Interactive video installation and monitoring firm hires new vp

Thursday, February 27, 2003

February 27, 2003

NEW YORK - An interactive video firm, with the backing of a global security products manufacturer, has tapped a veteran of the video industry to lead it into new markets.

Smart Interactive Systems, a subsidiary of Israel-based Magal Group, hired Bill Elliot as the monitoring company’s senior vice president for business development. Elliot was the founder of Houston-based Interstar Systems, an interactive video monitoring company that was bought in July by VideoMinex, another monitoring firm.

While company officials said Elliot brings his experience of using interactive video and audio to Smart, he was also courted for his contacts and knowledge of the automotive industry, a market that the company intends to target over the next year.

“The auto industry is probably in interactive video one of the most fruitful industries in that you’ve got an almost ready market for us,” Elliot said. Other targets include banking, trucking and warehousing industries, and other high-margin commercial and industrial businesses.

Founded in 2001, Smart Interactive first targeted a broad range of customers, but shifted its focus away from high-volume, low margin customers such as convenience store and fast-food chains, said Steve Wachtel, president and chief executive officer of Smart Interactive.

Brought on board last summer, Wachtel said while the venture was originally set up as a pilot for Magal, which brought in more than $41 million in revenues for 2001, now the company is intending to become the dominant provider in its niche markets. The company plans to forge an international presence, with the help of its parent company’s global customer base.