of additional modules, software features and accessories such as our functional boxes. They create a clear advantage over the competition thanks to the cost benefits they offer. They also save time when it comes to planning, installation and work-around strategies.

Vigilance: And what about the users?

The user gets a custom video solution and saves a lot of money. Of course, this is partially a result of the reduced number of cameras and the lower bandwidth required thanks to the decentralized concept. But on the other hand, it's because the systems are scalable and flexible if requirements change in the future. Let's look at an example: A hotel operator who recently opted for our S15 would like to initially use the camera to keep a close eye on events in the lobby during the day and installs the day version with two 90° lenses, creating a 180° panorama. After a year, he decides to extend the video feeds to record events through the night. Instead of buying a new camera and having to integrate it into the network, all he has to do is purchase a night sensor module and simply remove one of the two daylight lenses already installed in the S15 and click on the new one. The M15 lens units are also interchangeable with the lens units of the upcoming S15 in order to ensure that this platform concept is implemented on a camera-wide basis.

Another big advantage is the fact that users of older camera models can benefit from the new features thanks to free software updates.

Vigilance: Do you think this concept makes you a pioneer or a dark horse? Why?

A pioneer, there's no question about it. We believe that manufacturers can only position themselves successfully on the market if they can respond to customer requirements and fulfill these requirements to nearly 100 percent. We opted for network and IP technology early on. These are two basic conditions necessary to enable flexible platforms in video technology in the first place. Our decentralized concept was the first of its kind on the market and we have pursued a system approach for a number of years now. We see each one of our cameras as a system rather than an individual product. This is because all the important functions that use a large amount of processing power such as storage and correction are already integrated into the camera itself. These "mini systems" can be linked with other cameras, accessories and other security products and offer considerable added value thanks to numerous extra features. All of this means the stage is set for a comprehensive MOBOTIX system.