Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
August 10, 2015

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Milestone Q&A: Refreshed Husky Range and Why Software is the “Backbone of Security Systems

Milestone’s VP of sales EMEA, Thomas Lausten, tells IFSEC Global why Milestone has refashioned its partner programme to improve and elevate the importance of training.

The move was necessitated by the growing centrality of software in the strategic thinking of buyers of security technology.

IFSEC Global: You’ve made some changes to the Husky range recently…

Thomas Lausten: Yes. Husky is an integrated part of our strategy to offer an embedded solution as well as software.

We’re offering both in parallel because obviously some customers would like an embedded solution and others would like a solution based on PC/server hardware.

We’ve launched several new models with what we call high-end features installed based on the feedback we’ve received from the market. And one year after launch Husky sales are rising steadily month on month.

IG: Why do you think the market response has been so positive?

TL: There are a number of good NVRs on the market today. The market appreciates a Milestone solution with scalability that can be an offered a ‘lite’ embedded NVR whose built-in software can still be updated as improvements are made.

End-users also like our open platform ‘in a box’ approach. The fact you can scale the solution upwards and integrate a number of other technologies with our solution partners is going down very well.

It’s about ease of deployment with flexibility to expand it when you need to. People have told me we’re fulfilling a niche that other NVRs cannot fill.

We researched the market before launching to see what was missing. Many great companies are popping up in video analytics and access control and so on and we’re integrating with them. That’s the possibility you have with Husky.

milestone husky m10

Milestone’s Husky M10

IG: What do integrators think about the latest enhancements to the Husky range?

TL: We’re integrating benefits you typically see with corporate products in the high-end segment. That is appreciated by an identifiable part of the market.

We’re also working on training programmes to make sure it’s easy to understand and deploy. Because there’s so much great technology on the market we’re investing a lot to make it easier to work with new technologies.

So it’s a combination of bringing some additional features to the entry-level NVR market but even more functionality to the high-end Husky models. Husky is also stimulating more integration with our solution partners.

IG: Everything’s software-driven nowadays it seems…

TL: Whereas some years ago many end-users would start by defining and deciding on the cameras, the intrusion system, fire detection system and other important hardware, now we see end users starting by defining the software platform as the backbone of, potentially, a fully integrated security system.

So it becomes a strategic decision: what is the software we want to base our whole security solution upon?  And they choose the hardware there after.

And of course we’re pleased that many of them are choosing Husky and that we’re now recognised as a market-leading player in NVR as well as the market leader in open platform VMS.

But we’re quite humble about where we are in the NVR market. It’s a matter of understanding how do we keep developing and improving the Husky offering to widen its appeal still further.

Thomas Laursten

Thomas Laursten

IG: So you’ve recently launched a partner programme recently…

TL: We changed it last year. We want to reward the partners that are investing in training.

It’s absolutely essential in the years ahead that we develop competencies with our partners, become better at listening to the market and make sure both partners and users get the full benefit of the technology.

And the feedback we’re getting is all very positive. We’ve employed a number of new trainers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

I think it’s recognised that training has become even more important. It’s not just plug and play anymore.

Yes you can do that for certain applications, but there’s also a need to understand what technology can bring you in terms of business intelligence.

We would like to work with established partners but also we see a need to work even more closely with Platinum and Gold partners. Those partners are basing a substantial part of their business growth on Milestone.

Obviously we appreciate and honour that and that’s why we would like to support their business with a new sales lead programme, providing leads based on their requests and feedback.

We’ve launched a new theme for partners this year it is about ‘winning together’. We spent hours on defining what this really should mean for both parties.

It’s about working even closer with partners. It’s also about recognising our software is part of a more strategic investment today.

This makes knowledge about the potential of the technology that much more valuable for partners. That’s the thinking behind our refreshed partner programme.

IG: How is the role of the integrator changing?

TL: Obviously some integrators are more IT-focused than others. Supporting the change from analogue to IT integration is important so we’re expanding the range of courses covering this.

Some classes are aimed at installers that may be new to IT and others at people who have worked with IT for several years.

So the role of the integrator from our point of view becomes even more important over the next couple of years. I also think we need to recognise that we have different kinds of integrators some of whom need supporting in different ways from others

For the ones who base their business model on plug-and-play solutions we have offerings like the Husky M10 and M30. But we also need to think about partners who want to understand what video can add, how integrations can be done with analytics providers, access control providers, intrusion providers and other operations systems… so we can link all that together.

IG: And how do you tailor your offering to the technology buyers and users?

TL: We’ve launched our Milestone Care programme and Professional Services because we’ve been approached by many end users saying “your technology can do so much, but we’re not sure we’re really utilising it properly”.

That’s obviously why, together with our partners, we focus increasingly on bringing our core value proposition all the way to the end users.

End users are seeing Milestone as a very strategic business choice. And if they see it as the backbone of the system, then of course you understand why they want to employ it.

So it is no surprise that our partners have a need to support their customers with our additional professional services, training, commissioning services and extensions and upgrades to the systems. We can work alongside our partners to make sure they deliver a highly reliable video system built to last.

Ten or 15 years ago it was a completely different market.

IG: Anything else to add?

TL: We’ve grown quite a bit as the market has evolved. We’re building a lot of new people into our team for all markets right now.

That goes for sales, training, R&D… and if people would like to know more we have a number of channels and activities reflecting what we’ve discussed.

I’m in Northamptonshire at the moment at our UK MPOP conference, which is a partner conference where this year we are hosting over 70 partners. They’re looking at the technology and understanding how we can work even more closely with them going forward.

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