Are Ubiquiti Domes The Easiest To Install?

The Ubiquiti UVC-Dome has a stupid-easy mounting process.

They claim "the UniFi Video Camera Dome discreetly integrates into any ceiling surface" but show an animation of an install into a ceiling tile:

Hanging a camera involves three steps and no additional hardware:

  1. You drill a hole
  2. Stick the plastic bushing ring through the hole, then twist on a backing ring.
  3. Snap the camera into place.

The housing's snap bushing reinforces the hole and has molded threads for a compression-style installation:

The design is flexible enough to install in different ceiling thickness (drywall, acoustic tile) and does not require any additional backing brackets or fasteners.

Compared to other domes, this seems like a slick approach. What do you think? Do you see downsides?


John,

I fear you may have just started a "west side story-esque" battle between the two manufacturers... I hear finger snapping in the distance...

Easy to install, OK maybe.

No ONVIF, terrible low-light, no WDR, fixed focus, indoor only, MUST be flush mounted, NO surface mount or wall mount....

Need I say more?

I forgot about that Arecont claim!
I'll bet the Ubiquiti is 'easier' to install:
  • Tile thickness doesn't matter with the UVC Dome.
  • No screwdriver is needed for a setscrew with the UVC Dome. (However, people could complain the UVC doesn't HAVE a setscrew)
  • Ubiquiti stiffens the hole and reinforces it with a bushing. Arecont has 3 legs that can be inserted wrong causing the hole damage or cause uneven mounting.

Temperature and humidity effects can cause sagging, spalling and breakage to ceiling tiles. The added weight of the camera can accelerate this process. Pressed fiber or gypsum tiles are very susceptible to environment. They may look fine at first, but then appear ragged within months. Also, camera may be forcibly separated from the tile if the dome is low enough to be slapped from the ground. :)

Temperature and humidity do cause sagging, but I have not seen the weight of one of these types of cameras contribute to it. There are a few installed for about 6 years in the office here, and there is no sag. One tile has had two cameras in it for a year and a half without additional support and no sag.

I think mounting a full size dome without support is a no-no. These things (the UBNT camera is ~6 oz.) are light enough to be ok.

A:

The patch cable is possibly heavier than the camera in this case. As Ethan said, they are super light. They don't have IR and are all plastic.

There is now a new contender...

IndigoVision BX 3MP Microdome

takes less than one minute according to the website...

had to use a link since I can't figure out how to embed the video...

Here's the video embedded:

I'm 1000% sure that dome won't fill up with dust and dirt!

The in-ceiling Avigilon microdome is the easiest camera we have ever installed unlike its surface mount counterpart which can be frustrating. It's even easier than the uvc domes.

*** WORD OF CAUTION - Just hope there are no bugs in the ceiling - they will end up in the dome partially or almost completely covering your view depending on the bug size and viewing angle - also dust, Etc get in the dome easily***

At what point does install time no longer matter?

Clearly a camera that takes an hour for the physical mounting could be improved on. But does a camera that mounts in 5 minutes really trump one that takes 12 minutes?

The cabling, termination, etc. is all pretty much the same (and a much longer time component). And there seem to be enough other variables that even with 20 cameras I don't know that saving 10 theoretical minutes per camera would really add up to 200 minutes of overall labor saving.

It also seems like the other component to this is the time it takes to add and configure the camera in the VMS.

Maybe it's just me, but marketing on "install time" for little indor cams like this seems a little bit boring.

For a small job, saving 7 minutes per camera may not be a tremendous advantage. However, over a job of a hundred cameras or more, you could be talking a full manhour-day of labor. That's certainly big enough to show up on a proposal and might win you a job. I mean, when you have a $3500 "Cabling Icon" Contest for the fastest termination, there is a general value to making quick work of routine install tasks.

I also think estimators (right or wrongly) obsess over stuff like this. Like industrial engineers who correlate every movement to a dollar value, estimators are looking for anything that can shave a few manhours off a proposal. It may not mean specifying a product based solely on install speed, but it may tilt a decision if all else is equal.

Especially contrasted with a few years ago, installation designs overall industry-wide have gotten more efficient, which is a net good for everyone.

The biggest advantage I see with the Ubiquiti or Arecont domes is the limited tools someone needs to haul up a ladder to hang a camera. Asking a tech to juggle a toolbelt, camera, and maybe even a laptop at the top of a ladder is kind of nerve-wracking. In so many cases, multiple trips up & down are taken. Each trip really adds fatigue and delay to someone whose performance is gauged on hanging as many units as quickly as he/she is able.

For a small job, saving 7 minutes per camera may not be a tremendous advantage. However, over a job of a hundred cameras or more, you could be talking a full manhour-day of labor.

I get that part, but I also think on any job where it truly adds up, you have so many other things that saving 1 man-day of labor is a rounding error. It's also likely on projects of that scope that there are a lot of estimates and you may end up over or under by a couple of man-days anyway.

Since you mentioned it, same thing for the "fastest termination". If it takes you 15 minutes to terminate a cable end, you're too slow. But the difference between someone doing it in 2 minutes or 4 minutes is less of a big deal, especially because the faster tech might not be faster in every other task, so it averages out.

Especially contrasted with a few years ago, installation designs overall industry-wide have gotten more efficient, which is a net good for everyone.

Totally agree with this, and I guess what I'm saying is that I think we're hitting a point of diminishing returns where "fastest" is no longer a major improvement relative to the previous "fastest".