Arecont Criticizes Big Box Surveillance Kits

2 months ago, we looked at 10 Reasons NOT To Buy Costco Surveillance Kits - aimed at the rising power of retailers to sell turnkey packages for prices frequently 80% to 90% less than what is available from 'professional' brands.

Now, Arecont is joining the chorus of companies speaking out against big box retail offerings, with their "How To Keep Your Customer From Buying From A Big Box Store" post.

Key claims made:

  • "The chips, circuitry, hard drives, and other components within these products are not professional grade."
  • "These systems do not provide the resolution needed to clearly identify individuals and to document incidents."
  • "'Cookie cutter' solutions can’t possibly meet users’ specific video surveillance performance and coverage needs."
  • "For an end user on a limited data plan who wants to view video when he or she isn’t connected to a Wi-Fi network, this could mean huge data usage charges."
  • "Most store-bought DVRs only allow local access to internal features."
  • "It is hard to think of a single reason why a dealer might quote an analog video surveillance system similar to those being sold by the big box stores."

What do you think?


So does Arecont expect these "warnings" will drive people to their products? Hmmm...

"The chips, circuitry, hard drives, and other components within these products are not professional grade."

Great, so someone goes to a small reseller/trunkslammer who sells exactly the same Chinese-made equipment under a different name?

"These systems do not provide the resolution needed to clearly identify individuals and to document incidents."

Last time I looked, many if not most big-box offerings were moving toward NVRs with built-in PoE switches, or even HD-SDI. I suppose coming from a company that produces 40MP cameras, 1080p cameras could be claimed to "not provide the resolution needed", but...

"For an end user on a limited data plan who wants to view video when he or she isn’t connected to a Wi-Fi network, this could mean huge data usage charges."

This makes no sense in the context of these claims... an all-CIF DVR could avoid this issue, but then what about the caveat about resolution? Arecont is basically saying "don't buy this stuff because you can't have your cake and eat it too." So, Arecont, what kind of bandwidth will it eat up if I want to view one of your 20MP panoramic cameras on my phone?

"Most store-bought DVRs only allow local access to internal features."

WAT?

1) True.

2) Depends how you use it.

3) Depends what those needs are.

4) What?

5) That might have been true years ago, but typically isn't anymore.

6) While most security professionals are able to point out the benefits in using professonial grade, individually chosen products, I don't think any security professional wouldn't admit that surveillance kits have their place.

"Big Box Surveillance Kits Respond to Arecont"

  • We have reset buttons

ROFL!

Well played, Big Box Stores, well played.

I'm filling up Subway stores with these systems.

Hoi polloi may use big box or mail order systems, but the most discerning businesses choose (your brand here). (Your brand): isn't your business worth it?

Hoi polloi may use big box or mail order systems...

Not to quibble but in place of Hoi Polloi, may I suggest 'unwashed masses' (or more dramatically 'the unwa-SHED"). Since the term Hoi Polloi is formally defined as 'people who don't know the what term Hoi Polloi means', the confused 'Hoi' would likely grab onto the closest match they do know: that of the Hoity Toity. Although unwashed masses, like Hoi, is seldom used self-referentially, i.e."We the unwashed masses...", it is at least openly offensive, and membership in such a group is therefore avoided, therby making one all the more desirous of the Arecont solution.

I also assume from your Mad Libs style paraphrase that you believe the claims of superiority to be groundless or at least interchangeable between worried manufacturers. Yes?

IPVM's independent reviews have helped me to appreciate that there is real value in the experience, R&D, pre-release testing, support, and let's say willingness to defend the brand's reputation that is provided by companies such as (for example) Axis. However, over time some of the new entrants are likely to continue to achieve reasonably adequate capabilities, and a few are likely to deliver pretty decent products. At that point, what is an incumbent to do? I reflected upon and interpreted my recollections of how Hunter Douglas installers were able to sell window dressings at what seemed to be about 3x going market price in this area. Could it work for video surveillance? The other issue is, some of the criticisms leveled against the big box systems seem specious or at best, weak. Kind of like the window treatement installer telling us how important it is that each and every one of our standard Anderson Windows be individually measured so each blind can be uniquely tailored, as if they were hand tailoring every treatment to a mish-mash of custom windows. To the extent that solutions provide real value, I believe it detracts from a seller's position to toss out "thow away" arguments. If we users see through weak arguments, it seems a natural next step, in our ignorance, to doubt their valid arguments as well.

"I reflected upon and interpreted my recollections of how Hunter Douglas installers were able to sell window dressings at what seemed to be about 3x going market price in this area. Could it work for video surveillance?"

Horace, can you expand on that? I have no experience nor knowledge of Hunter Douglas.

(for readers, the info wasn't in my original post but I was editing my reply as this request for info was posted). The installer advocated the "importance" of uniquely measuring every standard window and matching each blind to the measurements, for a completely custom installation unique to your home. My skepticism was supported by measurements after the installation which confirmed that the installed blinds did not deviate from standard dimensions. My price comparison was to similar window dressings installed by a competent handyman, not by the magic measuring and customizing installer. Essentially, the installer argued, "'Cookie cutter' solutions can’t possibly meet users’ specific ... performance and coverage needs." "It is hard to think of a single reason why a dealer might quote similar to those being sold by the big box stores." In light of the accessible profit margin, I can certainly agree with the latter. The second half of the story, though, is the high end appeal suggesting that Hunter Douglas products in your home make a statement to all who see them. This part delivers traction with the fashion conscious. To borrow from Seinfeld, how can vendors leverage "this," without the resorting to the specious "that?"

My skepticism was supported by measurements after the installation which confirmed that the installed blinds did not deviate from standard dimensions.

Of course the natural question is why you would pay the 3x premium being skeptical to begin with?

In my case I've been in a similar sounding situation with where a TS convinced my SO that we would save $$$ in heating bills by having the glass replaced in a series of french doors. This even though there was a palpable convection flow coming from the degraded seal between the doors. Once I became aware of the depth that my SO had fallen for the TS's pitch; (Sinker level?), I realized that even though I might, by sheer insistence and all-out TS deprecation, derail the pane in the ass frame project, but knew that this would leave open the suspicion that I put the kibosh on it because I was secretly afraid the TS was right. So I insisted on doing the pane replacement. And then when it seemed that the TS might have been right, I quickly fixed the seals and claimed victory anyway to muted applause.

the high end appeal suggesting that Hunter Douglas products in your home make a statement to all who see them.

Is it obvious just by seeing them that they are Hunter Douglas? Are they branded somehow like Louis Vuitton bags?

There are certainly discount camera vendors, but who are the real boutique ones? Are they really 3X the price of the discount ones? (Assume no Wodsee). Axis? Sony? Canon? Where can you drop a 'whole lot of dough with nuthin to show'?

In other words, "You can't just use the same bundled camera for every view, you have to individually assess the needs and determine the proper camera for each location. Now after careful measurements of lighting under every condition and mockups via 3D modelling software, I've determined that Camera A will work well for this position, and I think Camera A is good for that location, and it's indicated that Camera A is also the best choice for a third spot, and after much debate amongst ourselves, our crack design team has determined that Camera A is also ideal for the final view needed."

Of course you are speaking about mfrs. but integrators can play that game too. Ever heard of the phenomenom called "Slammer's Remorse"? This occurs right after Slammer gives the aforementioned spiel with the utmost sincerity, integrity and deliberation, and goes to 'source' the components 'direct' only to find his QIT (QtyInTrunk) stock levels, for Camera A are one less than he requires. Hence the to be RMA'd (but should work) camera B.

It's that feeling you get when you cannot believe that you are actually are walking back to tell the customer how "something's been bothering me about that quote, you see most guys would go with A, but the way I figure it (insert large log of bs) ". Slammers remorse...

  • "For an end user on a limited data plan who wants to view video when he or she isn’t connected to a Wi-Fi network, this could mean huge data usage charges."

Ari: What?

Me: Yeah, what?

How would using a Costco system be any different than using anything else in place of it?

Someone viewing video streamed to their limited data plan, non-wifi connected phone is:

1. an idiot.

b. independently wealthy and does it just to flaunt their superiority over the hoi masses.

For the homeowner wanting a residential quality, low-priced video system we deceive ourselves (or maybe bask in our self-perceived superiority) if we try to claim membership warehouse boxed video systems don't have a place. It's a scale of investment vs feature set/yield for purpose. Why farmers historically chose cheap .22 rifles to shoot skunks in the barn instead of a precision, high-end target rifle? Suitability for the intended purpose!

We often direct homeowners seeking budget priced home camera systems to the boxed systems online. Easily installed by the end user and suitable for their purpose, it has resulted in occasional business for us just because we were preceived as willing to contribute value when there was no revenue to be gained for doing so. Often that homeowner may own a sizeable business and later need an integrator!