Drops Onssi, Rep Picks Up Milestone

Milestone's recent decision to use manufacturer reps drew notable industry attention. The move could help expand their presence with more local salespeople.

Now, we know the first rep Milestone is using. And interestingly, previously, this firm represented OnSSI (as many know, OnSSI OEMs their 'recording engine' / VMS core from Milestone).

The firm, IP Security Reps, provided feedback to us:

"We expanded our business and territory coverage to include MD, DE, VA, NYC, NJ, Eastern PA and Washington DC. In the new year, we became a manufacturer’s representative for Milestone in this new east coast territory. In our traditional Great Lakes territory of MI, OH, IN, KY, WV, W. PA we no longer represent any VMS products. These regions are managed independently and product lines may / may not be correlated across the geographies.

On any information about our current or past manufacturers, I respectfully have to decline as we are governed by NDA’s."

IP Security Reps noted in a follow-up that they have no plans at this time to add a VMS in the Great Lakes region (where they were previously were representing OnSSI). While IP Security Reps is a well known surveillance player, OnSSI's replacement for them, Tec-Rep is not.

Years ago, Milestone had little to no presence in North America, but has grown significantly here, frequently at the expense of their OEM partner, OnSSI. As Milestone expands use of rep firms, it could pose a problem for OnSSI, who has traditionally used the rep model.

It sounds like OnSSI may have to consider its long term survival if things keep going that way. Some options might be;

1. Partner with another VMS to OEM from...

2. Develop or buy their own recording engine core...

3. Get bought by Milestone or someone else who likes or needs OnSSI's front end...

Or maybe that's being too alarmist..?

Interesting questions / ideas.

I am not sure what OnSSI should / can do. I think they are in a challenging spot, as Exacq/Avigilon took the lower half of the market and Milestone/Genetec are taking the upper half. Where does OnSSI fit?

Developing their own 'recording engine' would cost a small fortune. Switching to someone else does not really improve their situation. Even if they did, either way, would it really be that much different than Milestone?

I think the idea of getting bought out by Milestone is interesting. Essentially it would be a roll up, and it might be useful for a Milestone IPO. What I don't know is how much OnSSI wants and whether Milestone would be willing to pay it. I am going to guess that OnSSI values itself far greater than what Milestone (or other rational actors) would pay for it.

I am sure OnSSI thinks you are being too alarmist, but many others would agree.

I'm a former OnSSI integrator. In my experience, the fact OnSSI had reps that gave a crap was a huge incentive for selling them over Milestone, which we also were certified to sell.

If I got the factory rep involved, they would run the issue all the way up the flagpole in Pearl City and stay on it like bulldogs. If I needed support, calling a tier-2 or higher at OnSSI was easy because the rep already had called, and our regional sales manager was a A+ help.

In contrast, our Milestone support was bad at best. Truly horrible! I called my regional direct guy countless times, and he could give a flip about ever calling me back or tackling a thorny issue. No matter who was in that position, they all sucked. Don't even mention the whole pay-for-support tickets scheme. Maybe Milestone had their resources spread too thin, or I just was in a backwater territory, who knows? But for me, it was easier to recommend OnSSI from a support standpoint. At worst, we could make the Ocularis front end disappear or make it a near equal to Milestone's stock front end.

With changes like this, maybe Milestone is trying to shore up the inadequacy in the US.

This post is somewhat of a concern to me as half my systems are basd on Skypoint/OnSSI. I am an end user, I have to consider the future and the what if questions. Right now Lenel and OnSSI are offering free licencing deals since Lenel will stop selling skypoint. Lenel are offering its customers to either go to Prism at no cost for every Skypoint Channel or allow customers to go to OnSSI licencing at no cost. I have an option right now.

What would be the right questions to ask before making a final decision?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Should I Switch To Lenel Or OnSSI VMS?