Genetec completes AutoVu acquisition

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

SAINT-LAURENT, Quebec--After two years of financial participation in the license-plate recognition firm AutoVu, software manufacturer Genetec has completed its acquisition of the company and has folded its technology and roughly 20 employees into its operations, retaining the AutoVu brand name. The move became official March 15. Terms were not released.
AutoVu was local to Genetec's headquarters here near Montreal, said Genetec vice-president directeur Alain Cote. "We knew about it," he said, "and knew they had kind of run out of patience and money with their [venture capitalists]. We took a look at them and saw a lot of potential." In August 2005, Genetec bought out the venture funding, partnering with the remaining founding stakeholders and incorporating the AutoVu product, which captures license plates from virtually any state or province even at differential speeds of 140 mph, into Genetec's flagship Omnicast product, a video and alarm management system.
Cote said AutoVu co-founder and chief executive officer Pierre Hubert has stayed on and is now heading up AutoVu business development. AutoVu co-founder and technologist Michael Kelly now serves as AutoVu product manager. With a small company, "a lot of these guys were wearing multiple hats," said Cote, "and this will allow them to focus more on specialized tasks."
Another change integrators should like, said Cote, is that AutoVu's direct-to-consumer approach will be scrapped, and Genetec will now take the product through its normal integrator channel. The goal, he said, is to make AutoVu "more productized," where now the software is often tweaked for each application. "AutoVu was a younger company in terms of commercial maturity," said Cote, "and one of our missions is to progress their offering."
Currently, the product is offered in two forms: fixed and mobile. The fixed application is typically used as an access control device, while the mobile application is used, for instance, by the Insurance Bureau of Canada to recover stolen vehicles, by the city of Chicago to identify "bootable" parking violators, and by law-enforcement bodies to scan for wanted vehicles as they speed down the highway.
An added bonus to the acquisition, Cote said, is that AutoVu's background in analytics "will allow us to get better at evaluating third-party analytics products and decide which to integrate into Omnicast faster. It will make us better partners." He said Genetec will also investigate developing its own specialized analytics products.