Manufacturer 1-on-1: Vicon CEO Eric Fullerton

Sept. 30, 2014
Former Milestone executive discusses why he took the top job at company in this exclusive SIW Q&A from ASIS 2014

Earlier this month, Vicon announced that it had tapped Eric Fullerton, the former chief sales and marketing officer for Milestone Systems, to succeed Kenneth Darby as its new chief executive officer. SIW caught up with Fullerton at the ASIS 2014 conference on Monday to discuss why he decided to take on this new leadership role at Vicon, the challenges and opportunities presented by the recently closed merger with IQinVision, and what his goals are for the company moving forward.

SIW: Why did you decide to leave one of the biggest players in the video surveillance management software space to lead what is predominantly a hardware manufacturer?

Fullerton: For a number of years, I felt like my work at Milestone was done. I had built up the channel, put the go-to-market strategy in place and there’s not really a big challenge in doing that once you’ve made it work and I was looking for a challenge. Several times, internally, at Milestone I had suggested that we go acquire an appliance company and turn it into a new, successful business. Milestone chose to go down a different channel and build their own appliances and once we got to the liquidity event with the Canon acquisition, it opened a window for me to take on a new challenge and Vicon/IQinVision were open to me coming and leading them.

SIW: What are some of your top priorities as the new CEO at Vicon/IQinVIsion? What are some of the things that you want to accomplish in both the near term and longer term?

Fullerton: The top priority is to integrate the two companies into a well-functioning, well-driven and focused company that is making a profit. Both companies had been struggling before the merger and we put an integration plan together so that we can drive towards a profitable company within a year from now. The secondary ones will all come from that, but really putting in place a strategy that is a sustainable, viable strategy for Vicon as one unit and driving value for end users, channel partners and fellow travelers in the industry.

SIW: How did your experience at Milestone help prepare you for this role?

Fullerton: I think not only my experience at Milestone, but my whole career I’ve been running companies, defining strategies and looking at visionary implementations of strategies and innovations. What we did at Milestone was that we actually changed the security industry. We drove openness into the security industry, enabled freedom of choice for end users and I think there is another wave of that coming where software is starting to get tied to hardware, so it’s starting to go a little bit backwards where we’re starting to see the channel and the end users demanding software be placed on hardware more and more. I believe what we can do at Vicon is that we can open up Vicon from being a proprietary solution to being an open solution – both on the video capture side which is the cameras and on the video management side – and build solid APIs and interfaces to third-party interfaces such as access control, analytics, building management, etc., so we can have a next-generation platform that provides more value for end users through integration of third-party applications.

SIW: How tough is it to remain competitive in today video surveillance landscape and how do you plan to keep Vicon/IQinVision a part of that equation?

Fullerton: It’s always difficult to maintain competitiveness. On the hardware side, you basically have an invisible, automatic price reduction button once you’ve launched a piece of hardware. For a piece software, you can keep adding and innovating and maintain the price, whereas on a piece of hardware, you launch it on the market and you have to start driving down the costs to maintain your competitiveness. There is going to be strong commoditization going on in the mid- to –low-end of the IP cameras. That’s going to happen and we have to make sure we participate in that part without putting in too big a stake, sourcing our products the same place everybody else sources their products, and that we develop products that are innovative at the higher end of the market. Likewise, on the software and recording side, we have to make sure we have competitive hardware platforms that we place the software on but we keep innovating on the software side, enabling our fellow travelers and our customers to derive value from what we deliver.

SIW: What does the merger of Vicon with IQinVision mean moving forward and was that part of the appeal of the job to you?

Fullerton: At first glance, it’s difficult to see the synergies between the companies because the camera count that is sold under the IQ brand is substantially larger than what a Vicon recording platform would be able to sustain owning the cameras as a captive. That means we’re going to have to run the capture side and the video management side as two, independent business units internally in the company for several different reasons. One reason is we need somebody that’s going to live and die for the camera business and is going to make sure to make the right choices. They’re going to have to make sure that the cameras can interface on a level playing field with third-party video management software. On the Vicon recording side, we’re going to have to make sure that integrates with third-party cameras as well because not everyone is going to want the IQinVision camera. Those are the important parts of how we’re going to drive that forward. We will have one sales force, one set of manufacturers’ reps, and one set of distributors that can carry all of the products.

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.