Nortek’s Acquisition of IntelliVision Could Prove to be a Transformative Move
When Nortek Security & Control pulled the trigger on last week’s acquisition of California-based artificial intelligence and deep learning-based video analytics vendor IntelliVision...
by Steve Lasky, SecurityInfoWatch, On May 18, 2018
When Nortek Security & Control pulled the trigger on last week’s acquisition of California-based artificial intelligence and deep learning-based video analytics vendor IntelliVision, the move essentially propelled the company into the expanding universe of solutions providers vying for their niche in the Internet of Things (IoT). By virtue of the acquisition, Nortek is now uniquely situated to become one of the few technology companies that could eventually build the elusive IoT bridge that will link residential, commercial, institutional, retail and public safety sectors into a seamless and actionable communication network.
For security industry analyst Saliq Khan, Vice President at Imperial Capital, a global investment and research firm, the addition of IntelliVision’s cutting-edge technology and advanced research personnel puts Nortek on the fast-track in the growing analytics space and will allow it to penetrate myriad new markets.
“The strategic acquisition of IntelliVision is a great addition to Nortek and can accelerate the company's growth in edge-based analytics. Nortek is now a very different company than it was years ago and has an opportunity to become a visible player in the Internet of Things in key business segments. This transaction puts them in the driver seat to leverage real-time video and audio analytics and further penetrate premises control and automation, safe and smart cities, and health and wellness segments. The key to making this an operationally successful and accretive acquisition rest's in Nortek's ability to effectively integrate the technologies, people and culture of both companies,” says Khan.
The acquisition of IntelliVision now ensures Nortek’s foray into advanced video analytics that will provide actionable insights for both security and monitoring for smart homes to smart commercial enterprises, with an eventual stake in the burgeoning Smart Cities space. The technology also adds a business intelligence analytics that is important to penetrating verticals such as retail. Nortek receives an added bonus of international expansion by virtue of absorbing numerous patent licenses and the more than four million cameras that IntelliVision’s analytic software is embedded in around the world.
“This transaction is consistent with the types of conversations I have been having with the leadership of other security and broad technology companies. The physical-cyber technology convergence is in the very early stages, and it can improve the coordination of resources in daily routines or critical situations, and provide for a greater return on investment (ROI) from existing products and infrastructure,” adds Khan. “I am starting to see physical security companies make strategic investments and acquisitions in artificial intelligence and data analytics technologies, but the work has just begun.”
Nortek President Mike O’Neal couldn’t agree more with Khan. He realizes the work is just beginning for his existing team and the new acquisition members. Expanding his company’s capabilities into the IoT universe was an “absolute requirement” for the future of Nortek. Says O’Neal: “To be a company that thrives in the environment we are in today and in the next 10 years, we need these capabilities and we went out and found the resource that would ensure we could deliver on it.”
O’Neal assures that there would be some sort of analytics involved in all future products and technology development and concedes that, historically, Nortek did not have the in-house solutions or R&D acumen to deliver what it now has.
“We looked for a partner or resource that could help move our products forward and IntelliVision was the perfect fit for us to accomplish this. We are moving lock-step with the market and the people we compete with,” O’Neal says.
While Nortek has solidified its reputation in the residential and smart home marketplace, folks like Joe Roberts have eyes on substantially growing the business beyond it. As Executive Vice President of Marketing and Innovation, it is his responsibility to work with the executive team in providing the long-term roadmap. Expansion into the commercial sector in a more robust manner is the next challenge.
”We have a substantial R&D footprint at Nortek already, however, when we look at entering the market of AI where we actually have AI and deep-learning embedded technology, we wanted to make sure we would do it well. We didn’t want to dabble in it and looked to see what it would take to enter this space and IntelliVision was uniquely positioned there with proven technology,” Roberts says. “Their technology has been deployed as much in commercial and even enterprise as it has been in residential.“
Roberts expects the AI technology enhancements to be a tangible advantage that will launch Nortek product solutions and systems into the commercial environment with its Linear line and will complement the residential lines like ELAN and 2GIG.
“This AI team and the technology – specifically for analytics – is one that meshes with our entire catalog of products. Every product we will make going forward will be touched by this new technology and will supply the safest, secure and personalized systems for peace of mind, access, comfort and convenience, and entertainment,” Roberts adds. “This is an integral part of our strategic plan. With this new acquisition, we now have a team of 32 pure R&D professionals that are spearheading our R&D efforts and product differentiation really starting this year. This is a positive impact on our roadmap for the next five years.”
O’Neal feels that Nortek’s future will mirror what his clients and integrators need, providing them the technology that is dependable and cutting edge.
“As we see the security and IoT space evolving, analytics is becoming a critical component of how sensing technology and security is going to be manifest in the home. It is not all cloud-based. A lot of it will be done on the edge. Still, customers have concerns about the security of their systems and cost, so we need a way to transform our products across all the platforms we sell whether they be gates, garage door openers, door/window sensors, thermostats, smoke detectors or cameras associated with access control products, along with cameras and other devices in the health and wellness space,” O’Neal emphasizes. “We are committed to being a leader in this space for the long term and other investments we are making in the organization we think will set us apart from the competition.”
Steve Lasky is Editorial Director for the Southcomm Security Media Group, which includes SecurityInfoWatch.com, Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine and Security Technology Executive magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.