"We are enabling convergence between security and IT"

Thomas Lausten, vice president sales EMEA, Milestone Systems.

Thomas Lausten enjoys a well-known security profile in both his home country Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. He started his security career in 1993 and had for many years key positions at both Bewator and Siemens before he became the CEO of ADI Alarmsystem in 2011. On the 1st of December last year he decided to take on a new role - vice president sales EMEA at the Danish VMS company Milestone Systems. Detektor met with Thomas Lausten and asked him some questions about the move to Milestone, the VMS market and future business opportunities.
You were the CEO at ADI Alarm­system, what drew you to Milestone?
"Milestone is a very exciting company. The open strategy the company has is both exciting and unique on the market. The business model is based on an open platform. No matter what you do you have thousands of companies that have developed a part of their security solution on Milestone’s platform. That gives great opportunities for growth."

What is unique with Milestone?
"The open platform and the fact that we invest a great deal of the company’s revenues into R&D and developing our products is what makes us unique."

How can you strengthen Milestone?
"I can among other things add management competence from the security industry. Many others here have competence within for example R&D or IT, while I can come with input from the security industry. It is a business I know a lot about and that will help secure future growth for Milestone."

How will Milestone continue to expand?
"We are represented all over the world but aim to strengthen our impression further and get closer to our customers, which are the distributors, reseller and end users."

How will you achieve that?
"A great deal of the explanation lies in our ecosystem of partners that have developed a part of their solution on our platform. A lot of the marketing activities are performed with these partners and we are going to invest a great deal this year, for example in our educational Milestone Partner Open Platform days. We have an aggressive communication plan in the EMEA and we will attend several security shows."

So 2014 is an important year for Milestone?
"Yes, we are going all in and there is a huge interest for Milestone in many countries. We are well-known, but we can of course get even more well-known, both for partners and customers."

So Milestone is trying to achieve a clear profile?
"We want to make it even clearer what Milestone is all about, and put focus on our partners to make it even easier to work with Milestone. We are strengthening the organisation to get closer to our partners. It is important to recruit the best competence. We are looking for convergence between security and IT, and to get the best from both worlds."

Are IT and security far apart?
"It´s interesting, they are not far apart at all and more connected than one would think. The IT sector joins the security sector from the network side. While the security sector is more product oriented, the IT sector has a different perspective where the products are more secondary."

Why are they converging?
"The IP technology within security has grown a lot. And video has become big within the IT companies since it’s something that demands a lot of bandwidth and storage."

Is there any other big news from Milestone?
"Yes, we are now launching our Husky. It is a new, simple and slick plug-and-play NVR. It comes with preinstalled licences and is perfect for those inexperienced with installing software."

How do you view the VMS competition, for example Genetec?
"We have great respect for all competition on the market. The IP technology is on the rise in many countries. We are different since we use a lot of the turnover on R&D. This means that we get a quick platform development. Our competitors have other technological offerings which some prefer and think are better, with another set-up and a different organisation."

Why do you think Milestone is better?
"Our solution will last both in the long term and in the short term. Our database technology that we have developed ourselves is unique. Other companies use generic data bases while we at Milestone have full insight."

What are the plans for your platform XProtect?
"It has already transformed into a security management platform that several technologies are hooked up to, like access control, smoke generators, lighting and so on. This is something both we and our partners analyse and develop constantly. That is also why we now strengthen our organisation with the best staff possible."

What are Milestone’s growth aims?
"It is no secret that IP is the fastest growing category within security. Our ambition is, and has been for a long time, to be the best and strongest player on a market with double digit growth."

How do you view Security-as-a-Service?
"There are partners who offer service solutions. With a licence from Milestone you also get an ongoing agreement on updates and service, which also bring new ways to use the technology. Milestone isn´t all about security any more, we have many solutions for different verticals where security isn´t the main priority, for example hospitals, commerce and banks."

Do you have an example?
"A hospital might want to monitor a patient that has gone through surgery and is about to wake up. There you can have a camera instead of a nurse checking in on the patient every five minutes. It saves money and the patient can get immediate help if something happens."

Any other examples?
"A restaurant chain can be in full control of all restaurants by using cameras and analytics. They can analyse if a selected offer draws more customers, what happens in check out-lines and see if a restaurant is clean without having inspectors in cars going around town. There are many examples of video analytics for several markets, like heat mapping and people counting."

Does the video analytics really work this well?
"Yes, video analytics is the future when it comes to video surveillance, and also the link to other technologies such as lighting. We just have to communicate all the possibilities to the market. It is very exciting that our partners are working on things we haven´t even thought about.

So how do you spread the word?
"Via for example leading magazines, the web, social media and events. In general I think many know what we at Milestone do, and that there is a huge interest in the technology and the open platform. But it is important that we use the resources to explain it in the correct way."

And which is the correct way?
"It is important for us to communicate that we are solution oriented, not only surveillance oriented. Furthermore, we are very loyal to the channel and work solely towards distributors, even though we communicate to the entire market."

Finally, how have you found your first few months at Milestone?
"It has been very good. Milestone is a very exciting company and my job is a true challenge, which is both fun and inspiring."

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