Should IPVM Cover Installation More?

Most of IPVM is 'design' related - How well does a product work? What is its value compared to price? What technology to use when? etc.

While we have some (camera installation guide, directory of install tools, camera installation test, etc.), we certainly could do more in-depth. Perhaps hands on video series, application specific training, etc.

Questions:

1) Would you personally be interested?

2) Would this be something that would increase the value of sharing IPVM with your co-workers?

I am presuming most sales people and manufacturers, in general, would not. Mostly, then, this goes to the integrators on the operational and tech side.


I think when hardware reviews are done, physical installation should be covered. For example - many domes and bullets have bracket/cabling design problems.

Yes, as we cover more domes and bullets, we will focus more on that. Also, we will eventually do dome shootouts where installation issues will become a bigger differentiator in the analysis.

I'd love to see this - doing a lot of installations myself, when I'm looking at all the neat things cameras will do and features they have, it would be handy to have advance warning of what sort of headache it's going to be to PHYSICALLY implement :) BTW, John, I could send you a list of cameras that are nightmares to install... is there a size limit on your incoming email?

John, I could send you a list of cameras that are nightmares to install... is there a size limit on your incoming email?

Lol! I started a new discussion - "What Cameras Are a Pain to Install?"

Yes. IMHO, install issues should be covered as part of camera reviews. Also, I think any design that doesn't address installation is incomplete.

I think we all agree that installation issues should be covered in product tests.

The question that still remains: Is it worth teaching / training on general/fundamental installation issues? i.e., installation 101, etc.

The question that still remains: Is it worth teaching / training on general/fundamental installation issues? i.e., installation 101, etc.

I think there could be some value in that. Of course, if all you're ever installing in is drop-tile ceilings, things tend to stay pretty straightforward, but there's certainly room for tips and tricks, and I think more importantly, ways to deal with tough installation situations.

Also, I think any design that doesn't address installation is incomplete.

One of our main clients is a high-end restaurant chain whose designers would be happier if there were no cameras at all, so making them blend in, or at least look "good", is a major consideration; at one point, their camera selection was actually partially based on the camera's appearance.

These days, we fortunately do get our way on chosing the right cameras for the job, but only because we've become so good at making them, if not invisible, then at least inconspicuous.

installation issues, product shortcomings that are known I believe should absolutely be shared in this professional community. It would raise the bar and shine light on those manufacturers who gloss over this very important engineering aspect. The challenge I see here is these issues are never or rarely disclosed by the manufacturer and reps. They mostly just don't know. It would take actual mounting and setup in a test lab or in the field by qualified people for these issues to become apparent. Independently of course. after all, labor is a very expensive project commodity. Sometimes, the most expensive.

Installation 101 techniques are journeyman to appentice issues and really don't belong in this forum. My humble opinion.

I disagree 100% with Michael's "Installation 101 techniques are journeyman to apprentice issues and really don't belong in this forum." comment. This info would be a great benefit to the most seasoned installers if they are doing even one thing wrong that could save them a few minutes on an install.

To answer Matt and John’s questions, yes to all of them. The value is there.

"Installation 101 techniques are journeyman to appentice issues and really don't belong in this forum. My humble opinion."

Who do you think populates this forum, Michael? All manufacturers and enterprise-scale integrators and people who never have to dirty their hands on a job?

"I disagree 100% with Michael's "Installation 101 techniques are journeyman to apprentice issues and really don't belong in this forum." comment. This info would be a great benefit to the most seasoned installers if they are doing even one thing wrong that could save them a few minutes on an install."

Ross nails it here. Despite decades as a general construction contractor, my dad would still "play dumb" to the know-it-all younger guys, because as he said, "someone else always knows something you don't." Playing dumb, of course, is a great tactic to get the really juicy information, because people just love to show off how smart they are, especially newbies who think they've got it all figured out ;)

Keep in mind that any installation training / coverage would be in addition to what we are already doing. We have been hiring a number of people and, what we are trying to do, is determine how to best allocate their time / focus.

The other aspect I am still wondering about is whether installation training / coverage would encourage senior people to share IPVM with their junior colleagues. Right now, if you are an entry level installer, unless you are ambitious to move up, IPVM is probably superfluous to what you do. However, if we added installation and more field tech coverage, would that change the value to them?

I would think you will have trouble capturing the attention (and subscription $$) of non-ambitious entry-level installers no matter what. However - if you granted permission for pro members to print/share 101 level tips with their installation team, that would add considerable value to the pro membership and help generate positive exposure/mindshare for IPVM.

James, that's the intention of a group plan option. This happens fairly regularly. A more senior person who likes to study/read/learn signs up for a personal plan, finds it useful and then upgrades so they can share it will their junior colleagues.

Additionally, in the next year, my goal is to release most of the 101 tips / training publicly/freely across the board (similar to how we did the IP Video 101 series).

You would need to generate a lot of valuable installation tips for me to more than double my subscription costs. How big is the average Integrator with a group level plan?

Going from personal to group is $300 more pear year and it allows you to add 4 co-workers. So it's $75 per year per additional co-worker. For the information / training material we have, that is pretty inexpensive.

We do not survey the employee size of our members so I could not guess how big the average integrator with a group level plan is. That said, I do not think $300 more per year is infeasible for even a small integrator.

@Ross @Matt

I refer you back to John's original question:

"I think we all agree that installation issues should be covered in product tests.

The question that still remains: Is it worth teaching / training on general/fundamental installation issues? i.e., installation 101, etc."

Gentlemen, I read this as the difference between "at camera install issues" where a installer arrives to hang, spot and tweak a camera which has already been roughed and which we all know can be a nightmare with the ideosycrycies between manufacturers etc. and "101 installation" which crosses over to the low voltage electrical trade. The construction of the backbone raceways, gal or ridgid conduit, EMT, PVC, cable trays, pulling or laying in Cat 6 cables, line voltage feeds, pole footings, concrete work, the correct anchors to use in a specific application etc. etc. etc. Two completely different skill sets. In CT, the latter requires a state issued electrical license (high or low voltage) which begins with a apprenticeship under a journeyman (or mechanic) who both work for a licensed high or low voltage electrical contractor.

The ratio is 1:1 (apprentice to journeyman). Apprenticship requires two years of documented "field work" along with the state sponsered education (theory, ohms law, load calculations etc) before you can sit to take your test to become licensed.

To me, this is where you learn the basics - "Installation 101" hence my comment.

I realize many states do not have stringint rules regarding licensing. NY for instance, 60 miles from my office only requires the company owner to be licensed. Everybody that works for that company works under the "company license" No individual license required to work "alone" in the field. Thats insane to me and one of the chief reasons why there is limited or no receprocity between states. The set of standards are just to diverse. Someday there will be a national standard but that day aint here yet.

Ross, I believe you are speaking to the first part of John's question which I completely agree with. If you were refering to the 2nd line, you are literally talking about hundreds of variables which I believe is not practical.

Matt, your daddy the GC is right - "someone else always knows something you dont"

Oh, and for the record regarding dirty hands, this forum member just spent the last two weeks in the sweltering heat and humidity running ~2000' of PVC in trenches to camera pole footings, setting up the forms, getting the concrete delivered and poured, setting the bolt patterns and roughing into place about 6000' of Cat6 while running a crew of 4 men. Dirty hands is a understatement.

Thanks for the explanation Michael! I was not taking the “installation 101” out to even a fraction of what you discuss above. That is indeed a WHOLE lot to cover, but I doubt that is what anyone was thinking. That is more like an entire undergrad course list of CCTV (sorry VSS), electrical engineering and networking running from undergrad classes of “101, 201, 301, 401 and 501" then with the "masters classes starting at 601 leading to 901” I am guessing we are truly thinking 101 here.

Or am I off base guys?

"this forum member just spent the last two weeks in the sweltering heat and humidity running ~2000' of PVC in trenches to camera pole footings, setting up the forms, getting the concrete delivered and poured, setting the bolt patterns and roughing into place about 6000' of Cat6 while running a crew of 4 men. Dirty hands is a understatement."

This is what we call "Living the Dream"... right? :)

You bet. The glamour of it all..

I can see installation coverage benefit manufacturers and consultants too.

As a manufacturer, it would allow me to catch a 3rd party analysis of how easy/difficult my competitors make installation, and have a focus group with high aptitude giving me feedback on designs. (ie: 'dome pigtails suck', or 'we need standard conduit knockouts')

As a consultant, it would help 'complete the picture' for clients during pre-bid or even construction activities about necessary features. (ie: 'You need backing material in EIFS at all camera locations', or 'That hard ceiling needs an access panelway for future cable work'.)

Brian, yours is a very thoughtful post and in keeping with the original spirit of the question John posed. If IPVM were to implement something like this, manufacturers and consultants would do well to sign on and take heed in the real world feedback they might receive.

The old adage is true: "Ignorance is Bliss" Know what I mean?

"I read this as the difference between "at camera install issues" where a installer arrives to hang, spot and tweak a camera which has already been roughed and which we all know can be a nightmare with the ideosycrycies between manufacturers etc. and "101 installation" which crosses over to the low voltage electrical trade. The construction of the backbone raceways, gal or ridgid conduit, EMT, PVC, cable trays, pulling or laying in Cat 6 cables, line voltage feeds, pole footings, concrete work, the correct anchors to use in a specific application etc. etc. etc. Two completely different skill sets."

For some of us in smaller companies... many or all of these may be part of the required skill set for installing cameras. Between the boss, my co-worker and I, we've done ALL the above jobs at one time or another as part of a CCTV install. I wouldn't view any of them as DIFFERENT skill sets... more like, ADDITIONAL skill sets. I have extensive background in networking and computers and have done some residential electrical work (ALMOST took the exam to get my ticket), as well as woodwork and construction. My co-worker is adept in metal fabrication, painting, and mechanical work, among other things. Customers love it - one in particular who is very picky about how their cameras "look" (or more imporantly, how well they blend in) - as we've come up with all manner of clever and innovative mounting strategies for them and delivered cameras customized in various colors and finishes to match their ever-changing decor.

Maybe for bigger outfits, these things are jobs to be farmed out, and "installers" are more specialized guys who just slap a camera up to a gang box, aim it, and go home... for us, it's all part of the service.

Then again, we live in an area where you don't have to have licenses out the yin-yang just to run PVC or pull low-voltage cable.

Well said Matt! Could not agree more with the ADDTIONAL comment. Thankfully I also live in an area that is the same in terms of licensing and regs. Can't imagine living somewhere so regulated where someone has to come out and check the diameter of conduit before I can use it...

I'm a newcomer to IPVM and also just starting in the video surveillance field. I am an owner/operator of a small computer service company up on the northern coast of Maine, so I am not completely useless when it comes to network installations. However, the addition of IP cameras & PoE does up the ante somewhat. Up until now, I have only installed a few low end residential CCTV systems for clients on a per request basis. Recently, my largest (& best) client for whome I set-up a small business network, approached me about the installation of a rather large surveillance system (at least for me). Hence my subscription to IPVM.

I'm not sure if IPVM has many (semi) newbies like me, but for me, that kind of info would be a great help. So far, IPVM has been a wealth of knowledge, but I know the poop hits the fan when you get out in the field, so the more applicable installation information I can gather the better. On the other hand, I also know that you can only dip your toes in the water for so long. At some point, you just have to put on your big-boy pants, jump in the deep end, and start swimming. ;o)

Being a consultant or system designer who doesn't know how how to install is like a car salesman who doesn't know how to drive. Memorize all the specs you want, but theoretical knowledge is never as good as experience.

It's easy(relatively) to pick a camera and the best spot to put it, but to actually out the camera in that spot can be the easiest thing in the world or very challenging. I would like to see IPVM cover installs more, I think it's something severely lacking in the industry as a whole. People keep talking about how easier ip is making things (or in hdcctv's case, how you don't need to know anything to do hdcctv) and this is not always true. I don't think a lot of people understand how expensive (labour wise) to get cameras in their ideal locations, and then sometimes cheap out and put them some where else. That or the Install looks like shit. But that's just me, also excuse any typos/grammar errors, damn touchscreen keyboard...

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