InterviewsIT ServicesSecurity

Surveillance Systems are Moving From Passive Data Gathering to Being More Proactive

Arabian Reseller speaks to Costa Boukouvala, the CEO of AgilityGrid, about the security and surveillance market in the Middle East 

How is the security and surveillance market shaping up in the Middle East?
The importance of maintaining tight security and the benefits of video surveillance are well understood in the Middle East. Governments want their cities to be smarter and to remain safe while private businesses know that reducing their security risks will save them cost in the long run.

The industry continues to grow with many large projects still in development and a number of large events due to take place in the region over the next few years.  Customers are looking for solutions that perform well and will be reliable in terms of being low maintenance with minimal risk of data loss.

The other thing they look for is scalability. They may install the minimum requirements initially but want to be able to add more hardware such as increasing the amount of storage or number of cameras as they grow.

Service support is also important in terms of their teams receiving thorough training on the systems and being able to receive 24-hour assistance should they have any issues.

Which technology trends do you see in the Middle East market in terms of security and surveillance?
The trend for Big Data analytics and understanding more about your customers and people’s behaviour in general, is going to increasingly be applied to Video Surveillance. From use of facial recognition, biometric software and other video analytics to recognize VIP customers when they enter a retail outlet or hotel property to identifying and alerting authorities to the presence of known criminals that might be passing through an airport.

Machine learning and high performance computing can be used to analyse the steams of video data coming from camera feeds to better understand people’s behaviours.  This could include suspicious behaviour such as loitering, anti-social behaviour, probing, rioting, and so on. Surveillance Systems will move from relatively passive data gathering to being more proactive in providing earlier alerts for suspicious behaviours and automatically tracking the movement of suspects across multiple locations.

Which industry verticals do you see most demand for such solutions coming from?
We work with a range of Government sectors to provide effective Video Surveillance solutions such as Law Enforcement, Defense, Immigration and Utilities along with private industries including aviation, hotels, leisure attractions and retail outlets.

What sets Agility Grid apart from its competitors? What is your USP?
We offer the combination of a unique product together with specialized services. Our solutions are unique in that they are purpose-built for video surveillance. Our video storage carries 6 patents and is able to store video data with zero frame loss.

It also retrieves video 20 times faster than general data storage devices and is easily scalable. As businesses grow they can add up to 1000 cameras on to a single storage device. The storage also can easily accommodate longer retention periods and higher resolution cameras as required.

This means businesses wont be stuck with technology that quickly becomes out of date. Other unique features include the onboard monitoring tools that track performance in real-time, giving operators much more visibility. We also have a unique range of video analytics software that are fully customized to our surveillance solution to provide even greater efficiency and intelligence.

Our specialized service provides customers with the expertise they need to design the most efficient and cost-effective solution purchase cipro that will fully meet their current needs and be scalable for years to come.

What is the major driver for use of security and surveillance systems in this region?
Legislative requirements for Video Surveillance that have been established by a number of countries in the region.  These laws specify video data retention periods, quality and resolution of the cameras and the frame rate of the cameras.

These legal obligations have created the need among both Government and private sector to source reliable solutions that fulfill these requirements and are cost effective. There is also an increasing emphasis on Smart Cities, given the development and modernization taking place in a number of cities across the region.

Maintaining and enforcing certain  standards for these cities in relation to speeding, parking enforcement, driving behaviour, monitoring and managing transportation systems and behaviour in public spaces.

What sort of security threats do you see in this region?
While there is a lot of volatility in this region, the need to reduce security threats is increasingly being faced by Governments and Private Sectors around the world.  Organisations need to protect the safety of both their public spaces and their assets in a variety of scenarios including boarder protection, shopping malls, public precincts, hotels, hospitals and university campuses.  Organisations are looking to reduce both major security threats such as attacks, acts of violence to theft, speeding and parking violations and property damage.

Do you see a growing concern for security  and surveillance in public spaces?
There has been an emphasis on Video Surveillance and Security in public places for some time. Operators want to be able to detect incidents such as abnormal behaviour and security risks quickly, in order to resolve issues with as little disruption to the use of these facilities as possible.

Surveillance solutions also provide them with a better understanding of public space utilization including peak times, passenger flow and numbers in the case of public transport, the high traffic areas and so on, which assists them in managing these areas, along with planning for the future.

How are governments in this region catching up to such requirements?
There are many learnings that can be gained from other large overseas cities. Governments also learn from overseas incidents. They tend to work with their international counterparts towards common global interests.

There are many other sources of information available also, including advice from security consultants and industry experts, international security conferences and events where latest technologies are showcased, along with case studies on best practice for risk assessment and mitigation.

How do you work with your channel partners in this region to ensure your customers get the optimal solutions they are looking for?
We work closely with like-minded channel partners with a focus on overall customer satisfaction. We support both our channel partners and end customers with advice and expertise in solution design and ensure their specific business requirements are full addressed, while creating the most efficient and cost-effective solution. We also run seminars and training and carry out follow ups and quality checks after installation, to ensure everything continues to run smoothly.

Do you have any Channel Partner Program in place?
A number of our solution partners run channel partner programs, where they provide training and certification plus rebates on sales volumes. Depending on the channel partner’s level of expertise and volume of sales they can also attain partnership levels which give them access to a range of further benefits, discounts and rebates.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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