Canon and Milestone Discuss Acquisition in SSI’s Exclusive Q&A

Security Sales & Integration Magazine interviewed Jacco Leurs, Canon Europe’s head of Professional Imaging, and Karl Erik Traberg, head of Corporate Communications & Business Development for Milestone Systems about Canon's acquisition of Milestone Systems.

Written by Scott Goldfine, Editor, Security Sales & Integration Magazine.

Its acquisition of video management systems leader Milestone Systems positions Canon as a big-time player in the new IP world.

Having consolidated nearly 250 subsidiaries through the years, Canon is not likely to make Milestone its last acquisition in the surveillance space, but it is hard to fathom another one as transformative. Yet the potential impact to Milestone raises many questions. Will the branding remain? Will the company’s open platform and partnering approach be kept intact? How will access to more R&D affect the product line? Will the brand be extended into the consumer market? How will the technology be incorporated into Canon devices?

To get answers and unravel the particulars of this monumental purchase, SSI convened with Jacco Leurs, Canon Europe’s head of Professional Imaging, and Karl Erik Traberg, head of Corporate Communications & Business Development for Milestone Systems.

Let’s talk about the big deal that prompted our dialog today. From business and technology perspectives, what did Canon find appealing about Milestone, and what makes it a good fit?

Leurs: The area where we haven’t had a lot of focus is on the software side, and if we look to Milestone, they’re the leader within their respective market. They have a very strong portfolio. What we also appreciate a lot and where we see similarities with Canon is the drive for innovation. And last but not least, there is the corporate culture, which we believe is a very good fit between the two companies.

What makes Canon a good home for Milestone?

Karl Erik Traberg: We think this means we will be able to further accelerate our business and focus more on that. Milestone is an open platform company that is all about open platform technology and an open business model around that platform. We are also an open company culture in the way we work with our partners — our solution partners, channel partners and other ecosystem partners. All of that is what drives the success of Milestone. Canon has recognized this is a very successful business model and wants us to continue operating as a standalone company inside the Canon group. So we will continue with the Milestone brand, the Milestone offices, the business model and the go-to-market approach. We saw that as a unique opportunity, at the same time as where we think we can accelerate the business longer term.

The acquisition has raised concerns by some that Milestone might veer away from its open approach. Are those concerns valid?

Traberg: Milestone is not going away from the open platform approach or open-platform business model. Our openness and open-technology approach is creating more customer value and more value for the industry rather than going with proprietary, bundled solutions, as we saw in the analog world. We believe openness is important to ensure that solutions being deployed have long-term ROI capability and future-proofing so you can integrate new things down the road. We do not think that one single company can offer everything. An open approach gives the best of breed and the best choices for our channel partners and their customers.

Read the whole interview with Milestone and Canon.