Interview: Shengfu Cheng, Director of Marketing and Product Development Division, VIVOTEK
a&s Adria: Despite the strong growth of Chinese companies and the sharp decline of Taiwanese ones, Vivotek continues to progress, gradually strengthening its position in the market. The latest Security 50 survey tells us that you took 14th place in the global security arena, which is a move forward since you were 17th last year. What are the reasons for this success, how do you resist growing competition, what do you offer to your customers to continue being recognized as a brand-worthy investment?
Cheng: This positive result came from three strategies we implemented in 2018, which were AI plus cybersecurity, vertical market penetration and globalization.
1. AI + cybersecurity
To think out of the box and stay in competitive edge, VIVOTEK developed its new edge-computing network cameras with deep-learning technology. These smart cameras are able to reduce false alarm and analyze the video proactively, and transferring video data to useful user insights. We also built up a new AI R&D center in Taiwan and continued to expand talent recruitment.
Moreover, IDC market research predicts an overall volume of 30 billion devices connected via internet by 2020. This trend also applies to more and more IP surveillance network cameras are exposed to the internet, and therefore cybersecurity has become an emerging challenge in IP surveillance industry. Hence, VIVOTEK announced the strategic partnership with Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions in the early of 2018 and rolled out the world first IP surveillance camera embedded with Trend Micro anti-intrusion software. The debut of our cybersecurity-defense solution has shown VIVOTEK’s commitment of providing our valued customers with the highest quality and most reliable products.
2. Vertical market penetration
VIVOTEK focused on three vertical markets, including retail, transportation, and building automation. VIVOTEK introduced intelligent IP cameras that can generate data of people counting, when combined with software on the backend, provide detailed analysis of data to help users achieve better security and business optimization. In transportation, We provide onboard, wayside and station surveillance systems. For instance, in road monitoring, we have partnered with many third parties to develop various smart functions for license plate recognition that can be configured to read license plates in many different countries. In building automation, VIVOTEK collaborated with Delta Electronics to integrate VIVOTEK’s cameras in LOYTEC building management system.
VIVOTEK established 6 branches and offices in United States, Netherlands, India, Dubai, Mexico and Japan around the world. We will continue to establish overseas operations and hire local business development managers to expedite local service and respond to local needs more quickly. It will also hold various events in local markets to deepen relations with customers and promote the VIVOTEK brand value.
a&s Adria: The artificial intelligence (AI) marked the past year in the security industry and many companies have begun to work intensively on this segment. But Owen Chen, CEO of VIVOTEK, said that “most people misunderstood that AI refers only to face recognition and the ability to identify a person in some type of environment. However, technology is not in the focus of VIVOTEK. we make people confident using artificial intelligence by creating something that will respond to the real needs of users and protecting privacy.” What, in fact, these words mean and what is your company’s stand on AI technology?
Cheng: Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a must-have for most video surveillance system providers. Many companies boast of its superb recognition and analytic functions, especially when it comes to face recognition. However, many end users still have some concerns with AI due to privacy issues.
VIVOTEK established an AI lab to concentrate on developing AI applications in 2018.We focused on developing AI technology and deep learning on the edge (camera). Our focus has always been on how we can reduce false alarms and enhance business or operational intelligence. That is why besides face recognition, we are focused on developing advanced VCA functionalities that can recognize people and vehicles as well as perform smart searches.
The most important challenge is to think out of box and know the real demands of users. To work closely with our customers is able to allow VIVOTEK to receive up-to-date market insights, enabling us to transfer information in terms of product development and technological advancements.
a&s Adria: One of the biggest concerns that affects this industry is cyber security. Vivotek is one of only a few companies in this market that has implemented comprehensive cyber security protocols. What does that mean?
Cheng: Cybersecurity for IoT devices has been a hot topic in the past few years, and IP surveillance cameras are the hackers’ top target because of the relatively high computing power and good internet traffic throughput. At the end of 2016, a Linux-based malware “Mirai”iraices h to initiate a DDoS attack which created a record-high 1.2Tbps Internet traffic. The huge traffic was triggered by remote commands and the victim devices were mainly IP surveillance cameras. Not only is Mirai source code made available on the Internet, multiple variants of Mirai-like malware are surfacing. Cybersecurity now becomes another focal point for IP surveillance devices and multiple governments are making regulations to raise the bar for cybersecurity implementation. It is becoming the next decisive factor in the competition of the IP surveillance industry.
VIVOTEK is one of the few physical security companies that has implemented comprehensive cybersecurity protocols, from its product design to aftersales service. We followed the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 Guideline for IoT device, mobile, and website codes to develop our products. Moreover, we conduct penetration tests by the third-party security advisors, for review and recommendations.
Moreover, we joined force with Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions to introduce the world’s first IP cameras embedded with Trend Micro’s anti-intrusion software in 2018 under the campaign of „Security Within Security“. In 2019, we extend this protection to the latest end to end Cybersecurity Management Solution from the front-end network camera, to the network video recorder, and to the back-end video management software. The advanced management in its self-developed video management software, VAST 2 includes Instant Alert Notifications, allowing users to receive notifications either automatically or manually, and real-time Cyber Risk Dashboard to easily identify common types of cyber-attacks. Last but not least, users can take a further step to filter attack logs through different criteria, making it quicker to find abnormal events in a large number of records. Cybersecurity will become a crucial factor that can help VIVOTEK earn its partners and users’ trust, differentiating it from other competitors in the market.
a&s Adria: What will you change in you marketing strategies for the next year, how will you try to reach for new customers and keep the current one?
Cheng: By the rising trend of IoT, VIVOTEK aspires to become the Eye in IOT. Cameras provides the “vision” to create irreplaceable value for many connected business solutions. Moreover, with ongoing technological advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, cameras are becoming “smart,” and can provide additional valuable and meaningful data/information for end users. We aim to promote the value of IP video to more partners and applications, in and beyond security. VIVOTEK was founded in year 2000, we will celebrate and launch global campaign of our 20 years anniversary in our shared pursuit of a safe and secure society.