Cisco Secures Electric Eye Buy

Acquisition-hungry Cisco Systems today agreed to buy video surveillance vendor SyPixx Networks for $51 million in cash and stock.

SyPixx Networks makes software and hardware that converts footage from traditional analog video surveillance systems into digital form and pipes it over a computer network.

SyPixx products include analog to digital video camera encoders, digital to analog video monitor decoders, analog video transmission equipment, video recording and management software and servers.

Cisco, whose goals include providing secure voice, video and data over an IP network, will use the Waterbury, Conn., start-up’s products to help customers continue using their legacy surveillance systems and integrate them into a broader physical security program.

The point is to make video accessible at any time from any place to ensure real-time response to security threats and incidents, Cisco said in a statement. SyPixx gear will help companies use new security applications and make recorded and live video more helpful.

With its Self Defending Network strategy for weeding out internal and external threats, Cisco already offers several types of security software, including firewall protection and other solutions to protect against denial-of-service attacks, worms and viruses.

In buying SyPixx, Cisco said physical security will become the latest emerging technology area for Cisco, as it seeks to offer business customers video surveillance as part of an “intelligent converged environment.”

Should the deal close in April as expected, SyPixx’s video surveillance products will be part of a new business unit in Cisco’s Emerging Markets Technology Group, reporting to group vice president Marthin De Beer.

“Through the acquisition of SyPixx, Cisco will begin to show how the network can also be a platform for enhancing the safety of people and the protection of physical assets,” De Beer said.

SyPixx is Cisco’s latest stab at diversifying its portfolio at a time when the company is trying to find new revenue streams after hogging most of the networking gear market. Some of these target areas include video and network convergence for consumers and businesses.

For example, the San Jose, Calif., company last week closed its purchase of Scientific-Atlanta, a leading provider of set-top boxes, video distribution networks and video systems integration.

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