Cisco has unquestionably become the best company in video surveillance ... for people to laugh at. What started out in 2006 with great hopes for industry domination by the company and even its security rivals has never come close to fruition.
Now, Cisco is making its strongest and, in our view, best decisions to reboot their approach to video surveillance and provide a real competitive foundation. In this report, we examine what went wrong and how they are substantially improving.
The Glorious Entrance
Cisco swept into the surveillance market in 2006 - 2007, spending ~$100 Million on two acquisitions, Broadware and Sypixx [link no longer available]. Excitement and dread built, culminating in an ISC West 2007 keynote address from a Cisco executive, surprising considering Cisco's 0% market in surveillance at that time and for the rose petals that incumbent executives placed at the podium (note: Cisco's marketing share now is ~0.5% and the rose petals are an exaggeration).
It did not take long for Cisco video surveillance to start showing its flaws. Key mistakes included:
- Buying two companies and trying to
munge merge the products together is very hard, especially when they had overlap (e.g., up until last year, Cisco supported two overlapping recorder lines).
- The Broadware acquisition was a serious mistake, both for its product and retained management. Originally Broadware was video distribution platform designed during the late 90s bubble, later awkwardly repositioned as a VMS.
- Cisco assumed IT convergence would sweep them to victory even if their products were not competitive for physical security management's needs.