OnSSI Acquires VMS Company Seetec

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 08, 2015

The dominoes continue to fall.

One of the biggest VMS providers in North America, OnSSI, has bought one of the biggest VMS providers in Europe, Seetec.

In this note, we break down the strengths and weaknesses of this combination, and how it matches up against Axis/Milestone/Canon.

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Comments (22)

What did OnSSI use for currency in this acquisition? They have not impressed me as a cash-flush company.

Any ideas what Seetec's revenue is/was?

I wonder if this was more of a merger of battered equals like the IQI and Vicon thing.

I asked but OnSSI did not disclose that. As for how they paid for Seetec, I have the same question, especially since Seetec is in the same size range (employee count).

In terms of revenue, I believe both are $10+ million range but I don't know a number that I truly trust.

As for the IQ/Vicon comparison, those two were in much worse shape than OnSSI and Seetec. That said, it does not strike me that neither OnSSI nor Seetec were 'crushing it' recently and with the world changing around them....

We've sold OnSSI for many years and most of my biggest complaints come from the things that are "stuck" with the Milestone engine & OnSSI can't rectify. I hope this merger is a general positive...

What are some of the things you've gotten complaints about?

Mine are the redundant events and other features that are found in both the management application and the admin component. Super confusing, especially to "end user admins".

So did Canon not want to OEM Milestone?

I do not know which way it ran but even if Milestone wanted to continue OEMing to OnSSI, I think OnSSI really benefits from having their 'own' VMS.

OnSSI has slipped from being one of the top VMS lines years ago, to almost "honorable mention" status. They have had a confused marketing process, and most dealers don't understand their licensing programs, which have changed repeatedly. That, coupled with the issue of "are you Milestone or not" was never succesfully addressed by their marketing efforts. Many end users did not view their client software favorably. This merger makes perfect sense and appears to be a good move to resolve these nagging issues, if they can pull it off.

I agree, John, that the lack of a full software/hardware solution has challenges...time will tell if the marketplace is wary of these other new "merged" offerings, and consider the independance of OnSSI/SeeTec a good idea.

I was just talking yesterday with a Milestone affiliate about the same subject - what was OnSSI going to do? Guess we know now.

Would it be wrong for me to gloat? ;)

..,OnSSI should buy one of the other smaller, non-US VMSes and integrate their recorder into whatever higher end functionality exists in Occularis that they actually own...

Leverage their U.S. customer base to roll out a Milestone-free product... In any event, they need to have their own recorder, either by writing their own or buying someone else's. They need to have their own product ready soon so they can parlay all the momentum and credibility they have gotten from embedding Milestone over the years...

When neither company can buy each other they just merge with an appropriately weighted stock swap... 2-12-2015

And perhaps to rub it in? :)

"Where is OnSSI getting the money to buy another VMS? Seriously, I don't imagine OnSSI or any smaller, non-public, independent VMS has the means to buy another company."

But, yes, your prediction turns out to be one hell of a call.

I always wondered why Milestone didn't just cut OnSSI off. I heard that Denmark didn't want to since it was good revenue, but look at how well it worked out for Genetec when they entered the market and essentially cut off Verint & DVtel. The nature of their software would have made it easy to simply "assume" the OnSSI customer base by simply installing their own client software and upgrading the SUP once it expired -- I've seen this work.

Now, it seems they've lost their chance. I would assume that some might still decide to jump ship because of this, but for the most part, it's a victory for OnSSI to finally eliminate their dependence on Milestone. Kudos to Mulli and Gadi for actually getting this far...I thought they'd be done long ago.

Well the conversion isn't done yet but it was definitely a wise move to decrease reliance on Milestone. They still have myriad obstacles to overcome:

  • Conversion of their "recording engine" to whatever SeeTec uses.
  • Any unknown contractual obligations to Milestone.
  • Conversion of legacy sites to the new recording system
  • Retraining of sales staff, support staff, and end users
  • Either making a new viewing client or rebuilding their old to support the new core system.

That assumes they don't utterly abandon the ONSSI platform to entirely switch to SeeTec.

Most likely a reasonable good opportunity for both, that is when both can aline strengths and features across the ocean. Having said that there is quite a difference in markets so it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

One (almost) vms vendor in one market with one (sounds like more real) vms vendor in another market. Sounds fine to me. Owners are in NYC? Who knows what kinds of financial voodoo they can summon so I'm not wondering where the money/credit/stock came from.

As long as they don't announce a 9000 pixel proprietary camera at ISC West...

Neither makes a camera Rodney, so its a safe bet a 9000 pixel camera will not be announced.:)

As long as they don't announce a 9000 pixel proprietary camera at ISC West.

Agreed. This is what a 10000 pixel proprietary camera looks like. It's actually the first digital camera ever, 100x100. Note the edge storage.

Being a seller of OnSSi. I do like the move and the soon to end reliance on Milestone recorders.

I believe OnSSi was moving in the right direction these past few releases, this is real good news.

Smoothness of Conversion to the new recorder "engine" and integration of the two (likely very different) software will be key to the success of this merger.

The interesting question is what does this do to Milestone? Owned by Cannon we know so dollars are not a major issue but remember OnSSI was a major part of the reported Milestone revenue each year. When OnSSI moves to the new recorder things will get very intresting very fast. One would expect they will attempt to move existing customers to the new recorder quickly to save on any money they must pay Milestone for annual software support. This will again create a loss for Milestone.

This is the move OnSSI needed to get back on top, let's see if they can capitalize on it.

K, good points.

Here's something that's weird. IMS/IHS always listed Milestone's own branded VMS revenue as essentially the same as Milestone's total corporate revenue (which should not be if they are selling a non trivial amount to OnSSI). I objected to this a while back but never got any clarity.

To that end, I've always been curious how much OnSSI actually contributes to Milestone's revenue. It may just be that IMS/IHS numbers are sloppy / off...

Don't cry for Milestone :) Next month, they will have Axis to not sell.

Prior to this, I was thinking that Canon / Milestone should buy OnSSI to aggregate the whole channel. I have to imagine this was at least discussed, so I wonder how far apart they were.

I would agee but if we just play with numbers and figure OnSSI is paying milestone 10% that woudl be a sizeable amount of money on thier annual sales. On the Milestone side we have to figure that this is almost free money as there is little to no expense tied to this OME sale so this goes directly to the bottom line. It won't make a big difference on the posted sales but will have an effect on true revenue.

On the recorder side i would expect they would continue to support both but we certainly have to believe they are going to push the SeeTec product and find a way to encourage customer to switch so they can keep all the $$ in house.

I agree Cannon missed an opportunity to bring alot of good, smart people in under the umbrealla. It would have been a great oppurtunity to split the produts and chase both ends of the market with two differnet product. This way you don't have to concerned about gutting your high end product.

Update from OnSSI on their plans:

"OnSSI plans to continue fully supporting Ocularis and the current recorder, with v4.2 being released at the ISC West and additional releases being planned. Plans for the new recorder will become more clear next week at ISC West."

Here is a statement from Seetec:

"Through the acquisition SeeTec will get access to the American markets in two ways: The server component of SeeTec Cayuga will be the basis of new OnSSI products and replace their current supplier [Milestone] over time. Furthermore, we will be able to offer our BVI solution in the Americas together with our new colleagues and global partners. Both steps provide a long-term perspective for SeeTec as well as for Cayuga. OnSSI gains access to our technology. Together we form one global company. The acquisition will not result in changes regarding contact persons or responsibilities. With OnSSI we’ve found a partner, who is a good match and is similar to SeeTec in many aspects. OnSSI is sized and structured similarly, both companies are software companies dedicated to VMS. SeeTec benefits substantially from this transaction – both from a commercial and from a technological point of view. With the new setup we are prepared for convergence and globalization in the VMS industry and become the no. 2 player in this market worldwide."

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