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


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

The Dumbest Investment Campaign 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...
Camio Natural Language Processing Tested on Sep 27, 2016
The ex-Googler led team from Camio has advanced its video monitoring offering to include natural language processing. Camio ingests video,...
Nest Cam Outdoor Tested - Analytics Strong, Installation Weak on Sep 23, 2016
After years of claiming an outdoor model was "coming", addressing their biggest user demand, Nest has finally released their Outdoor Camera, an...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Directory Of 67 Video Analytics Suppliers on Aug 22, 2016
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see and research what options are available. [premium_content] Video...
Hikvision $6 Billion: Doubles Chinese Government Funding on Aug 18, 2016
This is seriously bad news for the rest of the industry. Hikvision has announced a new $3+ billion line of credit, in addition to the previous $3+...
You Can Invest In The Silicon Valley Robot Mini-IPO on Aug 16, 2016
Do you want own a part of the robot future? Now, you can. After gaining international fame with their robot runs over child debacle, Knightscope...
Silicon Valley Startup Launches People Counting As A Service on Aug 09, 2016
A Silicon Valley startup says their people counting sensor is so accurate it's free, just pay for the data. They recently raised $4M from a top VC...
Logipix 20MP, 140MP and 200MP Cameras Examined on Jul 20, 2016
Looking for an Avigilon alternative? Logipix, based in Hungary, has created their own super high resolution end-to-end solution, featuring 20MP -...
Hikvision Nvidia Supercomputing Partnership on Jul 18, 2016
Hikvision is gearing up its supercomputing efforts. Partnering with Nvidia, one of the US' largest tech companies, doing $5 billion revenue...

Most Recent Industry Reports

"WTF?!?!? Who is Brian Karas?!?" Exclaims Knightscope on Oct 21, 2016
Knightscope co-founder Stacy Stephens emailed us: He may not have intended to send it us and he probably can figure out who Brian Karas is,...
Security Consultants Speak Episode 1 - Protus3 on Oct 21, 2016
This is a first of a series of conversations with security consultants. If you are a security consultant that wants to talk and can share frank...
Sony and Samsung Breaking VBR on Oct 21, 2016
For years, users have known variable bitrate (VBR) as one thing only: bandwidth varies, compression stays the same. This is not an accident but an...
Pelco Matrix End Of Life - End Of An Era on Oct 20, 2016
Pelco Matrix switchers, once the pinnacle of large SD analog installations, are now literally impossible to build. The Matrix products were not...
Axis Video Revenue Down on Oct 20, 2016
An important milestone. Axis revenue for video products is down year over year. But Axis is now focusing on 'diversification'. In this report, we...
Worst Access Control 2016 on Oct 19, 2016
Two access control providers stood out as being the worst to work with for integrators. In this report, we analyze the answers to: "In the past...
Hacked DVRs Surge To 400,000 on Oct 19, 2016
The global internet is under attack from record breaking botnets. And it is getting worse, Mirai doubled in size in the last month. Shamefully,...
Longse Rips Off Hikvision on Oct 19, 2016
Longse is on the attack, and now they are targeting Hikvision. Evidently not content just to rip off Milestone and Video Insight, Longse has now...
China "Unswerving Leadership Over State-Owned Enterprises" Like Hikvision on Oct 18, 2016
The PR agency of the Chinese government declared: President Xi Jinping stressed the Communist Party of China's (CPC) unswerving leadership over...
Move Aside Cisco, Axis Has A Network Switch For Integrators on Oct 18, 2016
Cisco is a common choice for network switches, including in our Favorite Network Switches survey, but now Axis is releasing a 16 port PoE+ switch...

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