Industry Perspective

A conversation with Sergio Collazo

SECURITY products are not new to Toshiba Corp. The company entered the marketplace nearly 20 years ago and have moved from analog to fully digital, state-of-the-art products. Company officials believe that the security industry is in the midst of a paradigm shift -- one that includes IP network cameras and understanding the IT market. We spoke to Sergio Collazo, national sales and marketing manager for Toshiba Surveillance & IP Video Products Group, about a number of issues, including product development.

Q. Can you give us a brief overview of Toshiba Surveillance and IP Video Group?

A. Toshiba Corp. first entered the U.S. security market in 1987. That group, now known as Toshiba Surveillance & IP Video, is part of Toshiba America Information System in Irvine, Calif., one of world's largest makers of notebooks, Wi-Fi technology and network servers. In two decades Toshiba's security has moved from first generation analog cameras and time-lapse VCRs to equipping today's fully digital environment with state-of-the-art DVRs, IP cameras, LCD monitors and software solutions.

Q. How does the Toshiba computing group's background impact Toshiba's video surveillance business?

A. There is no question that the security industry today is in the midst of a major paradigm shift. Because of Toshiba's core competencies in networking, notebooks and digital imaging, our organization has been able to fully embrace these changes far more successfully than many of our competitors. Our sales in IP network cameras, for example, are growing by double digits every two months, although we entered the market only three years ago. In fact, according to IMS research, we have the fourth-largest market share in IP cameras today. Toshiba would not have been able to achieve this so quickly except for a company-wide understanding of the IT market, how IT products are sold in the channel and the mind of the IT professional. There is a good deal of cross pollenization between security and PC development engineers because our PCs work alongside the same engineers who design our IP cameras. The Toshiba Telecommunications Group also is beneficial in product development. Toshiba DVRs are now one of the few, if not the only, on the market that have both VoIP and video over IP capabilities.

There are really two types of companies now in the security industry: old-line CCTV manufacturers who for the first time are selling IT products and IT companies that for the first time are selling into the CCTV industry. Neither truly serves today's end user. Toshiba, by contrast, has strong backgrounds in both areas.

Q. What are the main challenges you see facing the security industry over the next five years?

A. The main challenge is that we have this new, disruptive technology -- IP video -- that has rendered the old business model obsolete. As a result, dealers and installers now have growing competition from the IT integrators who don't have a strong background in security, but know network, storage and streaming video technologies, plus how to best integrate an IP video system into a customer's existing network. We are doing all we can to help with programs like our education Webinars and online training that coach dealers and installers about the basics of networking or how to sell new technology. These are available at

Q. How has digital recording and IP networks changed the way Toshiba develops and services its products?

A. Compared to traditional CCTV, IP applications require a higher degree of sophistication. Not surprisingly, this results in a longer sales cycle and the need for more responsive, highly trained after-the-sale service.

So how has Toshiba responded? We now have in place 24/7 service in English, French and Spanish, along with an advanced replacement program that ships out a replacement unit the same day the call comes in, usually before the customer even sends in the equipment, resulting in minimal downtime. We also now have a certification program for our products and electronic product registration. An upshot of these programs is that we've gained a great deal of understanding of our end users' needs, allowing us to better evolve our product line.

Q. What is the next round of technologies coming to the video surveillance market from Toshiba?

A. EMCCD or Electron-multiplying CCD is very exciting. We borrowed EMCCD from high-end scientific cameras to apply in our new IK-1000. This camera achieves a sensitivity that competes with thermal imaging, as well as third-generation intensified CCD with the added benefit of reproducing the image in full color at 30 fps, while doing it at a lower cost of ownership. It has a minimum illumination of 0.00025 lux: starlight conditions. One application for the IK-1000 is homeland security. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has spoken extensively about creating a virtual fence around borders, rather than a physical fence, by employing thermal imaging cameras. The IK-1000 can do that job in color.

We have plans to expand EMCCD into other camera forms, perhaps as an IP unit or as a dome, along with intelligent video. Intelligent video can now be easily integrated into cameras so that when they are combined with an IP solution, the camera can do more of the storage and processing, thus reducing demand for bandwidth.

Overall, cameras are simply getting smarter, more specialized and more feature rich. As a category, they've moved away from being commodity devices with identical features that compete solely on price.

Q. What about on the software side?

A. Our market research shows a strong, growing movement towards software-only solutions. Not that DVRs are going away anytime soon, but there is a segment of the market that has expressed interest in doing its video storage on an existing server or a third-party server. To cater to this market, we introduced NVR, our video recording server software. It is designed to work on non-proprietary hardware and IT infrastructures running Windows? XP or Server 2000. Once loaded, it can record up to 32 IP-based cameras at an image resolution as high as each camera supports, including megapixel cameras. PTZ is supported. It is a very cost-effective way to store video.

Q. Where do you see the greatest growth in the security market?

A. Government applications, such as border patrol and anti-terrorism, are promising. Casinos, retail and enterprise-class demand is strong. Education is doing well, especially in adopting IP. Education was not an early adopter of networking, so they are not stuck today with first-generation, low-bandwidth networks. Today's school districts often have fiber networks with massive bandwidth that can handle IP video with ease.


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