NICE to acquire PSIM-maker Orsus for $22m

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Monday, November 23, 2009

RA’ANANA, Israel—This week, NICE Systems signed an agreement to acquire the security management solution assets of Orsus, a maker of command-and-control, or PSIM, software, for $22 million in cash. Chris Wooten, president of Nice’s security division, said the Orsus management will stay in place and operations for Orsus will generally continue as normal: “It’s a key strategy for us,” he said of that decision. “Orsus has been very vendor-agnostic. They work with everybody, and they maintain openness, and we want to maintain that. If a Verint guy wants to have more comprehensive situation management capabilities, we want them to be comfortable working with Orsus. We want to work within the ecosystem.”

In talking about business alignments with Orsus in the past, both Johnson Controls and Adesta spoke highly of Orsus’ openness and ability to work with virtually any other manufacturer in the security and life-safety space. This, said Wooten, was important in NICE’s decision to acquire the company.

“Orsus has developed gateways to more than 150 different technologies provided by many other companies,” Wooten noted, acknowledging that the relationship began with Orsus because of an overlapping customer base. However, even after evaluating a number of other companies in the PSIM space, Wooten said NICE decided Orsus had the most highly-evolved product, the most real customers, and the most “robust library of existing integrations.”

“Now I can tie into the Lenel access control, the ADT fire alarm, the JCI building automation system, the Genetec video at one site, the Verint at another, the Nice at another, and I can tie that together under one framework,” Wooten said. “The other guys have [fewer integrations], and it’s primarily video driven ... We get video already.”

NICE in the past 12 to 18 months has reorganized its operations to bring together what were previously separate 911/call center/audio and security businesses. Pat Kiernan, NICE director of marketing, speaking at April’s ISC West show, said, “you’d be surprised how much audio and video come together.” For example, he said, New Jersey Transit uses NICE’s video platform, and the Transit police use the audio solution. Now, “if an event happens on a platform,” he said, “we capture it on video, they dispatch someone, and the radio’s right there. All of that radio traffic and video traffic ultimately becomes evidence in the investigation and the prosecution, and someone has to capture those recordings.”

NICE’s solution allows all of that information to be packaged and archived together.

These capabilities will be enhanced by Orsus’ signature Situator software, Wooten said, as most of what NICE is currently capable of doing is on the forensic side of things, after the fact. “What we’re looking to do with the Orsus situation is bring together all of these disparate silos of information, similar to what we do with the post-incident side, and enable more of a real-time automated response,” he said. “With all those things that Orsus brings, it’s actually a must-have for us.”

Orsus customers include, among others, American Electric Power, Aqua America, Israel Air Force, National Guard of the United States, Port of Houston Authority, Transnet Freight Rail and Virginia Port Authority.

Wooten also said the deal was indicative of Nice’s intensified interest in the security space. “I think it’s the evolution of NICE in the security business ... We’ve continued to become more aggressive and the reason is that we’re seeing tremendous results and all companies are looking for growth drivers; you see the size of the projects that we’re winning. We continue to see customers desiring best of breed technology, and you’ve got to capitalize on what you do best. And we’re going to continue to be aggressive. It’s a very good market.”