Ionodes - Video Surveillance Startup Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 19, 2009

Ionodes is a recent startup drawing significant interest for its experienced founders and its partnership with Genetec.

The product that looks to have the most immediate impact is the Ionodes hybrid NVR, the SV-3200, which runs Genetec's Omnicast. While Genetec's VMS software is available on Intransa's NVR VideoAppliances, this is the first and only hybrid DVR running Omnicast.

Moreover, the founders of Ionodes include Jean-Paul Saindon, founder of SmartSight and Michael Gilge, founder of VCS. Both companies were early leaders in the development of IP video appliances with SmartSight being sold to Verint and VCS to Bosch. As such, the company's management has successfully developed IP video surveillance businesses (a rarity among IP video startups).

As such, it's likely the company will have an impact in the industry. The main questions is: how much of an impact and where?

While Ionodes and Genetec are separate companies, they clearly have a close relationship both in terms of partnering and physical proximity (offices less than 10km from one another). This relationship is likely to help expand the overall competitiveness of Genetec.

Product Overview

Ionodes is starting with a basic set of IP cameras, encoders and a single hybrid DVR offering (see the products page for an overview).

On the camera side, Ionodes is starting with SD and 1.3 MP cameras. One element that stands out is the use of H.264 CODEC, High Profile which offers the potential for greater bandwidth savings relative to the commonly employed baseline profile. Additionally, the cameras and recorders support three streams simultaneously with different compression profiles.

Currently, the only VMS supported is Genetec's. Ionodes has no immediate plans for supporting other VMS systems.

In addition to 1,4 and 16 channel encoders, the 16 channel encoder supports on-board storage with two internal hard drives. While Genetec does not currently support on-board storage on encoders, the potential future use of this is important.

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The likely flagship product is the Hybrid DVR, the SV-3200 running Omnicast. It's a high end appliance with a number of more advanced features:

  • Dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports (two ports supports applications with both IP cameras and external storage)
  • Built-in 8 port 10/100 Ethernet switch (reduces need for deploying a switch and for allocating IP addresses on the corporate LAN)
  • HDMI Output for local viewing
  • Hot-swappable expansion ports enable 4 channel encoder modules to be added

The SV-3200 is a 1RU appliance that supports up to 2 internal hard drives as well as external storage

Pricing

Ionodes pricing strategy is consistent with Genetec's approach towards the mid to high end of the market. For instance, the MSRP of a Day/Night SD box camera is $800 USD. The 16 channel encoder module with no storage has an MSRP of $1,012 USD with each 4 channel module an MSRP of $578 USD.

The SV-3200 supporting 16 analog inputs, 8 IP inputs, 3TB of storage and Omnicast software has an MSRP of $8800 USD. [NOTE: An earlier version listed the MSRP as $7500 USD based on pricing shared by the manufacturer. On September 29th, the manufacturer followed up to inform that the pricing had been changed to $8800 USD.

Competitive Analysis

The specifications of the cameras are consistent with high-end products but there are no strong technical innovations. As such, the camera should be competitive but it's unlikely that they will change industry dynamics. While Genetec customers may be attractive to these products, there are certainly many similar offerings in the market currently.

The 16 channel encoders and the SV-3200 offer a much stronger boost to Genetec. It is these products that have the most potential to make a competitive impact.

Historically, Genetec's product line-up was at a disadvantage for applications that had small camera counts (especially in distributed environments like banks or small box retailers). The typical Genetec solution is deploying 3rd party encoders and COTS PCs/Servers plus loading Omnicast software. As such, while Genetec routinely wins projects with hundreds or thousands of cameras per site, applications with smaller number of cameras per site were more difficult. Genetec was at a disadvantage to competitors that offered their own appliances (such as March and Verint).

With the SV-3200, that disadvantage is eliminated. The appliance itself will be of similar quality to competing offerings (contrast this to Verint's recently released high-end Hybrid DVR). At the same time, it will offer Genetec's software which provides scalability, redundancy, broad 3rd party support, etc, etc. Finally, its price ($8800 MSRP) will be similar to existing mid-level market DVRs (again compared to March and Verint). Equally important, this appliance provides an advantage against SW only providers such as OnSSI and Milestone who do not have a similar product offering. The Intransa VideoAppliance (which all 3 of these providers support) is far more expensive yet does not support analog inputs.

At the same, there are many hybrid DVRs that cost significantly less than the SV-3200 (see our hybrid NVR pricing review). The biggest single threat/comparison is Exacq who offers both VMS software and low-cost embedded appliances. For the more price sensitive part of the market, customers may find significantly lower cost options. These customers may also find Genetec's more advanced features to be unnecessary for their needs.

When Genetec supports on-board storage to Ionodes 16 channel encoders, this will be another valuable offering. At an MSRP of about $4,000 USD, 16 channels of analog video with 3TB of storage may be deployed (this excludes S/W license costs). However, this may be ideal for distributed environments.

Best Fits

Certainly, given the tight integration with Genetec, this will be an attractive offering for existing or prospective Genetec customers.

On a broader level, the hybrid DVR (SV-3200) opens up a large market of multi-site, small camera applications. The most obvious will be bank branches and small box retailers.

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