The Security.World community voted during the summer of 2016 and selected the Physical Security and Video Surveillance industry’s Top 12 Influencers. This Profile is one in the series of 12 of those individuals that are making a difference in our industry. Congratulations to Tom Cook, Vice President, Sales for North America,
Hanwha Techwin America. We reached out to Tom to get his views and insight on what is happening in the physical security and video surveillance market. Here are his thoughts:
The vast Security World community of physical security professionals has just selected you as one of their Top 12 industry Influencers for 2016. What is your reaction to that?
It is both humbling and an honor to be recognized in such an exciting industry and one that is crucial in today’s world.
How long have you been active in the physical security/video surveillance industry and what brought you into this industry?
It is a shock to me when I realize that I have been active in the industry for 35 years. While studying electrical engineering I became interested in real-world technology applications, and this led me to apply for internships at technical companies. These experiences formed the basis for a career in security.
How did you get started (what was your first job) in this industry?
I started as an intern at Mosler and while I was accepted for a position in one department, they placed me in another when I came on board. This new position entailed designing film camera interface boards for banking systems and this was the start of my security career. From product management, I eventually moved into product marketing and then sales management.
What are some of the changes in the industry that you saw coming and are most proud about being accurate?
There have been a significant number of technology advances over the years, many of them adopted from the consumer world. These advances were accompanied by the move to digital from analog in video surveillance and security solutions. One could see how consumer devices such as tablets and smart phones would play an ever increasing role in security.
How have you seen the industry change over the past few years?
Probably the change that has had the most impact on the sales channel and end user is the increased speed with which new products are developed and brought to market. New products previously had a life span of three to five years and that has been replaced by as little as a six-month span.
What do you see as being the single most impactful technology in the industry?
I don’t think there has been any one technology that stands out because each new development spawned another and from there another. To start, it was probably the microprocessor and integrated circuits which led to digital technology and the Internet and now remote edge technology.
As an industry influencer, can you share with us a business success story or case study that you are most proud about?
If there is one hallmark of my career success it has to do with the importance of developing and maintaining customer relationships. We are not after just one sale but rather to be a long-term technology partner. This type of relationship goes beyond the sales transaction by providing added value that is more than the worth of the product. Over and over we have won sales projects by offering and delivering expertise that solves their business needs.
Please share with us your visions of this industry and what it will look like for manufacturers, integrators, installers, central stations, and end-users in the near future.
Business experience tells me that consolidation through mergers and acquisitions will continue in this industry. Another trend that will probably continue is manufacturers taking more of a lead on projects and working directly with the end users.
Tell us about a current industry FAD or trend that you do not see being around in the future (i.e.: NFC, gesture technology for access control, body worn cameras, patient biometric authentication, certain video analytics, etc).
The typical consumer wants 100% satisfaction on product and service and it is no different with the security end user. As an example, accuracy of 80-90 percent in analytic software is simply not acceptable for a security application. Even those that cannot sustain 95% accuracy will eventually drop off the market.
Tell us about a newer technology that you think is going to significantly alter the industry landscape.
H.265 will be fully adapted in early 2017 by most video manufacturer and this will move the end user and the industry to a higher level megapixel standard. We will see most projects move from 2MP/3MP up to 4K on H.265 due to the bandwidth savings and storage from the H.265 technology.
What vertical market do you think is going to witness the biggest impact of industry advancements and why? (Airports, Seaports, Campus (K12/Univ), Hospitals, Law Enforcement, Banking, Oil/Gas, Retail, etc).
It is difficult to identify which vertical would be impacted most due to new video technology. However, with the acceptance of H.265 we will see an increase in the adoption of higher megapixel cameras and especially for outdoor use.
What are your thoughts on laws or legislation that are currently being considered or do you think may be forthcoming that will have an impact on the industry: ( i.e: Banning of LPR cameras for police, cruise lines to requiring shipboard video surveillance, schools banned from collecting biometric data on students, drone legislation, etc).
Society today has generally accepted video surveillance and views it from a positive perspective. In fact, more communities are turning to surveillance technology to help provide a safer and more secure environment.
What is your position on where the privacy line is located today, where you see that line in the future, and do you personally agree with those positions?
Most believe that video surveillance is enhancing safety and security in public areas and that is where it will stay and grow.
What are your thoughts about technologies that may be intersecting with more individual/personal applications (i.e.: biometrics, cloud, IoT, wearables, etc.)?
We are being asked to have more integration and features developed for smart remote devices such as tablets, cell phones, and now wearables. As the power of these devices grow, the end user will continue to ask us to develop features for these newer devices.
How can the industry support or accelerate these synergistic partnership opportunities?
Support of H.265 and ONVIF by the manufacturing sector is critical as our industry continues to mature. It is also incumbent upon the industry as a whole to focus on developing guidelines and education for cybersecurity issues.
What M&A activity do you think has been significant and what do you see happening with companies in the near future?
Whether the activity has been minor or major, the industry seems to adjust quickly without any effect on the overall market or direction.
Is there anything in the “lab” that you’re currently working on or involved with that you would like to share with our readership?
In the video world, you hear the “race to zero” on product pricing but we believe there is another portion of savings that integrators would purchase in a product and that is savings on installations. We will push the industry in product features that make installations faster, easier, and ultimately less cost. For example, Hanwha introduced Autofocus (Simple Focus) remote from the camera and now we are adding zoom and panning remote functions. Now, the installer can mount a camera and walk away and remotely pan, zoom and then focus, minimizing install time.
Who do you look to as an industry influencer? Who or what are some other resources that you follow?
I constantly am looking at our competition, their products, how they go to market and their key strategies. I’m also interested in smaller technology companies to see how their products or technology can be used or partnered with to enhance our offering. Industry publications, trade associations and social media sites are very useful for this information.
Please provide any other feedback or comments you wish our readers to know about you or your position in the industry.
I believe as a leader you are only as good as the team that you lead and the talent you surround yourself with. We have a clear and passionate vision but have the flexibility to adjust with market shifts.