Mobotix opens new demo space in city, readies dealer program

Megapixel camera manufacturer says retail is its next frontier in North America
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

NEW YORK—Megapixel IP camera manufacturer Mobotix in January opened a new demonstration center here and is launching a new channel partner program, with a target start date right around the ISC West show this year.

Mobotix wants its new channel partner program to be “a selective group,” with a couple hundred partners, said Steve Gorski, GM for the Americas for Mobotix. There will be a “big training requirement for partners who want to participate in the channel program,” he said. “It will be an elite group.”

The demonstration center, which is part of its new 8,000-square-foot North American headquarters office here, will be useful as a training facility, he said. It will also be used by Mobotix resellers for customer meetings.

Headquartered in Langmeil, Germany, Mobotix was founded in 1999 by CEO Ralf Hinkel. The company has 276 employees, and global sales of EUR 53.8 million ($73 million) in FY 09/10 (which ended June 30, 2010), a 20-percent increase over the previous year, according to the company.

Gorski said that IMSResearch ranks Mobotix first in global market share for megapixel cameras. In the EMEA region, IMS says Mobotix is second in terms of market share for IP cameras, he said.

With about 11 employees in North America, Mobotix has had a quiet presence here since the early 2000s. Gorski, who formerly worked for Axis Communications, was brought on last year to raise the company’s profile in North America.

IMS ranks Mobotix 10th in terms of market share in North America, Gorski said. He believes Mobotix can move to number five within a couple years. “The group of folks in the five- to 10 [ranked spots] are only separated by a few percentage points.”

And, he said, Mobotix is growing fast.

In the first quarter of Mobotix’ FY 2010 (July-September 2010) Mobotix sales in North America were 50 percent higher than in the same period last year. For the recently completed second quarter, growth was higher than 50 percent, he said.

What differentiates Mobotix, Gorski said, is its “decentralized approach” where the image processing takes place in the camera itself instead of on a central PC. Storage can also be done on the camera.

“The PC is used for viewing and controlling the camera and not for analysis or recording,” Gorski said. “And the bottom line is that means [the cameras] use less bandwidth, fewer servers or less costly servers, and because it’s megapixel, you need fewer cameras.”

Mobotix has its own VMS software with no licensing fee. However, he notes Mobotix is “good friends with the OnSSI, Milestone and other VMS platforms” and works well with their software.

Mobotix has made inroads in the education, municipal and government verticals, but Gorski says retail is its next frontier in the U.S. The company will be “announcing soon three or four small analytics—people counting, loitering, wrong direction—that will be free for the end user,” he said. These analytics, combined with the company’s Q24 camera (which incorporates hemispheric technology for a 360-degree image) are particularly well suited to retail applications, he said. “We can replace three or four cameras (in a retail setting) with one camera, and on top of that you add analytics like people counting and now it becomes a management tool,” Gorski said.