GE, Mitsubishi and Siemens Team Up for Container Security

On Thursday afternoon, news came out of Bradenton, Fla., that was something akin to a marriage of dogs and cats. Traditional security industry competitors (and competitors in many other industries, too) GE and Siemens and Mitsubishi had decided to work together in the European market for a container security initiative.

At stake was the marketing of a product from GE Security subsidiary CommerceGuard. The product, which mounts magnetically to a container and simply sends out an alert when a sealed container is tampered with, is not pricey. According to most accounts, costs usually sit around $100. The monitoring, just like the residential alarm business, is where the value comes in.

Theagreement to bring in Siemens and Mitsubishi on this container security technology essentially is a move to bring European selling expertise to the technology. The move means that Siemens acquires a 10 percent minority stake in the ownership of the GE Subsidiary CommerceGuard, and the company holds an option to increase that stake in 2006. Dr. Wolfgang Bischoff, Managing Director of Siemens Project Ventures, has indicated that Siemens intends to use that option and will increase their stake in CommerceGuard.

GE Security's President and CEO Louis Parker said that by joining the project, Siemens could open the technology up to the European market. "Europe is a strategically important geography for our global container security solution," Parker said in an announcement of the cooperated effort. "We are pleased that Siemens, one of the most respected companies in that region, has agreed to help bring this technology to Europe and beyond."

Mitsubishi, likewise, holds a minority stake in CommerceGuard, a move which is believed to be able to help place that technology in the Asian marketplace.

Indeed, not only does the move mean collaboration in the security marketplace, but it's believed to mean some pluses to these companies bottom lines. Early Thursday morning, the Dow Jones new service reported that Merck Finck moved Siemens to a "buy" rating on its stock, a move directly attributed to the 10 percent buy-in on the CommerceGuard technology.

The technology, like so many being introduced in the world of security today, does more than simply secure a container. Because of the fact that the CommerceGuard device can indicate whether a container has been tampered with, it should help speed container processing time through ports, a move that not only affects port operations, but may also effect retailers or manufacturers shipping items in contianers.