Subscriber Discussion

Why Did Apple And Google Choose Arecont?

Two month ago, I went to Silicon Valley for a conference. The conference was only 2 days long so I stayed for an additional 5 days to look at the city and to visit some techie sites. Being a huge geek myself, I contacted some friends in apple and google so that I can spend a day with them.

Both site where amazing. Both are them are so different but very interesting as well. One thing that I noticed that both shared in common is that both companies chose Arecont for all of their new cameras. The cameras seemed to have gotten upgraded not long ago. Both apple and google are known for being innovative. They facilities have the best of the best. I was drooling the entire time. Eitherway, I am wondering, from all the manufacturers, why Arecont? Why both of the two technology giants would choose Arecont? Is it because its an American made product? Is it because they think it fits better to what they do as a company? Unfortunaltey, both companies did not share any information about their VMS.

Any thoughts?

It may have helped Arecont is one of the bigger players based on California. It may have also have helped Arecont seems to have a lot of sales and promotion people vs quality control people.

"Arecont seems to have a lot of sales and promotion people vs quality control people."


Lest this turn into a speculation and bashing, it would be useful if someone with inside knowledge commented on this.

Jose, did you notice any particular Arecont models Apple and Google were using?

John, your right. They have a lot of new products out and everyone deserves a second chance. And it would be interesting to know how the decision process worked out. If you could delete my comment, that would be good.

Well, ironically, I am pretty sure Google and Apple choose Arecont a few years ago - at the height of their massive growth and QA issues. Let's see who can add any inside details.

It would be interesting to see how similar decisions would go today - with a lot more competition in the market.

I'm 99% sure they use the same integrator, and I know that integrator is a fan of Arecont. So it's like that Arecont was on a short-list of recommended products for them. Additionally, with Arecont being a US company and based essentially "locally" most likely helped. Then, you look at their cost-per-pixel and form factor options, and I'm not surprised to see they have lots of cameras in these places.

You can argue about applicability or quality or whatever, but if you want to know why Arecont managed to sell a lot of cameras to these places, and you think about it from a "sales" angle, and I think you can see it was probably a relatively easy sale for them.

I'd point out as well, that just because you're two of the largest consumer technology names on the planet, doesn't mean you know IP cameras or surveillance in general (although there's probably a lot of knowledge residing in the trenches). Arecont's sales department may not have even come into play - more likely, it's a combination of standard, everyday-type corporate decision makers coupled with an integrator's whiz-bang sales pitch.

Touring the company made me realize that every element in their campus is done perfectly and is in sync with everything they do. You can see that these giants take every action very seriously and it looks like all is sync with everything else they do. I am not sure if technology companies like these care for marketing when researching vendors. I think they choose based on what they are known for. They are company's that are not quick to decide. They must have found something in arecont that they can relate too. If not, they wouldn't have chosen it. I don't sell that many arecont cameras so I really can't tell the model. They also don't let people take pictures inside. Apple security was very tight compared to google. The sense is that everyone feels very secure in both campuses.
Another thing to point out is some of the arecont cameras look fairly new. And they did tell me that they keep on adding video.... So it seems they are continuing purchasing from Arecont.
One thing also holds true, apple would not have a windows based platform. Which apple platforms could handle such a system?

Not sure why apple uses Areccont but I was told Apple uses exacq in there AppleStores beccuase they were one of the only companies to have an apple client. At the Apple HQ they use VidSys PSIM to manage all events and video. As for what they use as an underlying VMS and Access control at Apple HQ I am usure.

I have no knowledge of why either choose Arecont, however I would say typically what is in stalled is what is recommended by the chosen integrator. There are lots of products out there and end users can't test or even get knowledge of every product out there.

For example two years ago we started putting in a new ATM model that was specifically designed to be an ADA compliant model. However after design the manufacture of the ATM realized they did not keep an ATM face camera mounting location in mind when they designed the unit. So as an after thought they choose a spot that was terrible, with limited space on the inside and the only cameras that would fit were board cameras. The mounting location was so low that unless you were a child, in a wheel chair or a short person (little person), the camera would film your waste. So they decided to fix the problem by making the problem even worse by changing the clear plastic lenses with a fish eye piece. Short of a board camera I have only found one camera that will fit and even then the picture still stinks. This non board camera I never heard of before. But my integrator researched for months and came back to me with hey use this camera. the manufacture even has a model number that incorporates the name of this ATM. This specific camera has been factory focused for this ATM. So I bought two one with factory focusing and one without. The only difference I saw was in price. The factory focusing was a little more expensive. But still required lots of on site adjustments to maximize the terrible picture for a slightly better than terrible picture.

Again I think they probable did little to choose who they used other than to pick an integrator and this integrator specified Arecont.

As far as U.S. made. I would bet this played little into the decision. Look at all of Apples products. They are not made in the U.S. If they cared about made in the U.S. they would make their products here.

I bet these companies did not take the recommendation of any specific integrator. Moreover, very large end users (Fortune 100) typically are pretty aggressive to control the selection process themselves. Companies that big easily have the budgets and manpower to run internal tests, to do extensive due diligence, etc.

I am reluctant to name names of end users, but I know many large end users whose sophistication on surveillance and physical security technology is equal to or greater than big name security integrators.


I have some friends at three of the largest companies in the world or the U.S. at least. They have entire departments to test security equipment. My company is one of the top 50 largest financial institutions in the U.S. However our equipment testing department is me, myself and I.

Having stated this, two of these companies when it was anolog cameras used to use the same cameras we used. One of them uses the same DVR. One of them used the alarm panel that the inegrator had as their in house product. not a major third party manufacture such as Bosch (Radionics) or DMP.

One of these companies is just now I learned starting a pilot program to install and test a top IP camera manufacture.

I don't discount what you say but often they will only test what their inegrator suggests or what a sales guy pushes infront of them from a manufacture. Even the big boys can't test everything. In the ensd they do have a bottom line. And being in the security industry for a large corporation I realize and so do the security folks at apple and Google or any one else for that matter they realize they are a cost center and not a profit center. so their security budget may be larger than mine but it is not a blank check.

There may be a better DVR/HVR/NVR out there better than mine, but I simply can't test every manufacture out there. And I can't change brands with every installation. I need to find a unit I like, satisfies my needs and wants and move forward with it until the manufacture no longer meets those needs or I find my needs and wants have changed.

I woukld put money on the fact that Apple and Google are no different because in the end of the day they do not have an unlimited budget.

For example, I chair a robbery investigators group here in Texas. It comprised Banks, Credit unions and law enforcement. Its been around for 5 years come March. In 2009 a friend of mine at one of the top five banks in the U.S. (not to disclose the name) used to sponsor at least 2 of the monthly meetings. The group has about 150 people in the group and on average any given month we have 50 people attend. In the last two years my friend hasa been unable to sponsor eeven one meeting because his boss says its not in the budget. I have local mom and pop banks with only two locations who sponsor a meeting and can afford lunch. This same large bank woukld not even pay for him to attend the R.O.I.T (Robbery Investigators of Texas) conference last month. A cost of $300 plus travel from San Antonio to Austin, TX a mere 1 and a half hour drive. He even offered to travel all three days and have no hotel expense and they would not fund the event. So large does not mean much these days.

"Often they will only test what their integrator suggests or what a sales guy pushes in front of them from a manufacturer."

These end users are generally not passive, and do not simply ask a regional integrator what they should buy or respond to cold calls from manufacturers. No one can test 'everything' but that does not mean they cannot control the buying process. They can do their own research, reach out to companies, do testing of products that look to be promising, etc.

Really large end users often negotiate price and specific terms directly with the manufacturer, putting integrators more of a fulfillment and installation roll only.


They do not use regional inetegrators. They use national integrators. By the way we use the same one that many of them use. We have also been solicited by the other national level inetegrators the obnes that don't use the same one as us use. So I know they don't take the advise for a regional guy. Trust me I have been here for 18 years in the industry.

We have used some of the biggest names in the industry. And these same integrators have some of the biggest names in the business world as their clinets. We have used in the past TYCO IS, ADT, Diebold, Convergint Technology, Honeywell, just to name a few. Years ago we used to use prior to buy outs integrators such as Security Link, and National guardian. I can tell you of the guys i am talking about and you can look up the top 50 banks in the U.S. and some of my friends are in the top five on this list we use the same inetgrator currently and I will tell you they get their products from the integrator and not the manufacture. I will also tell you out side of banks, I have a friend who works for a large retail chain (a big anchor store in shopping centers) and they don't buy direct.

But again this is not every company out there this however this is some of the largest however and even what we do compared to them is different in many way. Won of my friends at a top five bank, says he has no say in what equipment he used. This comes down from corporate. They test equipment at corporate and dictate what is going to be used. He hates this.

Another large bank guy I know I was just speaking two hours ago over lunch, he used dye packs, the entire corporation does. He just found out the corporate has decided to no longer install dye packs. The rational was they don't make any money off of dye packs. He told me he told the corporate bean counter "yes thats true but the dye packs not there to make money, there to capture bank robbers". Don't matter they are doing away with them.

Anyway. Great discussion.

My point is that most super end users, even if they use a national, don't call up ADT or Diebold and say, "Tell me what I should use" or "Give me the camera you like best."

This is often the case with smaller users, who either do not care or know much about security, but super large end users, like Google and Apple, have enough staff, money and power to actively engage and select the products they want.

But in really large users, the role typically flips. The 'integrator' is there primarily to handle a logistical role rather than a consultant / design. I am not denying that an integrator is involved, just the centrality of the integrator's role in the selection and negotiation process of a manufacturer/product.

[Edit/Update: I am sure there are cases where super large end users essentially turn over selection to an integrator, but most of the time really large users have control over the process.]

One other thing to add. For really large end users, the role of the manufacturer marketing, if not selling direct, is key. These accounts are so big and lucrative that almost any manufacturer would have their own key account people actively developing relationships with the purchasing team at these end users. I bet on a lot of these projects, the manufacturer sales person is one of the key driving factors in who wins.

Having seen a copy of the PO for the cameras that ended up at Google, I can attest the cameras were sold via a national distributor to a large national integrator, Arecont respected the channel. But when you purchase 5000 2MP cameras in a single order, you get a great price. That being said, I am aware of another large tech firm a little north of google and apple that went to Arecont an attempted to purchase directly, Arecont declined but one of their competitors did not. In all three cases mfg personnel maintained relationships with the end users.

Why does the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas use Arecont? Or Cal Trans? Or Sprint? I'd imagine these larger entities have agreements in place that allow them to keep stock replacements onsite for little or no overhead to quickly repair or replace problem devices as they surface. Axis nor anyone else is above a defect rate- it's part of doing business. However if your voice is loud enough (or checkbook large enough) you can likely get any manufacturer to play ball.

It's probably worthwhile to comment on why people would choose Arecont in general. I see 2 general drivers:

  • The SurrondVideo multi-imager 180 and 360 cameras (like the 20MP version we tested). It's nearly unique with only a few direct competitors and has a lot of value for people who want to cover large areas at low cost. And now they will soon roll out the Omni, which is an even more novel and distinct offering.
  • Bare bones, low cost fixed cameras - While Arecont has very few 'bells and whistles' - no SD card support, no analytics, rudimentary software (AV100), most of their cameras are significantly less money than equivalent resolution Axis/Sony/Bosch/Panasonic/Pelco/etc. offerings.

What I am curious about is the second driver. In 2010, around the time those companies purchased Arecont, low cost Asian alternatives were scarce. Now, there are many credible alternatives (with Dahua being the hot, up and comer in the US). How much is this impacting Arecont?

I can say that Arecont was involved deeply with both those companies directly alongside the integrators to secure those projects. as well their quality, service and support programs have improved dramatically in the last year and I can say with confidence that their past issues are now just that. In the end everyone has issues with their products, no one is immune, it matters more how they address the core problem then come of that a better company. Arecont Vision has done that.

Interesting ideas folks. I'm answering from the perspective of a client securing bids on a project roughly 1/3 the size of those two and I find the answer to be a little less technical. Security gets categorically placed into a non-revenue center decision making process. The executive management of these firms does not view security as a profit center, rather a necessary expense to combat intellectual property concerns. Viewing the department as such, decisions will always skew towards cost basis as opposed to long term quality of evidence produced by the investment and long term cost of ownership.

To avoid this, security professionals have to find some form of ROI or ROA metric with which to justify their decision to go with a higher quality product (inferring here that they could in fact do better than Arecont). Example might be shipment verification or package tracking, perhaps even tie in to Kronos for payroll tracking of hourly employees. Profit is a two figure equation, Revenue minus costs. Security cannot generally affect revenue, but often can show cost reduction through the incorporation of security technology into operations and its use as an efficiency tool.

As somone very familiar with all the key decision points by those two companies in selecting Arecont Vision cameras (as well as Microsoft, Facebook, T-Mobile, AT&T and Comcast) there is a major technological factor as to why these companies selected (and continued with) Arecont Vision, that nobody is mentioning here.

Both of the above companies (as well as the others mentioned) went into high gear in their migration to megapixel in mid-2008 or shortly thereafter. In April of 2008 Arecont Vision introduced the first ever full line of H.264 equipped IP cameras across all of their offered resolutions at that time. It's easy to forget the impact that made. For the first time in a long time someone had introduced to the surveillance industry a 10x solution to what was then (and often still is now) the biggest pain in migrating to all megapixel IP. Storage/bandwidth costs! When you are talking about global enterprise scales of 10,000 cameras or more, that is the difference between millions of dollars of storage vs. tens of millions of dollars worth of storage costs.

The above is not the only reason of course. There were certainly key solutions design and sales professionals involved on all the above projects managing the end user themselves as well as their designers, integrators and distributors. But as everyone tends to lean towards Arecont bashing from days of old, I thought it was important to point out the trail they blazed that easily made them worthy of such august technology customers as Google and Apple

That's good context. Some may recall that in 2008, there was quite a debate about whether H.264 would be viable. See our April 2008 post - H.264 is Hot: What are the Potential Problems and Risks? However, at the same time, as I projected that month, (Arecont's) H.264 Makes Megapixel Go Mainstream.

For someone evaluating in 2009/2010, H.264 was a real differentiator.

Today, though, I think a choice for Arecont is tougher, even leaving aside their reputation, simply because of how much more competitive the market has become. That said, one would think Arecont could replay their success by pushing for early H.265 adoption.

It's probably because someone on the Advisory Board of Arecont recommended them to some senior folks in Apple and Google. It's probably a case of top down selling, nothing more.

Rajesh, do you have some inside information? Who's on the 'advisory board' of Arecont that is so influential that they can call up a senior person at these mega companies and get their camera specified?

This discussion is now simply getting silly with no point to it. A major airport in Canada has recently standardized on Arecont Vision also. Perhaps Arecont have a guy on their advisory board as well and was the only reason the Airport chose Arecont!

I was a decision maker at a company (mentioned above) that went to Arecont around 2008 (along with Exacq). I can tell you that the cost was a major factor, so was the input from our integrator. We did not have the choices available today, nor the knowledge we have today. We were moving from analog to IP, it was all new to us. We liked the H.264 compression, the lenses worked well and there was a full line of options. Integration was simple and the results were great.

We continued to use Arecont based on our experience. Simply put, the images captured were great in comparison to what we were used to with analog cameras and we experienced no failures. I am no longer with said company, but they are still the camera of choice today.

I use Sony at my current employer, but would not be opposed to using Arecont again. With that said, I have not been a fan of their 180 and 360 cameras. Mostly because I use the cams for post incident investigations, so I don't often go for big sweeping areas. I generally focus in ingress and egress in buildings and parking lots.

Good feedback, thanks!

Google VMS = DVTel

At ASIS we were told by a rep there that their MicroDome line was designed for Google specifically. Don't know if that is true or not, but that was their sales pitch.