NASHVILLE — The tone was set early on for the 2019 edition of the Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) when Digital Analyst and Futurist Brian Sollis gave a rousing opening keynote about innovation and transformation.
Sollis showed that despite being around for a while, companies are just starting to react to disruptors. For example, though Amazon has been around for 20 years, the retail industry has only recently become concerned about the e-retailer.
He uses this point to show that disruption doesn’t just happen overnight — it’s an evolution through constant innovation. This is a theme that will be repeated throughout MIPS.
Another theme that was prevalent at MIPS, held Feb. 25-27 here at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, was how platform-based companies disrupt pipeline-based ones.
Professor of engineering at Dartmouth College Geoffrey Parker explained how prior to the 1990’s, asset-heavy companies such as Shell and GE and were highly valued, where as now, asset-light companies, or platforms, such as Facebook, Airbnb and Uber have overtaken them.
Parker also went over how platform business models are shaping the economy and how to govern them in order to best serve society.
For companies trying to decide if they should try and be a platform, try to partner for one, or produce products and services that work with a platform, Parker provided a helpful chart that you can see here.
Following Parker, Milestone Vice President of Americas Tim Palmquist hit the stage to give some major announcements.
Milestone describes itself as an open platform community. In order to connect buyers and sellers more easily, Marketplace was created as a tool to remove friction between system integrators and end users.
Palmquist clarified that Milestone Marketplace is not just another solutions finder like the company had before, or a like its competitors have tried.
Marketplace has a development roadmap with dedicated team members to build-out the platform and ensure it is always evolving.
Later in the day, Milestone Senior Project Manager Susan von Bülow dove further into Marketplace. She believes Marketplace can disrupt the industry the way Uber disrupted its own.
While Uber connected drivers and passengers, Marketplace will do the same with buyers and sellers.
Buyers can review solutions for compatibility, read reviews, and see specs and documentation for installation.
Sellers have full control of their page. Through a dashboard, they can view their contacts, administrate pages and user reviews, and see the location of users looking at their page. Marketplace is now live with more than 70 partners. You can check it out here.
Milestone Goes Cloud
During Palmquist’s presentation, he mentioned that he had seen a statement that said Milestone is sitting out the Cloud, and not investing in the Cloud.
Turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “We are absolutely investing in the future of Cloud. In fact, we’ve been doing so for several years. We’ve been investing and preparing for the development to Cloud for many years, even sacrificing some of our capability to develop our client server products that you understand today. Even making sacrifices to prepare for the future of Cloud,” he said.
Milestone is focusing on a hybrid client server/Cloud solution. This will allow you to move a workload between on-premise and the Cloud.
Jesper Raebild, directory, global product marketing at Milestone, showed a demo where he did just that. The video stream showed hardly any lag once it was moved to the Cloud.
When I asked Palmquist about one benefit of having a hybrid solution, he said, “I really like the idea that moving forward, we can have much less complexity in the user experience, and even in the system integrator experience — commissioning can be much easier.”
New Search Framework
Milestone’s next announcement was the reveal of a new search framework coming to the XProtect Smart Client. The search framework allows the user to narrow down searches by utilizing metadata.
The user can specify what they are looking for, such as motion, a vehicle or person. Vehicles can be narrowed by factors such as color and direction of travel.
Milestone partners can develop their own metadata categories, for example, gunshot detection, or even lie detection (click here to learn more about that last one).
Emphasizing Responsible Use
In 2017, technology leaders from around the world signed a document known as the Copenhagen Letter. This letter encourages people to use technology responsibly, and “move from human-centered design to humanity-centered design.”
Milestone announced that it is adding what it calls the ‘Copenhagen Clause’ to its end user license agreements. This language will also show up in Milestone’s other legal documents in order to keep up the conversation of ethics and the responsible use of technology.
When I asked Palmquist why having something like this in licensing agreements is important, he told me, “Think of the notion that technology itself, what we build, has no idea if its being used for good or bad. Only humans know. In our role, as the humans in governing society, we should care, just like we care about sustainability, all those things, we should care about even more importantly the abuses of people, human rights and the impact of society that technology can have if used incorrectly. We’re just coming forward to have some better language around that. I think using the language that was built and the thinking that went into the Copenhagen Letter serves as a really good backdrop for that conversation.”
Beginning of a Journey
Disruption. Innovation. Removing Friction. These were the primary themes that dominated MIPS 2019. However, it was also emphasized that these cannot happen overnight.
The Milestone community is on a journey. Marketplace is now live and digitizing the first step of the buyer’s journey. Later this year, the hybrid Cloud solution and new search framework will be available to provide a better experience for integrators and users.
“Any time we’re walking out of an event like this, I’m thinking about the broader conversation that follows after … it sets us up for a conversation throughout 2019. And it’s in that conversation in the community, and that’s a very broad swath of people, that all of these things we talked about serve as conversation starters and a framework for something to build on.” Palmquist told me.
“I think that’s the real opportunity that comes out of MIPS. We talk about looking forward and planning for the trends, disruptions and changes. We want to be part of that conversation too. So we’re just trying to pick a few things we think will get people’s attention and provoke a good talk.”
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