By Sohini Bagchi

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The video surveillance market has seen a dramatic growth over the last few years as several high-profile security breaches and threats have impacted the global business environment. In India it is a growing market and owing to its nature of growth in the enterprise segment, it is turning out to be a highly lucrative business option for channel partners.
Milestone Systems, a Danish provider of IP-based video surveillance organization that operates as a stand-alone company in Canon Inc., sells reliable and scalable solutions through a network of authorized and certified partners in more than 130 countries.
In a recent interaction with Channel Times, Amit Sarkar, Country Manager - India & SAARC at Milestone Systems, explains how the company is focusing on channel partners as it tapped into the market potential in India.

CT: Video surveillance in India is a growing market, especially with the falling hardware prices. What will drive the demand of video management software today?
Amit Sarkar:
For a long time, surveillance cameras merely provided a huge pool of video, which is almost always never tapped into, until a problem occurred. But organizations now want a real-time, automated surveillance system that offers better scalability.
Today, our customers are not only looking for real-time monitoring, they also want to derive intelligence out of surveillance systems. And I think a video management software plays a critical role in the installation of a new-age, intelligent surveillance system. Our video management software, which is built on open architecture, allows organizations to have best-of-breed approach to building surveillance systems and acquire intelligence from the data generated by cameras

CT: What is the biggest challenge you face in India, where a large part of the market is still driven based analogue-based systems?
Amit Sarkar:
I would say the market is seeing a huge shift, with almost 65 percent market being driven by IP-based video. That said, the remaining 35 percent is still analogue-based market. We, along with our partners, have been putting a lot of effort in converting analogue users into IP based technologies. The advantage is that our VMS software can support with over 7,000 unique devices in the market and makes third-party integrations possible. This essentially enables users to have a best-of-breed solution, without actually replacing their existing products.

Intelligent video and the attempt to drive better RoI out of video is really happening globally and India is no exception. We are already exploring interesting applications in retail, traffic management, critical infrastructure and smart cities in the country. The mindset here has shifted, from trying to install more number of cameras to the intelligence that can be gathered from the data generated.

CT: How far have you tapped into the market potential in India? Can you tell us about some of your key customers and success stories?
Amit Sarkar:
In terms of market share, we are the top players globally, as well as in India. We have a huge reference base in India across verticals. The top five IT/ITeS players are on board with us for more than five years. This itself has served as a great reference for us in other verticals such as retail, banking, and pharmaceuticals. We already have a strong foothold in industries like hospitality, critical infrastructure, power, oil & gas, along with the enterprise segment. This year, one of our key focuses is smart cities and ports. We see these two segments witnessing huge growth in next two years.

CT: Could you give us a rundown on Milestone’s contribution to the Smart city projects in India?
Amit Sarkar:
We have already signed up for a few smart city projects in the country and expected to see this space growing rapidly in the coming days. City surveillance is in fact one of the biggest drivers for intelligent video and video analytics in the region.
One of our key projects is the country’s very first smart video surveillance installation for Kolkata city. The police department leverages intelligent video systems to help boost security, prevent crime, and control traffic for more than 3100,000 residents and visitors in the city. Milestone’s video management technology acts as a nerve-center to the city administration and police department. The department can now effectively detect traffic violations, unattended baggage, and automatically recognize number plates. This has improved their efficiency considerably. This project has served as great example for many prospective smart cities and has already generated some leads for us.

CT: How critical are channels for your growth in India? What is your go-to-market going forward?
Amit Sarkar:
We are a 100-percent channel driven business in India. Channel is integral part of our growth story. We believe that a best-in-class product will get gain acceptance only when it is complemented by best-in-class implementation and post-sales services. Channel education, training and skill development have been our core focus. We have close to 300 trained partners and seven distributors in India catering to varied various set of verticals. We have a structured distributor and channel partner programs in India. Our resellers, along with our solution partners, have been critical vital in making our VMS platform richer and more accessible.

CT: What does your roadmap for India look like for the next one year?
Amit Sarkar:
We have been witnessing a steady 25 percent y-o-y growth in India and we expect to keep up the momentum. We are also focusing on expanding our team here in India. India is one of the fastest growing markets in the APAC region. We will continue to invest in this market.
For the channels in India, we have rolled out multiple initiatives, including the Milestone Community day, happening in July. It’s part of our Milestone Partner Open Platform (MPOP), a global initiative where partners can learn how our open platform can help expand their businesses. Our channels will also have an opportunity to meet Milestone’s ecosystem partners and learn more about the opportunities that their technologies present.