Honeywell Acquires Video Analytics Firm ActivEye

Global manufacturing firm Honeywell today made their way into the video analytics space with the acquisition of ActivEye Inc., a video analytics firm from New York. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

According to John Lorenty, the president of Honeywell Systems Group, the plan is to integrate the ActivEye analytics into certain existing products from Honeywell, and to design new products that are adapted for the analytics.

The acquisition, said Lorenty, made great sense because "ActivEye was predominantly a company comprised of software engineers." He said that Honewell was looking for that type of company, since, from Honeywell subsidiaries like Ademco and others, they already knew the ins-and-outs of solid hardware design and manufacturing.

According to Lorenty, the acquisition has created a great deal of excitement inside Honeywell's Systems Group, with many staffers recognizing video analytics as the top growth area in the realm of CCTV. Lorenty noted that Honeywell is already working on a series of its own network video surveillance cameras that will launch in mid-2007, to accompany its other hardware lines and existing analog camera lines. It's products like those cameras, say Lorenty, which will match well with ActivEye video analytics technology.

"I personally believe that video analytics is going to be the fastest growing segment in the video systems business over the next three to five years," Lorenty told in an interview Thursday morning. "The way I just described it to another member in our company is that it is like the Internet. You look at Google and Yahoo and the other search engines, and without them, it would be very hard to find what you're looking for -- and I think video analytics is the same way."

"One of the reasons we wanted to see the IP camera line is that ultimately, I think the intelligence, the video analytics, is going to be out at the camera level," added Lorenty.

While ActivEye's algorithms have traditionally run on the server side, Lorenty said the move to putting intelligence in the cameras is being made possible by improvements in the reliability and availability of high-quality DSP chips to handle the in-camera processing.

The analytics space has become a popular destination for security providers, especially as the industry's end users had started to choke on the amount of video data that was being compiled by non-analytics-based system. From companies like Verint, NICE Systems, ObjectVideo, IBM, Ioimage, Vidient, Sony and others came a slew of solutions designed to make sense of the millions of hours of video being recorded.

As articles on note, ActivEye's technology has previously been used by Integral Technologies, InterAct Public Safety Systems and OKI Electric.

Lorenty added that Honeywell is working to ensure that those existing relationships don't fall to the wayside. He said they've already had discussios with Integral Technologies and OKI, and that they're seeing some excitement from partners who know that Honeywell will be more able to invest more R&D than ActiveEye would have been able to do independently.

ActivEye's main products include Active Alert, ActivEye Smart Impressions and ActivEye Forensincs. The Active Alert system is a real-time video content analysis software that can be applied to video feeds. The Smart Impressions suite is designed for customer and vehicular activity, and can be used for facilities as well as retail merchandising needs. The Forensics product is used to run queries on pre-recorded video.