By Benjamin Low, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Milestone Systems

Ssoutheast Asia. Often seen as the little sister of Asian powerhouses China and India… but is that really the case? Home to countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) make up the sixth-largest economy in the world, with a combined GDP of US$2.8 trillion in 20171. In fact, driven by a rapidly digitising economy, the region is projected to rank as the fourth-largest economy by 20302—the result of a population which is young, tech-savvy, and of growing affluence.
As part of ASEAN’s rapid growth, we’re seeing significant investments in mega infrastructure projects—especially in developing nations such as Thailand and Vietnam—armed with advanced technologies to aid operations and security.
One such technology on the rise would be video management technology and, in particular, video analytics. Businesses are increasingly evolving their use of video technology—from using cameras just as an extra set of eyes, to leveraging analytics and having them function as smart sensors. As a result, Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing region in the video surveillance market, due to increasing investments in the evolution and redevelopment of infrastructure.3
As urban risk levels have increased through global instabilities, the use of technology to secure urban centres has expanded to the use of many different sensors connected through the internet of things (IoT). In this respect, video analytics has proved useful in maintaining security and providing business insights in multiple industries across the region.
Many countries in Southeast Asia have realised the roles casinos can play in strengthening their overall tourism offerings. Vietnam in particular is fast emerging as a gambling destination, with at least three new casinos planned in the country’s Special Economic Zones of Phu Quoc and Van Don — the first wave of casino investment in the country4.
As portrayed in the movies, video surveillance is critical to enhancing security in casinos. Equipped with features such as facial recognition and object identification, they help identify illegal patrons, such as minors or banned individuals, as well as devices which might be used for cheating. The technology is also used for real-time event detection, including loitering and any other suspicious events, which can then be alerted to the security staff.
Outside security, video technology and analytics can also be used to gather valuable business insights. By studying customer heat maps, traffic patterns, and footfall data, casinos can better plan optimal product placement.
With an estimated 16 million tourists in 2018, Bali is known as an immensely popular tourist destination. However, with most of the visitors drawn to the Badung Regency, which contains the tourist of Kuta and Seminyak, the city faced very unique security and surveillance challenges, including the heavy traffic of vehicles and pedestrians.
With such a high volume of people, law enforcement agencies have to rely on video technology to provide real-time alerts and situational awareness, with extensive camera coverage and reliable monitoring to ensure that citizens are kept safe. In this case, the use of over 550 IP-based cameras has allowed the government to take centralised control of the traffic and security in the Bali district, and better manage public safety and traffic flow.
With a targeted five mega-projects, including a high-speed train project and the construction of a new airport to be built over the next five years, Thailand is bracing itself for a rapid expansion of the metropolitan regions in Bangkok5. This development of mega projects will also be accompanied by additional transportation systems, which includes the expansion of the subway, sky train and new multi-lane highways, in order to cope with the expected increase in traffic.
However, the size of these mega projects means that the demands for security equipment are much higher. Content analytics video technology can enable the effective live monitoring of multiple locations by relatively few operators, while smart camera software which boasts of capabilities such as low light capability, can improve transport security by enhancing image quality to optimise forensic usability. For example, an intelligent video technology system utilising video analytics can help ensure transport security in challenging traffic conditions at all public subway areas, while also alerting subway security to any potential situations, enabling them to respond quickly to any incident.
In today’s security climate, it is easy to forget that video technology can be more than just a tool to protect our most valuable assets and critical industries. While surveillance cameras are set to play a critical role in security across the region, be it by helping detect suspicious events in real-time, or as evidence in post-event investigations—what’s even more exciting is how the technology is set to play a critical business intelligence role that goes beyond security.
We are already seeing some advanced uses of video technology being adopted across the region, but this is just the beginning. The opportunities are endless, and I am excited by the growth opportunities of Southeast Asia’s video technology market, especially as technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning develops. We’re anticipating a future where video technology will be more than just a cog in the security system, but instead be key in providing insights for businesses to gain a competitive edge.