X
Get all access to the world's best video surveillance information.
Logo
680-70-2015-free-banner

Sony Acquires Pixim

by 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.

Acquisition Overview

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."

Background

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

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...

Super Low Cost Chinese Camera Shootout on Feb 25, 2015
The 'Chinese' are the industry's #1 threat (or opportunity depending on one's perspective). IPVM has extensively covered the rise of Dahua and Hivkision (see test results). But those tw...

Warning: Case Studies Can Get You Sued on Feb 24, 2015
What do 24 Hour Fitness, Barnes and Nobles and multiple hospitals have in common? They have all been sued in the past few months, with their manufacturer case studies used as evidence.  They...

Genetec AutoVu LPR Camera Tested on Feb 23, 2015
License plate video is one of the most requested elements of video surveillance. IPVM has done many tests on license plate cameras, including the: License Plate Capture Shootout Low Cost Licen...

Shootout: 4K vs PTZ Cameras on Feb 19, 2015
Resolutions continue upwards, with 4K cameras hitting the street. Meanwhile, PTZ usage continues its downward trend, with fewer and fewer integrators choosing them. The question is: how does this ...

Testing FLIR IR PTZ on Feb 17, 2015
FLIR's integrated IR PTZ, the DNZ30TL2R claims a whopping 150m (~500') IR range and HD resolution. Distances like these have historically been possible only with expensive high-end positioning syst...

Canon to Buy Axis, Will Own Axis and Milestone on Feb 10, 2015
This is the biggest deal in video surveillance ever. Just 8 months after buying Milestone, Canon is set to buy Axis. Canon has offered $2.8 billion USD for Axis, a ~50% premium over Axis stock pr...

BestMatch Camera Software Released on Feb 09, 2015
Our new camera comparison algorithm, BestMatch, enables you to find the best camera for your needs at up to 70% lower price. Watch this quick 2 minute video that shows how you will benefit from th...

Hikvision HDTVI Long Distance Problem Tested on Feb 05, 2015
Hikvision's HDTVI cameras performed poorly over low quality or long coax and UTP cables in our original tests. This was a major issue as a key selling point of analog HD technol...

Network Monitoring / SNMP for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 02, 2015
Surveillance systems typically rely on the the VMS to report issues, but this most often just means knowing a camera is "down" with no warning or detailed information. Network monitoring syst...