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Avigilon Dirty Tricks

by John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jan 15, 2014 About John Contact John

Avigilon's products are strong but their marketing is consistently and utterly irresponsible - one dirty trick after another. While their rapid growth to become a top-tier manufacturer is admirable, their marketing is repugnant.

This has been going on for years.

Replacing Up to 95 Cameras

Avigilon's most famous trick is their claims of ‘replacing up to 95 cameras’ which is misleading on many levels and especially ironic, considering they fail to mention that camera has 93% lower frame rate and hogs 10x more storage/bandwidth per frame.

The Chart

Avigilon has a pseudo study with a ridiculous chart purporting that 12 Avigilon cameras can replace 520 analog cameras and save more than $300,000. Equally bizarre, this is done in a 25,000 sqft parking lot which fits about 100 cars – or 5 analog cameras per vehicle.

The Commercial

Avigilon’s commercial features two impossible claims. First, they capture license plates while cars are turning, going 30+ mph in a 50+ ft wide FoV all at the same time. Then they digitally zoom into a 300’+ wide FoV of a stadium displaying HD, full frame rate details of people in the crowd. Watch it yourself:

The Home Page

Avigilon's home page featured a clear manipulation, prominently showcasing 5 'comparisons' between analog and HD with the headline 'Find out what you have been missing in HD'. Each shows an 'analog' and an Avigilon HD image side by side. Here is one:

analog vs hd

The analog camera looks horrible, dramatically worse than the Avigilon. However, this is a massive misrepresentation of what an analog camera delivers in such a scene. We raised these concerns repeatedly to Avigilon but they declined any comment.

Here is a real comparison we did of an old analog camera vs a new H3 3MP Avigilon camera:

real comparison

The real analog image is far better than Avigilon's doctored 'analog' one and while obviously inferior to a 3MP one, nowhere near as much of a gap as Avigilon portrays.

[UPDATE July 2013: Avigilon admits ad not actual.]

Avigilon's comparison suffers from the same issues as the Arecont ad and, we believe, violates the same laws and regulations.

Updated: MORE Dirty Tricks

3rd Party IP Camera Support

Avigilon's 3rd party IP camera claims are grossly and knowingly misleading buyers.

Let's take a look at their marketing:

Saying they support any ONVIF camera including motion detection and PTZ is crazy, especially with motion detection and PTZs (see ONVIF Detailed Technical Answers)

And here's more from Avigilon:

There's no gray area here. This claim is obviously and demonstrably false. 

Equally troubling, we hear regularly that many Avigilon RSMs gloss over any concerns about integrating with 3rd party cameras in much the same way as the website misstates their support.

World's Smallest HD Dome Camera

Avigilon's ad campaign for their microdome purposely hides part of the camera. Compare their ad on the right to the actual camera on the left:

Avigilon shows only the lens and imager in the ad comparing it to a golf ball. But that is not the full camera. It needs the 'pez dispenser' permanently attached to it to work which routinely causes installation problems.

CFO Debacle

Avigilon's stock is down more than 50% since its peak in early 2014. One of the key drivers in this downturn has been the controversy of Avigilon's CFO 'resigning' the night before quarterly financials were released. Avigilon claimed a 'personal health issue', but then the ex-CFO got a new job the next month. Avigilon's CEO and financiers also insinuated that those executives leaving were simply 'greedy'.

More Executives Out

So far in 2015, the SVP of Sales has 'resigned' as well as the EVP of engineering and the VP of Marketing, while reports of fear and intimidation within the company have grown.

Patent Enforcement Campaign

Avigilon spent $80 million buying patents from Object Video, who previously had sued many manufacturers looking to get paid. Now, Avigilon is starting its own patent licensing / enforcement program.

Much like Object Video's methods were widely decried as taking advantage of the patent system, so too are Avigilon's.

Track Record of Manipulation and Deception

We certainly think highly of Avigilon's products, both cameras and VMS, but their marketing is among the most irresponsible in the entire surveillance industry. We hope Avigilon takes a deep look at these practices and reconsiders. They neither need to nor should stoop to these levels.

IPVM Test Results

IPVM backs up its critiques with the industry's most in-depth testing of Avigilon products, including:

The complete report is available only to PRO Members.

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