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
HD Analog Four Way Cameras Tested on Aug 28, 2015
One camera that delivers AHD, HDCVI, HDTVI and 960H, all for as little as $15 a camera. Both on price and claimed support, that is pretty outstanding. And we are hearing from people all over the w...
The Prox Reader Shootout on Aug 27, 2015
In this report, we put eight readers of the popular 125 kHz contactless format head to head and see which one rises to the top. Over a third of integrators call 125 kHz 'favorite', and tens of t...
Axis WDR Zipstream Low-Cost M1125 Tested on Aug 26, 2015
Axis has been busy promoting speciality devices like IP horns and video intercoms. However, they have quietly released a new series of low-cost HD cameras with true WDR and Zipstream support, spec...
IPVM Launches Live Chat Room on Aug 24, 2015
Now you can get help or talk with colleagues any time with IPVM's new Live Chat. Chat is as old as AOL chat rooms and as hot as mega-startup Slack. Benefits of Chatting Ask a question anytime,...
SMB Market Video Surveillance Guide on Aug 20, 2015
This 13-page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the small-medium business surveillance market. A global group of 90 integrators responded, each offering insigh...
The $100 Intrusion System Korner Tested on Aug 18, 2015
Multi-year contracts at $30 per month are the norm. Now a startup is offering an intrusion system for $59 up front and just ~$3 monthly. The company, Korner, has billed itself as the "Home S...
Panasonic 4K / 12MP Camera Tested on Aug 17, 2015
We bought the new Panasonic 4K / 12MP WV-SFV781L dome camera and tested it against the: Axis P1428E Bosch NBN-80122 Dahua IPC-HFW4800E In this in-depth report, we tested: ...
Testing Petzi, The Pet Cam That Shoots Treats on Aug 14, 2015
Do you love dogs? Do you love the Internet of Things? Then we have a product for you. Half camera, half remote-controlled pet treat dispenser, Petzi lets you shoot treats at your dog. That'...
Genetec Cloud Tested on Aug 12, 2015
Not since Axis public and prolonged agony with AVHS, has a major manufacturer bet as heavily as Genetec is now doing on the cloud. Genetec started with Stratocast, which took a similar small ...
Samsung AHD Tested on Aug 11, 2015
Not long ago, an individual MP camera was commonly $300 and a DVR was commonly $300. Now, Samsung is offering (4) MP cameras plus a DVR for ~$330 all-in. We bought the Samsung SDH-...