Hikvision offers vision for UK market – an interview with Jason Yang, General Manager, UK and Ireland, Hikvision
Tim Compston, Features Editor at Security News Desk, interviews Jason Yang, the General Manager for the UK and Ireland at Hikvision – the world’s number one video surveillance manufacturer by sales – about the company’s expanding footprint in the UK security market.
There is little doubt that Hikvision with its 19.5 per cent market share of the global CCTV and video surveillance equipment market in 2015 – according to IHS – really means business here in the UK. One concrete manifestation of the vendor’s rapid expansion, and ambitious future plans, was the recent opening of a 5,000 sq ft office, showroom, and training suite in Stockley Park, Uxbridge. Alongside this there was, of course, the acquisition of Pyronix – the British intrusion detection specialist – back in May. Hikvision also continues to secure awards for its video surveillance solutions, like the PanoVu Series panoramic cameras, and more and more of its technology is in evidence in a wide array of projects across the country, including, for example, the multiple Darkfighter and 4K Smart PTZ cameras monitoring the streets of Salford.
Having visited Hikvision’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, at the end of last year, and witnessed first hand the extent of the company’s efforts in research and development – which now accounts for eight per cent of its annual revenue – it is not too surprising to see this approach paying dividends on the other side of the world.
Given this background, I was keen to take up the opportunity to question Jason Yang (pictured above), the man leading Hikvision’s charge in the UK market, about the company’s experience so far, why he believes Hikvision is so well placed to give more established players a run for their money, and, on a more controversial note, whether he had any comments to make about the recent UK media stories regarding the Chinese Government’s influence over the business, and the associated security concerns some commentators have raised.
How does the UK market compare with other markets that Hikvision is active in?
Jason Yang: Hikvision is a global company with 18 regional offices around the world. While Hikvision uses the same go-to-market model worldwide we sell through distribution to authorised security integrators and installers. Hikvision understands that different regions have different needs. Hikvision believes the best way to serve customers and grow business is by investing in the local communities where it does business. The techs, engineers, and business development managers here in our London office know the UK market. They know Hikvision products, and how the technology is best applied, because our team has broad experience working on major projects. However, what I hear loud-and-clear from our customers is that our response is thoughtful and quick. I’m really proud of that, because it’s the tech support and customer service that really count.
Has it been easy to break into what is a relatively mature market for CCTV?
We’ve worked very hard to become a trusted partner to top systems integrators in the UK. These are relationships that take time to form, and the partnerships don’t stop once a security system is installed — it’s an ongoing process. We work hard every day to continue to earn that trust.
Can you tell me more about how Hikvision’s presence in the UK has developed over the past few years?
Sure, Hikvision has done business in the UK for a number of years, but we only opened a UK office a few years ago. The business has grown at a good clip. We now have about 40 employees. We’re very pleased to count the top UK systems integrators among our Value Added Solution Partners (VASPs), and to serve many important end users.
Are there any solutions which you have launched recently that demonstrate the strong focus Hikvision has on R&D and innovation? Is PanoVu a good example of this?
The PanoVu series is a great example. It’s got this super sophisticated design and provides ultra-HD panoramic images. I think it’s the best on the market, especially for places like stadiums, city centres and airports. We’re launching new tech all of the time and that’s because we have the largest R&D group of any video surveillance provider. There are 7,000 engineers who work for Hikvision. Hikvision has more than 600 patents and 250 copyrighted software applications. Other recent launches are the Turbo HD 3.0 Solution that can cost-effectively upgrade an analogue system to 5 MP resolution; our VASPs are really interested in our new thermal cameras as well.
How important is it to have a new head office and training academy in the UK? What does this allow you to do that was not possible before?
This is how we serve our local customers. We have the resources of a global company, but we have the local knowledge, feet on the street, and a state-of-the-art facility here in the UK. The London office has a demo room, training room, and technical support centre. The top notch training room can accommodate 24 engineers at the same time. Our demo facility is where we showcase all of our innovative products. The office is a great place to work, but it’s an important resource for the local community as well.
What response have you had to the roadshows that you ran recently?
In September we were pleased to have more than 450 customers attend roadshows in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow. We learned that integrators – both existing VASPs and new potential integrator partners – are keen to engage with us to check out the latest technology. The roadshows were such a success that we plan to do more starting in Q1 next year. In the meantime, our large team of BDM and pre-sales support are speaking to the integrators every day at a variety of exhibitions and events. Next month [November] we’re also holding an ‘open house’ at the London office.
There have been reports in the UK mainstream media (including The Times newspaper) citing security concerns and Hikvision’s links with the Chinese Government. How would you respond to these allegations? Do you believe that these are sensationalist?
While I generally find the Times of London to be a reliable news source, the newspaper ran a story in September that had many inaccuracies about Hikvision and video surveillance technology.
Why did Hikvision decide to acquire Pyronix earlier in the year? What benefits has this already unlocked for both companies?
I think Hikvision was drawn to Pyronix because it is an innovative, UK-based intrusion detection equipment manufacturer. The deal just closed this spring, but I understand that collaboration is underway. Hikvision and Pyronix are already making plans to bring new advancement and innovative products to market, not just here in the UK, but to other markets as well.
With concerns about cybersecurity what initiatives has Hikvision been implementing to help users keep their solutions safe from cyberattack?
Cybersecurity is a top priority for Hikvision and any responsible physical security manufacturer. We have taken a leadership position on this issue at Hikvision, and are committed to working with integrators, installers and end users to ensure best practices for cybersecurity.
There are a number of industry-leading cybersecurity initiatives that Hikvision has undertaken. These include a special task force at Hikvision headquarters. The Network and Information Security Lab is responsible for setting Hikvision’s security standards, performing security evaluations and testing, and responding to security issues.
Hikvision has also established the Hikvision Security Response Center (HSRC) and Ys7 Security Response Center (YSRC), which are in charge of receiving, disposing and reporting any and all security-related vulnerabilities with professional security emergency response mechanism. At Hikvision we partner with several renowned security data and analytics companies to perform ongoing penetration tests and vulnerability assessments of our products.
Product security is of great importance to Hikvision. We continue to take steps to improve our products, including having them tested by leading third-party cybersecurity firms to minimise any potential security risks. We also believe that cybersecurity requires the joint efforts of manufacturers, integrators, installers, and end users.
Looking ahead what video surveillance trends should we be looking out for over the next 12 months?
We’ll continue to introduce new solutions that help security directors safeguard people, property, and assets in the UK. My day-to-day goal is to continue to expand our team to provide even better service and quicker response to our customers and continue to strengthen Hikvision’s leadership position in the UK. But, the most important goal for me and my team is to help security professionals to combat terrorism and criminal behaviour. I’m proud to work for a company that does this important work every single day.