Optical/IP Networks

Cisco's Watching You

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is getting into the world of physical security, but it's doing so by way of one startup's IP video technology. (See Cisco Gets Surveillance.)

Cisco today announced it will pay $51 million in cash and options for SyPixx Networks Inc., a Waterbury, Conn.-based firm that sells video surveillance software and hardware. Under Cisco, the firm's IP encoders, decoders, media servers, and video storage solutions won't be limited to just watching department stores for shoplifters.

"I would say this definitely can extend beyond video surveillance," says Marthin De Beer, VP of Cisco emerging market technologies group, in a brief conversation with Light Reading.

The company's products help enterprise customers digitize and encode their surveillance footage, making that footage accessible via any Internet-connected computer. And once that video is IP-enabled, it is not only accessible by humans, but other programs and network applications as well.

In the short term, however, De Beer says the SyPixx gear gives Cisco a nice opportunity to help companies, airports, banks, and casinos watch their assets and protect their property. And, yes, the gear will probably be sold to governments, too. (See China Censorship Debate Circles Cisco .)

Because the video produced by SyPixx's gear is MPEG4-encoded, IP video, companies could realize some cost savings by networking their security efforts -- which is clearly an attractive integration opportunity for Cisco (more routers and switches, anyone?). For instance, a networked surveillance center inside a department store would be able to monitor 20 other stores in a retail chain, instead of just one location on a closed, proprietary network.

SyPixx was founded in 2004, and its 27 employees will be part of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, which reports to De Beer. The deal is expected to close on or before April 28.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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