GVI's play in the IP video management software business

Company executives says that GVI's acquisition of the "AutoIP" IP video management software from PacketNVR last month puts GVI Security Solutions in a different role than it had been before. The company previously was known for selling video surveillance products from Samsung Electronics, although it also had products it was selling under its own brand as well.

Steve Walin, GVI's chairman, said the acquisition gives an alternate business model because the company actually owns the intellectual property for a product -- something which had not been normal for GVI in the past.

"This acquisition is very important for GVI," stressed Walin during a Monday afternoon call with investors and the media. "We acquired AutoIP and the intellectual property. This represents a major strategic change for us; Owning the intellectual property gives us new revenue models, allowing options like licensing sales."

At its core, AutoIP is a mid-market IP video management software (VMS). Such systems typically take advantage of network/IP technology for managing how video surveillance data streams are distributed, stored and viewed.

AutoIP, said Walin, is uniquely positioned. While there are certainly many software systems that can manage IP video -- from companies like Honeywell, Milestone Systems, Genetec, OnSSI, Verint, March Networks, EVT, VideoInsight, IndigoVision, JDS and so many others -- GVI feels that the AutoIP solution hits the forgotten mid-market.

According to Tom Galvin, the developer of AutoIP who was recently hired as GVI's new vice president of product management, the market has tended to leave a major gap in the mid-market in terms of VMS. At the lowest level, Galvin said it is common to find freeware offerings from IP camera vendors. Such freeware systems, he said, usually require you to only use that one vendor's cameras, and they also are often limited to a small number of cameras.

The other option that has typically been available on the market has been software designed to handle systems with hundreds and even thousands of cameras. Galvin, who has a product development background from both General Electric and Verint, said that a VMS designed for enterprise level camera systems adds complexity that the mid-market security and CCTV dealer doesn't need.

In contrast, Galvin said the AutoIP software was designed for small systems, where someone is putting in around 16 or even 32 cameras. It's "open", meaning it can work with a variety of vendors products such as IP cameras, video encoders, storage hardware, etc.

Galvin added that installing firms working on mid-market video surveillance projects need a VMS that automates things like device recognition and that is easily configured using standard, off-the-shelf hardware. The installer, he said, shouldn't have to be an IT genius to configure such a small system -- even if they're using a video management software.

"The industry is transitioning to IP," said Walin. "That transition is a fact. It's the fastest growing segment of the video surveillance market."

Still, said Walin, the mid-market space where AutoIP is aimed, has been one of the slower market segments to consider IP. For most jobs at this level, it was simply more time and cost-effective for security dealers to use proven DVR packages rather than to learn how custom configure software. Galvin and Walin said that the AutoIP system targets that problem precisely; they said the software is designed so that the dealer doesn't require a great deal of training in order to be able to comfortably install and use it.

"This is a system designed to work without an IT staff," said Walin. "This is the kind of system that could be sold by a typical security dealer integrator."

In terms of what this all means for GVI Security Solutions, Walin says that owning the intellectually property for AutoIP creates revenue options from software licensing. The common model for software licensing involves users paying on a per-camera license to use the VMS. The other benefit to GVI, said Walin, is that the software can create pull-through camera sales. The presumption is that a user with the GVI AutoIP software installed is more likely to turn to GVI for additional cameras as they grow their system.

Walin said that owning AutoIP also opens up partnership models for pre-packaged sales. The company is currently working to strike a deal with Dell to pre-package AutoIP on Dell servers. Finally, there are options to license the use of the software outside of the U.S. While AutoIP will be a GVI branded product inside the country, GVI's COO/CFO Joseph Restivo said the company is exploring royalty-based licensing models of the software outside of the United Sates.

The company said it will be taking the AutoIP system to market in the third quarter of 2009.