Examining Cisco's Defense of their Video Surveillance Strategy

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 22, 2009

Let's examine the validity of Cisco's numerous responses and public statements defending the Pelco deal and their general video surveillance strategy.

There are 3 responses - a comment from Cisco on our Failure report, trade magazine listing Cisco's Vision and a video interview with a Cisco Director. From these 3 sources, here are Cisco's key claims:

  • "Cisco's physec business is growing strongly."
  • "The Pelco relationship allows us to rapidly expand our IP HD camera line with industry leading technology." 
  • "This industry is all about partnerships."
  • Cisco's "value proposition is to use the network as a platform to deliver multiple applications to the market"
  • On why Cisco selected Pelco: Pelco is the leader in "physical security systems"
  • Cisco has a bigger vision including integrating systems's together
  • Cisco is "putting efforts in its labs" to enable accessing IP cameras from phones
  • Cisco's long term vision  is to be a major manufacturer of video cameras but "You can’t just snap your fingers and become a major manufacturer of video surveillance hardware. Bill says before they could ever become a major player they have to deal with manufacturing issues like enclosures, the optics, etc."
  • Cisco will be pursuing both the physical security and IT channels
Let's examine each point, one by one:
  • "Cisco's physec business is growing strongly." Cisco could sell ice to eskimos. I mean this as a compliment. Cisco has an incredible channel program and huge global presence. However, the issue for Cisco is not whether it can sell tens of millions of dollars in video surveillance products through that channel but whether Cisco can truly be innovative and bring better video surveillance products with greater value.
  • "The Pelco relationship allows us to rapidly expand our IP HD camera line with industry leading technology."  Pelco's cameras are not Cisco's cameras. Where is the innovation in 'co-branding"? And adding in Cisco IP functionality is not a major benefit for IP cameras beyond what Pelco could develop on its own. We examine below the claims to Cisco's future IP networking contribution to Pelco's cameras.
  • "This industry is all about partnerships." This is an atypical partnership in the IP video market. Usually partnerships are about technology support, not re-selling other companies products. It would be like Milestone announcing they are going to re-sell Axis cameras and add support for Milestone's VMS inside the camera. What value would that add? Even if Cisco did not OEM Pelco's cameras, any buyer could still buy Pelco cameras directly and use them with their VMS if they wanted.
  • Cisco's "value proposition is to use the network as a platform to deliver multiple applications to the market". This is not a value proposition but Cisco's business strategy. It is a critical difference and at the core of why physical security buyers are generally unimpressed with Cisco's offering. To the physical security buyer, using the network as a platform has no direct benefit. It's why mature physical security companies focus their value proposition on things like improving investigations, stopping criminals in the act, improving evidence quality, etc.
  • On why Cisco selected Pelco: Pelco is the leader in "physical security systems" Pelco may be the leader in physical security systems (depending on how you define it) but they are nowhere close to being the leader in IP cameras. That is clearly Axis with a strong case to be made that Sony, Panasonic, Mobotix, IQinVision and ArecontVision are also ahead of Pelco. The practical consequence is that sophisticated buyers will recognize this and may want better and likely cheaper cameras than Cisco branded Sarix cameras.
  • Cisco has a bigger vision including integrating systems's together. Ok but what product offering does Cisco has that makes them a leader in PSIM?
  • Cisco is "putting efforts in its labs" to enable accessing IP cameras from phones. Yes but there are a half dozen companies already doing this with deployed support for all Cisco's VMS rivals.
  • "You can’t just snap your fingers and become a major manufacturer of video surveillance hardware ... have to deal with manufacturing issues like enclosures, the optics, etc." Yes but that's the opposite of what Cisco assumed 3 years ago. Indeed, Cisco did try to make their own IP cameras and evidently failed. Furthermore, most of the innovation in "network cameras" comes from the camera side - higher resolution, better low light imaging and dynamic range, compact form factors. 
  • Cisco will be pursuing both the physical security and IT channels. This is a recognition of failure of their original premise that they could dominate through their IT channels. Moreover, the physical security channel has no loyalty to Cisco, little experience and not much cultural similarities to Cisco. Plus, the physical security channel tends to be very price sensitive. It's a bad idea for Cisco to go after the physical security channel and a sign of desperation.

[Update: The Cisco / Pelco partnership was unsuccessful and has been discontinued.]

1 report cite this report:

Cisco Admits Failure, Partners with Pelco (v2) on Sep 20, 2009
Less than 3 years ago, Cisco threatened the physical security industry with disruption and innovation. Spending more than $100 Million USD, Cisco...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Worst Access Control 2018 on Apr 18, 2018
Three access control providers stood out as providing the most problems for integrators. In this report, we analyze the answers to: "In the...
Axis VMD4 Analytics Tested on Apr 17, 2018
Axis is now on its 4th generation of video motion detection (VMD), which Axis calls "a free video analytics application." In this generation, Axis...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...
Eocortex / Macroscop VMS Company Profile on Apr 09, 2018
Eocortex is the international brand of Russian VMS manufacturer Macroscop. Macroscop was founded in 2008, and the Eocortex name created in 2013. We...
Hanwha Mega ISC West Product Releases on Apr 05, 2018
While overall new product releases have been slowing over the past few years, Hanwha is releasing a slew of 6 new offerings for ISC West,...
VMS New Developments Spring 2018 (Avigilon, Exacqvision, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone, Network Optix) on Apr 04, 2018
What's new with VMS software? In this report, we examine new features and releases for Spring 2018 to track different areas of potential...
P2P 'Fail To' 'Quick And Steady Access' - Hikvision Defends Port Forwarding on Apr 02, 2018
Following criticism of Hikvision's ongoing port forwarding recommendation (e.g., Hikvision Hardening Guide Recommends Port Forwarding and Hikvision...
Beware Scam Market 'Research' on Mar 30, 2018
The 'data' and 'research' that headlines many articles is a scam, perpetrated by a variety of Indian firms that have exploited the carelessness and...
Hikvision LPR Camera Tested on Mar 26, 2018
Hikvision has expanded into the LPR market, claiming up to 99% capture rates, 95% recognition rates at speeds up to 75mph  / 120kmh. We bought and...
Network Racks For Surveillance Guide on Mar 21, 2018
In this guide, we look at network rack infrastructure, one of the fundamentals of IP video surveillance. Inside, we cover: What is a rack unit...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Last Chance - April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
Today is the last day to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...
Rare Video Surveillance Fundraising - Verkada $15 Million on Apr 19, 2018
Fundraising in video surveillance (and the broader physical security market) has been poor recently. Highlights are few and far in between...
'Best In Show' Fails on Apr 19, 2018
ISC West's "Best In Show" has failed. For more than a decade, it has become increasingly irrelevant as the selections exhibit a cartoon level...
Security Camera Cleaning Frequency Statistics on Apr 18, 2018
150+ integrators told IPVM how often they clean cameras on customer's sites and why.  Inside we examine their answers and break down feedback...
Worst Access Control 2018 on Apr 18, 2018
Three access control providers stood out as providing the most problems for integrators. In this report, we analyze the answers to: "In the...
Axis VMD4 Analytics Tested on Apr 17, 2018
Axis is now on its 4th generation of video motion detection (VMD), which Axis calls "a free video analytics application." In this generation, Axis...
Arecont CEO And President Resign on Apr 17, 2018
This is good news for Arecont. Arecont's problems have been well known for years (e.g., most recently Worst Camera Manufacturers 2018 and starting...
Strong ISC West 2018, Says Manufacturers, GSX / ASIS Expected Weaker on Apr 17, 2018
Manufacturers say ISC West 2018 was strong, continuing the trend we have seen in 2017 results and 2016 results. However, those same 100...
Key Control For Access Control Tutorial on Apr 16, 2018
End users spend thousands on advanced systems to keep themselves secure, but regularly neglect one of the lest expensive yet most important aspects...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...

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