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Samsung Techwin

Samsung has new majority owner

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Video surveillance provider Samsung Techwin has a new majority owner, Hanwha Group, a $34 billion conglomerate based in South Korea.

The deal, announced Dec. 5  is "a stock transaction, not an acquisition," Samsung's senior marketing group manager Tom Cook said during a Dec. 8 conference call.

Samsung Electronics announced Dec. 5 that it had entered into an agreement to sell its shares, which amount to a 32 percent stake in Samsung Techwin to Hanwha, which has expressed an interest in increasing its position in the security and defense industry. Samsung's second-largest shareholder is South Korea's government pension plan, according to Cook, the rest of the shareholder hold much smaller stakes.

How will the deal affect the Samsung Techwin's North American operation, which is based in Ridgefield, N.J.? There won't be any immediate changes, Cook said.

Contrary to some earlier published reports, Samsung Techwin will retain the rights to the Samsung name. For how long? Cook said that was "still a negotiating point" but he said it would retain the rights for "many years" and noted that there is precedent for Samsung allowing its brand to be used for extended periods of time. Renault has used the Samsung brand for more than 20 years, he said.

Soon Hong Ann, Samsung Techwin CEO and all management will stay in place, Cook said. All R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing operations will remain unchanged, he said. Hanwha does not have manufacturing facilities and it does not own any other businesses that manufacture or do R&D of security devices. It does have a systems integration business "which can benefit by selling SamsungTechwin products in the Asian market, but in North America, I do not see any of that occuring," Cook said.

Independent of this deal, Samsung Techwin America is looking into establishing an additional "assembly and manufacturing facility in the U.S. that would allow us to fall under the branding of 'Made in America'," Cook said. Cook said that Samsung Techwin is interested in doing this to increase its business with the U.S. government, which gives preference to domestically produced products.

Cook said Samsung Techwin's North American operation has grown rapidly in recent years. "In 2013 we were up 40 percent over the previous year, and 2014 we will end up 70 percent over 2013."

The company has had several big wins including General Mills and Qualcomm [where Samsung is working with Milestone Systems] and General Motors [where it is working with Genetec].

Asked about additional funds for R&D and other investments, Cook said "Hanwha acquired this stock because they're interested in growing in the security and defense market" and added that Samsung Techwin Americas "has never been held up because of resources in the past."

Cook said that Samsung Techwin will be introducing 5 megapixel and 4K cameras, "an all-in-one IP kit that we believe the market is ready for."

Cook said Samsung Techwin will have a 100-foot by 60-foot booth at ISC West and it will be situated next to the market leader. [Axis Communications] "We are neighbors aond purpose and we're going to take them head-on," Cook said. It will also hold a dealer meeting and an A&E meeting at ISC West.

Samsung Techwin is currently the fourth largest video surveillance provider in North America. Cook believes "by the end of 2015 we will be in the position of second."

"To be number one, that is our goal," Cook said.

Samsung leader departs

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Samsung Techwin America’s EVP Frank De Fina announced May 28 that he is leaving Samsung for personal reasons.

"As of June 2, I will no longer be there. I made the decision on my own, the departure is amicable," he said. A replacement has yet to be named, though De Fina said there are "a couple of obvious potential choices. There is a very capable management team there."

De Fina joined Samsung in February 2010, and said he is proud of how far Samsung has come in the security industry since then. "Five years ago we didn't even appear on the IMS [Research, now part of IHS]  list [of top IP camera providers]," he said. "This year our business grew over 75 percent." And he expects to "move up a couple of notches on the IHS list."

De Fina, who has "retired" twice before, said he is not even going to say he's retiring now. He is simply "taking a breather" and will likely return to the industry, perhaps in a consulting role.

Asked about the biggest challenges getting Samsung up to speed, he said "building the brand and credibility in the security space."

"I will take credit for organizing a great team," De Fina said. "But the credit for building the business goes to [that team]," he added.

"I'm leaving Samsung in much better shape [than when I arrived] and the team is spectacular," he said.

Before Samsung, De Fina was the long time president of Panasonic Systems. He retired from Panasonic Systems in 2008 to run Paul Reed Smith Guitars for two years before joining Samsung.

De Fina can play guitar in case you didn’t know. Here’s a video that my former colleague Sam took at the PSA-TEC jam a few years ago. Scroll down to the video; it features Paul Michael Nathan on harmonica, Frank De Fina on guitar, Daved Levine on bass, and Jerry Cordasco on drums.

The biggest opportunities in the security industry? De Fina said he did lots of research during a recent month-long tour of the Silicon Valley. "I spoke to big name companies [Google, Yahoo, others] and asked them what their [security] concerns are. "They look at us [the security industry] as a bit naive" in terms of cyber security. They also are concerned about the physical security of some critical infrastructure in this country such as data centers and cell towers, De Fina said.

De Fina identified the biggest challenge for integrators as shrinking margins. He recommends that integrators "pay attention to solving the problems that are not so easy to solve ... to reinvent themselves to mimic the growth opportunities I mentioned earlier."

De Fina is vice chairman of the Security Industry Association Board of Directors Executive Committee.

He was instrumental in the establishment of a security degree program that will be launched in 2015 at Mercer Country Community College.

He also holds positions in the International Biometrics Industry Association (IBIA) and is a board member of the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television and Radio) as well as a member of the board of the New York Friar’s Club Foundation.

Red Hawk joins Samsung Techwin’s IP partners program

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03/07/2013

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.—Red Hawk Fire & Security, an integrator based here, has joined Samsung Techwin’s Certified IP Partners Program, and will add Samsung’s line of IP video, analog and hybrid systems to its technology portfolio, according to a company statement.

Samsung and Pivot3 team up on video surveillance solution

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11/27/2012

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.—Samsung Techwin, a supplier of video surveillance and security products, announced a partnership with Pivot3 wherein the companies will offer a unified IP video surveillance solution, according to a statement from Samsung Techwin.

Pivot3 gets $23m, new investor

New infusion, led by Samsung, brings total investment to $100m
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02/08/2012

AUSTIN, Texas—Pivot3 on Feb. 8 closed on a $23 million round of new equity funding, which brings total investment in the unified storage and compute company to $100 million since the company was founded in 2003.