Cisco to Acquire BroadWare Technologies

Cisco Systems announced this morning its intention to purchase BroadWare Technologies, a provider of IP-based video surveillance management software. Cisco has signed a definitive agreement with BroadWare for the acquisition.

The BroadWare software provides current state-of-the-art video surveillance functionality, from remote monitoring and management of video to access to accompanying audio. The system runs over standard IP networks and has the ability to integrate both network and analog cameras.

"Cisco views the video surveillance infrastructure market as an immediate high growth opportunity that requires the ability to support both IP and analog device installations," said Marthin De Beer, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Emerging Market Technologies Group (EMTG) in a statement announcing the planned acquisition. "Through the acquisition of BroadWare, Cisco will be able address both existing and greenfield video surveillance opportunities."

Cisco's Steve Collen said the BroadWare acquisition fills in a gap that Cisco had in the video management space that was partially filled by the previous SyPixx acquisition about one year ago.

"BroadWare represents the second company we've acquired in that space, and the idea of it was to really expand our video surveillance offering," said Collen in an interview with SecurityInfoWatch.com. "The company offered very complementary products and technology to the ones we had today with SyPixx."

"SyPixx was essentially a hardware-oriented company that specialized in connecting up existing analog video devices like keyboard, monitors and cameras into the network, allowing for the video to be viewed remotely," Collen explained. "BroadWare, of course, is more of a software-oriented company and they have much more of an orientation toward integrating IP type devices into the video surveillance network. SyPixx tends to be focused on providing video surveillance for a single site where it is a very closed video surveillance network. By contrast, BroadWare has an approach that allows them to connect up multiple, distributed sites across the wide area network."

Besides the distributed-video nature of BroadWare, Collen and Vikas Butaney, director of product management for Cisco's Access Routing unit, noted that the BroadWare technology had a few key elements that really interested Cisco. The first, they said, was that it was designed around a web browser-accessible interface for the video. Secondly, they noted that the BroadWare Media Server (BMS) was a driver. The BMS allows the software to connect to possibly hundreds of video or data streams, and Collen noted is quite scalable. Second in importance was the "trans-coding", which offers bandwidth management, whether to change the encoding used at a remote site. "Trans-coding gives you the ability, for example to switch from MJPEG to MPEG4 if you're dealing with a remote site that is challenged by bandwidth," added Collen.

Additionally, Collen noted that the go-to market strategy was a compliment. "Cisco's physical security solutions has gone to market through resellers, and primarily to retail and casino type environment,s whil BroadWare has primarily worked with systems integrators of the likes of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin on the public sector and defense sector environments."

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, and the acquisition is expected to close before July 27. BroadWare will become part of Cisco's EMTG group, overseen by De Beer.

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