Qognify: Seetec and Onssi Successfully Integrated
GIT SECURITY interviewed Qognify CEO and President Steve Shine and Andreas Beerbaum, VP Sales International
Qognify made some significant acquisitions in 2018 – through the takeover of Onssi and Seetec. That brought the company into the realms of the leading players in physical security. Qognify operates important development centers in Germany, Israel and the United States as well as Sales and Support offices around the world. GIT SECURITY spoke with Qognify CEO and President Steve Shine and Andreas Beerbaum, Vice President Sales International.
GIT SECURITY: Andreas, Steve, almost one year has passed since Qognify acquired Seetec and Onssi. What has changed since then, how is the integration of the companies moving forward and what are the main activities?
Steve Shine: It is an exciting time to work at Qognify and I am pleased to report that in just over six months, we have already made excellent progress integrating the three companies – which is not always an easy task, as you can imagine. There are plenty of challenges, the first of which was to establish and communicate a clear positioning for the company with its new portfolio. This has helped our partners and customers to quickly familiarize themselves with the newly expanded organization. We also launched cross-product initiatives in order to benefit from common elements such as mobile and web applications or 3rd party integrations in a much better way. The message is that Qognify is a company dedicated to helping organizations that place a premium on physical security and enterprise incident management, to achieve their desired outcomes. It is encouraging and rewarding to see our talented teams all over the world working together, to make Qognify a trusted advisor for enterprise customers.
A very positive message for all partners and customers relying on Cayuga: the software, which has been very successful in Europe, will become a central component of the Qognify portfolio according to you. Which opportunities and applications do you see for Cayuga in which markets?
Steve Shine: Qognify has a portfolio of solutions capable of meeting the exacting requirements of organizations operating in a wide range of sectors. We analyze the needs of our customers carefully and make recommendations. Our aim is not to sell a particular product, but to provide every customer with sustainable solutions, generating additional value.
Andreas Beerbaum: Cayuga has a proven track record in EMEA. It is characterized by its convenient rollout capabilities, advanced connectivity and ease of use. Together with BVI, Cayuga provides added value beyond physical security, supporting the business processes of customers. For these reasons, we see enormous global growth potential in retail, logistics, commercial, and transportation environments.
The physical security market is not small, so you see a lot of competition there. What makes you confident that Qognify can stand its ground and diversify into new markets?
Steve Shine: We see ourselves as a global provider of video and enterprise incident management solutions. Our customers understand that physical security and an accompanying strategy is an essential requirement for successfully operating their business. Especially in times of unprecedented threats worldwide such as natural disasters, terrorism or mass shootings, the number of these organizations is growing. We have a strong heritage in the security sector, resulting in a high level of expertise, proven technology and a powerful global organization – this is a very strong foundation to thrive in this industry. If an organization needs cameras at the corners of their buildings, there are probably other vendors that can do this job cheaper – but this is not the market we are addressing.
Let’s take a look at your existing partnerships: right after the acquisition, some long-time Seetec customers may have asked themselves what kind of support and assistance they would probably experience in the future and if there would be new offerings. What is your conclusion after the first few months? What is already going very well and what are you working on?
Andreas Beerbaum: After reviewing our portfolio of services and asking our customers and partners, we came to the conclusion that there are two key areas where we can create major benefits for them. The first is global 24/7 hotline support across all products. The other is an extension of our after-sales service to improve how we share our expertise with customers and partners. As such, we are in the process of establishing a new services organization within Qognify.
One of your latest products is the new web-based “Umbrella” administration platform. Umbrella is designed to enable your customers to make significant cost savings by centrally managing large distributed video surveillance systems in the cloud. How is this platform getting started, and what’s next?
Andreas Beerbaum: We designed Umbrella to enable our large Cayuga VMS customers to manage their systems in a more holistic way. We wanted to prevent them from over-spending on technical expertise and unnecessary licenses, as well as reducing the chances of exposing themselves to regulatory risk. Also, in recognition that physical security software is increasingly moving to the cloud, we developed the product based on web technology. Now our customers have the freedom to run it on platforms likes Microsoft Azure and AWS, or can choose to install it on-premise within their own infrastructure. When Umbrella was launched in May it attracted a great deal of attention. Some enterprise customers, for instance in the retail industry, have already deployed the platform in environments that typically contain thousands of cameras. They are using Umbrella to simplify the configuration and management of their systems, as well as to monitor their health status. Looking forward, we are working on a central license management component and a module to support live operations.
Finally, a look into the crystal ball: what do you think will be tomorrow’s big trends when it comes to VMS, video analytics and incident management?
Steve Shine: When it comes to VMS, we see that the size of systems is still constantly growing, which presents mounting challenges to the organizations operating them. As such, an efficient way to monitor and manage vast systems centrally becomes more and more important. In addition, the concepts of enhanced situational awareness and incident management integrating with video technology is a strong trend, replacing the traditional approach of reacting to events based on a static plan of procedures buried somewhere within a binder on a dusty shelf. It is enabling organizations to significantly reduce response times by providing an immersive experience of the situation and then guiding the operator through the resolution process. Video analytics can contribute to this, especially as there have been enormous advances in the development of AI-based technologies.