ADT acquiring Proximex means more accessible PSIM for everyone
From the “Least Surprising Developments” file, the acquisition of Proximex by ADT Security Services was announced this morning. Why did this acquisition, or something like it absolutely have to happen?
ADT Security Services has been very intentionally (if haphazardly) adding wider and deeper services related to security monitoring. If you look at PSIM (physical security information management) clearly, you see it as a set of technologies for more efficiently responding to events, as opposed to merely recording events. That mission has been the stated objective of ADT for some time. Of course ADT would want to buy a PSIM vendor to put some consistency in its otherwise hodgepodge security offering. The question is which one? NICE is too big, publicly traded and not looking to spin out its PSIM product, Situator. One down. CNL has many good points, but not enough customers to prove its versatility. VidSys might have been a good choice. It would likely have been considerably more expensive to acquire, in light of its market penetration and VC funding, but what a boon it would have been for ADT mind-share in the Commercial space.
What about other PSIM contenders? There are some vendors that are not fully committed to the PSIM architecture and newcomers trying to make their name, but trial by fire in real life customer deployments bubbled Proximex and a few others to the top of ADT’s short list. ADT probably looked at Proximex and saw a technology and brand that was just sexy enough and the price was right.
That leaves the question of why would Proximex want to sell. Proximex, like other PSIM vendors, was not growing at the rate its investors (most notably Proximex’s Jack Smith of Hotmail fame) assumed or hoped. There are many reasons for that lack of growth in the PSIM world: misleading and confused marketing, misaligned pricing strategies, missed technology opportunities, poor channel partnerships, and of course challenging market dynamics and fickle customers. For example, when an investor puts a ton of money in a commercial technology, he’ll be inclined to sell it at a high price. Selling something at a high price means marketing it as an “enterprise solution.” An Enterprise Solution requires extremely mature and rich technical functionality, driving more expensive product development and constantly dissatisfied customers. You see? Greedy eyes create an impossible spiral for a fledgling technology segment like PSIM.
I’m happy with the ADT acquisition, and so are my end-user clients, who nearly every day tell me another example of how PSIM technology helps them or would have helped them run a more efficient and effective operation. ADT will find a delighted customer base.