John, two things convinced me... Time and the self-realization that "stuff" happens and it has a way of working out.
Then, a Qognify national sales manager called me, and we discussed their anticipated future. I don't want to mention specifics, but growth and improvements were my take-a-ways and I appreciated his proactively reaching out to me with their local rep.
Ok, in my experience, generally when companies head down, they don't turn around. And salespeople are paid to be optimistic. If they were not, their sales would fall, they'd lose money and they'd be fired.
It's certainly entirely possible that Ocularis will thrive. We will see.
I can't say I am all that shocked by this. Battery Ventures dumped a bunch of money into Qognify, and I don't think they have gotten much for it yet. Qognify has a long way to go to become well-known in the market, and a company whose products come up for consideration day-to-day on a typical job/quote. At this stage in the industry, you're pushing rope uphill trying to build a VMS brand. Trying to build 3+ brands is practically insane.
They still have the mess of overlapping product lines to sort out, and presumably little portability across products (though maybe that is easier with OnSSI/SeaTec).
Qognify is turning out to be a case study on how to enter the security market in the most self-limiting way possible.
I don't know. I have a sort of soft spot in my heart for Qognify, since they bought out NICE and the old FAST/Alpha VMS. I always thought the GUI was among the easiest to learn for new operators and one of the best performing among the old analog/encoder - based systems. The codec's flexibility could be daunting but once you learned the tricks of programming GOPs, it used one of the most efficient MPEG-2 codecs around; rivaling many h.264 codecs.
Of course, MPEG-2's inability to handle HD was its primary downfall. Still, I wish Qognify had retained the GUI. It was a real joy to use.
Jason, that inability comes with the MPEG--2 CODEC. There was some attempt by NICE to incorporate h.264 but their implementation (and their NVE1008 encoder) was so problematic, we refused to use it and them on anything other than non-critical cameras. The FAST encoders were far more reliable and better-integrated with the VMS. However, the FAST encoders used a Phillips chip that was out of production.
Regarding HD, there were some pretty awful attempts to incorporate IP cameras but each required a specific firmware version that couldn't be changed without designing a new driver.
And then you have Honeywell's laughable attempt to "upgrade" the Alpha VMS by adding their Maxpro "overlay". That went over like a lead baloon ;-O Surprisingly, Honeywell is still selling a modified version of the Alpha product, using the same GUI as the original. From what I've seen, the GUI is the only thing the system has going for it.
Unbelievable. It was a great product for its time. We bought the AlphaPoint flavor of the FAST Video Security system in 2003 and were the first U.S. purchaser of any version of the product. Honeywell was selling a competing version of the system until FVS got in financial trouble and Honeywell offered to bail them out if they would essentially drop AlphaPoint as a partner.
Despite my reservations about AlphaPoint (now Synectics, USA), I was very unhappy at being forced to deal with Honeywell Video Systems for parts and support, which incidentally was sorely lacking.
At the time, the FAST-based product 's main competition was NICEVision (h.263 CIF), Loronix (also h.263), PI Vision (MJPEG), Philips (Bosch) HI-Q (also MPEG-2) and a few DVRs, notably March Networks.
Also at the time, it was rare to find systems capable of 4CIF or higher resolutions. PI Vision's (Can't remember who bought them) MJPEG system could accommodate almost any resolution but the company refused to quote a system after we told them we wanted every camera recorded at 30fps. "That would require petabytes of storage" was their comment.
In many respects, I don't blame your customer for their reluctance to switch. Once it is dialed in, and assuming they never deployed the Maxpro overlay, the FAST system is a dream to use. Its GUI is simple and straightforward and although administrators have to learn multiple sub-programs to set it up, it was extremely flexible and feature-rich.
BTW, I'm not that familiar with the Ocularis VMS. We approached ONSSI in 2012 when we were considering replacing the FAST/Honeywell system but they never responded to our RFI. Then again, neither did Milestone.
We are still using Alpha, or Enterprise as Honeywell calls it. But slowly working our way towards a MaxPro upgrade. Waiting on some key enhancements or something.
I don't make the decisions, just fix the stuff.
Alpha has been pretty solid for us, just a pain as we upgrade cameras and they don't work on new plugin packs all the time. Also took them a long time to admit issues with our PTZ's were because of their last patch.
Luckily I was in Colorado last week enjoying myself and didn't see this release until this morning. I'm panicked a little right now, this is different than what we were originally told. As a loyal integrator we fight the fight out here but to some extent a little bit of the ONSSI bashing gets through. That makes it very important to be consistent, if they weren't ready to say they were keeping the brands then tell us it's still under consideration. We've been fighting hard against the competition on new and existing projects, this doesn't help.
Honest question, if you have to "fight" so much to sell OnSSI (or any other brand), are you really aligned with the right manufacturer?
Not saying that all sales should be easy, but when a short comment uses some form of "fight" 3 times in describing selling a product, that seems like you are making things more difficult for your company than they should be.
When something like this happens competitors use it against you, that's what we have to fight. It's the best product out there for the applications we use it for - enterprise level VMS centrally managed - 100's of users and sites. So the question is why do competitors jump on situations like these? Competition and the free market of course!
Not really. I don't carry a quota or anything like that, though one of my high-level goals is to increase revenue, it is more around finding methods for our field sales people to be more effective. Also, I am typically more of a proponent of selling on the strengths of your own product vs. selling on your competitors weaknesses.
OnSSI has been struggling for years, ever since the Milestone break up, it has been pretty rough for them. I know this based on conversations with several of their reps and other integrators selling the product.
This latest turn of events will most likely be used by OnSSI's competitors to make customers considering OnSSI to be uneasy about their decision. However, it is hardly the first (or second, or third) stumbling point the company has had in recent years that can be used against them in competitive selling.
I have rarely found competitive sales to be adversarial if you have a strong product that meets customer requirements and expectations. When that happens, you mostly just need to demonstrate how your product will meet those needs and solve their problems. When you're trying to force your way in is when it more commonly becomes adversarial and you have to "fight" through the process.
Here's what I know. I know who OnSSI is. I don't know the other two brands. As a company who has only ripped out OnSSI I see this is a neutral move. I didn't like OnSSI when we demoed it or used it with custoemrs who already had it in the past and I have never met an enduser who liked it. My limited experiance with it doesnt make me a very good judge. However, because I have had a negitive experiance, putting myself in the shoes of an end user learning that a company purchased OnSSI and dropped the brand seems possitive. If I put my self in the shoes of an end user and not as an integrator I might be more interested in what this new company has to offer. As an integrator I will absoutly look into it where as I would not have revisited OnSSI. There are both positives and negitives to this move so therefore my vote is neurtal. I don't think it hurts them anymore than the OnSSI brand likley already was and I don't think it really helps them much either.
We're not opposed it but VMS tests take a lot of time and we have not seen a lot of new developments (either tech or business) with Visionhub or Ocularis. Maybe we missed something so happy to hear otherwise but that's the concern.
Wow . . . many people and many years were invested in the OnSSI brand. We "evangelized" IP before it was popular. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Hopefully this new leadership can inspire action and relevance in the security industry.
Ok, well I was suckered into this thread. Yes See-Tec and ONSSI names are folding under the Qognify name but the Ocularis brand name and part numbers stay just as my reps told me in the past weeks, this post is not breaking any news at least not to me. Ocularis has been the brand for years now and that's not changing.
So I'm not sure that you, John, just got this info and thought it was breaking but it's not. I will take such "breaking news" with a grain of salt and a closer look. You're welcome for the post activity though!
Jason, sigh. The title of the post is literally: Qognify Dropping Seetec and OnSSI Brands
And, yes, that, for the industry, is news. I am not sure what Qognify / OnSSI people told you prior to last week but the first time the dropping of Seetec and OnSSI brands was mentioned in a public or mass announcement was last week, ergo our new coverage.
Man, I wish I knew what VMS #1 repped, Pretty sure John himself just said it was breaking to folks outside of the fold. Back to the realm of the Undisclosed with you sir
John - It was my fault for not reading carefully and responding as yes, I knew. With Ocularis being the brand it never phased me that ONSSI would go away, I assumed it would really. I read this post as that Ocularis was going away which made me panic. I hope I have learned from this experience.
What I have learned is that I am exponentially better informed than IPVM on this matter so let me tell the readers - Ocularis is getting awesomer ;) I don't care to share the things in the works here but I'll encourage fellow Ocularis integrators and customers to reach out to their reps and get the scoop!
I'm not "diving into minutia". In discussion forums like this, you're stuck communicating via text alone, it lacks the nuances of face to face communication. Thus, when you have someone like yourself that mis-categorizes things like "breaking news" and then doubles-down on that miscategorization, it can make you doubt the rest of that persons statements.
I'll leave you to go back to "fighting" to sell OnSSI. Best of luck!
I remember the name OnSSI a lot more often that I remember Ocularis is associated with OnSSI. Like when most people used to refer to Samsung cameras as Samsung and less often as Techwin. Maybe for your existing customers that won't be so much a challenge- I don't know if on the user interface it's predominately displayed Ocularis or OnSSI as the brand name.
But for new customers, I think this may be more challenging unless they don't know anything about VMS brands. If they do, I'm sure there will be some instances of "OnSSI... weren't they part of Milestone once, or partnered with them or something, and then I heard they split and were bought by another company? ... And now they're who?"
I rarely run into a new customer that knows much about VMS unless it's a takeover. Their job is to build widgits, not screw around on IPVM all day and get the scuttlebutt. In my 20 years customers respond to performance- how a system looks and feels, is it easy to use etc. from the UI side. The IT people want to know things like domain integration, Active Directory, encryption, security etc. Each department has a list of questions pertaining to their responsibilities. The only time a customer ever asked me if Milestone used to own ONSSI was regurgitating what a competitor told them.
If GM was purchased tomorrow, but Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac (Buick is too boring to mention) names and product all stuck around, would everyone stop buying? I don't think so. When Tata Motors purchased Land Rover and Jaguar it was called the end of the brands, yet both are still doing relatively well, with new products coming out. Note: I'm biased as an owner of both for 17 years.
Ocularis product isn't going anywhere, and it's actually a pretty good product, just as the Seetec product in Europe.
Wasn't long ago that the Hanwha buyout of Samsung Techwin was major news but look, same solid product today, with increased sales.
My local news (KKTV) calls everything Breaking News. I don't care, as it's simply the news...
Mulli and Gadi got their money. This is very sad for all of those who put their heart and soul into Onssi (employees and customers alike). I honestly don't believe they were ever fully appreciated by the founders and certainly not by Qognify. In typical acquisition fashion Qognify acquired a company for good reason and then let all of those reasons go. Just the loss in the code knowledge base alone could sink them. I just don't see how they are going to be able to pivot quickly with 'new' software engineers. Honestly, maybe the strategy is to reduce the tech support hold time for Onssi from a call back in less than 24 hours to while the tech is onsite. Will this be the sinking of the Titanic or the rise of the Phoenix? We will see.....
For what it's worth, my theory is that Mulli and Gadi got very little money out of this deal (and certainly far less than they once hoped). The rationale is that when companies pay premiums for a company, they rarely if ever strip it down so quickly. Premiums generally reflect confidence in the management team, engineering team and/or brand, which have already been mostly removed.
For what it's worth, my theory is that Mulli and Gadi got very little money out of this deal (and certainly far less than they once hoped).
I agree. People often describe big exits as generating "fuck you" money, where you get enough cash to basically tell the world to piss off. I would wager Mulli and Gadi got somewhere around "stay off my lawn" money.
You don't know what they got, there's nothing to agree on. Boil it all down and you're left with conjecture. I'm new here and naive, it's just odd to see the proprietor of this here establishment taking pot shots along side competitors.
I'll get used to it at some point, in the meantime I guess you'll benefit from the post count. From the emails and LinkedIn requests I've gotten this is very popular- glad to help
We've covered dozens of acquisitions over the years, including prior to being acquired and what happens post-acquisition. This is a fundamental thing we do (as you say, you are new here). There are clear patterns of when acquisitions are at a premium and when they are not.
As I mentioned above:
The rationale is that when companies pay premiums for a company, they rarely if ever strip it down so quickly. Premiums generally reflect confidence in the management team, engineering team and/or brand, which have already been mostly removed.
If Gadi and Mulli were paid a premium and then Qognify did what they are doing, that would be highly exceptional.
Btw, what's your academic or industry experience in M&A? Since you have a strong position on this topic, it's fair to ask.
I have extensive experience in M&A, personal involvement in several, friends in VC that do it for a living, family businesses over the past 25 years. Still involved in a 7 year legal battle over the purchase of a business with legal costs of over $300k alone that hopefully ends soon. I wish I had less experience in that one.
Plainly a business is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A factor of EBITA may be what folks use to argue that number but at the end of the day 2 parties have to agree. If you want to wish that they got jack shit well that's your prerogative. If you want make the blanket statement that A's of this nature bring X that's also your prerogative but don't act as if others can't see the pessimism and negativity.
it's possible that your high opinion of yourself - and your regular use of straw man arguments ("If you want to wish that they got jack shit well that's your prerogative.") - is getting in the way of us long time IPVM members really understanding your true genius.
If you want to wish that they got jack shit well that's your prerogative.
While your hate reading of my analysis is amusing, you are refusing to see the pattern.
Consider S2's acquisition. No party involved disclosed the price or terms. But it is obvious that UTC paid a premium. Why? S2 has been profitable and growing for years. After acquiring, they actually re-named Lenel to LenelS2 and they promoted S2's founder to Chief Product Officer of both Lenel and S2, even though they acquired S2.
By contrast, OnSSI suffered losing the Milestone lawsuit, switching to a new recorder, struggling with defecting accounts and then got acquired, wherein a 3-month span, the acquirer had OnSSI founders exit, mass cut the Ocularis development team and drop the OnSSI brand. That's literally the opposite of the S2 situation and the path used when acquiring companies on the cheap.
I don't like or am any more friends with S2's founder than OnSSI's. It's just an obvious difference in the outcomes of the two.
You can think what you want and you can rant against me on IPVM as much as you want but that does not change the reality about these situations or, unfortunately, about your ability to analyze about corporate decisions.
It's nothing without numbers. I don't know what their EBITA was, what they owed and/or owned. Logic objects to quantification on any scale without the data. I too think that SeeTec was a big part of the acq value but how do we know what they owed on the purchase still?
The moves that IPVM is aware that Qognify have made and the direction they are headed internally (of which IPVM has very little knowledge) does illustrate where they saw value, I've never argued that.
There's a way to speculate on the acquisition and remain objective, speculate on what pieces where valued and which weren't, there's data out there on those topics, but to speculate what one received without knowing the numbers is just garbage. And very telling.
They got some factor of their EBITA - 3/4X, 10X, whatever these types of businesses valuate at. I don't know how they calculate the recurring license revenue because it's not required for the subscriber to purchase every year but I assume they looked at a historical percentage of customers that maintained SUP when figuring that out. Would be easier to look at the baseline historical earnings data and agree on a factor. Still not the point, without the data all you are doing is showing your emotions.
However, Seetec's financials (which we obtained) show them continuing have ongoing losses. OnSSI's financials (which are not public) are unlikely to be that much better after losing the Milestone lawsuit and suffering customer defections in the changeover.
As such, there is unlikely much (or any) EBITDA to value the company on.
Nonetheless, sure deals are not generally made on EBITDA. They are made on the potential 'synergies' or theorized benefits that can be achieved by leveraging the acquirer's strengths inside the market. Ergo, what Qognify is doing now.
Depends on what whether those programmers were producing enough, or had the vision or talent to take the product where it needed to go. But then again sometimes management doesn't understand what programmers do, and think a programmer is just a programmer and undervalues what that individual knows or can do. I've seen it go both ways, but on smaller scales.
Depends on what whether those programmers were producing enough, or had the vision or talent to take the product where it needed to go...
No, even if they don’t have the right stuff you don’t fire them. At least not like Qognify did. The only exception would be if you were shutting down the whole Ocularis code base on the same day.
Whatever the coders produced, good or bad, is out there in the world. Disconnecting just one those brains without the necessary time for knowledge transfer (6 months?), is unfortunate, disconnecting most may well be catastrophic.
In no universe does the product improve in the next year.
Then could be a case of easy cost cutting for immediate apparent return, sacrificing long term innovation. That's not uncommon, either. R&D is often cut to make the bottom line look good short term and works for the short term. But has serious long term effects that eventually will catch up to the company.
Are you aware of everyone that was let go? Like specific numbers and roles?
In particular, the cuts at OnSSI hit Ocularis software development particularly hard, with most of the OnSSI Ocularis developers being let go. Most notable among the cuts was Morten Tor Nielsen, who created OnSSI's R&D department and has been the Chief Architect of Ocularis...
"I've started getting calls from integrators to switch to VMS product XYZ. I would have more to report if I took their calls. Irritated."
i'll give you a couple of snark points for delivery alone - but I am wondering why you are irritated by competitors reaching out to offer alternatives to those (like you) that they can assume might potentially be looking for alternative solutions based on recent market moves by your legacy partners?
If there were no market moves by your current choice of VMS, then I could understand your irritation - but in this instance, I would think that you would/should expect such overtures - based entirely on those market moves.
Discounting other options at this juncture seems riskier to me than taking calls and reporting your current stance to these callers (I ❤️ my current integrator) - while gathering all the info you can from the callers in case you need it in the future.
I get irritated at lots of things. But entities that are offering me potential solutions to problems they perceive that I might be having is not one of them. usually. ; )
as you've done repeatedly in this string Jason, you are mischaracterizing the position of the person whose words you are attempting to refute diminish.
I specifically mentioned that I 'understood' customer loyalty - and that UD10 should communicate same to anyone who reaches out to him/her. (I ❤️ my current integrator)
My position is clearly that 'competitors reaching out to him/her at this juncture in OnSSI's history should be expected' - nothing more.
My further points were focused on how UD10 could best mitigate against any potential outcome - i.e. not putting all chips on one horse - no matter how much they might love that one particular horse - based on the recent market moves mentioned above regarding said horse.
I would never be so bold as to tell anyone else 'how' to post what they think here on IPVM - as I would be adverse to anyone else attempting to do the same to me.
FTR: I am one of the most combative (not the most, just one of them) posters here on IPVM. I like mixing it up.
What I find no value in are throw off comments that mischaracterize my posted position.