Pelco Sold Off, Now Independent

By John Honovich, Published May 28, 2019, 09:44am EDT

Pelco has been sold off by Schneider Electric, completing Schneider's terrible tenure, but giving Pelco a chance at life.

IPVM spoke with Pelco's CEO Jean-Marc Theolier about the future of the now independent Pelco. 

The ****

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Pelco ****

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*******

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***** **** **** ** prove **** **** *** rebuild.

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*******

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Vote / ****

Update: ******* ****** ************

***, *** ********,******* *** ****** ** announcement**** *** ********* *********:

**** *******, ******** ******* ** Transom ******* *****, ****, “As **** ******** ******** experts ****, ***** ** one ** *** ******** of *** ***** ************ space. *** ******* ****** creating *** **** ***** breakthroughs ** ***** ******** begins ***** ******* *** investment ** *****. ** have ********** **** ***work **** **** *** **** ******* ***** ** ********* *** ******* **** * *********-***** ******** ****** **** ********** ********, ********, *** ******* ********* ** ****** ********. We are excited to partner with management to grow the business for many years to come.” [emphasis addded]

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Comments (59)

I voted negative, but I hope they are successful.  I believe that success will be reclaiming the perception of being a market leader.  Anything short of that will miss the expectations of the general public.  There are few companies, in any industry, that have been successful at this type of a turn around and turning around something this big that is this far off course is very challenging.  

For every example of Apple or Marvel there are even more JC Penny's, Blockbusters, Polaroids and PanAms.  

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As Warren Buffet says: "Both our operating and investment experience cause us to conclude that turnarounds seldom turn, and that the same energies and talent are much better employed in a good business purchased at a fair price than in a poor business purchased at a bargain price."

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On the positive side there is no way Transom could do worse than Schneider did, right?  So winning, I guess??

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"Pelco's CEO told IPVM that Pelco's strategy remains the same, emphasizing the long term goal of being a "leader in predictive video analytics solution" as they expand their VMS, cloud and AI offerings. "

So Pelco is going to succeed by doing things they've never done well?  Keep following the same strategy that led to massive losses, lay-offs and a fire-sale?  The remaining employees livelihoods' are on the line.  Please reconsider Mr. Theolier!

I would argue that they could be successful by just returning to their knitting.   Make great Dome and PTZ cameras, specialty cameras & enclosures for marine environments, etc.  Offer excellent support.  I know the PTZ market is in decline but it still exists.  John is right, the "not from China" play will help.

My point is that Pelco's days as the center of the universe in CCTV are gone.  They are more likely to succeed if they accept this and focus on their strengths.

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I'm guessing they've had as many strategies as years under Schneider.  It may be that Mr. Theolier stayed (was kept?) on board to see through and execute on this plan; now free of the cruel corporate calculus of Schneider.

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"Pelco's strategy remains the same"     Wow!

Isn't that the definition of insanity...expecting different results from doing the same thing over again?? 

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Pelco is now independent. While Transom owns Pelco, Pelco will be run independently.

really?  doesn’t sound like it to me...

Transom has

developed a systematic approach to value creation known as the ARMOR℠ Value Creation Process, which is an acronym that stands for Acquisition, Restructuring,Monitoring & Operations, and Return.

ARMOR is our playbook and is a collection of real-world proven methods for each stage of the investment timeline to create performance driven cultures, create and improve strategy, drive topline growth, decrease waste, improve operations, customer service and product quality, source talent, tighten budgeting and lead companies...

the CEO says that Transom was "injecting a lot of time on the operational side" and "investing into hiring to accelerate digital side of the business".

 

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Independent meaning they are independent of a manufacturer, other product or integrator. Think Exacq and JCI integration or Exacq and Kantech / Software House, or Pelco previously and SE integrator arm, etc.

Companies are never independent of their owners but, in the context of this industry, they are independent of any other products and service providers.

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Independent meaning they are independent of a manufacturer, other product or integrator.

got it. 

curious, in this sentence 

While Transom owns Pelco, Pelco will be run independently.

which meaning of the word “While” was intended?

Although Transom owns Pelco, Pelco will be run independently.

As long as Transom owns Pelco, Pelco will be run independently.

 

 

 

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I meant 'although' as in although another company owns Pelco, that company is not running it in combination with anything else.

For example, to the contrary, if Pelco would have been acquired by UTC or JCI, I would not claim Pelco was independent since UTC and JCI tend to cross-sell / combine their acquisitions.

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Tough crowd ;-)  I have to admit that "independent" also gave me pause.  I understand your context, as elaborated above. 

My definition of an independent company would be one owned and operated by the same person or group.  For example: Genetec & Pierre Racz.   Regardless, all companies "depend" on suppliers, subscribers, banks, customers.....  

How obvious is it that I'm killing time after a long day until the traffic dies down?

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assumedly, Schneider Electric (as an Integrstor) is now free from Pelco, as a manufacturer.

is that positive for them as well?  were they both hurt by the forced partnership?

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I don't know enough about Schneider Electric the integrator to say.

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Transom is the gas station in the middle of nowhere between Schneider and their actual destination. The question is who is Transom planning to sell Pelco to in the next year or two after they apply some ARMOR.

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They need to load them up with debt first to pay themselves large bonuses. 

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The question is who is Transom planning to sell Pelco to in the next year or two after they apply some ARMOR.

Interesting point. I checked Transom's 6 'select prior investment' porfolio, 4 of them were sold off with a year of acquiring, another in under 4 years and one in just over 5 years.

I did ask Pelco to speak to Transom and Transom should comment on this if they want to build credibility with partners (unless they plan to exit in 6 months and in that case, might as well say nothing for a few months and unload).

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Now curious how many of their acquisitions survive after being resold.

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Update: Pelco says they "have and are working on a 5 year basis plan", in response to this question.

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This seems fitting

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They had a five year plan, ten years ago. Where has that got them?

Sorry to say but, all the great minds and creativity inside Pelco are long gone. Pelco will never be “Pelco” again.

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With China becoming limited in the US, a true US vendor has an angle if they reach technology parity.

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I agree. But that's not Pelco.

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Yes but who else is it?

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I am cautiously optimistic that with the right product management they could arise from the ashes.  I still voted neutral for sandbagging purposes.

 

Right now the product line is a disarray due to the need to support so many legacy products.  Being able to support legacy items and still bring into their modern products is both a curse and a blessing.  It is a blessing as they have a built in customer base and it cuts down on some of the complete rip and replace cost.  Legacy equipment support is a curse because supporting all this legacy junk makes a unnecessary hodge podge of unreliability that has tarnished the brand.  At some point they have to cut these cords and focus their efforts on new, innovative project like they used to when untethered from the need to support various dead/dying products.  Panasonic and Bosch both suffer from this curse/blessing.

i have not looked at VideoXpert lately but there may be some promise there if efforts are redoubled on development, DSSRV and Endura are put in the same category as Windows XP.  Mounts for every occasion (see the SWM-CA for a unique/great one) were one huge advantage of Pelco.  I hope that is resurrected.

I look forward to another NA manufacturer that is competitive.

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"Right now the product line is a disarray due to the need to support so many legacy products. Being able to support legacy items"

Seems to me you have no clue what they are doing right now, or at least in the past 2 years... So that's the reason that 80% of your comment is about the importance of forget legacy.

They cut an unbeliavable amount of products from their portfolio.

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They cut products to scale back operations when Clovis shut down.  Yes there has been market pressure to open their VMS up more to support third party product.  However if I call up my Pelco rep today to ask if I can bring broken firmware Sarix cameras together with my 8 year old DSSRVs, some random Endura storage device trash, and bring it into VideoExpert on a full L3 network what will the answer be?  The answer will be a resounding yes.  The results will be broken product where motion events don't route past the gateway and I get to spend 4 hours every day with support logged into the system.

I have lived this.  I have ripped it out.  Your experience may vary.

Their efforts would be far better invested in wholly upgrading the site at a deep discount if they desire to keep the account.  The damage being done is irreparable.

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Where does Pelco manufacture their cameras? 

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They don't, they have switched to mostly an ODM/OEM model for manufacturing.

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Mostly Taiwan, but recently the new line is China. Yes, with Evil chips.

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The new GFC line is manufactured in Taiwan with Huawei Hisilicon chips, see: Pelco GFC 4K Dome Camera Tested (IMP831-1ERS)

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Well, I guess Pelco isn't planning much in the way of government sales as part of their turn-around strategy.

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Undisclosed #11 - I would encourage you to visit our landing page at pelco.com.  We have detailed our strategy to support our partners and end users who require NDAA compliant product.  We even publicly declare for all to see any non-compliant product.  We are in a very strong position to support & sell to all organizations that require or wish to respect the NDAA legislation.  In fact, we currently have only 3 products in our entire lineup not currently meeting compliance.

Below is the link - but I would encourage you to reach out to your local Pelco rep if you want to have a deeper discussion about this topic.

https://www.pelco.com/ndaa

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Neutral is optimistic in my opinion.  In the analog age I loved Pelco and their tech support USED TO BE the best. This company needs a lot of improvement if they are allowed to truly be independent and bring in the right people and invest in the right technology, etc, etc they can do this... maybe.

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Agreed. I used to get an actual person on the line within three rings when I called Pelco support; I always viewed this as an indicator of Pelco's intentional desire to be seen in a positive light. Long gone are those days. Seems like the towel was thrown in years ago and Pelco will be the last to know.  

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Update: Transom Issues Announcement

Now, the acquirer, Transom has issued an announcement with the following statement:

Russ Roenick, Managing Partner at Transom Capital Group, said, “As most security industry experts know, Pelco is one of the pioneers of the video surveillance space. The journey toward creating the next great breakthroughs in video security begins today through our investment in Pelco. We have conviction that the work done over the past several years to transform the Company into a digitally-savvy security leader with innovative hardware, software, and service solutions is nearly complete. We are excited to partner with management to grow the business for many years to come.” [emphasis addded]

On the positive side, it is true that Pelco was a pioneer and it is good that they say they plan to 'partner' for 'many years to come', however, that they think the work 'is nearly complete' is totally wrong. As a 'hardware, software and service' provider they are many years and tens of millions in investment behind Avigilon, to pick the most relevant and direct competitor. Pelco can improve but Transom has to recognize that most of the work still needs to be done.

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Ha, totally agree. Should read like this

We have conviction that the work done in the next several years.....

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Some of the problems for my company using Pelco, were their products performed poorly, took longer to setup and were absolutely dreadful when used on a third party VMS like exacq, milestone, avigilon, etc...

If they can just make some cameras that perform well, easier to setup and can be used on other VMS platforms they'll have made a huge turnaround. Them wanting to focus on analytics is deeply concerning. Talking about cooking a 5 course meal when they can't even make a PB&J sandwich. Grrrrrrrrr pelco...

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Make cameras.

Make cameras in America.

Make fairly priced cameras in America.

Make cameras that work WELL on as many open platforms as possible

Provide AWESOME tech support

The brand might have a 2nd chance if they focus on what integrators and end-users need.

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Very well stated this is the solution!

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With nearly 400 votes, some observations on the Pelco poll results:

Overall, not good but I thought it was going to be much worse. Looking at the polling for the Qognify/OnSSI deal, that was bad with an ugly 15 postive, 27, neutral, and 57 negative.

Also, a moderately bullish sign, for Pelco, integrators were modestly net positive with a 34 /37/29 breakdown compared to manufacturers who were net negative with a 26 / 28 /45.

Pelco still has a lot of work and Transom needs to be willing to dedicate the money and time to make that happen but overall there seems to be receptivity to a turnaround if Pelco can put the work in.

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Qognify never really had a positive history, Pelco did.  ONSSI was great when it was Milestone.  At this point I think everyone realizes it is not.

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I wonder if the Verkada is referring to Pelco when they say their slaying Dinosaurs.

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Schneider did that, not Verkada.

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I voted positive with a bit of trepidation.  They were late to the IP game and hurt them badly but they knew their analog and their software devs were good (before schineder, a lot of us left/layed off) The have the manufacturing knowledge to make great product and Clovis is still low-overhead.  Maybe it is time to start making cameras in america again :-)

I will watch them closely!

 

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As long as the thought of being a competitor in the Surveillance industry is met with strong intentions, I think this could work! I give it a thumbs up. There is lots of work to be done to make the Pelco name and product great and competitive agin. It would be great to see the Pelco brand thrive again. Wishing all involved the best of luck! 👍

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Can anyone offer a compelling reason to specify Pelco at this point?

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As someone who had positive experiences with Pelco in the past, I would honestly love to see a rebound.  Alas, I can't see how it can happen.  They would have to find a key area, like cameras / mounts, and just focus on that.  If they try to remain a total solution, there's just no way they'll ever recover.  

The odds are most definitely against them, but as we saw at the Masters golf tournament this year, everyone loves a good comeback story.  That said, I'd feel much better betting on Tiger Woods than Pelco.

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Actually, that seems like pretty good advice.  If they aren't strong in NVRs, VMS, and other items they should focus at being the best at something rather than mediocre at everything.  It would be nice to have an open camera manufacturer to compete against Axis with a full range of good, versatile mounts that only Pelco and Axis seem to be able to do properly.  Even Axis has only gotten competent at mount design in the past few years while Pelco has seemingly slid backwards.

It could go the other way, where they choose to focus on VMS and NVRs.  But at this point that just seems silly.  It would be better to cut loose Digital Sentry and Endura development to focus solely on VideoExpert.

At the low valuation they either need to specialize or inject a ton of capital for development.

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We had pelco ceo visit us- to try to end around a rip and replace- we asked him how his plans compare to Genetec and he said he really was not familiar with their offerings. Our jaws dropped.

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I'm surprised why you asking a CEO about environment. It tells a lot about you as well. 

Ask almost any CEO over 300 employees any you can be sure they are not aware about the market. It is not their role. This is why they are paying a lot of money for Product managers, marketing professionals, etc.

And I'm not talking about Pelco, I'm talking about the role of a CEO.

I hope this helps your dropped jaws.

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Ask almost any CEO over 300 employees any you can be sure they are not aware about the market...

yes, similar to how Steve Jobs wasn’t aware of Microsoft’s product line, or how Jeff Bezos knows so little about Google’s cloud offering, and how Mark Zuckerberg is clueless about all of them...

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I understand your sarcasm, but you say this like you exactly know what they knew about others on the market. I guess you discussed with them about their knowledge. Didn't you?! :)

Also I suggest to understand what "almost" means as the second word of my above explanation...

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I understand your sarcasm, but you say this like you exactly know what they knew about others on the market.

yo, those with glass jaws shouldn’t go around dropping them:

Ask almost any CEO over 300 employees and you can be sure they are not aware about the market.

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How can one lead, create, communicate and implement a company's vision, mission and direction without an understanding of the market? Not sure why you're even trying to make this point. CEO's know their markets or they wouldn't be CEO's. 

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I actually think Pelco has been steadily improving the product lineup over the past two years. VideoXpert works well and is relatively easy to set up, the cameras are very good, and Optera, the multi image camera, is excellent.

The Tech Support is on par with most companies these days but seems to be (unfairly) held to the standard that Dave McDonald set years ago and is just not sustainable in today's economy.

Now that they're out from under big corporate Schneider, I'm excited to see what the future holds.

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PELCO reminds me of the Dodge truck line in the Late 80's Early 90's their new truck body styles coming off the line looked old when they were brand new. NO ONE WAS BUYING THEM!     

PELCO has a lot of bad publicity and reputation to put behind them.    If PELCO could cure cancer they may have a shot of getting back into the VMS market.

I loved using PELCO for many years back in the analog days but haven't seen anything exciting from them in a long time.

I wish them all the best with their new owners, hopefully they have enough in their tanks to make it back to the top of the heap.  PELCO certainly has a long uphill journey ahead of them with lots of competition ahead of them with years of experience and success's in this market.

 

 

 

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PELCO reminds me of the Dodge truck line in the Late 80's Early 90's

I think we found the solution:

1. Buy another failing company, integrate into product line poorly (AMC)

2. Receive government bailout.

3. Wait 10 years, sell out to a company that strips the product of all valuable resources. (Daimler)

4. Get purchased by a private equity firm.  Watch as the little remaining value is stripped off. (Cerberus)

5. Get bailed out by government again

6. Get purchased by another company (Fiat)

7. Watch as brands that are of any value (Jeep, Ram) are shopped around to literally anyone who will buy - Hyundai, GAI, GM, VW, and probably 10 other companies by the time you read this.

I'm guessing Pelco is somewhere between #3 and #4 right now.  Government bailouts aren't an option for our industry, unless in China.

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I think Pelco lost its chance to remain relevant many years ago. Yes they were pioneers, but they did not remain innovative enough to keep leading the pack. They have way to much restructuring pain ahead of them not to mention catching up to do.

"Pelco's CEO told IPVM that Pelco's strategy remains the same, emphasizing the long term goal of being a "leader in predictive video analytics solution" as they expand their VMS, cloud and AI offerings. The company also said that they remain committed to being an end-to-end provider, including manufacturing cameras (not made in China)"

In my opinion the statement above goes to show just how out of focus they are. Industry leaders in Video Analytics, VMS, Cloud, AI offerings, and they want to be the end-to-end provider? Sorry, but I don't see a streamlined vision here. I see a company struggling to remain relevant in an industry that has already left them behind. This is only my personal opinion on this subject. My opinion aside, I truly wish them the very best.

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the statement above goes to show just how out of focus they are

#22, thanks for the feedback. I can give some more color because I sat in on the presentation live.

Pelco's strategy remains the same, emphasizing the long term goal of being a "leader

In the course of the presentation, that was not the focus and I interpreted it as more of a secondary statement, specifically because he said long term goal. Most of the talk was about short term concrete goals, like undoing Schneider damage.

Does Pelco's CEO think that in the 'long term', they will be a technology leader? Maybe, but, in fairness, he seems pretty focused on the more basic challenges ahead of them right now.

Hope that contexts help. Btw, I agree with your skepticism about Pelco becoming a technology leader even in the long term but if they simply repair some of the basic damage from Schneider, they could still improve significantly.

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