Pivot3 broadening its business 'horizons'

Feb. 14, 2013
CEO Rich Bravman discusses company's future following departure of founder Lee Caswell

Last week, Lee Caswell, the founder and chief strategy officer of video storage appliance and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions provider Pivot3, officially stepped down from the company to become the new vice president of product marketing at Fusion-io. Taking over strategic leadership of the company is CEO Rich Bravman, who joined the company in late October of 2011.

Bravman has spent more than 35 years in the high tech industry, the bulk of which was at Symbol Technologies, a developer of barcode scanning, mobile computing and Wi-Fi solutions. Symbol Technologies is now a multi-billion division of Motorola Solutions.

“Lee and the founding team at the company deserve a huge amount of credit and recognition for all of the great work that was done,” Bravman said. “We will certainly miss Lee, but we wish him well.”

Founded in 2003, Pivot3 has enjoyed great success in its relatively short existence. In fact the company was recently ranked 74th on Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.”

Despite this success, Bravman said the company has even higher aspirations and that the future of the firm will revolve around the framework he laid out when he first joined Pivot3 that focuses on three “horizons of business” – today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

Horizon one encompasses the company’s current business in supplying video storage appliances for the security market, which Bravman said will continue to serve as the company’s backbone.

“Video surveillance is a terrific business and I expect it to be the core of Pivot3’s success for as far out in the future as I can see,” he said.  “I think this is a very big, successful company that we’ve built strictly within the bounds of video surveillance and we could not be more committed to execution toward that direction and we think we have an awful lot going for us to give us confidence for success there.”

According to Bravman, not only does Pivot3 have the technology to remain successful for years to come in the video surveillance industry, but it has also developed “deep domain knowledge” within the market through the years.

“In broad terms, it’s one of those markets where you have to be firing on two principle cylinders – you’ve got to have great technology that is a building block towards solving real business problems… but it’s also a market where you have to have deep domain knowledge and sweat the details about what it takes to implement that technology,” he explained.  “That combination of deep domain knowledge and all the relationships associated with that is a tremendous asset and the foundation for building what I think can be, in my view, a half-billion dollar company simply in service of the video surveillance business.”

Horizon two involves the company’s development of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions, which it has ramped up recently. Desktop virtualization essentially enables organizations to shift desktop infrastructure and applications to a centralized computer system.

“That was chosen as an additional area of opportunity because the same technical advantages that make our products such a great fit in surveillance also apply and yield very important advantages in building VDI-based solutions such as the ability to handle large volumes of data,” he said. “VDI is a storage intensive problem just as video surveillance is and the ability to have very high-speed data ingest is also very important in VDI.”

Bravman believes where Pivot3 can be a leader in the VDI market is taking the complexity out of migrating to a VDI solution.

“One of the stumbling blocks that has complicated the deployment of VDI in the past has been its complexity,” he said. “We’ve solved that, applying not just the high-performance of our storage, but the simplicity of deployment has been a real key. We launched our first (VDI) product during the first quarter of 2012 and last year was really all about foundation building. It was about building a channel and it was about acquiring the same kind of domain knowledge in VDI use cases as we had in surveillance.”

According to Olivier Thierry, chief marketing officer for Pivot3, all of the company’s appliances are “purpose built,” which differentiates the company from others in both the surveillance and VDI markets.

“We’re helping the surveillance industry through essentially a transition from analog to IP,” Thierry explained. “The other piece that is happening is a lot of customers in surveillance are also interested in virtual desktop technology. In casinos, for example, they see desktop virtualization as their future not only for their basic Microsoft Office desktops, but they also see it in potentially two other areas; the games themselves running on thin clients and the second piece is the ability over time to look at having the security consoles themselves virtualized.”  

Bravman said the third horizon involves market opportunities around converged storage and computing solutions and the continued evolution of this technology.

“Today, while we deliver appliances that make us look like a hardware company… in reality all of the things that are special about our design, all of our know how and the company’s DNA is all really focused in the software within the appliances,” Bravman explained. “The vSTAC OS that sits within the appliances we deliver is where all of the Pivot3 value-add is. There is an opportunity to take that software and abstract out of that certain features that are today delivered in that embedded software and deliver them instead in a layer or two of software sitting on top of the appliance in the solution stack, which will allow some of those features to be implemented with greater richness and most importantly, will allow the implementation of new features that aren’t practically implemented as embedded software.”