[Note: Poster is an Avigilon dealer.]
I think it looks no different than other bids I see. The county knows what they want and has a bid out for that equipment. Looks like the salesman did his job and either seeded the account with Avigilon early and that's why they are flat specified or convinced them that they need to have it flat specified. Either way, kudos to him/her for doing a good job. No story here that I can see.
Most RFPs I see that specify a specific manufacturer provide an alternative / equals section.
This one is quite strict:
"No Substitutes : Only bids for Avigilon security camera systems, including cameras, network video recorders, enterprise software licenses, pendant mount brackets, and junction boxes will be accepted. If bidder bids an alternative security camera system as a proposed substitute to the Avigilon security camera systems, as specified in this IFB, the bid shall be deemed non-responsive."
I agree with Undisclosed A and we are also Avigilon dealers. I have seen the samething in other bids for other manufactures so nothing special here. Customer knows what they want which is a good thing.
If someone local cares, they can protest. It will delay the project. I've seen this too and a large company showed up with an attorney at the bid opening ....that's whole section went away and it was rebid open.
As an independent consultant, I'm quite surprised that they were able to permit a sole source bid, especially with is probably public funding. If they had invested existing capital infrastructure in an Aviligon head end control platform, I could understand, but these seem like new stand alone locations. There is nothing that unique with the selected cameras which could not be supported by other camera manufacturers.
It would have been nice and in my opinion, appropriate, to see alternate manufacturers listed. The other concern I would have for the Client, that by just listing product, what happens if a product is discontinued post award....there are not technical specs to reflect what to substitute.
I have seen this happen before, typically when purchasing issues an IFB without the help of a consultant.
Even though I don't care for it, it is not the first time I have seen this. I would assume the Purchasing Agent or Authority has completed their Sole Source Justification documentation, which is required by most purchasing departments, and is a good idea as a matter of practice. It is more typical when the end user is expanding an existing system. As a vendor, I am not surprised; as a taxpayer, as long as there is more than one bidder on the project, I am good with it. Not happy, but I can live with it. It is my experience that if you rock the boat, you will not be very welcome in the future.
Its great when a customer knows what they want, but these picky County employees are taking no chances with the equipment list on this one. By specifying the exact part numbers of all cameras, recorders and software licenses, even calling out numbers on junction boxes and brackets/hardware, they really take the drudgery out of responding to their rfp. Maybe they got some help...
But since Orange County had already insisted on Avigilon for a Public Works project in 2012, maybe they are standardizing County wide? Interestingly, for a maintenence contract of Avigilon equipment on a different Public Works project, there is no Avigilon dealer requirement, though it might be hard to fufill if you weren't one...
There are generally only two ways that a public agency can get away with making a sole source procurement such as this:
- The agency has already made a significant investment in Avigilon products at other sites and has therefore established Avigilon as a “county-standard”. Standardizing on only a single manufacturer reduces spare parts, training, and support requirements and the decision to standardize for these reasons will usually withstand bid protests from other manufacturers. Usually. The bigger the previous investment in the “standard” product the more likely the decision to continue to using it can be justified – having an existing two-camera system at a single site probably won’t cut it, while having multiple sites with lots of the same product probably will.
- Prior to issuing this RFP, the agency went through a public “Request-for-Information” (RFI) process to help them evaluate products and to preselect one or more equipment manufacturers that best meet the agency’s needs. This process is often done directly between the equipment manufacturers and the agency with little or no involvement from local integrators. Once this process is complete, the agency will pick one or more manufacturer’s products that they want to buy, and then issue an RFP to the integrator community for the actual purchase of the product. This is usually legal because all manufacturers supposedly had the opportunity to have their products considered during the RFI process. Many clients like this two-step process because it allows them to separate their product selection decision from their integrator selection decision, potentially avoiding situations where the product that they want is only being proposed by an integrator that they would prefer not to do business with.
*dons tinfoil hat*
"Hey, can we give this job to our regular guys/my cousin's company/whoever we prefer for nepotistic reasons?"
"Public money, dude, we gotta put out an open RFP."
"Hmm well, the guys we want are the only local Avigilon partner..."
"That's it then, we'll have to specify Avigilon ONLY."
"That's kinda sketch, won't those IPVM guys pick up on that? They're pretty on the ball with that stuff."
"It's okay, we'll just say it's because we're already using Avigilon and want to keep it all compatible."
"Even the junction boxes?"
"Alright, get it rolling!"
*drops mic, removes hat, walks off into the sunset*
Looks like they already have a contractor in mind and are writing the specification to allow them to choose him. It also appears that they will make available other bids to him as well (1.12 No Information Marked Confidential or Proprietary). I bet if you look at other past jobs for the county (and who installed them) it would indicate the company/person that the customer trusts. I also noticed that they are shedding the Patent Troll liability (H. Patent/Copyright Materials/Proprietary Infringement: In the General Clause area) to have the contractor indemnify them. Of course if the patent trolls went after a company, could the company just close down (LLC type) and walk away and start up again under a new name?
Anyway it looks like, as mentioned in previous discussions on this site, the customers are going to try and make sure that if a legal battle breaks out that they will be on the sidelines. Question is, if the company that is being sued goes away, will the Patent Trolls still go after the end customer?
One of the issues with public work is the ability to do a Freedom of Information Act request from the agency on the awarded bids. It lets you see who wins and what they charge.
If the customer already has a large investment in Avigilon hardware then it makes complete sense. They don't want to risk incompatibility problems now and into the future.
Using Avigilon's cameras with there VMS makes complete sense. Automatic firmware updates and advanced video searching features are some features that are unique to their solution compared to using 3rd party cameras.
You have really stepped up your anti Avigilon propaganda the last couple of weeks. More testing and less TMZ please.
One concern...I have seen bidders take the attitude that, since the county wrote exact model numbers into the spec, and did not base the criteriea on performance, any issues with getting the system to work to the satisfaction of the owner are the owner's problem, assuming the installation is done properly. I have beeen told by bidders they like this type of resposibility shift towards the end user. If a consultant were to be used, the county would have a better chance of getting a first rate installation.
I see this all the time on public bids.
It appears the county has standardized on Avigilon ACC and certain model cameras for maintenance purposes. They have every right to standardize on a particular manufacturer as long as they follow the local/state/federal (whichever applies) procurement processes.
It may be sole sourced Avigilon, but as long as they can get 3 or more bids from local Avigilon dealers (they'll probably get more responses than that) then they have met the requirements for a competitive bid process.
However, if there are some specifically tailored requirements for the bidders that steer it toward a particular vendor, then it gets a little shifty in my opinion.
IPVMU Certified | 05/05/15 02:29pm
Looks like they know what they want. Seems no different from when our county or school district puts out an RFP for networking equipment, pcs, skid steers or pickup trucks, all models are ususally specified.
Do I like seeing an RFP with no subsitutes being allowed? No, as long as it is done according to the law then there isn't much that can be done. I have seen plenty of RFPs that we didn't get a shot at because of similar reasons. Myself and another company have even been told that we couldn't participate in a bid because of our race, I still don't understand how that can be done.
Look at it from the end users perspective, they may want to compare providers for their system but want a 'level' ish playing field to compare. If 14 bidders offer 14 different solutions from 14 different manufacturers the variation is cost would be massive, how would an end user start to compare returns?
Seems to me the end user has looked at his requirments, found a product to achieve it and removed the risk of being offered something potentially that will not do or from a lower quality product that may be cannot be supported in the future.
There may also be 20 other systems that the end user is integrating into his CCTV and has researched that for his chosen solution and would not have the time to do that across 14 other options.
In reality, whe a bidder is selected, based on the client specification there is generally a pre-contract meeting at which the installer at the table can bring up other potential solutions or considerations which may improve the end user experience or offer savings etc.
Personally I think it better that the end user can pre-select a solution, otherwise bidders offer and ever sprialling down cheaper solution that maybe meets some of the requiremnts but in the end drives all of us on the lowest common demominator - CHEAP!
An older wiser specifier (now in a better place!) once told me, no one ever thanks you for a cheap solution, you only get praise for the right solution.
I think the RFP was written specifically to assure that the customer got what they wanted and already had. Note the call out for an "Upgrade" key for Avigilon Enterprise. Any of us would have been glad to get a hard lockout spec out of a county, no one here should complain about something they want themselves and strive for every day.
Figure that in the Orange County area, there are perhaps hundreds of "Camera Installers" and maybe a couple dozen "System Integrators".
Sure they specified exactly what they wanted to get because any "Tom, Dick or Harry" installer could supply a "Generic Surveillance System" but lets say only 4 could provide an Avigilon system.
Those four companies are enough competition for the RFP (Only need 2-3) and they know how to put it together right.
As opposed to the "trunk slammer" that only sells the lowest price and lowest quality and skimps on everything.
The county probably already has bitter experience with what happens when the lowest price vendor gets the bid.
Did you note that this is for the County Probation Department offices? I know for a fact that those locations are a hotbed of problems and that's why they need a good working system installed by someone AUTHORIZED and COMPETENT. The lowest price does not equal the best system.
One lawsuit in a place like that is enough to pay for several surveillance systems.
You may be correct in saying that they should have shown "justification" in selecting a specific vendor, but it seems to me that kind of criticism borders on sour grapes. The fact there is an upgrade key for the software, tips you off that someone already did their homework; perhaps on a previous project.
I've seen too many systems that were sold only on price. Most times you get what you paid for. Often that means almost nothing and the work reflects the price paid.
Since it is for public bidding, I think it is much better to state technical specs that only avigilon can comply rather than mentioning avigilon. But it would take a thorough research on the part of the procuring entity. For example :
*must have remote focus and zoom
*the system must be homogenous solution..etc
And other generic terms that will filter out the other brands. They should look on the a&e specification of the nvr, camera, and vms of the brand they want. They must be creative.
Some here are being rather hypocritical offering "open" bidding solutions when it's plainly obvious the county specifically wanted one vendor. I think it is more ethical to say what you mean and then mean what you say. They only wanted Avigilon and it sounded like they wanted a continuation of an existing system. It is more dishonest to say you want an open system to comply with a spec when you really want something entirely different. Why waste everyones time when the already made up their minds?
If ANYONE here cry that "It should have been open spec" then how would you feel about that when it happens to the lockout specs you have been working on for 6 months?
Give the Avigilon guy some credit. You weren't there doing the handholding and specwriting when it counted. NOW it's too late to do anything and especially too late to complain.
The days of offering a single solution are over. In many cases you need to be all things to all people.
That's why we prefer the concept of "System Integrator" and we have strived to have people qualified and certified in several vendors products so we can offer a wider range of solutions.
Of course there are product lines we won't get a sniff of, so be it. But there are many more that we can offer and given the quality of our staff; we think we provide a better offering than a one trick pony.
IPVMU Certified | 05/15/15 12:30am
John, this has degenerated into why Avigilon is better than everyone else.... And maybe it is - at least in their eyes.
Time to close the discussion.
In most European countries this would be investigated as corruption.