Although video analytics is not new to the security industry, adoption has only been gradual. Video analytics is not yet a standard, but seeing the added value of VCA technology, many security companies have acquired, partnered with, or developed their own analytics to add to their offering.
As technology has improved and more market education has helped end users understand VCA's limitations. Acceptance has gone up and more and more security companies are seeing its immense value.
Embedded From the Start
While companies like the aforementioned found success with VCA software as a standalone product, other companies view VCA software alone as a nonstarter and thereby established companies with VCA embedded into other products, whether it be hardware or other software. “The initial assumption was that VCA is a viable product all by itself,” said Jesikov, “However, as time as passed by it became clear that VCA can only be a part of a bigger integrated product.”
SightLogix was founded in 2004 on the principle that software alone cannot solve a problem; it needs hardware to accompany it. John Romanowich, CEO and founder of SightLogix, explained that to solve the problem of detecting what is wanted and ignoring what is not wanted, good integration of hardware and software is necessary. As a result, since its founding, SightLogix has been embedding video analytics on the edge in thermal cameras for use in outdoor perimeter applications. By putting the analytics onboard the thermal camera, and applying a high degree of video processing, the camera shifts from simply a surveillance device to a security device, as pointed out by Romanowich.
Other companies, such as Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) were founded on a similar principle of embedding VCA software into hardware, but have since modified their business model, integrating video analytics into VMS instead of hardware. When ISS was established in 1999 they were a DVR manufacturer; however, their DVR had built-in analytics. Over time, ISS noted that more and more customers had a need for management services for their video. Therefore, based on customers' needs and where the market was moving, ISS shifted their focus from DVRs to VMS with added-value analytics, which they now embed into hardware, according to Aluisio Figueiredo, COO of ISS. “At the end of the day, if there is no value added, it's [VMS] a commodity. With value added we can provide a tailor-made solution for every customer.” When established in 2003, Aimetis was an analytics company focused on third party integration, but there were significant business and technology obstacles to overcome at the time. Because the potential of analytics was not yet understood, potential partners were slow to invest, explained Justin Schorn, VP of Product Management at Aimetis. “From a technology standpoint, the hardware performance of existing products was insufficient to simply ‘bolt on' analytics. As a result, Aimetis focused on building a video management platform from scratch with VCA as a key differentiator.”
Outsiders Getting in on the Action
Although video analytics is not new to the security industry, adoption has only been gradual. Video analytics is not yet a standard, but seeing the added value of VCA technology, many security companies have acquired, partnered with, or developed their own analytics to add to their offering. Several notable acquisitions of video analytics companies have been made over the last decade, for example Infinova's 2012 acquisition of March Networks, and most recently Avigilon's acquisition of VideoIQ in January of this year. Additionally, in 2013, Kastle Systems, well known for delivering access control as a service, acquired CheckVideo, a provider of cloud-based intelligent video surveillance and alarm verification solutions. This trend of acquiring video analytics companies is also how many total solution providers got into the VCA game.
In 2007, Honeywell Security got in on the VCA game through the acquisition of ActivEye, a small specialist VCA company. This allowed the company to add complementary solutions to their video offering. Their goal in the acquisition was “to ensure that video content analytics sits at the core of integrated security systems, ensuring the technology provides tangible benefits to the security manager,” said Jeremy Kimber, Commercial Operations Marketing Leader of EMEA at Honeywell Security. Similarly, Tyco Security Products' 2008 acquisition of Intellivid, a retail data analytics company, was a stepping stone into VCA technology for the company, originally part of a retail-centric product offering, according Shahar Ze'evi, Senior Product Manager at Tyco Security Products; however, the company has spent the last few years developing the technology to provide functionality for the broader security market. Ze'evi further noted, “Our view of analytics has never been as a standalone application but rather as an additional tool that enhances our VMS offering.”
Many other security companies have acquired VCA companies as well. DVTel, a total solution provider of video surveillance, acquired intelligent video provider ioimage in 2010. “The addition of VCA technology to our product offering was important and necessary,” said Kim Loy, VP of Global Marketing and Chief Product Officer of DVTel. “Rather than start the development of VCA, the company [DVTel] acquired ioimage, which already had a strong brand that was known and trusted in the industry.”
More specialized companies such a FLIR Systems have also acquired more niche video analytics companies, such as Traficon, a company that specializes in video image processing software and hardware for traffic analysis. FLIR's 2012 acquisition of Traficon paved the way for the company to more aptly penetrate the intelligent transportation systems market.
THE YEAR FOR VCA (?)
Regardless of how or when security companies entered into the video analytics world, the increased interest is surely a good omen for the future of VCA. As more vendors begin to include video analytics in their offering, along with the continued growth of technology, accuracy, and education, there is no reason for 2014 to not be the year of VCA.
A decade in the making: VCA takes center stage (1)