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Cisco Aquires SyPixx 78

illeism writes "Forbes reports that Cisco is getting into the video surveillance business. From the article,"Cisco made the acquisition to capitalize on the trend that has been underway which is moving video surveillance from analog to IP.""
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Cisco Aquires SyPixx

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @02:39AM (#14881189)
    Surveillance is the future. When I think of mankind's progress, I see the grand vista of cameras stretching to infinity, wiretaps that outnumber phone lines, search warrants so ubiquitous and deeply classified that no petty official need ever fear public questioning. A beautiful vision it is.
    • by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:04AM (#14881617)
      Indeed. I revel in the idea of never having to worry about crime again. Imagine a world where every criminal act is recorded at multiple angles! Criminals will have no place to hide. We will never have to worry about being mugged at the ATM again, or being raped in the alley way as we walk along the sidewalks. Criminals will be too scared to be criminals and will turn into God fearing human beings again.

      Thank you cisco for doing your part!

      God bless America!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I thought we already had this - in cheerleader changing rooms, dorm rooms, toilets, dungeons even! (who'd have thought there were dungeons in everyday use today, they must be left-over antiques from bygone times).

      So many cameras, I get invites all the time to do my part in keeping an eye on what goes on under their watchful eyes! Now that is democracy in action. I've not seen many criminal acts commited yet, so they must be working!
    • Reminds me of a stark future movie by Terry Gilliam....

      Oh! which one, you say? Brazil!

      It's a twist on some of the 1984 concepts, as with a number of other films by Gilliam :)
  • Color me surprised? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @02:45AM (#14881205) Homepage
    Great... so first they help make the "Great Firewall of China" and now they're helping to bring Big Brother home to the US.

    Not that I have anything against surveillance... just as long as it isn't abused [aclu.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Surveillance can only be abused if it's involuntary, i.e. mandated by government or run by government. A private individual or group has a natural right to run surveillance over private property, if they choose. That's still voluntary, because others choose for themselves whether or not to be subject to that surveillance. When government runs surveillance, on the other hand, there is no choice, and therefore government surveillance is abuse by definition.
  • by Vskye ( 9079 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @03:07AM (#14881263)
    Gezz, like CTTV over the internet is such a revolution? I used to work at a local restruant that the boss could kick back at home and watch everything going on. This was based on a Windows box with 2 8-port CCTV cards with real-time backup, etc... but this was in 2001. ;)

    Now we have DVR backup, etc. Interestingly enough, SyPixx is a Linux based product. http://www.sypixx.com/ [sypixx.com] It's cool though that Cisco is giving it a go, they actually might do a good thing here. I would like to suggest a few features: like lower cost on.. dvr capacity options, pan-tilt, zoom, feature software set, (Linux based options) and low lux options.
    • Surveillance is and always was good for business. What is important is that this surveillance technology be cheap enough so that all businesses and businessmen can afford to buy it. If Cisco does not bring down the price, then I'll be against THEIR surveillance solution. If the price is cheap enough, or if there are open source alternatives, bring on the surveillance.

    • What is their pricing strategy? What are the costs? This technology is fine, if the price is right, but if this technology costs tens of thousands of dollars its ultimately going to be something which does not apply to the majority of small businesses.

      I say if it's under the $5000 price range, it take off like wild fire, but over this price point and it will be too costly for most small businesses.
  • by mickey_mouse_2006 ( 959949 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @03:10AM (#14881272)
    So first they bought Scientific Atlanta, and now SyPixx. Cool. I thought the idea was to shake/stirr/mix'n'match Cisco's IP know-how with Scientific Atlanta's video know-how, and come up with a killer Ciscoized-Tivo. Now I'm afraid that while my Cisco Tivo records 'Desperateate Housewives' it might also include a camera and surveillance software so the NSA can watch me rooting my nose or scratching my nuts. I feel safer already ;)
    • Hey, 1984 is here only a few years behind schedule. All in the name of keeping us safe (from ourselves and our weak mental capacity most likely).

      I sure am glad I invested in Cisco, that way at least that my TV can watch me getting rich, even though I'm depressed about how. Not that I really had any foresight as an investor, but I am learning one can never be too cynical.
  • Evil (Score:1, Interesting)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 )
    You expect companies in the military-indutrial complex to make nasty products, but it shows initiative for a networking company to cosnsitently specialise in being evil. Censoring for China, surveillance for anyone; next it'll be frikkin' sharks with laser beams.

    Don\t mod this "troll" or "insightful", it's just a gut response.

    • What happened in china? Oh yea, the free market of the world allows a company sell products to another country. Cool. Does your company use netscreen? That's just as bad, but it's not illegal. What China decides to do with it is not up to cisco. There needs to be an uprising of the people, new legislature, etc -- hardware is not going to stop china. They make everything anyway! If they really wanted it, they would just skim it from the factory.
      • What China decides to do with it is not up to cisco.

        "Evil" is a term relating to morality, not legality.

  • by theheff ( 894014 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @03:35AM (#14881328)
    Cisco is massive... they buy out their competition, including areas of the market they want to expand in to. That's just how they function. If you can't put out the ideas, heck, buy them. Nothing really new here.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak.yahoo@com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @04:34AM (#14881449) Homepage Journal
    When investors talk about keeping a diverse portfolio, it's because they don't manage the projects and don't know the decisions being made that will make or break all of the investments any given company is making. So you hedge your bets and cover your back.

    When companies start talking about keeping a diverse portfolio (ie: lots of totally unrelated product lines), what does that mean? Well, the "obvious" conclusion is that they're not confident enough in anything they're doing and are not confident in decisions that might make or break things for the company down the road. They're not consolidating, they're not buying in any technology or IP they don't have but could use (I can't see how they can use any of it, and what they can they probably have), so that leaves hedging their bets and covering their backs.

    If Cisco think IP-enabled CCTV can possibly make enough of a difference to cover the cost of the investment AND believe that none of their own products could produce as much or better return for that same amount of money, I'd look a lot harder at alternatives.

    (It doesn't mean I think Cisco will fold - they're far from doing that. It means I think Cisco have run out of ideas, which is generally a much worse place to be. You can always borrow money, but fresh, quality ideas are tougher to find.)

    • Not necessarily, there's something to be said for getting your name out there as much and as everywhere as possible.
    • Or they've already maxed out the market share in their current area's of competition. They have 80% market share in Routing and Switching, 60% in wireless, 65% in Linksys, they are now #1 in enterprise voice, #1 in director-class storage, etc... Chambers once said that if they tried to get to 100% market share in Routing and Switching and took all their competitors market cap value, Cisco's market cap price would rise a paltry $25b, nothing investors are going to jump at. Plus it would be a dog fight for
    • It means I think Cisco have run out of ideas, which is generally a much worse place to be. You can always borrow money, but fresh, quality ideas are tougher to find.

      This analysis holds true for small companies who are unable to find the innovations needed to grow their market or their share of their market, but for big companies there's another reason to diversify: When your market is no longer growing rapidly and you own most of if, there is simply not much growth potential in doing what you're doing.

    • This is Cisco, they don't come up with new products, they buy out other companies that do.

      Two different wireless companies (Aironet and Airospace I think)
      The WebVPN/secure desktop/Clientless.
      Their IDS/IPS devices
      Their PIX Firewalls (ASA is a PIX's w/ Trend micro and other tech they bought)
      Didn't CATOS and some switches come from other companies too?

      I know I am missing a lot of other techs and companies.

      So in the end, you can't compete very well against Cisco, because Cisco will buy out who they think
  • Cisco's reasoning (Score:5, Informative)

    by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:09AM (#14881518) Journal
    Ignoring the various "all surveillance == big brother" comments for a moment, here's an article on CNET News.com [com.com] which goes into more detail about the reasoning behind Cisco's acquisition. From the article:

    "If you can digitize all video, you can record it, timestamp it and instantaneously get access to video across the IP network much more efficiently than having to send an actual tape," said Marthin De Beer, a vice president in Cisco's Emerging Market Technologies Group. "It also lets people coordinating a disaster halfway across the country to get live video feeds from cameras connected to an IP network, so they can see what's happening." ...

    In addition, it makes sense for businesses that have already embarked on consolidating their networks to decide to carry all of their corporate data and voice traffic over an IP network. Cisco also provides storage area networking gear, which is essential for customers who must store all the video.

    Personally, I'd like to see more development of sousveillance [wikipedia.org]. IMHO, the solution to the problem of "Who watches the watchers?" isn't to ban watching, but to make everybody a watcher. It'd be great to have a publically-uploadable website designed to facilitate the coordination of images and video for events and places of concern.
  • SyPixx (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:16AM (#14881635) Homepage

    Check out the SyPixx web site [sypixx.com] for more about the products that Cisco is aquiring, or download this PDF catalog [sypixx.com].

  • I think this is a great move by Cisco as it gives them a good leverage in the video surveillance/recording industry and allied products and technologies and services.

    Given their dominance in the Networking market, I guess, we'd see cheaper/better products to stream videos on the net and may be quite a few new technologies brought out by them, creating new parallels in a market where there is a high degree of segmentation between various products and services provided by the current manufacturers/organi
  • by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:25AM (#14881741) Homepage
    Last I looked into IP cameras weren't quite there yet, especially in terms of price/performance ratio. I started out looking for a camera with a pretty typical use case in mind - outdoor surveillance for an office building. Someone was stealing dumpsters worth a few thousand each from a new heating and air conditioning business, and it was happening at night. There is a lot of mob and union influence in the HVAC industry, and they didn't like the new guy in town's hiring practices. The cops seemed to care less so he wanted to catch them red handed.

    The requirements came down to being weatherproof, and also having low light capability for night surveillance. As I began pricing things out, I found IP cameras could be had at low starting prices, around $200, but that those models were useless for real surveillance apps. Here are the pitfalls I found.

    A) Most IP cameras below $400-$500 lack an auto-iris, but rather simulate one in software. If you can't mechanically restrict how much light is getting to the CCD sensor, you have to sacrifice sensitivity to the point where night time images won't be useful.

    B) Many IP cameras use cheap CCD chips. In the CCTV industry people look for SONY Super-HAD and Ex-View CCD chips because of their night time sensitivity. Try finding something IP based with one of these CCDs and see what it costs you. An analog b&w SONY Super-HAD night camera can be had for $115, and a color daytime model only $185. IP Camera? About $1000. Want color and a good night picture? You need a model that uses solenoid to remove the IR cut filter when it gets dark, otherwise the night picture will be no good. Good luck finding an IP version with this at a reasonable price. The cost for a color analog camera with a mechanical day/night filter is $235.

    C) Weatherproof models command a much bigger premium than their analog counterparts.

    D) Network bandwidth may be an issue for large setups, as full frames are sent via mjpeg. Court precedent says that to be admissable, digital video footage must be stored as complete frames, so count out any of the mpeg codecs.

    Now also figure this, whether you use an analog or IP camera you will still need a computer to store all your footage. $50 is what a 4 channel BTTV based CCTV capture board will cost you, and they are much less on ebay. In terms of software, ZoneMinder [zoneminder.com] is open source and will stream compressed video across the internet while recording high quality frames locally. It supports any format ffmpeg supports, even flash video, and does things like auto-cycling and motion detection recording w/ user definable sensitivity areas.

    For a 4 camera setup an IP camera solution will cost nearly 3x to 4x as much as analog. So I have judged them as being useful only for large corporate customers with deep pockets. Anyone here using ip cameras, especially for outdoor surveillance? What do you use and what did it cost?
    • These guys [elphel.com] have a Linux powered network camera that uses Ogg Theora. The stream is a good bit thinner than MJPEG, has a nice high resolution and the entire thing is customisable. Bit pricy maybe, and not sure what it's night time performance is like. Might be worth a look!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You are absolutely right. I just went through the same exercise to figure out what to get for a factory that needed 14 cameras. Going the IP camera route would have cost around $14k (using Axis cameras), versus about $5k for a bunch of el-cheapo analog cameras and Axis video servers; less if you use some other brand.

      The other thing to consider too, is that CCTV cameras have a wide variety of generally interchangeable lenses (C or CS mounts), whereas most IP cameras do not have interchangeable lenses.

    • Another difference is the storage medium.

      Storing analog on tape is slow and if you want to review a tape, better hope you have a spare tape player. If not, you will have to suspend your recording to review a tape.

      Storing digital, on the other hand, gives you the ability to easily review past recordings without affecting the current recording. It also allows you to record multiple streams on the same medium in full resolution.
    • Network bandwidth may be an issue for large setups, as full frames are sent via mjpeg. Court precedent says that to be admissable, digital video footage must be stored as complete frames, so count out any of the mpeg codecs.

      Regarding the use of MPEG, that's simply not true. Most MPEG video indeed uses inTERframe techniques (aka B and P frames) to greatly reduce bandwidth, but if you care about each frame standing on its own, you can simply restrict the encoder to inTRAframe compression (aka I frames). N

  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:42AM (#14881901)
    "Cisco made the acquisition to capitalize on the trend that has been underway..."

    It used to be that you had to watch your servers carefully, now the servers will carefully watch you. [cisco.com]
  • by simong ( 32944 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:00AM (#14881951) Homepage
    Having worked for a company who were taken over by Cisco, I can confirm that it's not a bad company to be bought into. The good thing is that they are buying a) to expand their portfolio with an existing product and b) that they're pretty happy with the product so apart from some integration, which may be rebadging (or not). Downside is that while development teams will be maintained and either plugged into Cisco's net or brought into the local office (even turned into a local office), support often seems to get integrated into Cisco's helpdesks with the result that backup staff are the ones to go. I had a good employer who shared in the dividend, even when he didn't need to, but after a few months, our product was put into Cisco support and I was out of job. Had a good time though.
  • Cisco's been slurping up a number of firms that make products that kind fit in the networking scheme of things, and those products that aren't actual networking hardware and up being rolled into CiscoWorks. And, the hardware products they do acquire end up being managed via Ciscoworks.

    Ciscoworks is one of the worst software packages ever inflicted on people. If you have any other java product on your PC, either it will stop working, or you won't be able to access ciscoworks in any way other than the co
  • by Deton8 ( 522248 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:17AM (#14882231)
    Just so you guys are aware, Sypixx makes CCTV systems which are primarily sold into casinos as part of their government-mandated gaming regulation compliance. They don't seem to sell much if anything to Big Brother type markets.
  • I never expected this to be national news, when he told me about a week ago (although at that time, they only knew they'd been acquired - it was rumored that it was Cisco, but they didn't know). Such a small company, I never expected it would be such big news.

    Of course, this means their R&D is supposedly moving to CA (from Waterbury, CT), which doesn't make me happy.
  • Say that phonetically...

    Poor Cicso, I heard that you could take penicillin to clear that up...

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.