Are US IP Video Companies Inferior?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 01, 2009

The US has few leaders and none of the largest companies in IP video. This, despite the fact that, according to a recent study, there are disproportionately more US IP Video companies than the rest of the world. Moreover, US companies receive much greater VC funding than their global counterparts plus the US considers itself the center of global technological innovation.

So what's going on here – are US IP Video companies inferior?

Addressing this raises the fundamental question of what makes a strong IP video company. What characteristics, processes or strategies enhances success in the marketplace? If we can understand this, perhaps we can better select products to deploy and companies for partnering.

The Leaders in IP Video

Amongst companies focused on IP video, based on revenue (as well as general reputation), Axis, Milestone, Genetec and Mobotix are the top 4. Axis is the largest IP camera company. Mobotix is the largest megapixel company (see the megapixel comparison). Milestone and Genetec are the top 2 IP video surveillance software companies (see the VMS comparison). None of them are from the US.

In video analytics, most would agree that it is ioimage and ObjectVideo. However, ObjectVideo, a US company, required over $50M USD in funding, significantly greater than ioimage.

In budget IP video, Asian companies dominate with ACTi and Vivotek as the leaders.

In the next tier, there are 4 US IP video companies that I hear frequently praised – Arecont Vision, Exacq, IQinVision and OnSSI. Interestingly, all of these are fairly low-key companies with no to minimal VC backing.

My Theory on IP Video Success

IP Video is not revolutionary. While a solid improvement over DVRs and analog video surveillance, it is in an incremental advancement that requires integration and cooperation with traditional players and products.

Specifically, almost all customers require IP video to be integrated with existing video surveillance systems. This significantly limits the growth potential of IP video companies. As such, IP video demands a slower, steadier, more operationally inclined approach that works over a decade or more.

On the contrary, the US technology industry excels the most with massive disruptions – Companies that dramatically and rapidly overturn an industry. Think Google vs library indexes, Craigslist v Newspaper Ads, Ebay vs Flea Marts, Amazon vs book stores, etc. In the biggest US successes, the old ways are crushed, old skills and relationships become worthless. Massive growth and large funding is needed to drive these efforts quickly.

Company Examples

Look at Axis and Milestone. They started out as consultancies and grew slowly over many years to get to their current positions. Genetec was another steady but slow grower, OEMing to many manufacturers for years before developing their own brand. Even some of the most respected US companies like Exacq and IQinVision took many years of steady development run by traditional security executives. All of these companies took long periods of time for development, took minimal investment and focused on mainstream, achievable products.

By contrast, look at the US IP video companies that have already failed: Covi, Vistascape, SteelBox. Each had $20M USD in funding (or more). Covi wanted to revolutionize HD viewing (in 2004). Vistascape was going to revolutionize monitoring of critical infrastructure. Steelbox was going to build the biggest and most powerful NVR. All of them burned out fairly spectacularly.

The big initiatives of these companies are not exceptions. US companies go big:

  • ObjectVideo wants their video analytics in every device. 
  • Cernium is going after enterprise video analytics and now the home market
  • 3VR aims to be Google for video surveillance. 
  • VideoIQ is building an all in one camera, video analytic appliance and DVR. 
  • Vidsys wants to solve the problem that Vistascape and Ortega failed at

Questions

Going big can produce huge victories when a market supports it. The question (and I think the European and Asian companies show this) is will the video surveillance market support such big efforts? Or will the US companies, in their desire to revolutionize the industry wind up being inferior to the slow and steady global companies?

Related Reports

Axis CTO: Deep Learning 'Exciting Space' But Urges Caution on Dec 27, 2016
Deep learning interest is rising in video surveillance. 2016 saw: Hikvision's partnership with Nvidia Movidius launch a neural networks chip...
2017 Video Surveillance Predictions on Dec 15, 2016
2017 should be an active, if not rocky, year for the security industry, according to predictions from IPVM integrators. We surveyed integrators,...
Knightscope ~$400,000 2016 Revenue, $4+ Million Loss Seeks $20 Million Investment on Dec 09, 2016
The robot that ran over a child, Knightscope, wants money and they need it. Investors can invest as little as $1,000 to participate and...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
Top Surprises in the Video Surveillance Industry 2016 on Nov 29, 2016
  The top 3 surprises of 2016 for integrators surveyed by IPVM were: The race to bottom, repeating 2015's Top Surprise Result New -...
Hikvision's ImageNet Win Analyzed on Nov 28, 2016
Hikvision is pushing hard to move up market and win at video analytics. One notable sign is Hikvision touting their #1 ranking for an ImageNet...
$38+ Million Funding Powers VMS Challenger IronYun on Nov 09, 2016
VMS and video analytics have received little funding this decade. However, one Taiwan startup, IronYun, has bucked this trend, with a relatively...
China Hot For Intelligent Video on Oct 27, 2016
The clear top theme at the 2016 Security China show has been intelligent video. This is a big shift from past years, and China's historical focus...
Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
The Dumbest Investment Campaign - Knightscope on Oct 12, 2016
IPVM has seen many strange investments over the years. Who can forget how BRS Labs burned ~$100 million of mom and pop investments in their...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Uniview (UNV) IP Cameras Tested on Feb 22, 2017
"We're #3," in China says Uniview (UNV). While the company significantly trails Hikvision and Dahua in total sales, one notable difference is that...
Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Feb 22, 2017
The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing...
Exacq Favorability Results on Feb 22, 2017
For years, Exacq has been one of the most frequently favored VMSes in IPVM integrator statistics (e.g., see Favorite VMS Manufacturers...
The Hot RMR Company - Electric Guard Dog on Feb 22, 2017
The financiers at the Barnes Buchanan conference praised a company named 'Electric Guard Dog'. While the name sounds fairly low tech, the money and...
Hikvision Leads Multi-Manufacturer Sales Promo on Feb 21, 2017
Earlier this month, Hikvision launched new 'super value' kits, with 40% discounts, and now Hikvision is offering another promo, but this time they...
Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment on Feb 21, 2017
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017. Two immediate questions were: Whose...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...
Lenel Improving Customer Support on Feb 21, 2017
Lenel has faced significant criticism recently (see Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel Does Not Care, Worst Access Control 2016, Lenel Favorability...
'Dirty': Hikvision Attacks Genetec on Feb 20, 2017
Hikvision is angry at the growing public awareness that Hikvision is owned by the Chinese government. They took aim at Genetec,...
Directory of Alarm Company Brokers on Feb 20, 2017
Selling an RMR based business, such as alarm company, can be highly profitable, with acquisition prices of 36 to 48x RMR (equivalent to 3 to 4x...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact