Hikvision President Addresses AI and USA Challenges

By Charles Rollet, Published Oct 31, 2018, 02:31pm EDT

In frank recent China interviews, Hikvision's President Hu Yangzhong has addressed challenges impacting the video surveillance industry and Hikvision, in particular, saying the world's largest security manufacturer is now focusing on "survival" as opposed to breakneck growth.

In this note, we examine Yangzhong’s remarks:

  • downplaying the AI trend Hikvision has so heavily promoted
  • addressing Hikvision’s USA challenges, including a pledge to be “more transparent”
  • bemoaning industry fragmentation
  • criticizing other's big discounts and promotions

Overall, the comments mark a significant change from Hikvision’s often bullish past proclamations, indicating the company is attempting to manage expectations amid crashing stock prices and decelerating growth.

AI Not Such a Big Deal After All

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  • “** **** ********, ** need **** ***** ********* skills ****** **** **. AI ** *** * panacea.”
  • “****** **** ****. *** if *****’* ** ****, someone’s *** ** ****** it. *** ** *****, most ****** *** **** seeing ** ********.” (********* also **** ********* *** “not *********” ********** *** own ** ****.)
  • “*** ** ********* **** have ******* *** ******** industry… **** **** ** the ***** *** ***** 3 ** * ***** but ***** *** **** limited ******* ** **** applications [** ***** ********.]”
  • “**’* **** ********* [*** AI ** ****** *** landscape ** *** ******** market.]”
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Response ** ** **********

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**** **** **% ** Hikvision ** ***** ** the ******* **********, ***** Hikvision ****** ********* *** “*********** ***********”.

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[********] ** ******** **** difficult *** ******* ********* in **** ****'* [*********] environment. ** ** ** international *******, ********* **** go ******* **** *******, including ************* *** ** government's ******** *** **** understanding ** *********. ********* will ** **** *********** and **** *** ****** with ******** ******** ***********.

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Fragmentation *******

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  • “***, *** ******** ****** is ******* **** ****, but **’* ******** * small ******. *** ******’* capacity ***’* **** ***. Otherwise, ***** ***** ** companies ******** *** ******* billion **** [$** *******] level ** ****** ******* already.”
  • “** ‘*****’ * **** that *** ******** ****** is ** * **** fragmented *********, ***** ***** are ****** *** *** products *** **** *********. Lots ** ***** ****** customization. **, **’* **** complicated ** ***** * process **** *** ******* to *****’ ******* *** customization ***** *********** *** capacity ** ******* ** their *******.”
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Condemns “*********” ******* ** **** *******

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Overall ************

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** ***** ***** * change *** ********* *** remains ** ** **** if **** ******** ******** will ****** ** ***-******* media.

Comments (28)

Charles, good reporting!

I would encourage readers who track Hikvision closely to read the Leiphone interview in full as it is a fascinating conversation.

It would be great for Hikvision to be more transparent, though over the last few months Hikvision USA has been the least vocal and open that it has ever been to the media and public in general.

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I would encourage readers who track Hikvision closely to read the Leiphone interview in full as it is a fascinating conversation.

Is there a human-translated version of the interview available?

Google translate yields the following existential exchange, which while fascinating, may or may not be actually true...

Lei Feng.com: What do you think is true? What is illusion?

Hu Yangzhong: It is real thing around me, maybe it is fake in others; it is true in others that it is fake in my opinion. Often thinking that it is true, it is actually not true. 

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Is there a human-translated version of the interview available?

We had an expert translate for us. The quotes above and our analysis is based on their translation and context they provided to us.

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Just curious, is the translation I posted above even close to what was actually intended by Mr. Hu?

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Not so far off. Here is the literal translation of that particular Q&A:

Leiphone: In your opinion, what's real and what's fake?

Hu Yangzhong: Things around me that appear real may seem fake to others. Things that other people consider 'real' could also seem fake to me. Most of the time what we think is real, is actually not. The only way to verify if something is real is to see if customers are willing to keep purchasing your products or services.
 
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(Yangzhong is making an almost philosophical point here about whether a trend is real or not. I think it's a subtle dig at Huawei, i.e. Yangzhong is saying the only way to tell if you're successful is if people are actually buying your products, rather than embracing AI hype.)
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Thanks Charles!

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein 

 

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It's refreshing to see someone call out all the AI hype - even if it is coming from a source constantly trying to capitalize on AI hype.  It's basically gluten-free for technology.  

HIKVision is definitely falling behind.  Right now, you can only use HIK products (IP cameras, DVRs) on a single browser : Internet Explorer.  Chrome hasn't worked for years since they disabled NAPI plugins, Firefox stopped working shortly after, Microsoft Edge has never worked, and just last week an update to Safari (Mac) disabled NAPI plugins.  So we are down to IE only.  This is a bad sign - HIK either isn't willing to spend the resources to create an HTML5 browser interface or isn't capable.  Not sure which is worse.  

We are repeatedly asking our HIK rep for answers, but are constantly given the runaround.  Although we've always been happy with HIK in the past, things are rapidly deteriorating.  Never mind about all the Chinese ownership stuff, the fact is their products are falling behind in a major way.

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exactly, this is what i aluded to the other day. I think the AI and Analytics talk is very numbing and boring.

I would be much more excited to see a camera and DVR work on all browsers and see less cameras with nasty ass cable whips than I would to see a facial recognition. Simplify the small things and I would jump out of my seat for that.

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Here here on the cable whips.

At first the appeal of a single sku for both indoor and outdoor models was really nice, but the reality of having to drill a 7/8th in hole for so many more applications is quite the PITA. 

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HikVision Sales Rep: All HikVision products work with Google Chrome. You just need to install and run the Internet Explorer App on Google Chrome.

- Direct quote from a sales representative when I asked about the NPAPI Plugin...

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That is a typical response from most Chinese manufacturers. Always some wonky un-realistic work-around

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... and still no mention of cyber security or whether the West will ever accept to have hardcoded backdoors in security products.

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Hi,

Is there anything else than Hikvision and Dahua you are talking about? I paid membership to get quality content not to follow your obsession to attack Hikvision, Dahua and other chinese brands. We know they are spying on us with cameras, but american brands also like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Dell and others are dowing the same or may be more...

Please write about something more interesting for readers.

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Youssef,

Thanks for your first comment. 

Hikvision's position on AI is important to the industry at large. This article is not an 'attack' but the only report outside of Chinese/China to report on this important development.

We publish many other things outside of Dahua and Hikvision. Outside of this post, below are our 5 most recent reports, e.g.:

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John,

If I look at the homepage 3 articles from 11 are directly related to Hikvision or Dahua, and 1 other regarding oem. Sorry, but it's like 40% of the content.

 

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If I look at the homepage 3 articles from 11 are directly related to Hikvision or Dahua

Youssef, you are counting our VMS shootout as one of the 3, which is inappropriate. It is an in-depth test of 8 manufacturers:

So our VMS Camera Management shootout is evidence of your claim of our "obsession to attack" Dahua and Hikvision? And if we did not include Dahua and Hikvision, would you and others not then attack us for leaving them out?

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John, I am not defending Hikvision or Dahua. It's your right to criticize whatever you want, but, it's my right also to claim more quality content not related specially to those brands. There are many topics that can be covered, we all know today the concerns about China backed brands.

Regards

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Youssef,

We try to cover lots of things and I am happy to take your suggestions on specific topics or companies to cover.

That said, those two companies are huge global players. Until that changes, we are going to continue to cover them a lot.

But, again, happy to take your suggestions on other topics or companies. What would you recommend specifically?

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John,

There is plenty of topics that can be covered, i.e. control room design, advanced visitor management solutions (comparaison for example between easylobby, vitrtualborder, veristream...), tests for other players in the VMS market like Mirasys, Luxriot... Permiter intrusion detection and integration with major VMSs...

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3 articles from 11 are directly related to Hikvision or Dahua...

3 cameras out of eleven are sold by Hikvision or Dahua...

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Youssef,

welcome!  :)

You are free to have your own opinion and speak it as you see fit... but please do not attempt to speak for other members, including me.

"Please write about something more interesting for readers."

I find plenty of interesting writing here... for instance, this excellent piece we are commenting on by Charles.

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Thanks :)

I am correcting than: "Please write about something more interesting for me."

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Image result for thumbs up

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Please write about something more interesting for me.

Speak for Youssef ;)

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I found this somewhat interesting: CETHIK, Hikvision's controlling shareholder and a state-owned entity, republished Yuanghzong's interview with Leiphone on its own website. 

Since CETHIK rarely promotes stuff that isn't pure Communist Party propaganda it likely means Hikvision HQ views this interview as a relatively big deal.

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Charles, any chance to have full interview here ?

Thank you for very interesting article!

I had two meetings during last month with Mr.Hu and I also feel his concerns about future. AI is real game changer and it is going to reshape the industry. And AI needs customization, so it will be difficult to provide AI in volume - same for everyone. So, AI is going to drive segmentation further!

My suggestion to Hik is to provide open source, open platform firmware on all cameras and NVRs to allow software companies to use their hardware like we are using PC. Someone will do it. If not Hik, then Huawei. Will see. But this the only way to provide most effective security solution for exact client.

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Hi Murat, interesting comments on Hikvision and AI. We don't have the entire interview translated; however if there are any particular sections you find interesting, please point them out and we will translate that for you.

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A Hikvision executive just gave an interview where extensively promoted AI, striking a different tune from Yanghzong. The executive, Xu Zhihun (徐志军), is the manager of Hikvision's transport division.

Xu said that Hikvision's AI Cloud "has been applied in many industries" and can "aid urban management departments implement good governance"; apparently it is already in use by traffic police in Shenzhen and Xi'an.

(Compare that to Yangzhong's more muted remarks on AI Cloud: "The technology itself is still evolving... Some pioneering users have been using it and we believe there will be more in the future.")

Xu also promoted Hikvision's "AI+ Mobile Police service" (AI+移动警务). That's a reference to Chinese police vans kitted out with surveillance tech like this one:

image

These vans and other surveillance systems are linked to a police-only smartphone app.

Xu said Hikvision's Mobile Police Service makes it possible to "collect information on the spot". It can perform "real time analysis anywhere and anytime", "blacklist comparison", license plate recognition, etc., and "solve the problem of suspects using fake photo IDs". The vans are also equipped with Hikvision's "smart rearview mirror" (智能后视镜), i.e. a rearview mirror linked to a dash-cam.

"Blacklist comparison" likely means comparing video surveillance data to lists of suspects, but it could also be a reference to finding people who have been placed on the many blacklists in China's "social credit" system.

Xu ends the interview saying 5G "will usher in a new round of innovation and upgrades" in security, particularly in road transport.

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