The ‘New’ Vicon Eyes Open Solutions
In September Vicon Industries Inc. and IQinVision revealed that its previously announced merger had been approved, and that its board of directors had appointed Eric Fullerton, formerly chief sales and marketing officer of Milestone Systems A/S, as the company’s new CEO and president. SDM spoke with Fullerton recently, who said the combined businesses will be called Vicon, with headquarters in Edgewood, N.Y.
“IQinVision is a very good name for a camera company, and the continuing company is not just a camera company. Vicon actually has 47 years on it, with a lot of knowledge in certain parts of the industry that has a value,” Fullerton described.
What will become of IQinVision? He said Vicon plans to retain the name, using either “IQinVision” or “IQeye” as the camera brand. “Which form it’s fully going to take has not been ironed out yet,” he said.
Fullerton said the company will have just one go-to-market plan: a two-tier model where all product is sold through distribution and resellers. That differs from its current model in which “we have all kinds of go-to-market structures. There are some end users that buy direct. Most system integrators and VARs will buy direct from the company. And then there is some distribution business. Over a period of time we are going to migrate to a fully two-tier distribution model where we don’t sell direct to any end users at all.” He added that Vicon still may offer some direct support for customers that are trained and certified.
Most important are Vicon’s plans for creating open products and systems, and its entry into a new period of innovation.
“If you look at the way that business has been conducted, especially from the Vicon side, over the years that’s been a fully proprietary [VMS] solution. There’s hardly been any interoperability with the cameras but also third-party applications, like access control systems, building management systems, video analytics solutions, etc., and we’re going to open that up,” Fullerton stated.
Not only do end users expect open platforms because it offers them freedom of choice, he said, but the move away from proprietary products will help ensure the company’s viability. “If you look at the two companies that have been integrated, IQinVision sold approximately 60,000 cameras in the past 12 months. And in order for us to maintain our revenue in that area, we can’t just make IQeye a captive camera brand of the solution part of the company because we wouldn’t be able to sell that many cameras,” he said.
Fullerton said the company’s strategic vision is “to be the most channel-friendly company with an open camera line that’s a full-fledged line from low end to high end, with innovation and high quality and good price points, relevant to the system integrators; and be open so we connect into all third-party recording systems like Genetic and Verint and Milestone — you name it.” On the system side “we need to connect to all the camera vendors and we also need to connect to all the other third-party digital systems that go into businesses.”
The plan calls for two business units, with cameras that stand on their own and systems that stand on their own. “But if people want to buy those from us, then they’ll get something that hopefully will work better together than if they bought just ours with somebody else’s,” he described.
In talking about open solutions and integration not only with other security vendors, but with business systems, it raises the question about Vicon perhaps making an acquisition to achieve its goals. “We’re not in acquisition mode right now because right now we’re in integration mode of the two companies. But we would definitely be looking for acquisitive activity in the future once we have this merger under our belt,” Fullerton said.
At this point, the “new” Vicon is focused on its offerings. “We’re going to get both the IQeye line and Vicon line of products back into innovation mode so that we start adding more value than our competitors in the market. What’s happened for both Vicon and IQinVision is that we’ve lost our edge on innovation over the past years… Once we’ve done the integration and have our product roadmaps in place, we’re going to start coming out with innovative cameras again and innovate video management systems and start delivering on integration with third-party applications so we can provide higher value to customers’ digital business systems.”
Part of the innovation roadmap, Fullerton said, includes Vicon becoming “relevant to the cloud, both at the low end and the high end of the market.”