FLIR Buys Camera Manufacturer ISD from DW

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Jun 07, 2016

FLIR has made yet another acquisition, following up on last year's DVTel deal, FLIR has acquired ISD from Digital Watchdog.

In this report, based on an interview with FLIR, we look at the fit between ISD and FLIR, the potential for a FLIR / Arecont acquisition, and what this means for DW.

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Comments (17)

Why is becoming an end-to-end video surveillance provider an attractive option? With Hik and Dahua at the gate, would it be a better choice to focus on a niche market?

I think there are two angles to this:

1) As a manufacturer it gives you more control and flexibility.

When users are purchasing a complete system, there are benefits to being able to control the entire deal. If all you have are cameras, or all you have is a VMS, then you have to partner up, and hope the customer likes your partner, and if a discount is needed you have to hope your partner will work with you.

There are lots of camera-only and vms-only companies, so this partner-up approach works, but each partner loses some control of the deal, and also loses some revenue/overall profit margin. If you sell cameras AND VMS, the same salesperson can sell and demonstrate both, and so it makes you overall more efficient, even if sometimes the customer only wants your cameras or only wants your VMS.

Similarly, let's say the customer likes almost everything, but wants just one "little" feature. Something like the ability for a camera to detect a bright light, and for the VMS to popup a live image on a video wall. If you're JUST the camera, or JUST the VMS you can only commit to implementing half of the solution, and have to rely on your partner to implement the other half.

These kinds of "small" feature requests come up regularly in larger deals, and so having the ability to implement camera and VMS features gives you the ability to control the deal without worrying if the partner company will be able to match up, or worrying that the customer decides they need a different camera/VMS to make it work, and that company then recommends a different camera/VMS than what you sell.

2) Customers want an "easy" system. They want things to work well together, they want to reduce their vendor count (in most cases), and not get stuck in the middle of support battles over time. Offering an end-to-end solution allows you to appeal to customers who have high demands, which are frequently those with larger budgets as well.

The problem with niche markets is that they are niche markets. For a company the size of FLIR, they need to be able to get as much revenue as possible from their security division.

We think this completes what FLIR needs to be an end-to-end video surveillance provider.

Digimerge, Lorex, DvTel and ISD.

4th time a charm!

ISD is different in that it specializes in designing cameras. Digimerge and Lorex are more OEM packagers, DVTel is not a real camera manufacturer, etc.

We think this completes what FLIR needs to be an end-to-end video surveillance provider.

Fair question, if you were asked a month ago if FLIR had a complete end to end solution would you have said, "Not quite, they still need to acquire someone who actually knows how to design cameras. Once they do that, then yes."

Yes, the camera part was clearly missing.

FLIR / DVTel needs to get better and broader at high-end cameras.

Ok, fair enough, though I also agree with you that you would think that they had the in-house expertise already, considering their expertise in high-end imaging.

Beyond obviously thermal, I bet they are strong in mechanical, industrial design, etc. But IP camera design (e.g., building a 4K x 4 multi-imager IP camera), not sure about that. I think that is what ISD gives them.

True enough, and Ian (besides from being a good dude) has been a forward thinking when it comes to camera technology. ISD never really pushed into the mainstream, but it was more about presence than anything. Their camera technology was actually pretty solid, and they were doing things like high end edge storage / server capabilities before other players. He will be a solid asset for FLIR as they fill out their product offering.

Camera vendor who at least once put Windows in a device. To replace -meh- Dynacolor OEM gear. This is not making me feel like a decent camera with a FLIR logo is gonna show up. Windows? Really? You're gonna make your IT audit team dig out all those old embedded Windows attack tricks from 10 years ago? Really? Or do they now run Windows 10 with a TPM?

To be fair, there was a large company who had a vested interest in seeing this succeed, and ISD was really doing it for them specifically. I don't think it was ever planned on being a big mover in the market outside of the one end user.

Really? You're gonna make your IT audit team dig out all those old embedded Windows attack tricks from 10 years ago?

Good point, Rodney.

A Windows based camera would be impervious to the standard Shodan attack vectors. Even when they figured out what it was, they would think it a trap. ;)

fyi embedded windows more or less never had update capability. So all the exploits from the beginning are relevant. Very recent appliance-grade VMS devices may be performing updates properly (I'm looking at you, Avigilon.) Anything running Windows CE or Windows Embedded XP is likely unsafe. There is zero evidence Windows is a good platform for an embedded device IMO. If e.g. someone had a reason to use it to support strong analytics or something then I'd consider it possible reasonable.

Not the kind of OnVIF platform you want to be bringing to a VMS bar fight in 2016...

Ian himself might say something like

While I personally think that Security of the security camera devices will be / is a big issue, it is a red herring argument. Suffice to say that just because we're running Windows does not bring along the "blue screen of death" or make us more vulnerable. Embedded Compact 7 is not the same as Windows 7. It is far more secure because most things have been stripped out and the remaining items have been tested to death.

The company was acquired by Digital Watchdog in 2014, and was responsible for DW's 48MP panoramic camera.

Is this camera even shipping yet? It's been over a year since announced.

Somebody either at ISD or at DW can't be very happy about that.

Yes, it is shipping now, price is $3,000+.

Between the much higher price (50%+ higher than Axis or Arecont's highest cost multi-imagers), them being DW and the divesture of the division that developed it, the product is in a strange state.

Does this mean Ian sold his company twice?

Now that's innovative...

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