Nothing in Common Makes a Good Match

Both companies promised ‘business as usual’ after the announcement, but there have been many comments on the Internet about the future of open platforms, with some websites listing the ‘last remaining open platform’ vendors – assuming Milestone would become a Canon VMS (video management system) at the expense of its long relationships with other brands. To get to the bottom of what brought about the acquisition and what we can expect from the two companies going forward, Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Steyn, Canon SA’s business development manager for network cameras, and Karl Erik Traberg, head of corporate communications and development at Milestone Systems.

Why do the deal?

As to why Canon bought Milestone, Steyn says the company has “identified network video surveillance as an important driver for the future growth of the company globally and this acquisition is a strategic step which significantly enhances our offering and capabilities in this market sector. The network video surveillance market is a multi-billion Euro industry which continues to show huge growth potential and Canon has a strong commitment to build a long-term presence as a leader in this industry.”

He adds that combining Milestone’s VMS and Canon’s imaging technology positions Canon as a formidable player. “The addition of Milestone to the Canon Group is a natural step towards realising our ambition of leadership in this market.”

He adds that the acquisition combining Canon’s hardware and Milestone’s software technology will enable Canon to offer unique propositions to customers.

Looking at it from the Milestone perspective, Traberg says Milestone’s vision was first communicated in 2006 “and is not changing, we aim to drive the convergence of video surveillance and business systems. This vision is becoming a reality and it will now be strengthened after the acquisition is completed. We will get the ability to ramp up our R&D even more as we now have financial backing that enables our ambitious goals.”
Milestone 10

Canon, it seems, understands that the open platform is the core of Milestone’s success; Traberg says they support the software provider’s open culture and business model. “Customers and partners will continue to enjoy the freedom of choice in hardware and other systems with which to integrate their Milestone VMS. Canon’s network camera business also has relationships with other VMS providers, just like we do with other camera manufacturers. These will continue.”

Traberg also highlights Canon’s R&D pedigree, stating: “I’ll bet you didn’t know that Canon is number three in the world for companies with registered patents? In the last year alone it registered 3 800.”

What are the benefits?

Contrary to the doomsayers in the market, Traberg says Milestone is sure the deal will be beneficial for partners and customers in the long term. The way forward is for Milestone to remain an independent, standalone company within the Canon Group, operating as they do today, but with greater resources.

Steyn confirms that Milestone will be able to accelerate its business and development of new products and propositions, and being part of the Canon Group will enable them to use the vast resources and channels of Canon in expanding their global reach. “Milestone can now leverage Canon’s strong position in the consumer market and our channel and partner relationships.”

Steyn is clear: “As a standalone company within the Canon Group, Milestone will continue the development of new products as they have in the past, and Canon will respect the confidentiality of our partners.”

Looking ahead

Despite some misgivings, it seems clear that the combination of Milestone and Canon’s surveillance unit will offer benefits to both companies, and that Canon is aware that Milestone’s success is built on the foundation of an open platform strategy, strong partnerships and an entrepreneurial approach, and has accepted this as the status quo going forward. Canon will have a stronger offering to take to market and a way into markets where it wants to grow, but the big winner must be Milestone with improved R&D resources, access to new markets and a big brother with decades of experience dealing in both the consumer and business markets – and a healthy bank balance.
Read the full article about Milestone and Canon.

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