From the beginning, March Networks set out to develop the most reliable, scalable and secure video system in the market. While many of our competitors at the time were building closed, proprietary systems, we took a different route and made open standards and third-party integration core to our strategy and architecture. Along with a handful of other forward thinking video surveillance companies, we were also one of the early supporters and adopters of the ONVIF standard. While many ONVIF opponents cited concerns over commoditization, our experience in the IT sector indicated that standard protocols would be a benefit to customers and ultimately drive more innovation in the industry. Today, history proves that we made the right decision and March Networks remains one of the strongest supporters of the industry trend towards extensibility in the design of product lines through the support of open standards such as ONVIF, and the use of Microsoft Active Directory and MSSQL.
A decade later, what does all this mean to the customer and why do we remain committed to open standards?
Firstly, as many manufacturers feared, it means the customer has more choice. Instead of being locked into one specific vendor, as was common in the 1990s and mid-2000s, customers can select the best cameras, access control or alarm systems, regardless of what they have already installed at their locations. As is often the case in our industry, very few companies have the budgets to upgrade all their existing systems at the same time. If an access control, alarm system, or IP cameras from a different vendor have already been deployed, the customer can protect their investment by selecting a video surveillance supplier that has the ability to integrate to third-party equipment via a software development kit (SDK).
Secondly, system interoperability simply makes for a more effective and efficient solution. In control rooms around the world, access to information and the ability to quickly react to situations is critical. I have personally witnessed the power of a tightly integrated solution as operators can quickly react to alarms, assess the situation and make a decision on the proper course of action. In those situations, there is no room for latency or toggling between different GUIs to find the appropriate video or other information. As customers increasingly look to add even more disparate sources of data to their decision-making, open standards and interoperability will become even more critical to delivering an end-to-end solution.
Thirdly, it is safe to say that video has finally gone mainstream. It is extremely rare today to walk into a business, regardless of its size, and not find video surveillance cameras recording all activities. In parallel, the industry has also made several technology breakthroughs in the past few years, namely in the area of video and data analytics, which has made the concept of video-based business intelligence a reality. The result has been an explosion of new and innovative uses for video that are challenging manufacturers and integrators to design new solutions. Recent examples of integration requests include point-of-sale and bus fare ticketing systems, parking lot occupancy monitoring, barcode scanning systems, GPS systems, and RFID systems for asset tracking. As IP video systems increasingly become core to new business intelligence applications, and customers drive new use cases, interoperability continues to be the biggest challenge and opportunity for video surveillance providers.
At March Networks, we remain committed to supporting standards and leveraging our enterprise video platform to introduce new application solutions such as Searchlight for Banking and Retail. Our recently appointed Integrations Business Development Manager Jeff Corrall is responsible for working with third-party IP camera, alarm and access control vendors to coordinate integration efforts. Another key aspect of Jeff’s role is to work with executive and product management to identify new areas of business and potential partners key to launching new applications. This is a new and exciting role for the company and we fully expect to continue growing this team as we develop new applications.
By Peter Strom