Interview: Florin Marica, Managing Director, UltraVision Consult
UltraVision Consult’s strategic approach is to bridge the competency gap between manufacturers/distributors and installers/system integrators in building solutions using the best combination of technology to meet end-user needs and generate added value for our partners. Our services meet the needs of the regional market for pre-sales, design, configuration, deployment, training, and post-sales support
By: Damir Muharemović; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
a&s Adria: Mr, could you present yourself to our readers: when did you start working for UltraVision Consult, what is your role/what are you in charge of, and your educational and professional background?
Marica: Greetings to all your readers. I am Florin, the Managing Director and founder of UltraVision Consult. I am responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of our company and ensuring the provision of top-notch security and safety solutions to our clients throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
I embarked on my professional journey in the industry in 1999 and throughout the years, I was part of extraordinary teams which offered me the possibility to learn about various technologies, build and deliver complex solutions in the field of electronic physical security, traffic management and homeland protection.
Through my professional history I was involved in various roles including Business Development, Chief Operations Manager and Area Manager for Romania and Bulgaria, in leading companies from local and global market as UTI, Frigotehnica, GE Security and UTC Fire&Security. These experiences provided me with valuable opportunities to develop and cultivate my administrative, managerial, and interpersonal abilities.
Regarding my academic background, I am an engineer having a Bachelor’s degree for electronic and telecommunication from Politehnica University of Bucharest. Additionally, I have successfully completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Economics, followed by MBA in Economic Development. The combination of my educational background and business experience has prepared me with the necessary knowledge and competences to effectively navigate the intricate dynamics of our industry and steer our company towards achieving success. I’m an active member of ASIS International, Romanian Chapter which has a substantial contribution to enhance my skill set, knowledge basis and being up to date with the latest advancements in security management.
a&s Adria: Tell us about your company: when did it all start, what were its most important milestones, how many employees and offices do you have, which European markets do you supply, etc.?
Marica: Our journey started ten years ago, in July 2013, as I recognized an emerging demand for sophisticated and comprehensive security and safety solutions in Central and Eastern Europe. As in many other similar cases, at that time I was not ready or actively looking to start my entrepreneurship adventure. In less than a month, the opportunity was in front of me, and I decided to pursue it. At that time, I was leading the regional business of one of the top manufacturing companies in the security industry, worldwide, UTC Fire&Security. After their decision to divest local offices in EEU I have decided to continue serving the industry and building an indirect type of business, supporting and developing partnerships with local and regional installers and system integrators.
UltraVision Consult’s strategic approach is to bridge the competency gap between manufacturers/distributors and installers/system integrators in building solutions using the best combination of technology to meet end-user needs and generate added value for our partners.
Since then, our team has expanded to include more than fifteen committed employees who are aligned with our mission to deliver high-quality services and products that bring value-added to our partners. Our company is based in Romania, but we have business partners all over Central and South-Eastern Europe.
One of our most significant milestones was becoming a partner of Prysm, the maker of AppVision PSIM, who appointed UltraVision Consult as the value-added distributor for their software suite in countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe countries.
The first AppVision PSIM project began in 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since then, our team has developed dozens of projects in the region, most of them with the assistance of certified partners. We have provided integrated solutions for a variety of verticals, including utilities, defense, manufacturing, office buildings, entertainment facilities, industrial facilities, agriculture, government entities, and critical infrastructure.
We initiated investments in software development skills and resources in 2016. Soon, our company begins to provide customized software solutions and modules for system integration, new communication protocol drivers for AppVision, and software-to-software operations. Among the drivers developed in-house for our partners’ projects are DSC Neo, Paradox Evo, Bentel FC5xx, Telenot C400, Spica Time&Space, Metra, and radars (Elta Systems & C-Ram from RADA) and many others. In 2023, our team plans to release new protocol drivers and integration features with AppVision for video systems (Intellio and LuxRiot), perimeter security (FFT), and additional software connectors for external systems (ERPs, Business intelligence dashboarding).
Our company has implemented and is maintaining a transparent and effective Quality Management System and is certified ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 45001:2015. EcoVadis has also awarded us a Gold Medal for our achievements in sustainability in 2021.
We have partnered with industry leaders such as Axis Communications, Prysm, Milestone Systems, Camtrace, ACRE Security, Metra, TagMaster, Elka, TISO, and Spica. These partnerships have upgraded our service offerings, ensuring that our clients have access to a wide range of reliable solutions. We are now better able to provide our clients with optimal solutions as a result of our collaboration with a number of highly regarded companies in the global security industry.
Focus on Central and Eastern Europe
a&s Adria: When we talk about the markets you supply, UltraVision Consult is therefore primarily oriented towards the markets of Central and Eastern European countries.
Marica: For the time being, our primary markets are located in Central and Eastern Europe. We are actively engaged in ongoing efforts to identify and pursue potential avenues for growth, with the aim of extending the reach of our services and providing cutting-edge security and safety solutions to additional geographical areas.
UltraVision Consult’s services meet the needs of the regional market for pre-sales, design, configuration, deployment, training, and post-sales support for physical access solutions, video surveillance, transmission products, fire detection and alarm, intrusion detection, buildings and industrial automation, and advanced integration with various software platforms.
We contribute to an organization’s strategic decisions, whether public or private, critical or commercial infrastructure, in order to align internal procedures with legislative regulations, as well as its own security strategy and business plan for operational optimization and resource efficiency. The UltraVision Consult team has a high level of competence in designing, customizing, and implementing integration and information software solutions. AppVision PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) is our primary open platform today.
a&s Adria: Physical Security Information Management, an open software platform that unifies technologies and equipment from different brands, is at the core of your distribution business. What does Prysm Software’s AppVision PSIM software suite with a unique control and management system ensure for the operators?
Marica: AppVision is a software solution developed for proactive and centralized security and building management purposes. This solution facilitates interoperability among diverse systems, consolidating a wide range of safety and security equipment, including video surveillance, access control, and intrusion systems. It also integrates Building Management Systems and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, such as Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and elevators providing the operators with information, command, and control of processes. The system has the ability to seamlessly integrate with various third-party applications, including cybersecurity tools, ERP, CRM, and emerging technologies like drones, robotics, and analytics.
The distinguishing factor of AppVision lies in its open architecture. The platform provides customers with the opportunity to personalize and modify it according to their specific projects, thereby granting them the desired level of independence. AppVision is a neutral tool that operates independently from the systems it integrates. This unique feature provides clients with the flexibility to choose their preferred hardware brands without any limitations.
Additionally, AppVision is a flexible, multifaceted platform that has the capability to seamlessly integrate with any current or future downstream application through an API or an SDK. The design of this platform is future-proof, guaranteeing its viability and benefits as technology continues to evolve.
Our collaboration with Prysm Software and the implementation of AppVision facilitate projects of various scales, ranging from smaller configurations to highly intricate systems.
a&s Adria: You mention that you deal with hundreds of processes “in a unified way”. How did you achieve unifying and not just integrating hundreds of often incompatible system manufacturers, especially taking into account that AppVision’s manufacturer Prysm Software states only “guaranteeing the integration and control of equipment and applications”?
Marica: Our solutions integrate multiple processes through diligent effort, strategic approach, and innovative technology. The AppVision platform offered by Prysm Software goes beyond the scope of merely ensuring integration and control of equipment and applications.
Compatibility issues often arise when dealing with multiple technologies, systems, and infrastructures. In this context, the open platform AppVision is especially important because it provides a flexible framework for customizing your project using an embedded C# intelisense engine. Through an open API and documented SDK, certified partners are trained to deploy their own development for new protocol drivers, features, and interfaces. AppVision’s partner community actively contributes to the software suite’s compatibility, integrations, and features. AppVision PSIM’s native features, such as its own physical access control management module, “cause-effect” links, scenarios, and alarm management workflows, are essential tools for achieving unified infrastructure.
AppVision Mobile App
a&s Adria: AppVision 4.8 represents a leap forward in technology, software features, and useful tools. What features, integrations, and enhancements come with the new version?
Marica: The AppVision 4.8 update represents a significant advancement in technology, software features, and practical tools, all aimed at enhancing your ability to oversee security, safety, and technical management systems.
One of the significant new additions is the AppVision Mobile App, which is now accessible on the Android platform as well as an iOS version, available on the Apple Store. Additionally, the newest version also implemented an HTML5 client for AppControl, increasing operational efficiency and providing a seamless user experience. Measures such as the implementation of temporary passwords and double authentication have been introduced to strengthen the security of the system. The platform’s usability and performance are boosted by the implementation of advanced filters and an update to .NET 4.8.
The inclusion of Terra Explorer is an additional noteworthy feature, providing the option of 3D cartography with the Geographic Information System (GIS) functionality. This upgrade enables operators to efficiently navigate and effectively manage their security systems with exceptional clarity and precision.
a&s Adria: One of the strong points is the new mobile client application for Android. What does it include?
Marica: The newest features of AppVision are designed to maintain the security, integrity, and reliability of your operations without compromise. Indeed, the strongest point of the update is represented by the mobile client application for Android, also available on iOS.
This application offers a live chat functionality that enables operators to effectively communicate with one another from different workstations. Designed with field agents in mind, the app can function as a “bodycam,” enabling agents to initiate a live session with office colleagues or record and send chat content. Users can share alarm reports, PDFs, images, videos, and even their current location using the chat feature. There is an emergency button that, when pressed, sends a notification with GPS coordinates for safety purposes. In addition, agents can manage alarms, acknowledging or escalating them as needed, supervise access control by opening and closing doors, and view live CCTV camera feeds. They can also control PTZ while viewing a single stream.
a&s Adria: Have you increased cyber security and in what way?
Marica: AppVision’s roadmap prioritizes continuous improvement of information security features. Today, the software is compliant with OWASP’s top ten vulnerabilities and has received ANSSI certification (France’s national cybersecurity agency). AppVision’s cyber security features include secure communication between servers and clients via REST web service + HTTPS encryption, customer-defined password policies, and two-factor authentication (email or text message).
a&s Adria: In addition to the presented novelties above, the new version of AppVision also comes with integrations with some of the most used access control and video surveillance systems. Can you name some of those integrations and what are their benefits for end users?
Marica: The system’s versatility is improved by the integration of these features, which increases its efficancy in catering to diverse user requirements and settings.
The integration with ASSA ABLOY SmartAir, a provider of wireless access control solutions, offers our clients a consistent way to efficiently manage and control access points through the AppVision platform. The functionality provided is of great value in high-security environments, such as corporate offices, government facilities, or healthcare institutions.
The video integrations portfolio now includes a new driver, Network Optix Witness VMS, which can monitor live video streams and retrieve archived recordings through the AppVision platformNX. Witness is a reliable and scalable global solution for intelligent video surveillance. IndigoVision ControlCenter, an update to Genetec Security Center 5.11, and a beta version of the Intellio video system are also new in our portfolio.
AppVision 4.8 also includes integration with Spica Time&Space, delivering full user and access right management and providing our partners with an advanced level of access control. This integration also includes the workforce time management module, which is one of the most innovative time and attendance and human resource planning solutions available in our market. The combined technologies, AppVision and Spica, provide a flexible and scalable solution that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of any client, regardless of their operational scale, that needs to address extensible access control as well as time planning and management.
The integration with Suprema BioStar, a globally recognized leader in biometrics and security, brings forth advanced features to the platform, including fingerprint and facial recognition. As a result, there is an increase in security levels for access control and identification, effectively reducing the possibility of unauthorized access.
a&s Adria: As a scalable product, AppVision’s PSIM can meet different customer needs. Depending on the size of an installation, AppVision offers flexibility by making available several types of licensing. What are those types, what do they include, and how is the differentiation made and evaluated?
Marica: The flexibility and scalability of AppVision make it a highly suitable option for organizations of various sizes. AppVision provides various licensing options based on the scale and complexity of the installation.
Through its INITIAL version, the suite can be easily licensed for small and medium architectures. This option allows partners to target projects addressing small-size sites with up to 4 integrated protocols (drivers). We can consider a store or supermarket, a bank, or an industrial site as examples, with the potential to federate them all into a single, unified infrastructure. The licensing structure defines two types of installations for medium and large projects: Professional and Enterprise. The total number of server license points, as well as the total number of cameras, access control readers, and audio channels included in the license, determine the size.
The differentiation and evaluation process is typically carried out through a thorough assessment of the customer’s unique requirements, the scale and intricacy of the security infrastructure, and the extent of integration needed with other systems. This guarantees that every customer receives a customized solution that precisely aligns with their requirements and financial resources.
a&s Adria: What were some of the latest most complex and significant case studies that the Ultravision Consult team has participated in over the past years?
Marica: In a recent case study, our team had the privilege of collaborating with a prominent entity in the FMCG sector. The company, which has extensive operations in both manufacturing and corporate sectors, initially faced the challenge of not having a centralized and unified system for access control policies. UltraVision Consult implemented the AppVision product in order to seamlessly combine access control and video verification throughout their factory and office premises. The outcome was a comprehensive and cohesive access control policy that could be uniformly implemented across all levels of the organization. In addition, safety needs that were previously overlooked, such as fire evacuation procedures, have been optimized through digital means, resulting in a prompt and effective response.
Furthermore, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with a prominent entity in the utilities industry, specifically in the field of freshwater supply and sewage. Our security solution has been successfully implemented in a total of 20 locations and it has effectively eliminated the requirement for human resources, resulting in streamlined security operations and significant budget savings. The investment demonstrated a commendable return on investment, achieving self-sustainability within a year. The decreased reliance on salaries as an ongoing expense has resulted in a more precise and reliable financial projection.
Lastly, we are currently involved in an ongoing project for a swiftly growing online casino and gaming organization. The company has experienced significant growth over the past two years, with the number of employees increasing from 1,000 to 3,600. Our responsibility has been to effectively oversee access control and integrate security systems, while continuously adapting to their ever-evolving and rapidly advancing nature.
a&s Adria: What are the most important global trends that define the PSIM market? And according to that, what can we expect from Prysm Software and UltraVision Consult in the years ahead?
Marica: Based on our observation, it is apparent that the post-pandemic era has caused substantial growth in the regional market. The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the inherent vulnerabilities associated with human reliance on physical security processes, such as patrols, interventions, and operations. The potential interruption or unavailability of human resources during such periods may lead to notable security breaches or disruptions. The increased awareness of this issue has prompted a shift towards solutions that reduce reliance on human involvement, resulting in a significant growth in our business. We have observed significant organic growth in the licensing sector, with a consistent annual increase of at least 25% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Regarding the trends, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are playing a crucial role in the advancement of PSIM systems. These technologies demonstrate proficiency in responding to current situations and possess a high level of capability in predicting and mitigating future ones. Through the analysis of patterns and the identification of anomalies in real time, AI and ML technologies play a crucial role in expediting response times, thereby improving overall security and device integrity. The timely identification and management of potential breaches can effectively prevent downtime and ensure the continuity of business operations.
In addition, the integration of AI and ML with PSIM is leading to the growing prevalence of predictive maintenance. This technological advancement allows organizations to further optimize their maintenance schedules, resulting in improved system efficiency. By implementing this approach, the durability and dependability of the security systems can be significantly improved.
The use of social media for security management is becoming more and more common in PSIM solutions. By carefully monitoring and analyzing data from these platforms, people can gain important situational awareness and improve their ability to spot potential threats with greater effectiveness. This is made even better using language decoding apps and multilingual help, which can spot potential dangers by analyzing geographical data, words, and phrases mentioned on social media platforms.
The PSIM market is witnessing a notable trend in interoperability and mobile access. Modern Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) solutions have been specifically developed to facilitate smooth integration with pre-existing systems. These solutions provide organizations with the flexibility to adapt and accommodate their evolving security requirements. The adoption of mobile-friendly design facilitates better responsiveness and control, empowering users to conveniently manage security from any location and at any time.
a&s Adria: How about the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models?
Marica: Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) is increasingly moving toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. These models promise simpler deployment and license acquisition and renewal. Prysm recognizes that this is a significant shift and is working to take the initiative in this regard. It is expected that it will require more time to develop a solution that meets the highest standards of reliability and quality.
The market for Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) is projected to experience significant growth, with an estimated increase from US $1.19 billion in 2022 to US $3.41 billion by 2029. This growth indicates a strong belief among investors and a growing awareness among businesses regarding the criticality of implementing effective security management systems. The increase in demand for advanced Physical Security Information Management solutions arises from a growing recognition that proactive and efficient security management, with the ability to anticipate and address potential threats in real time, is now an essential requirement rather than a mere luxury. PSIM providers are consistently striving to innovate and adapt their solutions to effectively meet the ever-changing security needs. This commitment ensures the continued growth and success of the thriving industry.
As the impact of integrated security systems grows significantly in the realm of cybersecurity, AppVision, ensures compliance and fortified defense against cyber threats, continuously gaining momentum and attracting further investment from PRISM to provide a high level of security. At UltraVision Consult, we recognize that the global trend in the security sector leans heavily towards streamlining operations, whether in individual systems or across complex platforms. Our continuous focus on developing efficient solutions aligns perfectly with this direction, seeking to simplify operational elements and increase user efficiency in an ever-changing environment.
a&s Adria: What is your opinion on the Adriatic region security market and how do perceive your company’s position in it? What are your plans in this area, are you looking for a regional partner? Are you planning to exhibit at the largest regional conference and exhibition Adria Security Summit?
Marica: We acknowledge the Adriatic region’s security market as a dynamic and rapidly developing sector, characterized by a growing emphasis on commercial security, cyber security, artificial intelligence, and other intelligent solutions. Through our regular participation in the Adria Security Summit, we have gained valuable insights into the ongoing evolution of the industry. This has enabled us to maintain a leading position by staying up to date with the latest trends and innovations.
We perceive our engagement in these summits as a valuable occasion for both acquiring knowledge and expanding our professional network. Additionally, it serves as a platform to highlight our own progress and achievements. UltraVision Consult is honored to be a valued member of this thriving community. We are enthusiastic about the market’s potential to excel in various security domains, and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to contribute to and participate in this transformative journey.
We are highly enthusiastic about our forthcoming participation in the Adria Security Summit. As frequent attendees for the past three years, we intend to uphold the tradition by establishing our booth to accommodate interested individuals seeking to explore our product and its diverse range of applications.
Regarding the regional partnership, our objective encompasses several different fronts. We are currently seeking potential partners who possess a strong interest in creating additional value through projects, regardless of their level of complexity. Our objective is to proactively collaborate with these partners in order to raise product awareness and expand its potential applications among end users.
Our strategic plan for the Adriatic region aims to cultivate a strong network of partners. This will allow us to tailor our approach to each market based on its specific needs and traits. As a result, our approach involves identifying and collaborating with committed partners, fostering product awareness, and customizing our strategy to suit the distinctive characteristics of each market within the region.