Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
July 19, 2022


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Why surveillance systems are more than just security devices in 2022 – In conversation with Hikvision’s Gary Harmer

At IFSEC International 2022 in May, IFSEC Global got the chance to speak with Gary Harmer, Sales Director at Hikvision UK & Ireland, to discuss the company’s latest technology on show at IFSEC, and the trends the business has witnessed since 2019 for the physical security industry.


IFSEC Global (IG): How has the past couple of years been for Hikvision, and what are the priorities for you at present as a result of the challenges of the last two years?

Gary Harmer, Sales Director at Hikvision UK & Ireland

Gary Harmer (GH): We’ve experienced the same challenges as everybody else – a lack of face-to-face customer engagement and the mental health and wellbeing of the teams. That’s been a priority for us, to make sure that we’ve changed our mode of operations so that we can maintain contact with our customers, we moved to an online presentation format – online webinars – rather than our face-to-face Insight events, which we’ve just started again. They’ve become re-established and well attended because people are now ready to get back out, see people again and see what’s new.

In terms of what’s new for us, we’ve had some real interest in our solar powered camera, for new-build, construction and remote operation sites, and we’ve also seen a lot of interest at IFSEC with our TandemVu product. The device is a PTZ but with a fixed camera on the top so that in the event of an operator zooming in on an incident, the user doesn’t lose sight of the overall footage from the fixed camera view. I suppose it goes down to the old adage; the operator is often zoomed into the wrong two square metres of the car park, and they miss the car that’s been damaged, so this overcomes that.

IG: And what else have visitors to the stand been interested in?

GH: The other product that’s always getting a lot of attention is our own VMS platform, HIKCentral, which has been further developed over the last couple of years – we’ve just released version 2.2. We’re seeing a lot of applications where we’re delivering value for money on the investment by providing the end-user with tools that they can use to combine with their own data collection, generating usable business intelligence and management information. The platform enables our customers to bring in and collect other data and lay that on top of video data to provide the wider context. This offers security teams a much better understanding of what’s going on in their business. It also supports other operational analysis, such as fall analysis, people counting, queue management, and process control as well.

IG: Does that speak to the wider trend of integration with different physical security systems, but also building management systems?

GH: Absolutely. Our customers can collect their own data from other sources and then use that data to overlay with the video information and alarm notifications produced by our video systems. This provides a far more detailed response and contextual analysis to an end-user.

“It’s bringing together budgets as well because we find that security has a budget, marketing has a budget, and then if we can bring the two departments together to say: ‘if you both spend your money and join your budgets into one big system, look at what you can achieve. You can get better security coverage, you can get a lot of business intelligence and management information as a derivative from a video system’.”

IG: You mentioned the Insight face-to-face events were back, how have they been? We know there were quite a lot of topics covered – were there any in particular that were popular?

GH: So the format of the Insight events is that we start with a very quick corporate update, and address some of our new technology. But the real benefit of our Insights is that our customers are able to come and meet product managers, and technical pre-sales people and talk through specific projects. The face-to-face nature enables them to almost tick the box on a proof of concept, see the kit working or say ‘can it do this’, ‘can it do that’, ‘how would I achieve this?’

Then they are able to go out and quote our products and solutions with a higher degree of confidence. So that has a real value to it. While we’ve considered changing the format a couple of times, we recently completed a survey with the attendees and very much the feedback is ‘we think you’ve got it about right’ – there’s a mix of presentation in terms of what’s coming through and then hands-on opportunities. So, we will continue to run with that kind of format.


Hikvision’s stand at IFSEC International 2022

IG: In terms of the wider video surveillance industry, are there any particular trends that you’re seeing? Is artificial intelligence now really ready to bring genuine business ROI, and are there any trends that are completely new that your seeing filtered through from conversations you’re having?

GH: Yeah, so we are already delivering ROI through the artificial intelligence – that is only going to get better and smarter. We’re doing a lot of integrations with our technology partners, to bring an overlay of a product, again to provide a wider solution, or an enhanced solution in a discipline that we may not already have, and that’s proven to be really valuable to us and our customers.
The return-on-investment case is often difficult to prove, and what we always want to do is to understand not what the security requirement is, but what the operational challenges are within a business, because that allows us then to look at ways of delivering a better ROI. So, we’re not just putting up CCTV cameras for a security purpose, but we are delivering a second and third function from the same camera.

IG: Is it almost video surveillance ‘outside of security’?  It’s going that extra step and also getting that ‘seat at the table’ for the security manager to say: ‘this is why we should be investing in this equipment’?

GH: Yeah, and bringing in other people within an end-user’s organisation, such as their marketing team and explaining: ‘this is the information our solutions can give you about the footfall, about the time of day when you’ve got peak times, about the layout of your stores’, which is attracting more hits on the shelf and that’s worth money to them.

It’s bringing together budgets as well because we find that security has a budget, marketing has a budget, and then if we can bring the two departments together to say: ‘if you both spend your money and join your budgets into one big system, look at what you can achieve. You can get better security coverage, you can get a lot of business intelligence and management information as a derivative from a video system’.

I think in terms of the emerging trends, we’re seeing a more dimensional context coming through. We offer a radar solution so we can pick up activity much easier and from further afield, and then concentrate resources in that area. And as I said, bringing in data from other systems and the ‘if-this-then-do-that’ type of analysis, to give you a better response and a better overview of what’s happening on the estate, in the retail park, in the shop, or wherever it may be.


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