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

The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...
Directory Of 92 Video Analytics Suppliers on Jan 04, 2018
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see and research what options are available. Video...
2018 Top Sales Interest For Integrators on Dec 20, 2017
130+ integrators answered: This is a key question, especially for manufacturers, as it impacts what areas to focus more on and what...
Failed Retail Video Analytics Startup Analyzed on Dec 19, 2017
Most manufacturers in this industry try hard to cover up failure. But an industry startup backed by Silicon Valley's most prestigious accelerator...
Axis Network Radar Tested (D2050-VE) on Dec 19, 2017
Axis is expanding into a new market - radar. The company has released their D2050-VE Network Radar Detector, claiming to minimize false alarms, in...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Dahua Hard-Coded Credentials Vulnerability on Nov 20, 2017
A newly discovered Dahua backdoor is described by the researcher discovering it as: not the result of an accidental logic error or poor...
Top 2017 Trends - Cyber and Analytics on Nov 09, 2017
The 2 clear top 2017 trends, according to IPVM integrator statistics are: Cyber Security Video Analytics This is a change from 2016...
Honeywell Crowdfunding Bombs on Nov 08, 2017
100,000+ employees and $40,000,000,000 in annual revenue. That's Honeywell. ~200 backers and ~$67,000 in funding in a week. That's Honeywell...
Assa Abloy Acquires August on Oct 25, 2017
The mega access control manufacturer, Assa Abbloy, has acquired one of the most well funded access control startups, smart lock...

Most Recent Industry Reports

PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial on Jan 19, 2018
Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.  However, access requires more power than cameras, and the...
If You Have 4 Cameras, You Can Throw Them Away, If You Have 400, They Throw You Away on Jan 19, 2018
Do users care about anything but price? Do user care about cybersecurity? Do users care about trusting their supplier? These have become...
Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Vivint Streety Video Strengthens Door Knocking on Jan 17, 2018
Vivint is famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) for mastering large scale door to door selling. The company has skyrocketed from a...
Axis: "It’s A Question Of Trust And Who You Want To Be Associated With" on Jan 17, 2018
Who do you trust? Who do you want to be associated with? Axis is raising hard questions to start 2018. In this note, we examine these questions,...
Software House Vulnerability Allows Inside Attacker To Open Doors on Jan 17, 2018
A vulnerability in Software House IP-ACM modules allows an attacker to potentially unlock doors, or perform other actions, on affected systems....
'Defiant' Hikvision 'Strikes Back' At WSJ And US on Jan 16, 2018
The fight is on. Hikvision and their owner, the Chinese government, 'strikes back' against the Wall Street Journal and US politicians raising...
The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...

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