Visonic ready to take on ‘the giants’

New technology launch, revamping of N.A. operations will be key
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

TEL AVIV, Israel—Over the past several months, Visonic, a wireless home security component manufacturer, has made some changes in its North American operation. It has hired a new president, Mark Ingram, hired three new sales managers, and it has worked to deepen its relationships with major distributors, says Avi Barir, Visonic president and CEO.

This week, the Israel-based company announced that it’s changing the wireless technology that powers all of its products to a new technology called PowerG. Barir told Security Systems News that the technology change combined with the revamping of its North American operation will “give us a superb opportunity to expand our position in the North American market,” he said, “to compete with the giants [manufactures like Honeywell and UTCFS].”

In fact, he said, Visonic had the North American market in mind as “major target for this launch.”

In 2009, Visonic did $85.5 million in business worldwide. North American revenues accounted for about 13 percent ($11.1 million) of that, he said.

Barir must wait until its Q3 numbers are publicly announced next week before releasing any revenue figures. He did say, however, that during the past two quarters, coinciding with its renewed efforts in North America, Visonic America’s dollar growth and share of worldwide sales have increased “significantly.”

So what are the benefits of PowerG, Visonic's new technology? Barir said it's a network that uses “two-way, low-power Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum” (FHSS) technology. It’s a technology that is used in military communications systems, and Barir claims Visonic is the only manufacturer that uses the FHSS “in the same way the military uses it.”

The network “continuously hops between multiple frequencies spread over the entire assigned frequency band ... which ensures each transmission arrives uninterrupted at its destination.” It uses an encrypted pseudo-random sequence known only to the devices enrolled in the alarm panel.” PowerG, Barir says, is “stronger, greener, simpler” than Visonic’s old technology.

The system can enable longer communications ranges. “This translates into larger installations with no repeaters.” The bandwidth is “a few hundred times larger than the bandwidth we used in the past,” he said. This “opens up the horizon to new applications for audio applications ... We can use the radio channel to provide video services ... video over wireless for surveillance or education purposes.”

PowerG products will be commercially available in January. Barir said Visonic plans to release new products monthly beginning in January. In May, it will release a new platform for PowerG-enabled or PowerG devices. While its entire product line will be migrated to PowerG, Visonic will continue to manufacture and sell its old technology as well for the short term.

“So many people use this [existing] technology, for the next few years, the two technologies will run in parallel,” Barir said.