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Korea Update (Part II): Focusing on Quality Solutions
The Editorial Team 2009/12/4

Korean security has become synonymous for strong innovation, quality design and affordable prices.

Korean security has become synonymous for strong innovation, quality design and affordable prices.

Chip design remains a uniquely Korean trend, with customized offerings from dedicated semiconductor makers like Nextchip and finished-product manufacturers. The migration to IP is well underway, with higher resolution, faster processing and better integration.

With major R&D breakthroughs, more Korean solutions are being deployed in projects around the world. As providers seek blue oceans for their solutions, emerging markets are a key focus. Domestic success has also helped these providers grow, making Korea a serious contender in the security industry.

<The following Korean companies are presented in alphabetical order.>

Laice Electronics
Founded in 2004 by surveillance experts and engineers, Laice Electronics aims to be a total video security solution company. It offers all-in-one cameras, dome cameras and WDR cameras. "With reasonable price and full lineups, Laice Electronics supplies the market with a variety of choices," said James Park, CEO.

Strategies and Core Competence
The company has three divisions in engineering, manufacturing and marketing, with R&D fortifying engineering. "Our continuous investment in R&D is our key core competence," Park said. "Laice Electronics is prepared to deliver quality service to suit customer needs."

"With technology know-how and Samsung's DSP technology, our cameras are able to perform capture high resolution and better image stabilization in low-illumination environments," Park said.

Future Outlook
Laice Electronics is thrilled about the economic rebound. "We're excited that our annual profit in 2010 will achieve significant growth due to new product releases," Park said. To compete with Chinese manufacturers, the company will release relevant products for its existing markets.

Nextchip, a provider of semiconductors for video since 1997, offers H.264 compression products. Its imaging sensors and video decoders resulted in positive revenue for 2009, despite the economic recession. The company's H.264 products strengthen its reach into mid- to high-end markets with tailor-made models.

Strategies and Core Competence
"We're an H.264 and total solution provider," said K.S. Kim, President. This year, Nextchip launched its H.264 product line, which offers improved compression rates of up to 8 megabits per second.

The company focuses on intelligent network camera solutions, with motion detection and object tracking. Nextchip's complete product lines are suited for cameras and DVRs.

To combat competitive prices from China and Taiwan, Nextchip incorporates quality and reliability into its products. "Our products are designed according to customer needs, and our strong marketing plan also makes us stand out," Kim said. "Korean manufacturers need to be more aware of the China threat."

Future Outlook
Nextchip has relatively few competitors for H.264. "With our innovation and customer support, we are not afraid of threats from other international brands," Kim said.

Well into its 10-year operation, Pinetron devotes its R&D team to DVR technology. "While Pinetron did feel the impact from the economic crisis in our Russia and European markets, we took advantage of recovery in other markets," said Michael Byun, Sales Manager. "Most DVR manufacturers encountered some difficulties, but we expect revenue growth of about 30 to 35 percent compared to last year."

Strategies and Core Competence
Pinetron prides itself on R&D and product quality. "Our GUI is tailor-made for customers, and our users are satisfied with our product stability," Byun said. "Our key product for 2009 was our first H.264 DVR with mobile-phone viewing and a quick setup menu. Since touch is a trend, the DVR also deploys touch buttons for practical use and aesthetic design."

In the face of Chinese competition, Byun believes Korean products represent quality, dedication and improved technology. "For product selection, stability is a key factor for customers," he said.

Future Outlook
Pinetron is optimistic about the coming year. "Revenue has grown continuously at 20 to 30 percent per year for the past few years," Byun said. "We have accumulated many resources and customers in the business, and we brainstorm about matching customer needs to product designs."

Qtum was founded in 2004, specializing in the DVR field. It possesses core technologies such as DSP design, watermarking, H.264 compression and smart search.

Customer satisfaction is Qtum's motto, as it tailors products to client requests. It supplies MPEG-4 and H.264 DVRs. "In 2008, we launched our first H.264 lineup," said Eddy Kim, Senior Marketing and Sales Manager. "We embedded the Linux OS, which was user-friendly with mobile ability and a GUI."

Qtum has global reach. "We do OEM for Korean and US brands while distributing our branded DVRs to Russia and Italy," Kim said.

Strategies and Core Competence
Qtum supports remote viewing for mobile phones. "Unlike other companies, we support interfaces for all phones," Kim said.

Qtum provides affordable solutions for customers. "We supply the market with mid-end, low-priced products with high-end quality, which increases our visibility," Kim said. "We provide fully functional DVRs for economic prices and recommend customers to deploy our solutions."

Future Outlook
Qtum emphasized playback quality for OEM customers. "DVRs that support HD playback will become standard, while one- or two-channel recording may still be an option in the future," Kim said.

Established in 2003, Servntec is a relatively young but experienced supplier. The company provides quality service and has technology know-how for DVRs.

The global financial crisis did not hurt Servntec. "Security has seen more demand due to these circumstances increasing crime rates, so our ODM/OEM orders have significantly increased," said Jake Lim, Sales Manager. "The US market made up about 25 percent of our sales, followed by the UK and the local market."

Strategies and Core Competence
"Our core competence is R&D," Lim said. "We think three years in advance for technology, based on surveys and the market environment to suit customer needs. Our hybrid DVRs and NVRs are capable of integrating with megapixel network cameras, video content analytics and other solutions."

Servntec's hybrid DVR and NVR solutions are its key solutions offerings for
2009. "We ensure better solutions with competitive prices," Lim said. "Stability is emphasized on high-end projects, such as casinos, airports and government applications."

Future Outlook
Servntec will focus on emerging markets in South Africa and East Asia by establishing branch offices. "We will consider building up local networks and marketing plans in those areas through media exposure," Lim said.

Seyeon Tech
Seyeon Tech fulfills its motto "Link the World as One" by protecting people and assets with IP-based security products. With more than 10 years of experience and know-how in network surveillance, it cooperates with international brands and maintains its own brand, FlexWATCH.

"The economic crisis was an obstacle for IP surveillance growth," said J.S. Cho, Chief Deputy Director. "We experienced a 30- to 40-percent sales drop in Europe."

However, government projects buoyed sales in Asia with high demand for IP products. Seyeon Tech experienced positive growth for the Korean and Chinese markets.

Strategies and Core Competence
The company partners with major security companies for third-party integration. "Seyeon Tech provides total solutions for users," Cho said.

This year, Seyeon Tech launched an embedded NVR for easy integration. Its network cameras support both H.264 and M-JPEG compression formats at VGA and D1 resolutions. "With competitive functions and product quality, Seyeon Tech sets itself apart from competitors," Cho said.

Future Outlook
Seeyon Tech is optimistic about the IP market. "High growth is expected for network cameras, especially for megapixel cameras and video analytics," Cho said. "The IP market in East Europe and the Americas will increase, and we also expect government purchases in Asia to perform well."

As a biometrics specialist, Suprema provides advanced fingerprint algorithms for specific applications. Its fingerprint algorithm was recognized as the most reliable solution in a fingerprint verification competition. With technological prowess, Suprema focuses on commercial markets with reader modules and devices, while targeting public and civil markets with live scanners and passport systems.

Despite the recession, Suprema grew 30 percent in 2009. "Although the module market is flat, the device market is hot," said Young S. Moon, VP.

Strategies and Core Competence
Suprema's IP access control solution has powerful functions. "Our access control solution is programmed for 520 doors and can compete with international brands," Moon said. The company will expand its IP access control system for readers only.

For the overseas market, Suprema launched its passport ID system solution and live scanners in 2009. "By partnering with major system integrators, the Mexican, Brazilian and Indian governments have deployed Suprema solutions," Moon said.

Future Outlook
The company will increase its branded products and sales channels. "Suprema plans to move to facial recognition, with the product available by 2010," Moon said.

Three Brain Technology
Three Brain Technology (TBT) stands for management, technology and sales. "TBT aims for long-term business, including financial performance, sales and products with a well-managed process," said David Park, Sales Director.

TBT started out in 1999 as a trading company, before becoming a manufacturer and launching its first speed dome in 2004. "If a product is popular in Japan, it can be sold anywhere," Park said. TBT's solutions successfully penetrated the Japanese market, with deployments in Japanese casinos.

Strategies and Core Competence
Serving customers in 35 countries, TBT's core technology includes software, hardware and dual-CCD technology. Its branded products sold well in South Africa, the U.S., Malaysia and Singapore for 2009. Speed domes brought in 80 percent of sales, with another 20 percent from camera and DVR sales.

Future Outlook
In 2010, TBT will focus on Australia, South Africa and the Middle East through local channels. "We prefer to cooperate with system integrators than distributors due to order quantities," Park said.

TBT will remain committed to product innovation and adjusting to customer needs. "We will release speed domes with auto-tracking for multiple objects next year," Park said.

Founded in 2005 with the motto, "True technology for securing the world," Truen provides network products. Its quality offerings include video servers, decoders and network cameras. Truen solutions have been deployed for government projects, such as military facilities.

"In spite of the economic downturn, IP-based security is still a growing market, and we have achieved higher sales this year," said Eric Jung, Overseas Sales Manager. "We also started some ODM/OEM projects this year to boost our sales."

Strategies and Core Competence
Truen has invested in R&D team to ensure product innovation and up-to-date technology. "With experienced R&D members, we are capable of producing our own software and hardware solutions to keep us a step ahead," Jung said.

This year, the company released a complete product line of cameras supporting H.264. "It's a combination of megapixel network cameras and HD video servers," Jung said.

Future Outlook
"We're expecting remarkable growth in 2010 for sales and market share," Jung said. "We've been investing in human resources and marketing promotion in emerging markets since last year."

With more than 10 years of network expertise and experience in military projects, Webgate has provided quality products since 2002. While boasting a wide range of offerings in network cameras, central management software (CMS) and DVRs, the company's DVR line represented 90 percent of its revenue last year.

Strategies and Core Competence
"Our core technologies are image processing, networking, DVRs and management software embedded in the network cameras," said Jerry Lee, Sales Manager. "We're capable of providing total solutions with DVRs, CMS and network cameras to meet the needs of our high-end and mid-end customers."

Webgate is proud of its R&D commitments and image compression technology. "We were the first company to introduce a full D1, real-time model to the market about three years ago," Lee said. The company launched products which support H.264 and full D1, real-time compression in November 2009.

While 50 percent of its sales are from OEM orders, Webgate's products have been affirmed by international brands. "The US market brings in about 40 percent of our revenue, with the remainder from Italy, Eastern Europe and South America," Lee said. To tap into the great potential of the Chinese market, Webgate has set up a local channel.

Future outlook
Webgate will support HDMI monitoring with playback and recording functions. It will release HD video surveillance solutions in May 2010. "To reach out, Webgate will target specific applications to provide professional solutions for product integration," Lee said.

Wonwoo has dedicated itself to innovative quality products since 1996. It passed international certification, including ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. In 2006, Wonwoo set up its US branch for timely support, enjoying overseas success in the Middle East, Germany and France.

The global economic recession had an impact on the security business. "The security market shrunk about 40 percent for some regions," said Kyu H. Jang, Director of Sales. "Providing competitive prices and strengthening product uniqueness are two ways to bounce back from the recession."

Strategies and Core Competence
Wonwoo's manufacturing strengths include outdoor IR PTZ cameras, network camera testers and mobile cameras for vehicles. "The outdoor IR PTZ market is emerging quickly and Wonwoo is leading the market as a manufacturer in Korea," Jang said.

For its market, Wonwoo participates in major local government projects. "Police, highway, city and traffic surveillance projects have deployed Wonwoo solutions," Jang said. "In early 2009, many outdoor IR PTZ cameras were installed at cultural sites."

Future Outlook
Wonwoo will launch three products for 2010, which includes testers for network cameras, megapixel speed domes and rugged outdoor IR PTZ cameras.

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