Many of us read about a year ago that one of the very few U.S. manufacturers of IP-Cameras –Arecont Vision– had declared bankruptcy. It was assumed at that moment that a private equity firm, Turnspire Capital Partners, was going to purchase the company (or at least all of its assets). But what ultimately happened was a surprise to many and may have been the best thing for Arecont Vision to get back on track.
Costar Technologies, Inc., (OTC:CTSI) of Coppell, Texas, (read more about their management team here…) went to the bankruptcy proceedings and began to outbid Turnspire for Arecont Vision. In July of 2018, Costar ultimately paid $11.25 million plus assumed the outstanding debt for the right to put Arecont Vision back in the video surveillance IP-Camera market.
During these past 12 months, it has been pretty common place to hear from IP-Camera manufacture competitors and resellers of competitive products that “Arecont Vision is dead.” It would appear that the rumors of Arecont’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
In the months since Costar brought Arecont Vision out of bankruptcy it has moved to newer offices in Glendale; moved production and assembly to an 18,000 sq ft facility in Duarte, CA, opened a new 4,100 sq ft Advanced Technology Center in Clovis, CA, that houses their purchasing, tech support, inside sales, and engineering team, and hired new management and rank and file employees. As of this writing, there were over 12 job openings at the company.
How does that other old saying go: Ignore the competition at your own peril?
Shane Compton is the Chief Engineering Officer for parent company Costar and also serves as the General Manager of the Arecont Vision wing of the organization. “The old Arecont Vision may very well be dead -but the new team from Costar that has joined Arecont believes that a new day for Arecont Vision and its customer has begun. And it seems bright to me.”
Compton admits that previously Arecont Vision had run into reliability and customer service issues. He had seen that the advance replacement program that was taking way too long for that “advance” replacement to get to the customer. It is these specific details that Compton has put a new focus on and has established three new pillars for running Arecont Vision.
“If we put a spotlight on three main pillars of our business -product quality and reliability, customer service and support, and continue with product innovation- I believe we will be in some real exciting times to re-build and lead a positive reputation with reliable products our customer will truly enjoy,” Compton shared.
With Arecont Vision’s “Made In The USA” capabilities —and the heighten attention on Chinese players such as Hikvision— Arecont Vision is able to deliver real differentiation in their products.
Jeff Whitney, Arecont Vision’s VP of Marketing, pointed out that with the internal development of the FPGA design of their cameras, they provide a level of cybersecurity that is not found in other IP-camera lines.
“I have a better product portfolio than any other camera manufacturer at the moment,” Whitney proclaimed. “Arecont is not dead and we will just continue to go out and execute to grow our business.”
Whitney explained that Arecont is investing in new sales and marketing initiatives, bought a new trade show booth with new displays and video walls as they recently showcased at the last ISC West show. “Where we were busy throughout the show, I might add.”
“We didn’t lose long-term customers because of the Chapter 11 challenges. Over the years, we were not where we needed to be with our quality and customer support and that is why two of the three pillars that Shane (Compton) is driving are focused on quality and support,” explained Whitney.
In talking with an Arecont Vision reseller, we see that integrators seem to be sticking with Arecont Vision as well.
“We are a small company that does mostly surveillance work. Much of what we have done in the last three years has been geared around school systems. Good technology, good price points, and tech support have been factors in play in working with Arecont,” stated Bernie Greer, Manager, Applied Digital Technologies, LLC in Charlottesville, VA
“I was concerned when the reorganization came about with respect to what impact it would have on product availability, quality, and the quality of support. If anything, all of those things have improved, and they were good to begin with,” Greer continued.
He went on to share, “One of the things that has been of benefit to me is in the way of product offerings with the new RS series of cameras, particularly the SurroundView Omni G3s. Being able to aim and focus those multi-element cameras remotely has reduced installation time and allows me to make adjustments to field of view remotely without having to go on-site. Anything that reduces ‘ladder time’ impacts my business in a good way.”
Whitney stated that new product releases -including models with advanced analytics- investments in personnel, and the management team will deliver profitability in their fiscal year 2019.
“When opportunities of talent and resources become available, we are in a position to take advantage of them,” Compton added signaling the continued hiring of former Pelco employees at the new Arecont Vision Clovis CA location.
Compton stated, “As we look at the cloud environment you will see us evolve from a camera company to a complete solutions company and you are already seeing this with our Contera VMS solution set.”
Like Whitney, Compton was energetic about the future for Arecont Vision. “The last three months have seen some pretty incredible change and the team -and the community- is responding extremely well. Wait another six months and the new Arecont Vision is progressing so well you will see a ripple effect in the market.”
Yes, time will indeed tell but it seems clear to anyone looking under the hood that Arecont Vision is not dead and is still a force to be reckoned with in the IP-Camera and solutions market.