• Telcos have a good opportunity to leverage AI-video systems in their wider industrial solutions portfolio as the market has rapidly matured.
• Rather than develop solutions in house, telcos should look to partner with existing vendors due to the complexity of developing AI video algorithms and integrating with industrial systems.
The use of AI-enabled video surveillance systems continues to rise across Australia as well as globally with a myriad of use cases like public safety, facilities management, crowd management, asset management, and more. However, these systems also generate a large amount of video data, which requires significant bandwidth and storage capacity to process and store. This makes the video or video surveillance as a service an attractive market for telcos and managed service providers as they seek to expand their revenue base as traditional service margins decline. However, the market for AI-video solutions is rapidly maturing and diversifying, with a growing field of specialists developing specific vertically aligned use cases for AI-video from retail, to government, to mining, education, and more. Further, video systems are increasingly integrated with other IT and operational systems such as physical security, communications networks and IoT platforms creating a complex ecosystem of solutions, vendors, use cases, and monetization models to navigate.
However, as video solutions become more intelligent and integrate with broader IT and telecoms systems, there is greater opportunity for telcos to leverage AI-enabled video solutions in broader digital transformation initiatives. The industry as a whole is moving towards outcome-based selling, with less emphasis on discrete products and solutions. This is combined with a renewed focus on vertical selling. In Australia, companies like Telstra, TPG, and Vocus are increasingly targeting heavy industries like mining, utilities, and oil and gas. The use of specific technology is secondary to outcomes as they look to drive sales conversation more around increasing productivity, safety, or employee engagement, or decreasing down-time or man-hours. Incorporating AI-video can add immense value when delivering outcome-based solutions, but it can be difficult for telcos to navigate. Many use cases in AI-video depend on data quality and quantity. Algorithmics need to be trained on scenario-specific video to accurately detect and classify objects in video streams, leading to long lead time in development of solutions. TPG in Australia, for example successfully trialed an AI-video solution for counting cattle in rural Australia, but the project took 12 months to complete and only resulted in a proof of concept.
As the AI-video surveillance industry matures, both telcos and AI-video providers should see more room to collaborate. While telcos may find it challenging to develop their own solutions in AI-video, they are well set up to deliver complementary services. Telcos’ investment in next generation networks leveraging fiber and 5G provide the bandwidth for carriage of HD-video streams, while their investments in edge can offer local environments to run AI-workloads when remote processing isn’t feasible. Further, telcos have extensive customer relationships.
There are a growing list of vendors that are an ideal fit for telco partnerships in Australia, particularly as they target heavy industry. For example, Motorola Solutions, traditionally a critical communications networking equipment vendor, has invested heavily into AI-video, spending $6 billion in acquisitions since 2015, culminating in the launch of the Avigilon Security Suite in March, which combines various camera end-points, physical access control systems, AI-video analysis software, and management and orchestration tools. The focus is on object, people and vehicle detection with an emphasis on integrating insights into broader security services like command centers, access control, and more. The company has made progress in selling AI-video solutions to customers in transport, mining, government and public safety in Australia as well as wider APAC markets like the Philippines. Moreover, Motorola is working to natively integrate Avigilon video systems with their range of critical communications products, from LMR radios, to connected worker equipment and command and control center products. The company plays well in targeting public safety, but also has clients in mining, education, and transport and corrections.
Honeywell is another player that has invested heavily in developing AI-video for industry. Honeywell Advanced Analytics monitors video for specific people, vehicles, or objects, and provides a range of use cases for its algorithms. Like Motorola, Honeywell also can integrate with a range of their own endpoints as well as third party, as well as their own physical security systems. Where Motorola is strong in integrating critical communications with its video platform, Honeywell’s advantage lies in integration with industrial assets. The company plays well in building and construction industries and has customers across a broad range of key verticals. There are also other players such as Axis Communications, Avigilon, Bosch, Dahua, and Hikvision, who have developed AI-video capabilities across multiple vertical solutions and worked with various industrial players.
The AI-video market is maturing driven by wider industrial use cases and high demand from the market. There is also a growing number of specialists and deployments across verticals. Telcos should consider partnering with AI-video specialists to enhance its vertical capabilities, strengthen its outcome-based selling and capture the high-growth market opportunity to further drive its business.