Mobotix sets itself apart in camera market

Company execs discuss growth strategy, industry trends at conference


German-based surveillance solutions manufacturer Mobotix held its’ annual East Coast National Partner Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. this week to share the company’s latest news and product developments with resellers. The company is known for its "decentralized concept," in which most of the essential elements for a surveillance system are embedded within the camera itself including storage, analytics, two-way audio and notifications. Mobotix also has its own video management system and codec.

Among some of the company’s latest technology innovations include; an app for the iPhone and iPad that enables users to remotely view and control their surveillance system; a new "Activity Sensor" for video analytics that helps reduce false alarms by only sending alerts when there is actual movement within a frame; and a sneak peak at the new M15 camera that will be unveiled later this year.

Founded in 1999, Mobotix is one of biggest surveillance camera vendors in Europe and has ramped up efforts in recent years to increase its market share globally and in North America.

According to Steve Gorski, general manager for the Americas at Mobotix, the company has really focused on building its brand awareness in recent years by holding these NPC conferences, as well as by attending other industry tradeshows and through marketing.

"At every tradeshow we go to I ask people, even journalists, 'have you heard of Mobotix before?' Half the people say 'you’re that German company' or 'you’re the company that makes that hemispheric camera' and the other half have never heard of us," he said.

In building its’ brand, however, the company is not willing sacrifice quality for quantity.

In his keynote presentation, Dr. Magnus Ekerot, CEO for the company’s U.S. operations, said that the majority of vendors (80 percent) sell cameras that cost between $200 and $600 each. While that market may be healthy at the moment, Ekerot says that those vendors are constantly engaged in price pressures from their end-users and competition from new companies.  Mobotix, on the other hand, works in the higher-end of the market, selling cameras for between $800 and $1000 apiece, which results in stable margins for them and their resellers.

Of course, the challenge in selling a product with a higher price tag is convincing end-users that you have the best solution for their application and why it is more expensive. In a separate interview with SIW, Ekerot said he believes the answer to this problem is education, which is why the company created its Global Partner Program, to give resellers the tools they need when they’re faced with this kind of pushback and explain why a Mobotix system compares more favorably, in most cases, when you factor in all the ancillary costs involved with installing a surveillance system.

"If you compare an $800 camera with a $60 analog camera, the user is going to say 'why the heck am I going to pay $740 more for that?' It’s not just the camera; you’ve got run that system. A security system is not something that you just turn off," he explained.

While it has been forecasted that global sales of network cameras will eclipse that of analog in 2013, Ekerot says he is "doubtful" that will actually occur this year, though he does think the tipping point is inevitable and that the U.S. will continue to see strong growth in IP adoption.

"I believe that the European economy, the macro economy situation especially in Italy, France, Spain and the UK… mean that major investments are down to zero," Ekerot said. "People are not investing when they’re out of jobs or when they have to struggle financially. It’s just back to basics. I think all investments (including analog) will see a step back."

Gorski believes that the increasing use of video analytics will play a major role in the continued migration to IP cameras in the U.S.

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