FLIR has acquired camera manufacturer, Innovative Security Designs, as part of a move to expand its optical camera range. But the move also highlights FLIR’s expectation of where the video surveillance market is heading. 

In recent times FLIR has acquired mass market CCTV provider, Lorex, and high end VMS and camera manufacturer, DVTEL. The acquisition of ISD is another step in rounding out FLIR’s optical camera offering but not in the most obvious way. ISD is small, with its most market penetration in the United States. FLIR suggests the acquisition fills a gap in its mid to high-end offering and while that’s true, ISD’s cameras are not the optical equivalents of benchmark products from tech houses like GBO. Furthermore, DVTEL made some lovely high end cameras in its own right. 

Rather, it’s the sort of cameras ISD makes that is most instructive. Rather than trying to blow rivals out of the water with class-leading resolution or see-in-the-dark low light performance, ISD built a boutique business manufacturing very capable 1080p optical cameras that incorporate a profound focus on the network edge and actively integrate the fundamental demands of security operations with the regulatory and compliance needs of IT people.  

There’s no doubt ISD has made some cool products, including the Lynx netSeries miniBall, released in 2013. Lynx incorporated the Microsoft technology stack – it was essentially an edge computing platform for video surveillance applications running Microsoft Embedded Windows 7, encased in an IP66 dome camera enclosure. As well as being optioned for seamless integration with modern IT networks, the camera teamed a useful CMOS sensor and a 3-10mm motorised remote control zoom, delivering 1080p resolution and simultaneous analogue and IP multi-streaming at 30ips. 

ISD’s full body Jaguar camera released in 2012 is also instructive. It included zero-touch installation with selected VMS solutions, the same 3-10mm remotely controllable lens, low light performance down to .05 lux, a microSD slot and an SDXC card slot, the latter allowing the potential for up to 4TB onboard storage. Jaguar was Trinity and HDWitness server ready, featured a microphone, PoE and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio of 72.4 dB suggesting it would make the most of its low light capability. 

Given the year of its release, Jaguar was particularly strong on the network side. Compression options included H.264 baseline profile, main profile (the default), high profile Level 5, and MPEG, giving a total of 4 simultaneous video streams. Jaguar also included ISD’s EDGE technology touted as offering DVR-free operation and incorporating analytics that report human traffic in real time. That IVA capability was neat in 2012 but it’s a major trend now.

Will we see ISD's network-side focus spilling into other parts of FLIR's huge optical and thermal camera range in the future? We most certainly will. 

“This acquisition adds an additional level of expertise to FLIR’s technology portfolio,” said John Distelzweig, VP & GM at FLIR. “ISD is known for developing innovative IP security solutions that combine high-resolution digital video cameras with built-in leading edge technologies. Furthermore, this acquisition strengthens FLIR’s position as an end-to-end video surveillance provider by adding the technology and expertise to develop mid- to high-end visible cameras.”

“ISD has a loyal customer base,” Distelzweig said. “In addition to supporting all of ISD’s existing products, FLIR will benefit from providing valued customers access to FLIR’s end-to-end security solutions, featuring an open platform design, state-of-the-art analytics, and the widest range of video security products.” ♦

By John Adams