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SSN Exclusive Interview: Eagle Eye Networks President Ken Francis

SSN Exclusive Interview: Eagle Eye Networks President Ken Francis Cloud video surveillance expanding in the U.S. and around the world, with COVID cited as a major factor

AUSTIN, Texas— Eagle Eye Networks continues to build its momentum as a global cloud video surveillance leader heading into 2022.

In September, the company announced the acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) innovator Uncanny Vision, including the company’s research and development capabilities and a new regional office in Bangalore, India.

The deal, only the second acquisition in company history, accelerated Eagle Eye’s plan, announced in November 2020 (when Eagle Eye raised funds from venture capital firm Accel) to dramatically reshape video surveillance.

It is this continued growth that had Eagle Eye Networks Founder and CEO Dean Drako forecast an approximate 85 percent growth rate in 2021 - similar to what the company had in 2020 - when he spoke to Security Systems News about the Uncanny Vision acquisition.

In November, it was announced that Eagle Eye Networks ranked No. 307 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, fintech, and energy tech companies in North America.

Eagle Eye was ranked the No. 1 provider of video surveillance solutions for the third year in a row, and also earned the No. 12 overall spot in the category of Electronic Devices/Hardware. The company grew 403 percent during that period.

With all of this exciting news to share over the past few months, Eagle Eye Networks President Ken Francis spoke with Security Systems News at the recent ISC East 2021 show in New York City about the company’s solid growth and how the cloud, and more specifically, how cloud video surveillance, is taking over the physical security space in the U.S. and abroad.


Francis, who joined Drako and his team at Eagle Eye in 2016, talked about the origins of one the pioneers in the cloud movement within security.

“Brivo was an existing company that Dean bought in 2015, but Eagle Eye was born in 2012,” Francis said. “Dean and several of his engineers built the company from scratch in Austin, Texas. The first products rolled off the line in January 2014.“I met Dean and his team in the middle of 2015. At the time, there were only nine employees. ”

Francis noted that Drako asked him to move to Austin and help with his business. “I moved to Austin in September 2016 and became the President of Eagle Eye. I was employee No. 17. Today, we have 335 employees.”

Company Growth

Francis highlighted Eagle Eye’s recent growth rate, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, with very optimistic projections as 2021 winds down and 2022 just around the corner.

“We’ve grown a little over 2X a year,” he explained. “Last year was a little less than 2X because COVID really put a hamper on our dealers being able to do installations. This year, I thought we were still going to do a little less than 2X, but the end of the year is looking awfully good. September, October and November, we’re just knocking it out of the park.”

He explained that Eagle Eye’s recent growth is “very much related to what countries in the world are open, and what countries in the world are closed. Those closed countries have industry veterans, and we’ve built this company on industry veterans.

“In the last 12 months, I believe that I’ve hired some of the best talent in every region of the world. In the Middle East, we’ve probably signed up 75 new dealers in the last 10 months. In some other countries, they can’t get out and do installs. As soon as they open up, we will blow up there really fast.”

In addition, Eagle Eye’s recent acquisition of Uncanny Vision, based out of Bangalore, India, brought on 60 employees. “We also have employees in Tokyo, employees spread across Latin America, and employees in Europe.” Francis said.

He continued. “We had our sales kick off there [Europe] about six weeks ago because it just kind of opened and allowed people to start setting up face-to-face meetings about three months ago. In the last two years, we’ve just grown like crazy through Europe.”

Cloud Video Surveillance

Francis noted that Eagle Eye is watching every English-speaking country follow the U.S. in terms of cloud video surveillance adoption.

“I’m sure there are some people in the industry who have their blinders on. They’re saying, ‘No, no, I don’t see it,’ but it’s absolutely happening,” he said. 

“Everyone I’ve been talking with on the research side was in agreement that prior to COVID, that CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] for cloud video looked like 21 to 24 percent. Now after COVID, all I’m seeing is 28 to 32 percent. Forecasts on cloud video are going up even stronger as a result of COVID." 

Francis continued. “What really is it that COVID did? Before, all these commercial employees used to look at their cameras while they were on site. When they were on site, they were viewing their cameras on their local area network, and the view is okay. It’s what they always had. They weren’t great, as some of the cameras were old, but they could see things. Now, they’re trying to see those same cameras remotely. They’re trying to see them from their homes, from their families’ homes, from their vacation homes. What they’re finding out is on the wide area network, that view is not good. It’s not reliable.

“I personally believe that COVID has had a much bigger effect on video than on access control or intrusion in our industry. If the intrusion system worked before, it still works. Somebody’s trying to get in – the door contacts are on the door, and the motion sensors are there. As far as access control, fewer people are going into buildings. That means fewer badges, and fewer badges means less investment in the access control space.”

Francis added that video has had a “humongous effect” of driving end users and commercial decision makers to say, ‘I’ve got to look at my video system again.’ If I’m going to do that, if I’m going to get a couple of quotes to replace my video system, I may as well get a cloud quote also.

“There are only so many cloud vendors, and so we are seeing ourselves pulled into project after project after project. It’s humongous. That’s what’s happening in the U.S., and I believe that’s what will continue to happen in other countries.”

Francis pointed out that cloud video surveillance is here to stay, due to its lower cost of ownership and cybersecurity benefits that cloud adoption provides for end users.

“I would love to say that we just have the brightest people in the world, and we’re all brilliant,” he explained. “The truth is that Dean has a lot to do with what’s going on because he did have the vision and made the investment in the architecture, back in the early stage when he could say, ‘I’m the first one to do it.’ That’s all true." 

He continued. “But there’s this thing happening in the industry where most commercial systems – ERPs, billing systems, CRMs – they’re all going to the cloud. Video surveillance held out as long as it could to not do it, but it is finally getting pulled there, and end users are saying, ‘You know what, the total cost of ownership is so significantly less expensive, it’s actually measurable. I can figure out how many hard disks I’m going through, and how many times my service providers have had to roll a truck out to replace hard drives. If I just pay a subscription, I know that it’s always up, those guys take care of all the hard drive stuff, and I don’t have to worry about it.

“Also, the cybersecurity is so much more reliable because I can hold these cloud guys accountable for making sure my stuff is secure, instead of my IT team. There are just so many proactive, positive things happening that are driving cloud adoption today that weren’t there 10 years ago.”


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