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July 1, 2004
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Editor’s note: This is one in a series of personal interviews with the movers and shakers in the security industry. It is our desire to bring our readers the latest directions to apply to your own installation or facility.

According to Dave McDonald, there has been a visible shift in security video with security professionals re-thinking their priorities while viewing surveillance in terms of prevention as well as after-an-incident evidence. Security magazine recently spoke with David L. McDonald, president and CEO of Pelco, Clovis, Calif. The company is a major player in the video security systems industry with systems from Singapore to the Statue of Liberty.

Security magazine: Video security is obviously a robust segment of electronic security. What types of products and end user needs do you currently see, based on your sales, marketing and developments?

McDonald: The biggest area of interest is, of course, in digital video. The developments in the digital arena have opened up whole new markets for us. We all have seen how quickly digital products evolve, becoming more powerful, easier to install and less expensive. The markets for these digital video products continue to expand just as quickly.

Security magazine: Specific to security video, what types of trends are important to end users in the near term (one to two years out)?

McDonald: The unfortunate events of the past few years have caused end users to re-think their security priorities. The now very real possibilities of workplace violence and domestic terrorism have shifted the role of video security systems from being a forensic tool over to a preventive tool, where a guard will use the system to intercede when an event occurs. This has significant implications for our products and systems design approaches.

Security magazine: It’s obvious that digital video is a critical advance. In your opinion, how is it playing out in terms of security applications?

McDonald: Digital video has had an impact on both the quality and the flexibility of the system in meeting the needs of the security manager. We are no longer shackled by the poor recording quality of VHS tape. This means that where needed, the system can do a much better job of capturing evidence. The digital video revolution has unleashed a tidal wave of development in new application areas that will make these products more and more effective. I believe that we are just in the beginning phases of this development.

Security magazine: Computer and communications technologies have a greater role today. How do you see more intelligence and wider, diversified bandwidth impacting security video overall?

McDonald: The Internet has driven the development of a global digital communications infrastructure. The availability of low cost, wide area digital communications has, in turn, spawned the development of many new applications for video security, such as remote monitoring. The use of computers as a media tool has spurred development of all types of video processing technology. As these new technologies are applied to products in our industry, we will see products and systems that are smarter, enabling guards to see more and be more effectively deployed.

Security magazine: Integration is more than a buzzword. How important is it to have security video integrate with other security systems? How is Pelco fulfilling this need?

McDonald: No one manufacturer can hope to provide every aspect of a security system in every application. While we are attempting to fill as much of that role as possible, we recognize the need for systems from different manufacturers to work together within a common user interface. Pelco supports the concept of open architecture, and is working to provide interfaces to other manufacturers. We are also planning new product releases that will enhance our capability to allow other manufacturers to work with our systems.

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