Where's the Real Innovation in Video Surveillance?

By John Honovich, Published Mar 23, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

It's a puzzle - do the lack of strong new product announcements at this year's first security trade show mean a lack of new innovation in video surveillance?

2009 vs. 2010

Last year, by comparison, the innovation trend was clear - a fast and broad movement to megapixel cameras and hybrid DVRs. This year, nothing really stands out - at least at the show.

Innovation from the Outside

Probably the most interesting announcement this week has nothing to do with traditional video surveillance. A small US company named Avaak received a $10 million Series B to expand sales of their innovative home video surveillance system through retail channels (for background, read our Avaak product review). Now from the 'professional' standpoint, it's a toy and no threat (at least today).

However, it highlights what is clearly the area of innovation in video surveillance today: managed/hosted video aka Video Surveillance as a Service. There's lots of reasons to be skeptical - especially about its pace of adoption. Indeed, the flood of startups that continue to contact us weekly indicate the market could quickly become over-saturated.

One of the most interesting elements of the new managed/hosted entrants is their frequent rejection of the traditional 'channel' - rather than go to shows, magazines and integrators, many are marketing on the web and selling directly on-line to end users. As we argued in a recent premium update, we think it's a real possibility that emerging manufacturers will choose not to use integrators or traditional marketing channels. Indeed, while there are lots of these managed/hosted startups making announcements, very few are doing them at a trade show - the industry standard for many years past.

Looking Forward

We think the IP video market is rebounding nicely and with the marketing push of analog incumbents now squarely behind IP, significant upside exists. The rise of managed/hosted video options may generate new customer innovation but not in the same ways as it was historically brought to market.

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