Tommy, i3 is a budget / premium hybrid company. They offer premium 'intelligence' features at relatively low prices.
I have not used i3 in many years so I can't comment on how good or bad the functionality is. I would recommend that you try it out at the store to get a better feel if their premium features are useful to you.
For grocery store, you roughly have 3 category options:
- Total budget / non-retail specific - Hikvision or Dahua style recorder that just records video and not much more - expect to pay ~$500, depending on camera count / storage
- Budget / retail premium - like i3, in the 'middle'
- Premium / retail premium - there's a bunch of companies who specialize in higher end retail like March, Verint, 3VR, Envysion, DTT, etc but you would expect to pay thousands per recorder or significant monthly fees
A big part of it is what you want to get out of the system. Are there any must have features that are driving the production selection?
i3 international is really reliable "hybrid" solution provider. they are used in Harris Teeters in most of the US. That being said, if you are going straight IP its a giant waste of money. i3would be one of my top 3 picks if i had a hodge podge of cameras in a store or a chain of stores and wanted to put them on one system. the support is good, they are based in Canada so you get french and English options.
so far as the analytics are concerned they are solid as come if calibrated correctly as with the other brand analytics.
only cons i have ever had with them is is the fact that the VMS runs in a Linux environment on a windows platform like an app. so if the VMS messes up or get closed its not working. you can configure your way around this on the windows side but that has a high learning curve.
the other con i have had is the capture cards (analog), they are 4 port geovison like capture cards that used to go bad after a year or so ish. now they were covered under warranty but last time i checked you had to put the recorder in the box it came in and ship it back to them to fix. and you were dead in the water till you got it back.
its been about 3 years since I have dealt with them but I think they still have most of the same policies in place. have they made any special offers?
I would also take a look at Digiop (I am not associated with Digiop). They also have a retail based VMS platform with retail based analytics and POS integration.