West coast integrator turns the tables
By Peter Caulfield
Victoria, B.C.-based CAMACC Systems Inc. is a security integrator that outgrew its home market on Vancouver Island and did so by thinking creatively. For more than 10 years CAMACC has sold, installed and supported CCTV and access control systems just like other integrators. But the company has also been manufacturing its own line of software and hardware security products.
By Peter Caulfield
The strategy has paid off and today CAMACC sells not only directly to
end users, but also, to other integrators, through a distribution
company it recently set up. Both CAMACC and 3xLogic, its spin-off company, are prospering and looking ahead to grow in the future.
The CAMACC (CAMeras and ACCess control) story began in the summer of 1998. Dennis Law, president and co-founder of the company, was managing the video security division of a point-of-sale company in Victoria.
“When the parent company got into financial trouble, I was no longer able to get the bid bonds required to bid on some of the larger projects,” Law says. “So I decided to break off and start my own business with three employees of the Point of Sale company.”
The new venture was an immediate success.
“All of the corporate accounts from the old company signed on, including a very large casino,” he says.
Although CAMACC was a small start-up, Law was already thinking big. Security technology was on the cusp of change and he wanted his company to take full advantage of what was coming.
“Back in 1998, it was still the era of the analogue-based VCR,” Law says. “But we knew it was going to be replaced by the digital recorder.”
Because he had been a dealer, Law knew there were products on the market – with more to come – that would enable CAMACC to meet its customers’ requests for custom applications, and he wanted his company to be prepared.
“So I went out and hired some people to write software that would enable us to be more than just a reseller of someone else’s technology,” Law says.
As a result, CAMACC not only uses off-the-shelf, brand-name products, but also manufactures its own VIGIL line of products.
“We are not restricted to the capabilities of third-party products,” Law said. “With an in-house engineering department, we can write software to meet the specific demands of our customers.”
The VIGIL family has many members, including VIGIL Server (DVR); VIGIL Client (Remote software to playback and view live video through the web or WAN/LAN); VIGIL VCM (enterprise management software to monitor DVRs); VIGIL V-POS (POS trending software); and VIGIL VFS (network-attached file server). The VIGIL software suite is available in English, French and Spanish.
VIGIL systems range in price from $4,000 for a small retail application, to $2 million for a casino.
In addition to its Victoria headquarters, CAMACC has offices in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.
“The majority of sales are generated from the Victoria and Toronto offices,” Law says. “The Vancouver and Edmonton offices are mainly used for warehousing and technical support.”
CAMACC has 64 employees in Canada and five in the U.S. Three are in corporate sales and the rest are office, technical or R&D staff.
The majority of CAMACC business falls into one of three vertical markets: retail, petrochemical and casino. Law says most of the company’s customers are large, such as London Drugs, Future Shop and PetroCanada, and they sign three to five year contracts.
CMACC’s spin-off company, 3xLOGIC was founded in May 2008.
“We needed to set up another company because CAMACC is an integrator, not a manufacturer,” Law says. “Our dealers are reluctant to point their customers to the CAMACC website, for fear they might call us and ask us to sell direct. 3xLOGIC only sells through a dealer network and will not sell direct to the end user.”
3XLogic’s main competitive advantage is it’s small size.
“Most large manufacturers have large amounts of inventory on the shelf, most likely 12 to24 months old,” Law says. “Because they have to use up that inventory, they’re unable to build on demand.”
3xLogic, on the other hand, typically carries less than 100 units and can build an order when it is received.
“This allows us to very quickly update the new build with our latest software and features the big guys don’t have yet,” Law says. “For example, one of our national customers wants us to write an application to monitor manager usage of the system so they can establish a bonus payment system related to how often the manager reviews the video. We’ll meet with the customer, design the application and roll it out in four to eight weeks in the form of a software update. Problem solved.”
Looking ahead to the future, CAMACC recently opened CAMACC USA in Colorado and 3xLOGIC recently opened an office in Europe.
“Both companies will look at expansion opportunities globally to replicate the business models,” Law says. “But that’s probably 12 to18 months away.”