Motorola Solutions Speaks on Avigilon / Video Strategy

By John Honovich, Published Feb 04, 2020, 09:03am EST (Info+)

2 years ago Motorola Solutions acquired Avigilon for a billion dollars but what is Motorola's strategy for Avigilon plus Watchguard and Vigilant, two other video companies they acquired since then?

We spoke with Motorola Solutions's SVP John Kedzierski who now runs all of Motorola's video security solutions, including Avigilon, WatchGuard and Vigilant, to better understand their strategy, plus how Motorola's integration arm will interact with Avigilon's product business.

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Vote / ****

Comments (28)

If an integrator did not compete with Motorola Solutions for projects before, they should not expect to compete with Motorola Solutions now.

What about very large accounts where Motorola products are nearly omnipresent but Motorola has had no presence in surveillance/access control? They could not compete in this area previously from what I understand. Now having direct access to the product under their umbrella presents some concerns.

If they heed to this, they likely will not have many problems with integrators save for very large ones like JCI, Tyco, ADT, etc. that pursue such jobs.

We do not lose to JCI, Tyco, or ADT. Selling a product that is under Tyco, JCI, or ADTs sub-companies would significantly compromise our ability to compete with them. Hypothetically, if Avigilon were directly owned by JCI I think our ability to sell Avigilon to our clients would be significantly more risk elevating, particularly as Avigilon requires end user details with every order. Basically, we're filling out their CRM for future poaching. This is a possible challenge I see for Avigirola.

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What about very large accounts where Motorola products are nearly omnipresent but Motorola has had no presence in surveillance/access control?

Good question. My understanding of their point was that if they did not previously sell / integrate video surveillance to those customers, they would not now.

In the past, e.g., Chicago, Motorola Solutions was the integrator and they sold Genetec. Based on their general statement, I would expect them to now try to sell Avigilon against Genetec in projects like Chicago.

But if the customer had Motorola radios but Motorola had not historically pursued selling that customer any video surveillance (Genetec, Axis or whatever), Motorola the integrator will not now try to sell them Avigilon. If they stick to that, they should be generally ok, if they get greedy, your fears of poaching will cause problems for them and their integrator partners.

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I think Motorola will struggle with branding here. They are well respected for their radios, but not much else. It might have made more sense to structure this with Avigilon being the lead brand, and acting as a reseller of sorts for the Motorola radios.

Roll the Vigilant and WatchGuard products into the Avigilon portfolio and brand, and kill off the branding for those two organizations. Downplay the Motorola branding and ownership and leave Avigilon as more of a stand-alone organization, even if structurally everything rolls up to Motorola.

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Of the three Security departments I have worked at over my last 25 years, all of them have used Motorola radios. From my experience working and training with other large departments and facilities, they also use Motorola radios. So the Motorola brand name is more than enough to get them in the door in my opinion.

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I agree, especially if they are focusing on the Enterprise market.

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I agree that the Motorola brand is strong in radios, but I think Motorola overall has weakened their brand in recent years in terms of being seen as a technology leader.

Take Avigilon out of this for a second, if Motorola came to you and said "we have built our own surveillance and analytics offering", how likely would you be to think "they make great radios, surely their video product is equally great!"?

I personally do not believe that most Motorola radio users would assume that the company is good at technology overall. Some of them are likely to be familiar with the Avigilon product and brand, but for the ones that have not heard of Avigilon, I do not think Motorola is doing Avigilon any favors by leading with the Motorola name/brand.

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I agree that the Motorola brand is strong in radios, but I think Motorola overall has weakened their brand in recent years in terms of being seen as a technology leader.

I have never thought of Motorola as a tech company. Obviously, I could be wrong, but my perception has been that radios are not high tech. Is that wrong?

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I used to really like their cellphones from razor to motorola droid, I swapped to iOS after that phone, I had a lot of them but outside of that I suppose I only really know their radios.

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I used to really like their cellphones from razor to motorola droid I had a lot of them but outside of that I suppose I only really know their radios.

The cell phones were made by Motorola Mobility if after 2011. Avigilon is owned by Motorola Solutions. Two different companies.

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Yes and no.

In a simplistic sense, the actual radio unit is fairly simple from the users perspective. However, when you look at something like Motorola's SmartZone OmniLink trunked system, it is pretty complex and provides for a lot of spectrum management functions to enable maximum flexibility among talk groups and wide geographic coverage areas.

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I have never thought of Motorola as a tech company.

They have not been impressive in while. The Motorola Starmax Mac clone was interesting... until Steve Jobs pulled the plug on all the licensed cloners. Their semiconductor division made a lot of Apple PowerPC G3 and G4 processors before the x86 switch in 2006. Safran was once part of Motorola. The Canopy product was unique for the time but I think that's Cambium now.

I just read that Six Sigma was invented by Motorola for all those PMs and Engineers who love buzzwords and cult indoctrination.

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I just read that Six Sigma was invented by Motorola for all those PMs and Engineers who love buzzwords and cult indoctrination.

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A friend of John’s worked at Motorola many years ago. He left after his primary job was filling out a form on Thursdays.

If they return to this mentality it will be a sad day.

Funny, when it was mentioned about putting analytics on the wearables, I was thinking of LPR first ;)

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A friend of John’s worked at Motorola many years ago. He left after his primary job was filling out a form on Thursdays.

Can you elaborate? Saying too much paperwork or?

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Did he mention Avigilon's achievements in this discussion? Since the acquisition by Motorola, I feel their performance has not been as good as it used to be.

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achievements... performance

What do you mean specifically there? Product performance or financial performance?

Motorola has commented in their investor calls that growth has still been in the 15% range, which is solid to strong for video surveillance right now.

What has gotten worse for you?

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It was intended for financial performance. In the US, I hear that Axis is doing well, but I don't hear that Avigilon is so. When Avigilon was still on its own, financial reports showed a high growth rate, but now I had the impression that it wasn't very good.Did the call talk about performance by region or product?

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In the US, I hear that Axis is doing well, but I don't hear that Avigilon is so.

I don't know the performance of Axis in the US overall but I can comment on Avigilon regionally. In the midwest Avigilon is, by far, the dominant product being deployed. Avigilon is probably over-saturating the market with dealers, local reps, etc. Axis is still popular, mostly through Genetec and Milestone projects. Aside from one large Genetec project and one huge Milestone account I rarely see them deployed in the wild. The K-12 and small business space is a smorgasbord of whatever is cheap that week - Hikua, Axis M series, Avigilon SL series, Hanwha, etc.

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Where, "did you hear" that Avigilon is not doing well?

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Also, the 2019 earnings/investor call is tomorrow. We shall see.

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Where, "did you hear" that Avigilon is not doing well?

Likely false claims with no sources, backup, or addressing questions when called out... is this Facebook?

All we need is a meme image to seal the deal.

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#5, please explain / cite your sources or ask your questions in a more neutral manner. You have now posted a number of discussions that insinuate negative things for companies without any evidence. This forces other people to then try to do damage control.

If you’re not sure about something and have no evidence, you can ask it like this: How is {insert company name} doing financially? or who does {insert company name} OEM from?

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I hope they learn from all previous examples of Schnedier, Tyco, etc acquiring companies and ruining them. History says they will repeat it, but I can be optimistic.

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Tyco, etc acquiring companies and ruining them

Historically, Tyco has been an acquisition destroying machine. They milk them for cash flow, let them die and repeat.

There's lots of ways Motorola could screw up Avigilon but they, at least, don't have a track record or philosophy of buying companies to squeeze cash flow out of them. If I am wrong, would be interested to hear.

Also, to be clear, the Tyco approach is financially 'rational' at some level. While it hurts partners and customers, it arguably maximizes total cash flow, certainly in the short to mid-term which CEOs of such companies are most focused.

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Pelco was broken long before Schneider bought them. They just didn't know any better and neither did the industry.

Years ago, Motorola Solutions had a large global team focused on city surveillance integration and then the whole group disbanded or was RIF'd. Kedzierski was part of that group. They picked up where IBM Security left off on major city surveillance projects. Very ironic they're back in it now, so maybe Motorola team learned from that experience.

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Motorola is ubiquitous in governments from Mayberry to Gotham. Even the rare, black sheep municipality who has a Kenwood radio system in their DPW trucks 99% certainly has at least one major Motorola component in their system. The brand is warm and fuzzy to any government buyer. It evokes quality, reliability and rock-solid performance. Don’t be surprised when Motorola leverages this to become the brand of choice in small government work.

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As a large avigilon dealer, I believe they will become the dominant player in the very large deals as long as they stay focused on integrating there products with there end to end strategy.

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Update: Motorola's Q4 2019 financials were released and Motorola spoke about Avigilon's financial performance:

We did grow 15% actually a little bit better but so it exceeded our expectations in 2019. I'm really pleased with the acquisition. And I'm particularly pleased with Malloy, John Kedzierski, all the Avigilon team of the way it's been integrated the way we're investing, the way we're refreshing, the way we're expanding go-to-market.

And we do expect again growth around 15% for that business which I remind you is about 3x the market.

Motorola also spoke about expanding its city video surveillance deals with Avigilon:

Really when we think about local it's local it's citywide video security systems. I think we've talked about before that we manage the city of Chicago. But just last year, we had opportunities that we won in Cleveland and in Dallas as well. So we've got opportunities.

We've got relationships. I'm actually very encouraged. What we typically see with citywide safe city opportunities that they typically do a pilot in an area particularly in the central business district or an area that's very hard by crime and build out

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