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Cisco buys video surveillance company

$51 million purchase of SyPixx brings technology to digitize analog feeds and send them out over an IP network.

Cisco Systems is getting into the security surveillance market with the acquisition of a small company called SyPixx Networks.

The networking giant is paying $51 million in cash and options for SyPixx, which has developed software and hardware products that allow existing analog video systems to operate as part of a digital IP network.

Most of the video systems used today are analog, which limits where and how video can be viewed. Digitizing video using the SyPixx technology will make video accessible at any time from any place, so watchers can respond to, investigate and resolve incidents as they happen. That will help companies install and control new security applications and make live and recorded video more valuable to customers, Cisco said.

"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."

Cisco says it believes the video surveillance market is a good fit for the company, which has traditionally sold IP routing and Ethernet switching equipment to large companies. For one, it is already likely the provider of networking equipment to the companies that use video surveillance.

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.

The company said it plans to keep on all of SyPixx's 27 employees. Today, those workers are spread between two locations in Waterbury, Conn., and Carlsbad, Calif. When the acquisition closes, which is expected to happen by the end of April, Cisco says it plans to relocate the employees on the East Coast to the Carlsbad facility.