Essen, day 2

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10/08/2008
People I met with (and/or poked around their booth) today: Primion. I knew literally nothing about these guys, who work in access, video and intrusion. Stopping by their booth, though, I was interested to see that they're taking the BACNET standard for building automation to Europe and finding success with it as a standard protocol. Smart company. Good design. Mobotix. Obviously, you've heard of Mobotix, but have you really looked at their product? By positing the camera as the central piece of the security system, with the "brains" of a DVR and needing only network attached storage, they create a fundamentally different architecture (VideoIQ does this as well, and there may be others I haven't been briefed on yet). And still they're open, and interface with a number of other cameras and software companies. Their numbers are pretty good, too. They report about $38 million in sales, with nearly $4 million in net margin. They publish a 19 percent EBITDA margin. HeiTel. Have you heard of this IP digital video company? I hadn't before I got here, but they have a stand (what they call a booth here) as big as my house. And the news they have for the Essen show is that they're coming to America. Basler. Yeah, they already came to America. Seriously, though, the company comes out of the machine vision space, and seems to have competitive IP cameras, and they're going to make sure you pay attention. Panasonic. You sure don't hear a lot of analog talk at Panasonic anymore. Where at ISC West the North American contingent put analog cameras in a ghetto (see definition 3b) off to one side, the Europeans here hardly mentioned the word "analog." They've unveiled new software and new training all geared toward bringing their legacy customers into the world of IP surveillance and reminding people they know how to make cameras and video systems. Did anyone think Panasonic would just drop their customers in a heap? Throw up their hands? And did you note that Panasonic threw their weight behind the PSIA (among a number of other companies, including Pelco, etc.)? Genetec. By all accounts, their biggest problem is how to staff their growth. Who knows what the starting point was, but 800% growth in five years is pretty solid, by my reckoning. They'll rattle off projects they've landed for hours, from airports in the Middle East to the entire Target chain. I'll try to draw some overall show conclusions on the flight back to the States tomorrow.