Sabotage? Avigilon VMS Problems W/ Third Party Cameras

I have observed that during the last year that several cameras do not work well in comparison to the same devices on a Genetec, ONSSI, Milestone and other platforms. These inoperative differences include dropping the connection when a PTZ device moves, lower quality (VGA or worse) live and recorded video and lack of initial recognition compared to their own devices. I have also been told by resellers and users alike, that Avigilon says that they cannot explain the problems with these camera issues but happily offered theirs causing the original installation to be pressured to change camera brands.

Could it be that Avigilon is purposely sabatoging other manufacturers products in their software to drive sales for their camera products? Does anyone else have these experiences?


purposely sabatoging? i doubt it, that would be a bad business decision for any company regardless of industry...

These inoperative differences include dropping the connection when a PTZ device moves, lower quality (VGA or worse) live and recorded video and lack of initial recognition compared to their own devices.

seems to me the video quality issue would be a camera setting adjustment... lack of initial recognition - never encountered that to be a problem... i know you may not have the full camera (non avigilon) functionality available in the vms (such as motion detection) and may have to set that up in the camera itself...

Avigilon is NOT alone in having problems integrating with 3rd party cameras. This is common when VMS manufacturers also sell their own IP cameras. I have heard similar issues with Verint, DVTel, Indigovision users, etc.

It is a conflict of interest when VMS manufacturers have and want to focus on selling their own IP cameras. Not only that, getting full integration and keeping it up to date with third party cameras is hard. Both Genetec and Milestone (including OnSSI who uses Milestone device packs) spend a lot of time and effort doing that.

For instance, Avigilon focuses third party IP camera support via ONVIF, which is great compared to what was previously available, but far from perfect. As a counter example, notice how Exacq supports many cameras through ONVIF but spends additional engineering efforts optimizing / supplementing ONVIF integration. Exacq, unlike Avigilon, needs to make sure those cameras work because they don't make their own (well maybe that will change now with Tyco :).

It is a conflict of interest when VMS manufacturers have and want to focus on selling their own IP cameras. Not only that, getting full integration and keeping it up to date with third party cameras is hard.

It's amusing when this backfires. We deal mainly with one DVR/VMS manufacturer who OEMs HIKvision cameras and capture boards, and they have been insanely troublesome devices, with the cameras themselves seeing some bizarre integration issues - for example, for use with older versions of their VMS, newer cameras must be flashed with a firmware that makes them emulate IQEye cameras; you actually configure them as IQEye/MJPEG in the VMS settings. Add to this assorted dubious physical design factors and dreadful reliability, and it means avoiding the VMS-branded cameras like the plague.

Fortunately this VMS has outstanding integration for an unbelievably wide range of third-party cameras, and the developers have even done custom integration for us.

Keep in mind that is only natural that mfrs hardware works better with the same mfrs software, and not necesarily due to nefarious reasons.

Innate yet innocent advantages include:

  1. Greater inhouse access to own hardware, both in variety and early availibility
  2. Larger install base of own hardware
  3. Direct access to engineers
  4. Software guys likely to test with their own cameras first because of familiarity
  5. Hardware guys use own software for ditto

My WAG would be normal for same on same to have 20% less headaches.

Fot some perspective imagine the opposite, shouldn't be hard; we have all seen it:

"I can't believe it!, this stuff is crap, they can't even get their own shit to work their own shit!"

Of course a company should fight against letting the disparity get too great, im just saying its hard not have some.

C

There is a real problem with Avigilon's 3rd party claims. It's certainly not 'sabotage' but they are grossly and knowingly misleading buyers.

Let's take a look at their marketing:

Saying they support any ONVIF camera including motion detection and PTZ is crazy, especially since it's only 1.0x versions which have significant known problems, especially with motion detection and PTZs (see ONVIF Detailed Technical Answers)

And here's more from Avigilon:

There's no gray area here. This claim is obviously and demonstrably false.

Equally troubling, we hear regularly that many Avigilon RSMs gloss over any concerns about integrating with 3rd party cameras in much the same way as the website misstates their support.

There's no gray area here. This claim is obviously and demonstrably false.

john i agree with your post above from a few days back... you are right there is no gray area in the screen capture you have listed above showing avigilon's "plug and play" claim... however i feel that a key segment of the "plug and play" portion of avigilon's web page has been left out... here is a screen capture of the weblink you provided above showing the list of supported acc cameras...

avigilonplugnplay

i don't believe avigilon is saying plug and play "any" third party camera, but rather any third party camera that is on the list under "See camera and hardware integrations"... the list is rather extensive and displays models as well as if motion or ptz is supported...

i think most people understand that when integrating one manufacturers hardware with anothers software they would not go strictly off of marketing materials to see if integration will be successful... but rather check a list (like the one above), call tech support or maybe ask around on this site... there are plenty of professionals around her to share wisdom garnered from experience in the field...

Keefe, this is typical Avigilon playing fast and loose with the truth.

First, we certainly agree the ONVIF claim is false, correct?

As to the second one, they say "Just plug and play any camera. Avigilon Control Center software recognizes any Avigilon or third party IP camera."

Come on. If they wanted to say any third party camera that is on the list, they could have said, "Just plug and play cameras. Avigilon Control Center software recognizes Avigilon or third party IP camera on this linked list."

They use the word "any" twice on purpose to mislead people. Avigilon does this stuff all the time. It's not an accident.

Who beside You cares about this ?

Thousands partners and their customers do not

Are u partner ?

Do YOU have problem to integrate certain camers ?

Support avail 7/24

Who are you Alex K? Do you work for Avigilon? If so could you explain why Avigilin's tech support and sales people would recommend replacing new cameras made by other manufacturers with Avigilon cameras even when Avigilon claims a working relationship but do not.

I am Avigilon partner in Canada

and You

Partner ? End User ?

Alex is fond of the standard Avigilon solution: "just use Avigilon cameras, no problem."

At least I do not hide my name and opinion about Avigilon

right Matt :)

"At least I do not hide my name..."

Interesting family name K, is it Kanadian?

All Matts wishing to exonerate themselves should simply post Anon. and state their name to show their number...

C

Ok, let's end this skirmishing.

Alex, if you have specific facts or coherent analysis of why Avigilon is not misleading the industry with their openness to third party camera claims, feel free to share.

Hello Alex:

Avigilon thinks the issue of interoperability important enough to claim 'plug and play ANY camera'. At macro level, ONVIF has been an undisputed industry success.

Your defensive comment is just silly, and it makes it seem like you hate Avigilon criticism more than you want to offer customers the best surveillance options available.

Alex, a good many integrators and end users care about this. We are an end user. We selected Avigilon ACC over the other three competitors we reviewed. The VMS is user friendly for our public safety personnel who use it daily, and they are big fans of it. On the other hand, one of the reasons we went with Avigilon was the statement made that they supported all ONVIF cameras. That turns out not to be the case, and now we have our legacy ONVIF equipment that is discoverable in ACC, but cannot record, cannot use some or all of the PTZ functionality, has no motion detection capability in ACC, etc.

I actually had an argument the other day with Avigilon support when the tech said that they do not make the claim to be plug and play with all ONVIF cameras. I pointed the gentleman to their website (see the examples above) and the tech's response was to say that what the web site says isn't really what it says.

The fact that I can call their support 24/7 and be told that its my problem that their software doesn't do what they claim it does because they didn't really mean it the way their printed material reads is more than frustrating.

We like most of the Avigilon camera models we have in service. We like the Avigilon ACC, but we would have loved it had it fully met our expectations (which included the universal ONVIF compatibility as pointed out above on their web site). Now, we either have to replace 20+ PTZ cameras or spend the money, time, and effort to purchase and install code translators, etc.

We are hopeful that Avigilon will solve some or all of our problem with the update to ACC 5. Time will tell.

I hope that sufficiently answers your questions as to who besides IPVM might care about this and why.

Kind Regards,

KB

Kevin, how has the integrator you worked with responded to this? Have they taken any responsibility? Are you going to hold them accountable for any additional cost. I'm curious how you as an end user works with the integrator on this. Thanks.

Kevin, Thanks for sharing. Ignore Alex. If Avigilon's CEO pushed an old lady into traffic, Alex would find an excuse for it.

The good news is that ONVIF 2.x / Profile S solves many of the problems you mention (in particular motion detection and PTZ issues). However, Avigilon's VMS is not Profile S (see the official current list). That said, I would suspect in the future that ACC would move to the current version of ONVIF, helping to resolve this. We'll keep an eye out for that and we recommend you ask specifically about the timetable for ACC to support ONVIF 2.x / Profile S.

John,

if somebody push you into traffic

I would definitely save you :)

When the IPVM Camera Finder gets a VMS refresh possibly this quarter, it will interesting to see what coverage the Avigilon (and others) claim to provide.

On the 2010 data Avigilon is probably on the lower side of compatibility, which sounds about right from the way it looks.

John, are there any plans after the refresh to possibly add member initiated red asterisks next to mfr reported purported supported cameras?

Also no doubt keeping the list up-to-date is resource draining, so if we are not verifying, just reporting their claims, perhaps we could devise someway to have vendors keep their own data up-to-date?

C

Kevin, you mentioned you reviewed 3 other competitors. Was this via an RFP process? Did you lab test the other competitors before selecting ACC?

We are seeing Avigilon submitted in various RFPs that call for a fully open VMS, however the language is never granular enough to include questions like will the VMS control ____ PTZ or Can it detect motion in ____ camera as this assumed basic functionality

Avigilon makes a good VMS that is designed to work with their cameras. The problem is their sales and marketig arm won't position it as such

We did not lab test. Avigilon was chosen during a new building construction project. The A/E firm handing the security portion of the project brought four vendors to us with presentations. One of those vendors was Avigilon, one was the rep for the cameras/VMS we were using at the time, and the other two were chosen by the A/E firm. We also visited a local school system currently using Avigilon and discussed pros/cons with their security department, spoke with the local Avigilon installer/dealer, and gave weight to the A/E firm's recommendation.

The Avigilon selection was a change order, as the A/E had specified a proprietary system from a company that does not specialize in CCTV and we had told them NO proprietary system was to be spec'd.

As an update to my original post, the ACC 5 update was just released and the newly-included driver for our primary brand of legacy camera will not work with our IP cameras (running the latest ONVIF firmware version available). Very disappointing, as we were told by their tech support that the driver "should" solve our connectivity problem.

Kevin, great information so far, thank you!

If you don't mind some more questions- So the A/E firm recommended a choice of solutions. Did they use a professional security consultant, or did they vet prospects themselves, as far as you know?

Since Avigilon uses certified dealers, who proccured the services of the integrator who installed the system? Was it you (the entity you work for) or the A/E company? What has been the efforts of the integrator who installed the system to resolve the issues or what have they said about it?

As an integrator I'm just very curious on how the situation came about and how the end user relates to the product company and the installer when there's a deficiency. I understand though if you're busy or can't answer some questions.

My assumption is they vetted them themselves. We ultimately made the selection, but with input from them and the other sources named above.

The integrator for this project is a sub of the electrical contractor, but they are a certified dealer and installer based out of another part of the state. They are waiting on the A/E firm (the A/V consultant they contracted with, actually) to come up with a solution. I believe everyone, including the A/V consultant, the sub, and us initially thought it would be a plug-and-play process.

After the selection was made, I had our local integrator convert a few of the legacy cameras outside the scope of the project. They use a different PTZ protocol, and that went fine . . . after adding code mergers and code translators in addition to the Avigilon coax-to-Ethernet encoder. The remaining cameras use a different proprietary protocol and/or are already IP, but I am told by the local integrator (different than the integrator for the project) that the conversion process will be essentially the same. They know how to do it. Problem is I can't get the A/V, A/E, or sub to talk to their competitor. But that's a whole other story, and slightly off topic from this thread.

Bottom line - our legacy cameras are not plug and play with ACC. We were initially led to believe they would be.

I will say, though, that even if we had been told up front that additional, and somewhat expensive, code translators and mergers would be required, we probably still would have chosen Avigilon from the choices we were presented with. We just wouldn't be as frustrated as we are because a marketing claim turned out not to be true.

After all, aren't all marketing claims - especially if they are on the internet - supposed to be true?

Until last year, Avigilon kept updating their 3rd party camera integration page pretty regularly. I tried to get a Pelco Spectra HD to work on ACC before they had released their own PTZs. Now it seems like they haven't really updated any new cameras on the list. I think someone was having integration issues with the new ACTi "D" or "E" series cameras. The higher ups were hey we need to increase the sales so let’s focus even more our cameras and not worry about 3rd party cameras. ACC can't really been considered one of the big open VMSs like Exacq, Genetec, OnSSI or Milestone if ACC can only intergrade with 3 year old IP cameras. There's nothing wrong with that strategy but don't proclaim to the world you are a truly open VMS

I don't believe from a business perspective that someone would purposely mislead buyers into thinking that the Avigilon would integrate seemelessly with third party cameras. After reading the Avigilon support specs it would appear to the contrary. It is very misleading and deceitful.