Milestone CEO Fights Against CCTV 2.0

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 15, 2016

Is Milestone simply a pawn of Canon, destined to be merged with Axis to be Avigilon 2.0?

No, declares Milestone's CEO.

Indeed, not only will that not happen says Milestone's CEO but he sees himself as leading the charge against solutions like Avigilon and maintaining complete independence from their owner Canon. We analyze these claims from his book and their meaning inside.

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******* ********** *** ********** ** *** ******* ***********:

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**** ** * ****** ********. ********* ** / *** **** quite ****, **** **** *** ****** ************ **** ****** ****** in ***** ************. *******, **** ******* **** ********, *** ** clearly *** ******** *** ********** ** ******* *********, ** ******* *** *********** jail. ***** ********* **** **** *** *** ** **** (****** ******** ******), **** ** ******* ******** ************. 

Visual ********

****** **** *****, *********'* *** *** ******** *** ****** ** Milestone - '****** ********':

"****** *** *** *****, *** ****, ****** *****, *** ********. We’re ******* ****** ***** ******** ***** ** ***********... ** ******* that ***** *** ** *** ***** **** ***** *** ** these ********* ********** ****** ********, *** ** **** *** *** those ******** *** ******* ******** ‘****** ********’."

** **********, ** ********** ***** *********:

"**** *********** ** ***** *** ********* **** ** *** ** the ***** ** ****** ********."

**** *** * *** ******** ** *********'* ****** *****:

  • "***** ***, ** *** ******* ******* ******. ** ** *** other *****, ** **** *** **** *** ** ******* * cars **** * ****** ** ******* ******** ** **** ***, constantly ********* ***** ** ************. **** ******* ***** ****** ** subscribe ** *** **** **** ***** ******** ******."
  • "** ******* *********’* ******** *** ** ***** ** ********, ******** activities ******* ****** **********. ******* ** ** ** ** *** fridge, *** ********* *** **** *** *****, *** ********* *** action **** *** *****. ***** ********* **** *** ************* ***** a *********"
  • "********* ********* ******** ***** ** ******** ** ****** ****** *********** of ******** ** *** ** ****’** *****, ** *****, ** upset. ******* ******* ** * ****** *****, ******** **** ***’** about ** *****, **** ******** * ******** ******** ******* **** another ** **** ******** ******, *** *** **** * ***, and *** *****, *** **** ****? * ***** ***** ****** for ******* ****."

*** ** ***** ******** *** [******* *******] *********** ***********, ********** objectives *** **** *** ***** *** **** **** ********* **** today. ** **** ** *********** ** *** ** *** *** they *** **** *** ********** ** ********** ***** ***** ** ********.*********'* **** ******** ********, ***** ********** ****** ******* ** **** ****** ******** ******.

Independence ******* *****

*** **** **** *********'* *** ***** ******* *****.*, **** **** stand **** ******* ***** *****, **** ** ***** ******* ***** mind *** ***** ***** *** ******* ********. ** ********:

"** ***** ***** ***** ********* ********, **** *** ****** ** do **: ** ***** * ***********, ** ****** ** ** OEM ** ***** ********** ***********. **** ***’* ****** **** ** deliver ********* ** **** *** ****."

******, *** '****' ** * ******* *******, ***** ***** *** already ***** ******** ** ******** ****** ***% ** *********.

*********'* *** **** *******, *********** *** ****** ******* ***** **** from ***** *********:

"**** [*****] ***’* **** ****** ** ******* ***** ** *** facilities. **** ***’* **** ****** ** *** *******. **** **** have *** **** ** *** ***** ** *********, *** ** critical ** ************ *********** ** ********* ** ***** ********, ** can **** *** ***** ************** *** ** *** ****. *** example, ** **’** ********** *********** **** *** ** **** ** their ***********. **** **** ******* ** *** ********** ** ***** [IPVM ****, *.*.,****]."

********* ** ***** **** - ****** *********'* *** ** ******** or ***** *** * ******** ********* *********. ****** ***, **** is ***** ** **** *********'* *** ** ********** ** ***** against ******* *********, ********'*, *****'* ** ****** ****'*.

Comments (37)

"I am going to tell the owner what they can and can not do"

canon "ya fired"

"They [Canon] don’t have access to certain areas of our facilities. They don’t have access to our servers. They will have one seat on the board of directors, ......"

Too funny. Dude they have the keys and that one seat on the board nonsense, that one seat holds the top trump card. Maybe you've been spending too much time in Christiania since Canon purchased your company.

"spending too much time in Christiania"

I had to look this up. "Why You Need To Visit Denmark’s Hippie Commune Before You Die"

  • "An elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer may be prone to repeated, cyclical activities through memory impairment. Getting up to go to the fridge, not realizing why they are there, and repeating the action time and again. Video analytics that can automatically alert a caregiver"
  • "Automated analytics software which is designed to detect facial expressions of gamblers to see if they’re happy, or bored, or upset. Imagine sitting at a gaming table, thinking that you’re about to leave, when suddenly a cocktail waitress appears with another of your favorite drinks, and you have a sip, and you think, you know what? I might stick around for another hour."

I really wish people would stop just making up wild claims about what video analytics might be able to do, particularly in cases where they don't appear to be doing any video analytics development of their own.

In many ways his statements above are arguments for the "proprietary jail", though I think that term in borderline inflammatory.

If we're ever going to get to the point that video analytics is capable of detecting these nuanced expressions on a persons face, and making an accurate read of them, and then dispatching a cocktail waitress (really, that's your killer app??) it's going to start off in a situation where you need a tightly controlled integration between the camera, the analytics (wherever they run, doesn't matter) and the VMS.

At VideoIQ, it was *hard* to try and get any of the major VMS's to *want* to do a deep integration. Years later simple things like handling the live meta-data from the analytics still lacked widespread support. I witnessed VMS companies claim all these things were going to be possible, but they didn't appear willing to invest their own efforts to really make it happen. They want the outside vendors to essentially pay money to get developers to add specialized support, or add enhanced features to the VMS API. And of course, every VMS is different, so if you're a smaller startup trying to push the envelop of something like analytics, you probably don't have the resources to essentially duplicate a lot of integration work for each VMS's API.

What does that mean? IMO, it means that we're most likely to see true technological progression on things like "Minority Report" level analytics from companies that can control all the components. They can build the cameras to work with the analytics to work with the VMS, etc. All the API's are in sync, all the teams are working toward a shared goal and making decisions (what DSP should we put in the next-gen camera) ahead of time to converge on a solution that requires all these components working in concert.

Milestone is a great VMS, and I agree that there should be interoperability among devices to give the greatest flexibility. But breakthroughs in things like analytics are not going to come from 3 "independent" companies all somehow converging on a solution separately, breakthroughs are going to come from ONE company recognizing that in order to tackle the problem you need to be able to impact all of the key components.

At some point, when the solution, and the business market are now "obvious", you'll see other companies duplicate what works, or add support for the required API's because they'll need to in order to stay relevant. I was going to post something on another thread, but a close example to this is the fact that Dahua and Hikvision have seemingly come from nowhere in the last couple of years. The industry finally standardized (in a way) on PoE, h.264 streaming and 2-3MP image sensors. There was finally a clear indication of what the market wanted and what could be made in bulk. We got past the JPG vs. MP4 vs. H.264 debates. We figured out what resolution was "enough" for most applications, demand for ONVIF became measurable, and so forth. This was easier to do with cameras because at the core they are simple, passive devices. All you expect of them is a good image at a given framerate.

Analytics is a lot harder. For the examples above there still isn't even what I would consider 100% solid consensus on what kinds of cameras you'd use, or where you'd install them. Would a 360 camera work? Do you need a 4K camera to really see those face details? What about a thermal camera to detect hotspots on a persons face? What about a 360 degree thermal camera? (personally, I think we could wager a rough guess on what would work and what wouldn't, but I'm making a point).

The openness of a platform like Milestone is not going to make any measurable impact on the advancement of the industry into truly new applications. It certainly doesn't hurt, but IMO it doesn't make the list of the top 3 requirements.

If someone developed the analytics that Milestone described above they would have a massive market, huge customer demand, and quite frankly every VMS vendor would be clamoring to add support. You could have the most closed software on the planet, and if the customer said they needed support, that VMS vendor would be forced to add it, because the value of analytics in a case like that would be cause for almost any customer to switch platforms (or, to run two VMS systems).

Good feedback. Btw, I agree those video analytics examples are absurd.

While the scenarios Lars describes may seem like science fiction today, they will become plausible as technology progresses. A lot of technology we now take for granted was, at one time, science fiction. There are emerging technologies in video analytics that will start making this all possible in a few years. Some of it is just faster hardware, some of it is better algorithms and approchaes, and some of it is really not classic video analytics, but the application of big data analytics and cognitive computing to the output of video analytics. I do think that the closed system approach is not going to get there first, as that sort of locks you into your own technology. With so many people working on the next generation of video analytics, an open video platform that can provide images to whatever emerges as the best analytics technology will most likely lead to faster innovation.

Frank -

I tried to post this on longbets.org but the site seems to be having problems.

My prediction is the following:

Security Industry Video Analytics Available in March 2019 Will Not Read Minor Facial Cues in Real Time.

With the longer explanation being:

It has been predicted that technology will deliver "science fiction" like analytics within "a few years".

For example:
"Automated analytics software which is designed to detect facial expressions of gamblers to see if they’re happy, or bored, or upset. Imagine sitting at a gaming table, thinking that you’re about to leave, when suddenly a cocktail waitress appears with another of your favorite drinks, and you have a sip, and you think, you know what? I might stick around for another hour."

Technology such as this will not exist in the form of commonly available software features, either as a stand-alone application or integrated with other devices (cameras, VMS applications, cloud/big-data processing) to enable everyday customers to utilize this functionality in a cost-effective and reliable manner.

I was going to offer this wager to you for $1000, your side being that something along the lines of what was described in the original content that I quoted above would be considered a widely available reliable application in the security marketplace by March 31, 2019.

We can make the wager here if you like. I trust John to officiate the state of the industry relative to the video analytics claims made by Lars at that time.

You game?

Gambling on gamblers never ends well...

I tried to post this on longbets.org but the site seems to be having problems.

New website redesign has it covered:

Brian,

LMAO! While I appreciate the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, I'm not a betting man so I'll respectfully decline the offer.

Even if I were the gambling type, I wouldn't touch that wager as the terms are far too nebulous for my sensibilities. EG. How do you quantify "minor facial cues"? How do you define "considered", "widely available" and "reliable"? Plus if John gets to be the judge, that means results would have to be near perfect, which would weight the wager in your favor. LOL

I was also less than perfectly specific when I said:

"There are emerging technologies in video analytics that will start making this all possible in a few years"...

"this all" and "few" are less than succinct, but I did say "start" which means I do not expect things to be fully baked but at the early adopter stage.

I do think that we are about to see some revolutionary advances in the field emerge into the mainstream and while the technology may not be to the point where it can "reliably" deliver on the casino scenario that Lars describes by March 2019, my bar is a little lower than John's. I think by then we will have technology that can deliver enough value for certain use cases that it justifies the cost.

I'll give you an example of how I measure things. We've probably all seen self-driving cars in science fiction movies (love the one in I, Robot and Will Smith's disdain for it, BTW). At one time these were completely in the realm of sci-fi, but now we know that Google and others are working on developing them. So while I would not trust my life to one today, we are starting to see cars implementing collision prevention and parking assistance, which are just parts of the whole self-driving car thing, but of enough value that manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Subaru, Volvo, and others are now offering them in production models_ widely available and, from what I gather, quite reliable.

So my point was that science fiction shows us a lot of what can be conceived, and good sci-fi is based on actual science so a lot of it eventually becomes reality. Dick Tracy's two-way wristwatch becomes the iWatch and the Star Trek communicator and tricorder become smart phones. While reality might not exactly match the vision, we end up with some pretty cool tech.

Speaking of revolutionary advances, have you been keeping track of Convolutional Neural Netowrks (aka Deep Learning)? Some of what can now be done with GPU's is pretty mind-blowing!

Regards,

Frank

We can make the wager here if you like.

Ok, but only if you can post a close-up of your face making the wager, so we can determine whether you're "happy, bored or bluffing".

Maybe Canon will show the Milestone CEO the proverbial "door" for lack of respect of someone who just bought you.

Wireless door contacts, pressure sensors, Fit-Bit, like droid, can tell you a lot about senior care, activities, and the need for help. NFC/Bluetooth can do this now for a few hundred bucks.

Something is amiss here - either Milestone's CEO is confused or Canon has a terrible ownership structure.

I don't think either CEO is confused. I DO believe that Mr. Mitarai has told Lars that he will able to run his company as he sees fit, just like always.

But there is likely an explicit or implicit caveat: "As long as you are making your numbers."

Let's see what happens if and when they blow a couple quarters in a row...

This is the holy truth!

Microsoft (Project Oxford) and other companies (Affectiva) have facial expression algorithms that are being/have been integrated to Gaming applications and market research apps... maybe these use cases are science fiction for Milestone but not for others. I don't believe VMS vendors will take that leap because that solution is targeted at a completely different buyer and industry that these company's don't understand or have the skill set to sell to.

Many companies are jumping on the "Big Data" bandwagon, particularly the PSIM companies; however, even IT companies (who have specialized big data practices) are having challenges monetizing these very involved and protracted sale.

Proprietary jail is a term that has been used long before Milestone coined it (?)

"Microsoft (Project Oxford) and other companies (Affectiva) have facial expression algorithms that are being/have been integrated to Gaming applications and market research apps."

Please clarify. Are you saying that anyone can do this reliably today?

"Automated analytics software which is designed to detect facial expressions of gamblers to see if they’re happy, or bored, or upset. Imagine sitting at a gaming table, thinking that you’re about to leave, when suddenly a cocktail waitress appears with another of your favorite drinks, and you have a sip, and you think, you know what? I might stick around for another hour."

For example, Affectiva is not claiming to perform emotional analysis person by person (as you would in the casino case above), rather they are analyzing trends of what groups of people find funny, charming, exciting, etc. Moreover, it appears to be focused on webcams / people in front of computers, not people scattered throughout a casino.

What Affectiva is showing on their web site is not the direction the company is moving, rather it is where they started (i.e. market research). The company has licensed their technology to the gaming industry where the program/game changes in response to the player's responses.

Although Affectiva isn't targeting the security industry, it is not science fiction to use their technology to augment: interview room video, passport control, access control, video polygraph, etc. What I am suggesting is that a company like Milestone could take advantage of that today, but are too conservative to do so.

"The company has licensed their technology to the gaming industry where the program/game changes in response to the player's responses."

But Milestone CEO says: "Imagine sitting at a gaming table". At machines this logistically is straightforward, at gaming tables not so much. But that's interesting to know. If you can share any details about Affectiva's casino implementations, please do. I could not find any searching on Google.

What I am suggesting is that a company like Milestone could take advantage of that today, but are too conservative to do so.

I disagree.

You're describing scenes where the algorithm is looking at a single person, more or less squarely seated in front of a camera. It's able to observe the person with a very good view for almost as long as it needs to make a determination.

The typical scene in a casino is going to be very different. Higher angles, less pixels on target (unless you think it's practical to blanket the casino with 200ppf coverage).

The company has licensed their technology to the gaming industry

This statement doesn't mean much. "Industries" don't license software, individual customers or corporate entities do. All that statement says is that least one company in the gaming industry has agreed to pay for some software licenses. Now, this might be the very tip of a giant iceberg that is just around the corner, but history shows us it is more likely another aggressive experiment that will most likely not deliver value in excess of the costs associated with selling/installing/maintaining the software.

Also, it would be unlikely that a pure VMS vendor like Milestone would be the ones actually pushing a product like this. In fact, this is why they try to play the "open" card, they want OTHER companies to take the R&D risk of developing something like this that will work the way customers want, and then just "integrate" that into their software.

As a point of clarification, when I stated "gaming" I meant video games like a Xbox with a Kinect camera. But is it too much science fiction to think of a pit boss with a body camera or a dealer with a body camera feeding streams of suspicious patrons to the SOC?

Are you saying that anyone can do this reliably today?

I think it's important to seperate mission critical security analytics from business intelligence (BI) endeavors.

For the former, the system may deemed a unreliable on just a single false negative in one year, e.g. suicide bomber. False positives are not as detrimental to the perception of the success and reliability of the system, but more than a handful, e.g. 100 law-abiding citizens tagged as possible bombers, can start to undermine the credibility of the system as well.

For BI, the bar is much lower. The risk offering someone a drink who is already 'happy' is slight, and if you miss a couple discontents who that drink would have been better served to, oh well.

In addition, if there is a reliable way to measure the system performance, e.g. average patron time spent at a table with system vs. without, then it can be reduced to a simple ROI cost benefit analysis.

It may have missed 60% of people that might have stayed if enticed, and therefore would be deemed 'unreliable', but this is not the way to judge BI applications per se.

Affectiva have facial expression algorithms that are being/have been integrated to Gaming.

Project Poker Face.

Being able to configure cameras, record video streams and search video will be table steaks... a new wave is coming... it won't be heralded in by the old establishment.

Update: Milestone has announced a case study about a car advertising solution that uses analytics, Axis cameras and Milestone VMS. Basically it detects the model of the car passing and then customizes the advertising displayed.

Video here:

I don't know how well it works or how the costs of operation compare to its return. Even if it's great, the big question for me is why do you need a VMS (any VMS) to do this? The analytic / ad solution can fairly easy connect to cameras directly.

Even if it's great, the big question for me is why do you need a VMS (any VMS) to do this?

To capture the reaction shot, and plate?

(Tip: Don't ever smile back at a customized ad, they will never leave you alone.)

The analytics solution was in two parts_ vehicle detection was used to detect vehicles and pass image timestamps and bounding box coordinates to make/model recognition analytics.

The vehicle detection analytics vendor does not support cameras directly but uses VMS to provide access to the camera streams. The main reason for this is that stand-alone VMS vendors like Milestone and Genetec spend a lot of time and effort developing camera drivers for a huge number of cameras, and the analytics vendor wants to focus on analytics and not on supporting lots of cameras so they leverage the VMS camera support.

Also, the vehicle detection analytics does not support HD video as their product is designed to simultaneously analyze dozens of streams on a single server, which makes the extra compute resource of HD unmanageable. So the vehicle detection was done at QCIF resolution and timestamps, bounding box coord's and camera ID's were passed to make/model recognition who then used these to go back to Milestone and pull the HD images required for make/model. While a bit convoluted, all of this happened quickly enough to change the billboard display in time for the driver of the Porsche to see it.

Frank, good feedback, I appreciate the details. I am curious, long term if they (or others with similar analytics) won't just simply use RTSP (or ONVIF) to connect.

Yeah, both RTSP and ONVIF (which still uses RTSP for the actual streaming) offer a lot of promise.

The vendor we are talking about does have the ability to use RTSP but is currently embroiled in patent licensing discussions with MPEGLA regarding this. One nice thing about the VMS's is that they usually already are MPEGLA licensees and so using their technology avoids that rat's nest.

So you could split all the use cases for analytics into forensic and non-forensic.

For forensics having recorded video is implicit so VMS's (or some video recording capacity) are a must.

For non-forensic uses, recorded video is not always necessary and this could be where getting streams directly from cameras applies. However, there are some pitfalls to doing this. Basically, one goal is to maximize the ROI for cameras and this means the more clients that are consuming video from a camera, the more valuable that camera becomes. Another goal is to have stable deployments and this is often in conflict with the ROI goal. Cameras have a limited capacity for outgoing streams and if too many clients try to start streams, problems ensue.

There are two ways to solve the 'many clients to one camera' problem_ multicast, and VMS. Multicast is great, but it can be very hard to implement correctly and can have serious impact on network deployment costs (try doing multicast over a routed network sometime and see how happy your network people are about it). VMS's can proxy a single camera stream to many clients, and are much simpler to implement than multicast.

Frank, aren't the first 100,000 units shipped free from MPEG-LA h.264 royalties?

For H.264 it is 100,000, for MPEG-4 it is 50,000.

The MPEGLA terms are sketchy_ IE I have not figured out if you have a 16 channel encoder if that means 16 units or 1 unit and at this point there are lawyers involved so that makes it even worse.

If you are decoding multiple streams on a server, this is the language that applies:

Products sold to end users and OEM for PC but not part of OS (decoder, encoder or product consisting of one decoder and one encoder = “unit”).

So is the Server the decoder? Or is each process decoding a stream a unit?

I have not figured out if you have a 16 channel encoder if that means 16 units or 1 unit.

Even if they are counted as 16, that's still free for the first 5,000 /yr and $3 after that. Is this expected to be a high volume, low margin item? If that's the case then I could see $3 being a burden.

On the other hand, I (not a lawyer) am guessing that there would only be one unit charged per OS instance, otherwise how would a VMS be charged, it might encode/decode hundreds of streams at the same time, just depending on the matrix size.

Understand you may be under NDA.

It's actually $0.20 after 100,000 units and $0.10 after 5 million, with enterprise caps that are now $8.125M for 2016 and will go up to $9.75M from 2017 - 2020.

:-) I'd prefer if it was high volume, high margin.

I agree with your perspective opn how units shold get counted, makes perfect sense. However, I've learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to lawyers. As engineers we depend on language that is exact and not subject to interpretation but lawyers tend to have a different approach to how things are worded.

And yes, as you have already surmised, I am restricted as to how much I can say.

It's actually $0.20 after 100,000 units and $0.10 after 5 million.

Agreed. My 5000 units and $3 was a worst case scenario of being charged for 16 licenses for one 'device' , 16 x .20 = $3.20.

At least the MPEG-LA seems to be one stop shopping with h.264. H.265 on the other hand is a quagmire.

Good luck!

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