RAE Systems, a San Jose, Calif., company known for its multi-sensor detection systems, announced this afternoon that it was acquiring Aegison Corporation for $2 million in cash.
Aegison, also based in California, has specialized in digital video surveillance solutions, including both fixed and mobile systems. The company's primarily product base has been in the realm of mobile DVRs delivered to law enforcement, military, aviation and public safety organizations. RAE's sensors can detect both chemical and radiation threats, and have been used at such high-profile events as the Kentucky Derby (see story). RAE's systems have likewise been primarily targeted toward the first responder/public safety community.
According to Robert Chen, CEO of RAE Systems, the two companies had repeatedly partnered in the past; it was almost two months ago when the two companies publicly announced a direct interface between RAE's sensor systems and Aegison's video surveillance platform (see earlier story). Chen added that the two companies saw clear benefits of linking RAE's detection systems with video recordings.
"In addition to the product synergies, we will be able to leverage Aegisonâ€™s complementary customer base," added Chen in the company's announcement of the Aegison Corporation acquisition. In an interview with SecurityInfoWatch.com, RAE Systems' Chief Operating Officer Rudy Mui, agreed with Chen's assessment, noting that the acquisition has clear possibilities for inroads with the public safety sector, where both companies had already seen great success.
And while mobile video such as with law enforcement or transit and mobile or temporary sensors like those set up for sporting events or public gatherings have been part of the two companies' staples, Mui added that the company's focus has recently switched to a "pervasive sensing" model.
With RAE Systems' advances in wireless networking of sensors, the sensor points can be expanded into a real network of threat detection. The company's focus on allowing RAE products to integrate with other softwares or networks, he added, has also made it much easier for cities to consider adding sensor networks that couple with existing video infrastructure.
"The fact is that when we're alerted, the first thing we want to do is see what's happening," said Mui. "What's the first thing you do when someone taps you on the shoulder? You turn around to see who it is. It's the same with sensors."
Making broader sensor networks also has other tangible benefits, says Mui. As the costs of installing and integrating these sensors drops, there become fewer issues of false alarms as the sensors earn a "combined intelligence." Threats, said Mui, typically aren't picked up by a single sensor, and by adding more sensors not only are you more likely to understand the pervasiveness of a threat, but you also become able to track the threat.
"The key to mitigating false alarms is really to integrate as many orthogonal sensors as possible," said Mui, "and by that I mean sensing technologies that look at that threat, but whihc look at it in a slightly different manner so that you really require a couple of these sensors to go off before you really look at it as an alarm. If you drive down the cost far enough, you can create a high density of sensors and thereby use that high density of sensors to provide both tracking and alarming."
Likewise, added Mui, the acquisition of Aegison also signals a mindset from RAE that the company's sensor networks have to integrate with more data points. Video, he says, is a central part of the equation, but RAE has also developed models and systems to tie in with other intelligent sensors like meteorological sensors and GPS locators such that toxic plume modeling can be employed.
Mui added that the U.S.-based Aegison employees have all been offered positions in San Jose with RAE Systems (www.raesystems.com), and the executive leadership team will be staying aboard to work with RAE Systems.