End User Or Dealer Camera Shoot-Outs?

Hi all,

How common is this? End user or Dealer shoot-outs

Recently my company which represents a certain manufacturer has been invited to shoot-outs against other camera manufacturers. I think people would be surprised which company or companies do not get invited to these as their cameras did not meet the low light or night time requirements set by the buyer.

These are actual shootouts where the camera manufacturers are side by side, each shooting a 3-10 minute video, while various tests such as we see here on IPVM eyecharts, flashlights, etc.

I offer it all the time "bring us in for a shootout", it maybe only happens 10% of the time. And 100% of that 10% I am usually alone at 8PM (one shoot out had "am" attached to it) to take night shots and no one else wanted to show up. Amazingly I do not always win even when they thought the camera was superior...funny world. Better camera, better price, better service.. lost sale. These are top level camera manufacturers invited only so these things are "not as" price crazy.

To me the shootout is the best way for the customer to make a decision. There are manufacturers and reps willing to do it, the minimum $ or count required for this will change over time based on demand. Some of the examples above of actual shootouts were in the 16 - 40 range, with mostly all of them being Full HD.

Do you see these types of shoot-outs being requested?

Why do you think they are not asked for more?

Good question, I think these happen fairly regularly especially in larger projects. I only hear anecdotes, but I hear them often.

End user shootouts, like sales, involves lots of weird stuff, including:

  • Letting reps trick out their cameras unrealistically (i.e., works for the 9am test but terrible at 9pm when it is not tested or settings are changed yet again, which would never happen in a real deployment or a rep turning their quality levels to max, ignoring the storage impact of a real deployment).
  • Not normalizing test parameters across cameras (different max shutter speeds at night, different compression/quality/bandwidth levels, etc.)
  • Only doing tests at certain times of day or not doing tests in actual scenes.
  • Picking products based on sales people input or relationships

In terms of why they do not happen more, they are expensive to do, even if the equipment is free, as the time to do a real shootout is significant. Also, vendors are unlikely to participate unless the deal is big enough to justify the costs of sending a rep/tech.

We probably could help our some end users and dealers by helping them do shootouts - setting them up, certifying their accuracy/fairness.

John some of your comments are definitely valid. I had to leave many details out of invited shootouts as these were not to be shared, however the experience is not unique.

In shootouts I participated in both the manufactuers and the reps came. We came on to the scene cold and since there were multiple (indoor dark, indoor light, outdoor light/dark) scenes of the 3-10 minute video...trickery could not be used here in this scenario as we had to keep moving. example 20 minute setup, 2 min video, move to next location.

I am surprised it is not done more, seems very simple to me. And again since it is asked for so little showing up for a night test for 16 IP cameras that retail for in the $1000 arena each seems worth it to me to travel. Day time definitely should not be a barrier.

I like them (shootouts) as I am fairly confident that we will win them based on features, bandwidth, price, construction quality and most of all image quality.

Also to me it would avoid what I am seeing now on projects I lost without a shootout, really bad night scene coverage, Lack of image detail. They now have 2 choices spend more money or live with their purchase.

Perhaps the other thing is that some end user mistakenly believe that image quality is the same, I don't know, I am just guessing. Obviously I do not think that is true.

I still think a big barrier is project size. For example, a deal for 50 cameras, how many end users are going to send out an employee for a day to do a shootout?

We do not do shootouts like these at all due to too many variables like you both mention. Unless we set things up ourselves I don’t trust it. Most often we will take a camera or cameras in for a couple weeks. This way I can see how user friendly the cameras are as well as how well they work. We normally put them in the spot they will be covering and tweak them until we get the image we want. At that point we let the network guys monitor the traffic for a few days and then tweak them up or down depending on what they see. If we have questions on the set up I call/email the tech support direct instead of the integrator because I also want to see how well they respond. This has worked VERY well for us in the past.

After explaining how we do things and why, we have had only one integrator turn us down. That conversation went like this:

Him “No, because you would not know how to do the install and set up on your own.”

Me “If we couldn’t do the install and set up why would I ever want to buy the cameras?”

Him “That is what we are here for. We will take care of it all. A nice turnkey solution.”

Me “Thanks for stopping by.”

So he took himself out of the running for any of the recurring service too.