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
Favorite Large System Cameras on Aug 03, 2015
For large systems, with over 100 cameras, we identified the most preferred camera manufacturers selected from IPVM integrator survey results. Here are the key patterns found, contrary to the SMB s...
$100 True WDR Camera Tested (FLIR CVI) on Jul 31, 2015
True WDR has traditionally been quite expensive. And HD analog has so far been mostly low-end models. Now, FLIR has released a ~$100 1080p CVI camera with true WDR and integrated smart IR. We bo...
First Integrator Face Off Opened on Jul 29, 2015
IPVM is starting a new series. A scenario will be presented and selected integrators can respond with their proposals / designs. Then those responses will be shared with the IPVM communi...
Hospital Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 28, 2015
This 16-page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the Hospital Surveillance market. A global group of 50 integrators and consultants with hospital project ...
Axis Camera Companion VMS Tested on Jul 27, 2015
Axis is focusing more on their own 'end to end solutions'. Camera Companion is Axis' 'VMS killer', which is free and eliminates using traditional VMS software. It jumped off to a great start, then...
Testing Zwipe Fingerprint Card on Jul 23, 2015
By embedding a fingerprint reader into an access control card, Zwipe claims it can increase security without requiring facilities to new / expensive fingerprint readers. In this test, we p...
ADI's Disruptive W Box Tested on Jul 22, 2015
ADI moves hundreds of millions of dollars worth video surveillance equipment each year. And now, they are disrupting the channel, cutting out manufacturers. We bought an IP camera and NVR from AD...
Camera Calculation Presentations Released on Jul 21, 2015
Wow your customers with beautiful presentations of your video surveillance designs. Now you can generate PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, Word Docs and Zip files of your Google Map ...
Smart CODEC Guide on Jul 21, 2015
Smart codecs are a next 'big thing'. With cameras having more and more processing power available, it is enabling them to make 'smarter' decisions about how they compress video. The marketin...
ACTi 10MP IR Camera Tested on Jul 20, 2015
10MP, Integrated IR, Motorized Zoom lens. All for just over $300 promotional pricing. An incredible deal, on paper, from ACTi's "Catch All The Details" marketing campaign We bought an ACTi E617 ...