First Look at Haivision’s CoolSign…

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

We had a chance to meet for the first time, the key players at Haivision yesterday and meet up with old friends at CoolSign. We toured Haivision’s busy two-story offices in Montreal and came away impressed with what it offers and its vision of where it wants to be in the future.

L-R: Raffi Vartian; Peter Maag; Mirko Wicha; Lou Giacalone.

Joining us were Haivision’s Mirko Wicha, chairman, president and CEO; and Peter Maag, executive vice-president business development and marketing; and both Lou Giacalone and Raffi Vartian, recently president and founder of CoolSign and CoolSign’s vice-president business development respectively. New titles for Giacalone and Vartian at Haivision haven’t yet been officially decided but both are key in the company that recently added CoolSign and, a year ago, added Video Furnace (now just called Furnace).

With its new offerings, Haivision has moved from a company mainly offering hardware video encoders/decoders to one also delivering advanced video networking, digital signage, and IP video distribution solutions. It offers complete end-to-end technology for video, graphics, and metadata in this field and makes this technology available as solutions through integrators and resellers worldwide.

The Furnace IP video system offers 100% secure video recording and delivery, leveraging the InStream desktop player. And CoolSign digital signage software solution provides advanced endpoint communications to control and monitor all media elements.

Furnace’s InStream player requires zero installation, zero maintenance, zero upgrades and works on any platform – Windows, Mac OS/X, Linux, Unix, Sun Solaris 10 – or set-top box – Stingray. And Furnace claims to be the only IP server that can deliver HIPAA compliant security.

CoolSign, while part of the Adspace Networks, was profitable for its some of its first seven years, but its profits had slipped in recent years. With several other companies involved, “Its ownership structure got wacky,” Giacalone admits bluntly.

Under Haivision, CoolSign has no financial worries as it prepares for growth. Haivision is privately financed with no venture capital investment, is profitable, and claims 42% annual growth for the past five years with solid profits every quarter in the past several years without exception. Haivision has well over 100 employees including 25 at Furnace, located in Chicago (where Vartian is also located) and globally, and 17 at CoolSign in Beaverton, Oregon and staff spread through New York (where Giacalone is located), Atlanta and other cities.

The company is bringing people together to be commonly efficient, and “Haivision and CoolSign have a very good fit with a mix of the same fundamentals, philosophies and objectives,” says Maag.

We’ll be watching Haivision closely as we’re sure to be hearing more about this growing company in the near future.

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