From start-up to grow-up: Milestone Systems celebrates its 25th anniversary

February 27, 2023

Denmark-based video technology company Milestone Systems was founded in 1998 by engineers John Blem and Henrik Friborg Jacobsen. The two started the company in a basement with seed funding of 80,000 Danish kroner (about 10,000 euros). Today, Milestone has an annual turnover of over one billion DKK and employs more than 1,200 people worldwide.

The first version of XProtect® – Milestone’s open-platform video management software and the company’s core product – was sold to an end user in Canada in 2002. Since then, Milestone’s technology has been deployed in more than 500,000 installations through a network of distributors and resellers. As a result, the company has become the world’s leading provider of video management software. The technology is used by a wide range of end-users, from airports to hospitals to tourist attractions, and offers the possibility of widespread integration with all major camera models, as well as other devices.

A global leader in security and beyond

Since 2003, Milestone has expanded its presence beyond its headquarters in Copenhagen. Today, the company is represented in 26 locations around the globe, including offices in the United States, Singapore, Bulgaria, Mexico, Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates. In doing so, Milestone has played an important role in the development of advanced video management software for security and analytics over the years. The company emerged during the transition from analogue to digital cameras. Digitisation enabled Milestone to build a reliable, open platform on which third-party technology partners could develop add-on applications. Thanks to the innovations of Milestone’s technology partners and product team, XProtect has evolved into a data-driven video technology that meets a wide range of needs. From a quick search for a missing child in a zoo to controlling the flow of traffic in congested cities, the uses of the video technology are individually scalable.

A look into the future

For Thomas Jensen, Managing Director of Milestone Systems, the 25th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on how far the company has come. A look into the future provides insight into what the next decades might hold for the company:

“In the early 2000s, together with three or four other companies, we revolutionised the security industry by leading the transition from analogue to IP (digital) technology,” says Thomas Jensen. “Looking to the future, we are preparing to continue to innovate. We see a future where data-driven video technology is a game changer, helping to make society safer and the world a better place for us all. Especially in work and life, video technology will bring many improvements.”

As the company continues to grow, it plans to continue its work on developing responsible technologies. Since 2006, the company has introduced a set of core values to meet the ethical demands of our society in relation to (video) technologies. Accordingly, Milestone included a human rights clause in its end-user licence agreements in 2009. In 2017, Milestone also co-authored the Copenhagen Letter, a declaration calling on innovative companies to put people first when developing and using technology.

Facts about Milestone Systems

Milestone was born out of an idea for seamless transmission of stock exchange financial data. Founders John Blem and Henrik Friborg Jacobsen discovered that the same technology could be used to transmit video data.

During the start-up phase, the company spent some time in the Symbion co-working space in Copenhagen.

Besides selling software, Milestone also offers a hardware product called Husky. The first version was launched in 2013.

In 2014, Milestone Systems was acquired by the Canon Group, under which it operates as an independent company.

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