Founded in 2001 Hikvision grew from a minor regional player to the biggest video surveillance brand in the world in a staggeringly short space of time.
This is a profile of the Chinese CCTV giant, retracing its history, detailing its increasingly muscular approach to acquisitions and its latest products in network video.
Chinese video surveillance firm Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company Limited (Hikvision) was founded in 2001 and was first listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2010. Part-owned by the Chinese government, the Forbes 2000 company now has offices in 20 locations around the world including the USA and Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Korea, India and five European countries.
Hikvision has grown substantially in recent years, with revenue for the 12 months ending 31st December 2015 recorded as US$3.9bn (25% of which came from outside China), up 47% on FY14 and more than double the US$1.76bn posted in FY13. That increased turnover and global reach has been achieved partly through acquisition and partly organic growth.
Hikvision purchased UK-based intrusion alarm security firm Pyronix in May 2016 for an undisclosed sum.
Market position and strategy
Hikvision’s market share has accelerated in parallel with its revenue. Research company IHS calculated had doubled market share in two years, and currently held 19.5% of the global CCTV and video surveillance equipment market in 2015, up from 16.3% in 2014.
Hikvision’s growth is eclipsing other brands in CCTV industry, as can be seen in global searches for Hikvision (source: Google Trends)
Much of the company’s strength lies in its willingness and ability to reach new customers through an extensive network of technology and distribution partners, ranging from global giants like ADI right down to local players in individual countries such as WDC Networks in Brazil.
Recent examples of technology partnerships include a deal with Swedish video surveillance company Observit AB; a joint project with Eagle Eye Networks to provide cloud based security and business intelligence video management for the Lawrence Police Department in the US; and a software tie-up with ECMS on monitored surveillance system checking services.
That flexibility around joint sales and marketing initiatives is backed up by Hikvision’s embedded open platform (HEOP) programme which was designed to ensure that third party analyst, detection and recognition applications can be downloaded and installed to run on its network cameras.
That approach gives customers and security integrators a choice around which application, service or system management components they use alongside Hikvision hardware, and supports independent evaluation, application development, compatibility testing and software development kit (SDK) delivery.
It also allows systems integrators the option to feed footage from Hikvision cameras back to their own web pages without the manufacturer’s assistance and therefore create their own revenue streams for ongoing service provision.
While it is actively targeting customers in the retail, transportation, construction, finance and pharmaceutical industries, Hikvision traditionally has a strong presence in education selling surveillance and access systems to schools, colleges and universities across the world.
Latest Hikvision technologies
Hikvision maintains large security technology portfolio that includes:
- IP network, analogue and HD CCTV cameras
- Digital and network video recorders (DVR/NVRs)
- Video encoders/decoders
- Video management software
- Access control and alarm systems.
Hikvision attributes much of its success to the speed and scale of its product innovation, asserting that around 8% of its annual turnover is ploughed back into research and development each year, with a third of its global staff (roughly 5,000 engineers) being directly involved. In 2017 Hikvision are planning to open two new high tech R&D facilities in North America – Montreal and Silicon Valley.
Hikvision was fast to incorporate H.264 advanced video coding, video content analysis, cloud computing and big data into its product lines. Its latest Dome and Smart Box and Smart Bullet cameras support 4K video recording for example.
These offer 3840×2160 pixel resolutions that support more sophisticated video analytics applications like face or car number plate recognition and can cover a much wider area with a single camera than is possible with multiple HD models.
Whilst Hikvision’s early success was built on undercutting established rivals (particularly in the US and Europe) with comparatively inexpensive cameras, it has since used its broad product portfolio to reach every corner of the video surveillance market and offer security solutions at a much wider range of price points.
Rather than smaller sites requiring 10 or 20 cameras and associated infrastructure and management tools, the company now sees customers needing hundreds or thousands of cameras as its sweet spot.
It is also applying significant resources to identify gaps in video security and analytics provision within key vertical industries, developing new applications able to exploit the latest camera functionality to provide customers with some measure of operational advantage.
Examples of innovation here include intercom systems equipped with biometric readers that scan faces and fingerprints for accurate authentication and door entry, and “heat mapping” technology that use cameras to help retailers monitor traffic flow in shops and malls in response to marketing and promotion campaigns.
Elsewhere a mobile in-vehicle solution that deploys camera with magnetic ‘stick-on’ base, embedded WiFi and 3G/4G connectivity, long life batteries and integrated high capacity data storage options on the inside of buses and trains was developed for transport companies, with an all-in-one security terminal that combines video recording capabilities, storage and a display in one compact, movable unit having multiple uses.
This video showcases the new Hikvision Falcon Series Drone to bring surveillance to the skies.
Hikvision at IFSEC International 2017
In this video Keen Yao, International Business, Hikvision discusses some of the innovative products they showcased at IFSEC International 2017.
- For contact details and product news read the Hikvision’s IFSEC Directory profile.