Canon and Milestone Discuss Acquisition in SSI’s Exclusive Q&A

Its acquisition of video management systems leader Milestone Systems positions Canon as a big-time player in the new IP world.

From its very beginnings more than 90 years ago, the Canon brand has been synonymous with imaging technology and products. That reputation was well represented and respected as CCTV emerged as a major sector within the security industry. However, as the introduction of digital and network video revolutionized the business, Canon took more of a backseat. The Tokyo-headquartered multinational firm instead focused more on products like consumer cameras, copiers and printers – all areas in which it prospered. That has all changed in a flash as Canon recently acquired Milestone Systems, the world’s foremost IP video surveillance software provider.

Although few imagined Milestone would be its manifestation, in August 2013 Canon President and CEO Fujio Mitarai said, “A major focus for the next phase is increasing our business-to-business sales, and of course security cameras – which is a huge market – is part of that.” The deal was officially executed by Canon Europe, the regional sales and marketing operation for Canon Inc. (for more, see Fast Facts box), which made strategic and logistical sense given Milestone’s Copenhagen, Denmark, base.

RELATED: Security Analysts Take on Canon-Milestone Deal

Since its founding in 1998, Milestone has become a leader in providing open platform (non-proprietary) video management software (VMS). The firm, whose revenues have grown nearly 30% annually since 2007, has cultivated an “ecosystem” consisting of more than 8,000 channel partners, 1,000 solution partners and 100 manufacturer partners (for more, see Fast Facts box). Sold in more than 100 countries, Milestone recently has begun also offering embedded software and NVR products.

Having consolidated nearly 250 subsidiaries through the years, Canon is not likely to make Milestone its last acquisition in the surveillance space, but it is hard to fathom another one as transformative. Yet the potential impact to Milestone raises many questions. Will the branding remain? Will the company’s open platform and partnering approach be kept intact? How will access to more R&D affect the product line? Will the brand be extended into the consumer market? How will the technology be incorporated into Canon devices?

To get answers and unravel the particulars of this monumental purchase, SSI convened with Jacco Leurs, Canon Europe’s head of Professional Imaging, and Karl Erik Traberg, head of Corporate Communications & Business Development for Milestone Systems.

About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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