Subscriber Discussion

OEM Products

Would you knowingly buy an OEM product instead of buying from the actual manufacturer? I'm specifically referencing cameras and software.

Many manufacturers have OEM products. To answer your question, yes I would. Many times manufacturers change and upgrade features even though the form factor and SDK may be the same. Actually making it a better product wth more features.

Doesn't the overall popularity of Dahua products, sold through OEMs, answer your question?

i think most people care more about price and support than who actually soldered the parts together.

Dahua doesn't answer the question. In the US, there's not an option to buy their product from them.

Also, I get your point on the hardware side, but what about the software/recorder side? Would you be ok buying an OEM VMS, or would you buy the direct version if possible?

Would you be ok buying an OEM VMS, or would you buy the direct version if possible?

Show me an example where the choice is that simple... Where the OEM version does not differ in cost, features, support, availability, etc.

Brian, I think the question is how different the 'versions' are?

See this recent discussion of using Inaxsys VMS which is an OEM of Exacq. The poster had good support for Inaxsys but I doubt he could not get similar directly from Exacq.

The one thing I would differentiate in this discussion is the size / complexity of the project. If it's simple and non essential, I do not see choosing an OEM as a big risk. However, if you plan to maintain, extend, integrate, etc. buying direct is much safer.

See this recent discussion of using Inaxsys VMS which is an OEM of Exacq.

Ah. I did see that discussion, and then promptly ignored it...

Still, this is a very vague question. It's not like "OEM'd" means the same thing in every case. It's hard to offer much of a response beyond "I would use whatever I felt gave me the best overall edge in the deal, and met the customers requirements."

And that's an incredibly vague response! It's the business equivalent of "I want to be happy"

More specifically, looking at real purchase patterns in the professional market, it's pretty clear that overwhelmingly people choose actual manufacturers over OEMs.

> And that's an incredibly vague response! It's the business equivalent of "I want to be happy"

So, you're expecting a precise answer to a vague question? Without a more specific question or example case I think it's hard for anyone to give an absolute answer.

When there are two different Undisclosed Manufacturers in one string, the conversation sounds schizophrenic...

I agree with John it would be preferable to buy directly from the OEM but many times the product or software is not available here. Even if it was price, support and availability should play a part on wether the integrator purchases direct or not. Also many people feel uncomfortable purchasing from an unknown OEM when maybe the product is being sold by a well know manufacturer.

The label 'OEM' is being assigned differently by the two Undisclosed Manufacturers talking to each other...

One is using OEM literally (they are referring to the Original Equipment Manufacturer - the ones who actually build the box)

The other is using OEM to stand for these same boxes that are being resold under another name....

This is confusing - especially when it's difficult to determine which Undisclosed Manufacturer is which.

We buy what works best, whether it is a "name brand" (Pelco, Axis) or a relatively unknown (Vitek, inMotion). As far as OEM versus re-brander, I say "Who cares?". If it works well and we can obtain it through a licensed vendor, we buy it without regard to the name on it.

That said, once we seriously start installing IP cameras, my answer would also include "Does our VMS support it?".

I'll start by saying that I work for Inaxsys (mentioned above as an OEM of Exacq) and I'd like to add the following to the discussion: the main reason why customers will purchase our OEM version is because of local sales and technical support that we offer in our marketplace (mostly Canada).

While our software is pratically identical to the original, our ability to support customers in their languages (English and French, for Canada) and offer accessible in-country technical and sales support is a big plus for buyers. I would assume that Exacq would offer the same arguments for customers who are in the US!

Whether a product is an original offering or an OEM doesn't matter much, I think. The most important points are the stability and trust of the supplier giving the products and services: can they be trusted to support and back-up the product that they offer?

In the end, it is very difficult for end-users to judge if a product comes from an original manfacturer or an OEM (and most original manufacturers also offer OEM products!).

As an OEM, we have something of value to offer our marketplace and we do it with integrity and pride, trying our best to offer the best products possible (such as Exacq) with the best service possible.

Mark, I appreciate you providing feedback, especially given IPVM's generally anti-OEM position.

I can see the value of providing support in French but why can't Exacq just have a manufacturer's rep do that? I don't understand why OEMing is needed. And Canada is not that far away from Indianapolis so it's not as if it's a Chinese manufacturer on the other side of the planet.

My concerns over OEMs remain: What happens if Exacq gets bought out? What happens if Inaxsys decides to drop the OEM version of Exacq? In such situations, will Exacq still support and offer software upgrades for Inaxsys branded versions?

In general, I am not sure what separates Inaxsys from a rep firm, outside of putting their own name on the product?

This is not an issue unique to Exacq / Inaxsys and there are certainly far far riskier OEM arrangements but, even in this fairly open case, I am still not sure why taking such a risk is needed.


Without getting into OEM contractual specifics, I can say in general that any customer using the Inaxsys IVTVision version of software could simply use the Exacq version of software. If Exacq gets bought out, we will deal with the new owners. If Inaxsys drops the OEM version of Exacq, customers can still use the original version of Exacq. That being said, the same questions can be asked of ANY company. What would happen to Pelco's products if they were sold? Or Samsung's? Or OnSSI's?

I realize that IPVM has a general anti-OEM position, I've followed some of the posts on this subject in the last few months. I don't take it personal and love your site! I think that the whole OEM question is a complex one, though, and every OEM offering needs to analyzed individually. As a company, we offer many complementary products that we put together as a solution offered on the market (VMS, servers, cameras, POE switches, access control and alarm). Some of these products are made/assembled by us (325 different models of servers) and some are OEM (such as the VMS software bundled on our servers). So our position on the marketplace cannot be summarized simply as an Exacq OEM. We try to offer the whole range of IP-based security technology (for CCTV and access control/alarm) which would probably be impossible if we were to manufacture all of this on our own.

I rarely have to defend our raison d'être! Customers know us and have been dealing with us since 2004 (so close to 10 years now). We keep hundreds of thousands of dollars of ready inventory; we offer in-depth technical support (our customers have NEVER been told to "call the manufacturer for assistance"...); we offer full pre-configuration of cameras, switches and servers; we go to sites to help commission jobs all over the ountry; we offer sales support and general IP training through our distribution partners at no charge; and we produce and support our products in our local market, in our local language. This is what differentiates us from a rep firm. I think that this is what is important to customers, not "who's the original creater of this software".

I think that what we offer the marketplace has value beyond simply rebranding comeone else's products and I don't believe that we are unique in this. Industry giants like Open Eye, Ganz, Honeywell, Bosch, American Dynamics, Toshiba, Pelco, OnSSI, Digital Watchdog, (and many, many, many more...) re-brand products that are producd by others. I believe that they all have their place on the market and offer valuable solutions and products.

I don't believe that there's anything intrinsically wrong with this, as long as the company you re dealing with does so with integrity and support.

(and Halifax and Indianapolis are probably 5-7 days away (with transport and customs...) from each other when a 16 TB server goes down and you need to get it repaired asap...)


What you describe that you are doing (complimentary products, assembly, training, support, stocking products) strike me more as what a distributor does than a manufacturer.

Ultimately, my main problem is with small companies that try to deceive customers into thinking that they are the 'real' manufacturer. I've seen lots of horror stories with that.

Finally, in terms of acquisitions / discontinuations, etc., the contractual specifics are important. Your contract may cover this but often they do not. If Big Company B buys out manufacturer A, B may choose to discontinue further support or upgrades to OEM C, unless this is expressly covered. Same thing, if OEM C discontinues support for the version, original manufacturer A may say 'Sorry, we won't support/service it" because they don't want to absorb the costs, etc. Again, it depends on the contract but I'd be real nervous about taking that risk.

Ultimately, I'd feel more secure by having Inaxsys be my distributor/reseller/rep with an original manufacturer branded product.

Hi John,

I understand your point and agree with all that you say on the risks of OEM products. That being said, it is up to the customers to do their homework and to do business with reputable companies offering valuable services and products. Practically ALL companies offer OEM products (including AXIS, ACTi, Pelco, Honeywell, Bosch, etc...) of one form or another. This is the nature of the electronics business. A reputable company will back up any and all products they sell with guarantees and warranties. And have OEM/reseller contracts that protect them and their customers.

I don't know any distributors that are experts on the products they carry, that actually train customers on all the products they carry, do full technical support on the products they carry, warranty, repair and produce the products they carry. There might be some in the US but there definitey are none in Canada. In North America, this has become the role of the manufacturer. These are the things that we do for our customers.

If you wish to label us a hybrid manufacturer/distributor/reseller/rep, then I guess that this is what we are. But then, so are AXIS, ACTi, Pelco, Honeywell, Bosch, Open Eye, American Dynamics, Toshiba, OnSSI, Digital Watchdog, Ganz, Exacq... Would you remove the "manufacturer" label from these giants of the industry simply because they, also, carry OEM products?

Mark, wow, you are lumping Inaxsys with Axis, ACTi, Exacq, etc.? How many hardware and software engineers do you have on staff? What percentage of your products do you manufacturer yourself? From what I can see pretty much everything you offer is a relableing of other people's products.

Axis spends $100 million in R&D but you are going to call them an OEM because they relabel accessories? I am just dumbfounded that you put yourself in the same group as a company like that. I can understand you defending your company but the 'everyone is an OEM' argument is just silly.