EXCLUSIVE: A truly open platform for security

Open platforms - IPVideo

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David Antar, President of IPVideo Corporation speaks to SJA about how the company supports open platform ecosystems through innovation and integrations.

Can you tell me about yourself and your role at IPVideo Corporation?

I’m the President of IPVideo Corporation and actually started IPVideo in 2006 by acquiring a company that was the first Axis dealer partner in the US in 1996.

IPVideo is a software developer and manufacturer of event-driven AI security and safety solutions that utilize video, audio and sensor technology.

We have six main product lines offered through 700 dealers worldwide.

We have a strong North American presence, along with Australia, the UK and EMEA regions. One of our main products, HALO, is primarily used for vape detection and protection for privacy areas where you cannot or do not want to have video surveillance.

People are now starting to understand its multiple use cases and are expanding its use into safety and health applications.

We’ve now found a use case for HALO in every room of every building in the world. It’s a pretty exciting time.

What does the term “open platform” mean to you?

In the security industry for many years, people would mistakenly believe that “open” meant that all of their products work with all of their recording platforms.

I’ve always been a big proponent of open standards and open platforms. To us at IPVideo, “open” means interoperability.

What has really opened this up is the IoT and that’s why we’re really excited about HALO, as it’s almost the poster child of an IoT smart building.

We have integrated HALO with over 70 different manufacturers from the areas of surveillance, cloud management, access control, emergency notification, building automation and more.

So, open platforms to us are where you’re able to talk to everybody and anybody without restrictions.

What are the main benefits of an open platform ecosystem?

When you’re open, you can leverage the working investments you have made already and not have to rip and replace.

For new installations, you can get the best of breed of each product that you’re looking to implement and make sure all your solutions communicate with each other seamlessly.

A lot of companies will try to steer you to only use a single manufacturer and their entire lines, which can lock you into a system you may want to change later.

Even if they have a great product that works well, if you eventually find a product that’s better, you don’t have the ability to switch.

There’s also no availability to integrate new products into your environment that might exist a year or two from now.

Plus, if they decide to raise their prices, then you have no choice, even if you decide you don’t want to pay those increased fees.

The other common limitation is where vendors have slightly more open platforms, but they’re restricted to integrations with their own products rather than third parties.

Then there are true open platforms, where you have full flexibility and capability from all the different manufacturers that you choose to put into your environment.

To us, that’s a truly open platform and open standard as you have the best of each manufacturer.

In my own home, I use what I believe are some of the best products for automation and I don’t like to be locked into one product.

It should be no different in commercial building automation and security – you should be able to use the best of the best.

For example, you may at some point find that your recording platform isn’t continuing to develop at the rate that others are, but you’ve invested in a lot of cameras.

You want to be able to move to another recording platform without losing your investment in those cameras. The same goes for IoT sensors.

When you put our sensors in, we highlight that you’re never going to be limited if you want to choose another building management platform or another solution.

That’s why from day one, we decided HALO was going to be a very open platform with open application programming interfaces (APIs), as evidenced by our 70+ integrations.

Our whole company has been built around open standards from when it first started and we haven’t given up on that.

What kind of industries does an open platform ecosystem support?

Every one! We support every vertical market in every different type of environment, whether it’s government, education, hospitality, healthcare or another, there’s really no limit to the markets open platforms can support.

At IPVideo, we choose to be open; one of the biggest and smartest integrations we did was in building automation and control networks (BACnet), which is the platform that most building management systems use to control air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.

When we decided to make HALO open to BACnet, we crossed the bridge between security and environmental systems and I think we’re the only product that really fits well into those two worlds.

Another important aspect is that a lot of people utilize HALO because it’s the number one vape detector in the world.

However, when you solve your vaping problem, what are you going to do with HALO after that?

That’s why we branched out into environmental air quality, gunshot detection and panic buttons – to all other applications that go way beyond what people may have originally bought HALO for.

How do you think that open platform ecosystems might change or evolve in the future?

There is currently a very big push in many industries toward smart buildings, or proptech.

The interoperability of all these systems in a facility is going to be critical, as it leads to better efficiencies for everybody and also helps buildings to be greener, reduce manpower and increase safety.

We bridge all of these aspects with HALO and that’s where the future is.

You could use 16 devices to do what HALO does, but why not put in one device that is more cost-effective and has a ten-year lifespan?

Are there any more solutions that IPVideo will be releasing that work on an open platform?

Aside from HALO, we have another product called Sentry ERS. If HALO is your eyes, ears and nose in creating a safe and healthy environment, then Sentry ERS is for emergency communications.

This system can trigger lockdowns, provide live video on demand and situational awareness for first responders, provide actual location of emergencies, validate events as well as activate emergency protocols and third party systems.

Our goal is to duplicate all HALO integrations with this product and capture many others in the emergency communications area. 

It’s also a big part of our roadmap to continue to integrate with third party sensors as well as sensors that we intend to manufacture ourselves and create that smart building environment as an open system.

What is one takeaway you’d like our readers to know about open platforms?

Our mission statement is that we make the world a smarter, safer and healthier place.

We’re going to continue to fulfill that mission as the company grows and offers more state-of-the-art technology and cost-effective products.

At the end of the day, we’re changing the world with some of the technology we’re bringing forward from innovation.

About the author

David Antar has started several successful high-tech companies based on a keen ability to understand the needs of his customers and the trends in the marketplace that drive business growth.

IPVideo Corporation is a global security and IoT solutions manufacturer and software developer that sells award winning products like the HALO IoT Smart Sensor exclusively through a worldwide dealer network.

David has founded seven additional technology companies and in 2012 all business units were combined under the umbrella of a single holding company, Advance Convergence Group (ACG). 

This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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