Logitech will expand its presence in the “digital home” market by acquiring WiLife, makers of video surveillance systems for homes and small businesses. This sounds like a great move for both companies, as Logitech acquires a great stable of new products and WiLife gains access to a significantly larger distribution channel.
I reviewed WiLife’s Lukwerks Surveillance Starter Kit in the September 2007 issue of Maximum PC, and awarded the product a solid 9. I just barely held back giving them a Kick Ass award because the product line is limited to surveillance cameras. If Logitech expands the product line to include motion sensors and intrusion-detection modules, such as what iControl offers in its subscription-based package (I rated it a “7” in the same issue ), they’ll have an awesome product on their hands.
Logitech will pay $24 million for WiLife, “plus a possible performance-based payment, tied to reaching certain future revenue targets,” according to a Logitech press release. Logitech pointed to a Parks Associate market study that indicates there is “high interest in remote monitoring of their home with a videocamera” among broadband-connected households. The report claims there are 9.8 million homes in the U.S. alone. Logitech clearly expects this number to grow, and WiLife’s executives likely concluded that the company as it stood wasn’t large enough to reach that market on its own.
This marks Logitech’s third acquisition of a narrowly focused, trailblazing consumer electronics brand, following the company’s buyouts of Harmony (innovative remote controls) and Squeezebox (wireless audio-streaming). According to Logitech’s press release, the company’s management “views the long-term potential of the [WiLife] acquisition to be very promising,” but that it will not have a material impact in the current fiscal year, which ends in March 31, 2008.