Milestone’s Palmquist on community vs. company


Martha Entwistle

There was a lot of talk yesterday, at the first day of the MIPS, (Milestone Integration Platform Symposium) here in Scottsdale about Milestone transforming itself from the “open platform company to the an open platform community.”

I spoke to Tim Palmquist, who runs the Americas for Milestone, and I asked him what’s the difference? Open company, open community? Is this just semantics?

Palmquist said it’s a philosophical change “that touches all aspects of the business.”

Milestone, a leading VMS provider, which experienced 30-percent growth globally in 2015 and had a 26-percent CAGR over the past decade, branded itself as “the open platform company.” If you look at systems integration as a puzzle, Milestone represents itself as sitting at the middle of different technology partners.

As the “open platform community” Palmquist said, “it’s partnerships first, versus company first. … So Milestone is not the middle piece of the puzzle any more.” Milestone still provides the platform architecture, but it’s an architecture that others build on and [all parties] work on as a community,” he explained.

OK, so beyond the puzzle-piece nuance, what steps will Milestone be taking to enable the community-building?

First, Milestone is going to improve its SDK design and do a better job documenting its API, he said.

“Milestone has to be diligent and proactive to take MIP SDK even seriously. That’s a big game changer. We’re going to treat the MIP SDK as seriously as other products,” he said.  

“If we can do third-party integrations more quickly, easily and consistently, this will speed innovation to the market and get to point were integrations feel more standardized,” Palmquist said.

Second, it’s going to create a developer forum to strengthen the developer experience.

Milestone is going to create a competition next year and at MIPS 2017 software developers will share “successes, breakthroughs and products.” The products will be judged at MIPS 2017. Palmquist said Milestone will “tap into developers in Silicon Valley and at universities.”

“Their feedback to us on the SDK [will be invaluable]. We’ll learn what we’re doing wrong, what we can do better and improve,” he said. Milestone is also “going to get serious about forms” and it plans to “extract data from integrations,” as well.

Milestone outlined other 2016 plans: creating an Advisory Board of partners and customers to advise on roadmap prioritization; create solution certifications to bolster reliability and ensure uniform quality; building an online Milestone marketplace for partners to promote and sell their solutions; new co-marketing programs to strengthen commercial collaboration.

Back to the community versus company, Palmquist said, “When Canon bought Milestone and Axis, there was some market speculation that we’d go down the end-to-end route, but that’s not who we are,” he said. End-to-end is the opposite of the “community-first philosophy,” he said.

“End to end is me-first and [any integration with outside partners] is ad hoc, opportunistic and bolt-on,” Palmquist said. It may work to win a job or satisfy one customer, but it’s not a smart business philosophy, he said.

“We need third-parties to support innovation. Why are we open? Why do we share? Because that’s the way you get innovative technology faster.” via Security Systems News