Night vision camera firm Vumii acquired by Opgal

Oct. 26, 2010 -- Israeli thermal imaging and infrared camera vision firm Opgal has acquired Vumii. Vumii, based in Atlanta, Ga., specializes in long-range night vision video surveillance using laser and LED technology. The company also offers the Sensorii situation management software. The value of the acquisition, which closed on Oct. 25, 2010, was not disclosed.

"There are tremendous product, market, and business partner synergies," said Randall Foster, president and CEO of Vumii. "This is a great move for both organizations as it will enable broader products, stronger support, and better global coverage. The combined entity will develop, sell, and support a full range of uncooled and cooled thermal imaging products plus Vumii’s line of long-range active illumination products. With this comprehensive product set, Vumii will be able to supply its customers with detection and detailed assessment video surveillance tools for a variety of outdoor environments and requirements."

As part of the acquisition, Opgal will be expanding its thermal and IR vision business into the U.S. as it simultaneously grows the sales, marketing and support capabilities that are already in place via Vumii. Vumii will retain the same management team and will operate as wholly owned subsidiary of Opgal, which is based in Karmi’el, Israel.

Dror Sharon, the president and CEO of Opgal, said that the acquisition of Vumii, "both enhances our long-term electro-optic product portfolio with unique technologies and it enables us to quickly increase our U.S. presence for expanding sales and customers."

Vumii's Discoverii cameras use lasers for long-range illumination at night, while the company's Claritii video solution couples a day/night camera with an integrated infrared LED illuminator. The Claritii system is designed to be used at distances of up to 800 meters, while the longer-range laser-based Discoverii technology can detect a human at 4.5 kiloemeters during the night, and can be used to recognize a human in the dark at 3 kilometers.

Foster explained that the chief differences between Opgal and Vumii's technologies is that Opgal uses passive thermal infrared, while Vumii uses active near-infrared. Effectively that means that Opgal's technology is focused on detecting threats, while Vumii's is better for identification of threats. He said that the products don't overlap each other, but could be used together, and that, in fact, the acquisition followed from extensive partnering between the two firms.

"We had been integrating their thermal components into our platforms to create a multi-channel camera solution," Foster said. "It's one moveable system with two channels."

He noted that a potential use case might be to deploy Opgal's thermal cameras to detect intruders, and then to use a long-range Vumii camera like the Discoverii series to do the identification. Foster said that a chief benefit of the acquisition is that Vumii will now have access to Opgal's extensive R&D department. That availability, he said, would allow Vumii to expand its existing product features and develop new products.

Opgal is jointly owned by two of Israel's largest defense contractors, Rafael Ltd and Elbit Systems Ltd. Historically Opgal has manufactured the core components of infrared thermal imaging solutions for OEM arrangements, namely the thermal processing engine, but in recent years, the company has been producing its own finished camera models. As part of the acquisition, Foster said that Vumii's U.S. operations will represent Opgal's product line.