Winners and Losers Fall 2011Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 25, 2011
Now that the dust has settled from the new announcements of the last month, we can better understand the impact on the overall video surveillance market.
By contrast to the previous few year's sweeping megapixel product introductions and declining prices, this quarter's announcements show no huge shifts. The new announcements this Fall were scattered and mostly incremental improvements.
While we did not see any major trend shifts, a few interesting ones look to be emerging:
- Winner - 'Super Sized' megapixel cameras: Buyers like big numbers and manufacturers are responding with quite a number of new 10MP+ cameras such as Arecont's 20MP SurroundView, Avigilon's 29MP HD Pro camera, Dallmeier's 51MP Panomera and ipConfigure's Gigapixel camera.
- Loser - Cash crunched companies: The slowing overall economy and increased investor fears are starting to cause issues for surveillance companies especially those struggling with profitability. We believe this is what happening with recent cutbacks/changes for Cisco, GVI, IQinVision and Pivot3. Certainly, there are others facing similar risks that will shortly surface as well.
- Loser - AVHS Partners: The old guard integrators (ADT, Navco, Niscayah, etc.) seem to be flooding toward's Axis's AVHS hosted video program despite weak ROI, a crippled product and re-selling of the same damn thing. This is a desperate move that is likely to end badly.
More Winners and Losers
Inside the Pro section, we will examine more winners and losers in detail taking a look at the following companies:
- Arecont Vision
- HDcctv Alliance
For each company, we will explain how they are trending and what is driving their advances or declines.
Avigilon - Given how rare surveillance company IPO announcements, it's a strong positive sign. Additionally, their 29MP camera announcement generated buzz. While's it an incremental upgrade to their existing 16MP offering, it will certainly capture the interest of many users desired the highest resolution. That noted, Avigilon's product announcements have cooled in 2011 relative to a fast paced 2010.
Arecont Vision - While the 20MP camera was being announced for the second time (first at ISC West 2011), Arecont did make two notable improvements to their domes - both indoor and outdoor. In a low innovation environment, the 20MP is going to get attention (and sales) plus the dome enhancements improve their positioning.
Axis - While Axis did not match the historic rate of new product introductions they made this spring, Axis still made a number of useful introductions from their low light and WDR cameras to an useful enhancement to edge storage. Still solid all around and a good attempt to establishing differentiation on image quality (how good remains to be seen based on real world testing - ours and others).
D-Link - D-Link is making a real effort to release professional surveillance cameras. For a long time, D-Link was just a small business option for IT buyers. In a weak innovation environment, D-Link is at least attempting to establish themself as a legitimate budget choice.
DVTel - After DVTel's major management change and ASIS 2010 3D research promotion, DVTel looks to have settled down and focused on legitimate tactical improvements. For instance, while the 'lifetime' camera warranty is greatly misleading, the offer will likely have genuine competitive value and will no doubt draw positive attention. Additionally, we were impressed with their very sophisticated mobile app and their ongoing demonstration of strong software development. ioimage continues to lag with no major upgrades yet since they bought the company nearly two years ago.
ipConfigure - The innovation environment is so bad that it took a VMS company to release a gigapixel camera, one of the hottest new product releases in the market. While gigapixel cameras fundamentally have significant drawbacks for most surveillance applications, there could be some useful ones. More importantly, the buzz for the industry only 1000 MP surveillance solution will likely draw them new large customers.
Immervision - Immervision's 360 lens gained support across most of Milestone's VMS version as well as Exacq. This is a nice expansion that helps to rectify one of the biggest problems for Immervision - VMS support. Additionally, Immervision announced an upcoming 5MP version (the current US one max specification is 1.3MP). While we are still skeptical about the increased cost (about $500 online for the current 1.3MP version), these moves certain help Immervision's potential.
Milestone - Milestone continues to be the most consistent releaser of new products. While none of their improvements were technologically groundbreaking, the upgrades to existing VMS versions were solid and the introduction of a new low cost VMS is very attractive to mid sized users and will continue to put pressure on their rivals.
NLSS - With so few new companies to the surveillance market, NLSS clearly stands out. In just a few years, Next Level has developed a fairly well rounded product with a solid incremental release for ASIS (Version 2.2). Those looking for a new product have little options. NLSS is clearly the most promising.
Prism Skylabs - The only flashy new company launch of 2011 in all of IP video, Prism Skylabs, is creating a lot of buzz. That said, the company is very young and we have no idea what is real or how long will it take for them to have a competitive product. I would not expect them to change the industry any time soon but they are likely to continue to draw attention.
Sony - Now that real pricing and model details are being revealed on Sony's hybrid camera line, we are really starting to get interested. Millions of analog cameras need to be replaced and millions of coaxial cables are still deployed. Sony's hybrid camera provides a less expensive, simpler to deploy approach than Ethernet over Coax plus claims integration with matrix switches. This could emerge as a very nice niche that meets a common pain point - upgrading legacy analog systems.
HDcctv Alliance - On the plus side for the Alliance, Samsung announced products (or at least HD SDI ones) and the first HDcctv encoder was announced (allowing integration with VMS software). On the negative side, there were not many booths promoting HDcctv at ASIS and most were low end brands (such as Everfocus and Speco). Ultimately, we do not see much future for the Alliance, as we examined in our desperation moves review.
Pelco - On the positive side, Pelco did announce a number of new products which is good especially in a low innovation environment. On the negative side, Pelco had already announced the thermal products and SureVision in previous shows so it was not really that new.
Also, the continuing de-emphasize of the Pelco brand weighed heavily on many people's minds. One could argue that it was our fault for sensationalizing this. On the other hand, it seemed pretty obvious to anyone walking past the
Pelco Schneider Electric booth.
VideoIQ - On the plus side for VideoIQ, they raised a significant funding round, quite an accomplishment in the beaten down analytics market. The FLIR announcement looks to be a draw as it is not technologically innovative but it does tap into FLIR's large sales channel. On the negative side, they have a new CEO who has zero security experience plus the new investment is led by Cisco who now has their claws in VideoIQ (first public sign, VideoIQ adopting Cisco's MediaNet). Cisco has such a bad track record in surveillance plus now has its own major company wide problems. Can Cisco push VideoIQ down the wrong path? We hope not.
Cisco - Cisco has layoffs and cutbacks overall and to an unclear degree in their physical security business. Their biggest surveillance announcement is opening up their MediaNet platform to surveillance companies who mostly distrust Cisco. On some level, dissapointment should be expected with Cisco at this point. At least they do not dissapoint in that.
Genetec - In a move reminscient of DVTel's bizarre 3D camera demonstration last year, Genetec has its own puzzling 3D release. It is very interesting especially in its potential to reduce 3D costs but it is not clear to us how it is ready to be a real solution for practical surveillance use. Beyond that, there was not really any meaningful surveillance announcement on Omnicast / Security Center improvements. This is suprising given Genetec's strong development track record.
IQinVision - Anytime a company wipes out most of its executive team right before a major trade show, it automatically goes into the losers category. It is a shame as IQinVision has been a good company that just did not keep up with industry changes in the last few years. Now, with an interim CEO, it will be interesting to see what happens to the company. This is still a risky time for IQinVision until they can prove that they have 'righted the ship.'
Intransa - Intransa's 'major' new announcements for the show included certifying Visionhitech's cameras (don't worry if you do not know who they are, neither did we) and ACTi cube cameras (huh?). At the show, their performance metric was evidently how many chotchkies they handed out (over 2,000 for the record). We still cannot figure out their appliance's value proposition. We discussed this at our seminar and the consensus was that there was no real technological difference but that it was a clever sales tool to tell people that their appliances were surveillance optimized.
Mobotix - While Mobotix sales remain strong, their new product development limps along. Their major show announcement was marginal improvements to their horrible VMS clients. The lack of innovation and the determination to stand alone (no ONVIF, no H.264) inevitably will result in declining market share.
ObjectVideo - ObjectVideo really has been quiet with the big news being their VP of Product Management quitting to join Prism Skylabs and OV announcing a deal with NVR for ATMs. There was one announced surveillance partnership a number of months ago and none since. Ultimately, only one thing counts for OV - winning the ITC investigation. If that happens, they may have the last laugh.
Verint - Verint made two notable surveillance announcements at the show - incremental enhancements to their retail video analytics and, I kid you not, a press release summarizing their 5 awards. Hiding behind literally a wall of awards of questionable to no value is innnovative, even for this industry. In fairness, many people enjoy being duped by such nonsense awards. This may make them a winner in the eyes of the naive but not us.
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