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

Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Haven Targets School Security with Lockdown Lineup on Nov 08, 2018
Haven, a US startup founded in 2014 as a residential-focused company, has now raised funding and is offering a lineup of commercial grade locks for...
Kogniz Silicon Valley AI Startup Profile on Nov 07, 2018
Kogniz is a Silicon Valley company that aims to bring AI analytics to security and surveillance, centering on their own smart cameras: We spoke...
Avigilon Opens Up Analytics And Cameras on Nov 06, 2018
Avigilon is opening up. The company historically famous for advocating its own end-to-end solutions and making it harder for 3rd parties to...
Directory of Access Control and Intrusion Startups on Oct 30, 2018
This directory catalogs access control and intrusion detection startups IPVM has found noteworthy. The directory is provided for your review to...
Huawei Admits AI "Bubble" on Oct 16, 2018
A fascinating article from the Chinese government's Global Times: Huawei’s AI ambition to reshape industries. While the Global Times talks about...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...
IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

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