The camera company to watch?

Acuity enters market with Pelco, AD vets, touting analytics, asset-tracking capabilities
Thursday, April 9, 2009

DOYLESTOWN, Pa.--Acuity Systems, a new developer and marketer of a wide range of products and systems for security, video surveillance, and personal- and asset-tracking applications, has begun selling its solutions to dealers and systems integrators. It's not your typical brand-new company however.

Acuity is run by Glenn Waehner, whose legacy in the camera business goes back to time with American Dynamics before it was bought by Tyco. He then moved to Pelco, where he became senior vice president of product development.

"I was at Pelco for a week or two," he reminisced recently on the ISC West show floor, "and the phone rang: 'Take us with you to Pelco.'" Those ex-American Dynamics employees came to be housed in what was known as Pelco's New York office, recently downsized by Pelco after Schneider Electric bought the business.

So Acuity now comprises "that same group of New York guys," said Waehner, "the old American Dynamics, Pelco guys, that whole structure, looking to make a third generation of products."

"We're a 25-year-old start-up," he joked. Financing has come through a handful of angel investors, which include the former American Dynamics owners.

Acuity director of marketing and business development Al Mandia said Acuity fills a void in the industry. "Our system is really designed for aggregate security. Our product is rather unique in that it's a combination of a very robust and scalable network video management system, advanced analytics, and a database reporting system," Mandia said via email. "All of the features and capabilities are always present. It's just a matter of turning the licensing on."

Darryl G. Burnett, business development manager for Darby, Pa.-based Time and Parking Controls, a nationwide integration company and provider of building security, among other services, feels what Acuity offers is invaluable. "We're highly interested in their ability to use analytics," Burnett said. "Analytics help you to resolve present problems at a lower cost than putting other types of technology in ... It allows the camera to become more than just a camera. It becomes a smart camera."

Time and Parking was one of the first integrators to join Acuity's dealer program, which offers pricing discounts based on volume. Acuity also has the ability to go through distribution with the likes of CSC and Graybar.

Mandia said the Acuity system is designed to automate monitoring based on filtering and analysis of events. Events are then prioritized and displayed to the end user. "For example, an integrator may be responsible for monitoring 500 cameras," Mandia said. "It's very difficult and costly to effectively monitor and respond to all of the activity taking place. Even if motion detection is in play, most systems produce an extremely high level of false alarms, especially in outdoor environments. Our system really excels in challenging environmental conditions, and filters out the 'noise.'"

Acuity Systems also has a growing line of RFID asset-management and real-time location system products that can protect equipment and locate specific items or people in real time. Applications for the RFID line include warehouse facilities, hospitals, offices and casinos.

Acuity has three corporate locations, including a sales and training facility in Doylestown, an engineering and operations center in New Windsor, N.Y., and an engineering facility in Point Pleasant, N.J.