Sony Acquires Piximby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Sep 12, 2012 About John Contact John
Sony, one of the world's largest manufacturers of image sensors and cameras, including surveillance, has acquired Pixim, one of the most well known brands in surveillance imaging. In this note, we examine the acquisition, including the outcome for Pixim and the potential for future developments.
Pixim provided this statement:
"Sony Electronics Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pixim Inc. a Silicon Valley-based company which has expertise in designing chipsets for security cameras. Sony aims to utilize their Image Sensor technologies and engineering design expertise to further strengthen its global design and support functions. Upon the conclusion of the acquisition, Pixim Inc. will play an important role for our image sensor semiconductor business as a subsidiary of Sony Electronics."
In addition, Pixim noted that, "The merger is a positive outcome for Pixim's main constituencies: employees, investors, and customers. Pixim company and product brands (Seawolf, Nightwolf, etc) remain unchanged. Sales, customer support, and technical support contacts remain unchanged."
Pixim is historically well regarded for their image processing especially as it relates to handling wide dynamic range scenes. Specifically, Pixim's technology focused on an advanced and uncommon technique to adjusting exposure for individual pixels. Additionally, in 2011, Pixim acquired Advasense including their well regarded engineering team, including the author of a respected image sensing blog.
Pixim's Motivation to Sell
Since starting in 1999, the company has raised well over $100 million in funding, including $5 million last year (see filings). Despite this, in the past few years, Pixim has increasingly struggled with the market's shift to megapixel. While the company was a long term leader in WDR enabled SD cameras, Pixim has never offered a MP version. Though Pixim has recently released enhancements to their SD WDR lines (such as the IR optimized Nightwolf), the lack of MP restrained Pixim from participating in the big growth segment of the market. Sources indicate a likely barrier was funding constraints for the expensive transition to MP sensors / imaging.
Given Pixim's current position and constraints, being acquired by Sony and becoming a part of their organization is likely a very good outcome.
Pixim's Valuation / Return
While the acquisition price was not disclosed, given Pixim's modest market position, the price is likely much less than $100+ million funding.
Given how rare chip startups are within surveillance, this does not have any strong comparables. However, this likely does reinforce how hard it is to build a successful new entrant in such a fragmented market like surveillance, even with a fairly well-developed brand.
How This Might Help Sony
One of the most interesting and confusing elements of this deal is that Sony is quite strong itself in WDR surveillance and routinely scores in the top-tier of our WDR shootouts. By contrast, since Pixim is SD only while Sony has WDR MP, Sony's overall quality in our testing was superior.
Moreover, while Pixim has multiple chip lines, the revenue itself from existing ones is fairly inconsequential to a company of Sony's huge size.
However, since Sony made this deal, we assume that they see some potential for combining Pixim's technology team with their massive resources to develop new solutions for the all megapixel future.
Most Recent Industry Reports
IP Networking Book Released on Mar 23, 2015
This is the first ever IP Networking Book for Video Surveillance. The book will give you the knowledge and the confidence to make the right decisions when designing and deploying video surveillanc...
Member Invites Released on Mar 18, 2015
Members ask regularly how can they share IPVM content with their customers, colleagues, friends, etc. Now, we are introducing 'invites' that allow eligible members to give 1 month free IPVM member...
Axis vs Hikvision vs Sony Encoder Test on Mar 18, 2015
In this report, we share test findings of three popular four port analog SD encoder models: Axis P7214 Hikvision DS-6704HFI Sony SNT-EX104 Below, we share our findings in areas including: ...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance on Mar 13, 2015
Remotely accessing video is difficult for 3 reasons. Private Networks Almost all video surveillance uses private IP addresses, that are by definition, not accessible directly over the public Inte...
TCP vs UDP for Video Surveillance on Mar 11, 2015
TCP or UDP? What should you use for video surveillance? TCP and UDP are both in use in the video industry today, each with strengths and weaknesses when it comes to live viewing, playback, error ...
CBR vs VBR vs MBR - Surveillance Streaming on Mar 11, 2015
How you stream video has a major impact on quality and bandwidth. And it is not simply CODEC choice (like H.264, H.265, MPEG-4, etc.) However, regardless of the CODEC, one still needs to choose ...
Tyco / Exacq Illustra Cameras Tested on Mar 09, 2015
Prior to Tyco acquiring them, Exacq was one of the leading independent VMSes. Now, Tyco / Exacq is becoming a 'solution' provider, billing their Illustra cameras as: "The Easiest High Defini...
NMAPing IP Cameras on Mar 05, 2015
The Hikvision hack has increased security concerns. Indeed, most users do not know whether they are vulnerable or not, which ports of their systems are open, and what services they may be running,...
Dahua vs Bosch and Axis 4K Cameras on Mar 02, 2015
4K is here, but not without issues. High prices and poor low light performance constrain adoption. Now Dahua, one of the two Chinese mega-manufacturers, known for its incredibly low-cost HDCVI li...