Should Pelco Have Released HD Analog Cameras?

This has emerged in the comments to Pelco Is For Sale.

Vote/poll:


I say yes, they should have. It's too late now but the value is this:

Pelco has / had a massive (SD) analog customer base. Axis, Avigilon and others were focusing on converting them to IP. Pelco could have better beat back them by offering HD analog and integrating that into their existing infrastructure.

Agree/disagree?

Anything would have been better than what they actually did do, which was nothing. 

But, yes, I remember a huge base of end users who were genuinely frightened of IP. They were worried about investing money into then-unproven technology, they were worried about ceding control to the IT department, they were worried about cybersecurity, they were worried about reliability, they were worried about low-light performance and, most of all, they were worried about cost. 

Axis, Avigilon, and the rest fought an uphill battle to overcome these objections. It was hard, but they won eventually.

They won not because these end users were impressed by the technology, but because they were impressed by the image quality. All the fast talking in the world could not explain away the difference between a CIF image and a 720p image. 

Had Pelco made significant investments into R&D while keeping their customer centric corporate culture intact, we would not be having this conversation on a website called IP Video Market, because IP video would not be as ubiquitous as it is. 

Oh, well. Coulda woulda shoulda. In an alternate universe, Todd Rockoff is the most well respected person in the security industry. 

In all seriousness, Rockoff did serious damage to the cause of non-IP HD video. He alienated so many manufacturers and created such a circus perception around it, that he turned off many who might have joined his cause.

In a bizarro way, Rockoff might be one of the most influential people in the industry in the past decade.

Okay. I'll bite and show my age. Who is Todd Rockoff? Most of the things I see on Google have references to Tucson JCC President. 

show my age

What are you? 25? :)

This was as recent as a few years ago, though the height of it was 2011 / 2012, see - The Worst Security Marketing Ever

Pretty good guess. I am 26 and have only been in industry for about 3 years. 

Awesome! Good to see young people coming into the industry!

At the least they could have relabeled cameras from a another manufacturer, most likely Chinese.  And they would not have had the cybersecurity concerns like Dist 1 pointed out. They would have been heroes to their large established customer base enabling them to keep their infrastructure and upgrade to high definition video while keeping their name to the forefront of customer's thoughts.

By relabeling they could then have easily phased out the cameras in the conversion to IP without losing manufacturing investment.

I'm not so sure an HD analog offering would have really helped Pelco. If they did it in the early days it may have been based on something too proprietary, and most likely would have been close in cost to IP cameras, but offering fewer overall resolution options.

If they released it later, after HD Analog started to catch on more, they most likely could not have done it at a price point that would have made it competitive.

Also, if Pelco had done HD Analog early on, it might have given them even more reasons to ignore the transition to IP, which would not work to the benefit.

There was plenty of room in the industry for Pelco to be a viable IP player, their current fate is not the result of a missing HD analog offering. Had Pelco done HD analog, they would probably still be where they are now, just via a different route.

Also, if Pelco had done HD Analog early on, it might have given them even more reasons to ignore the transition to IP, which would not work to the benefit.

The transition to IP was not a foregone conclusion. For a long time, IP's negatives were almost as significant as its positives. 

While I was an early advocate of IP, years ago, and let me tell you that IP was a very hard sell for the first five years or so. 

If Pelco had introduced an HD over Coax solution along with hybrid DVRs while keeping their class-of-the-world customer service and sales organization (which was always their secret sauce anyway, not their technology), they'd still be kings of the world. 

I see your point, but you would have still had Axis, Arecont, Avigilon, IQInvision, and others pushing IP cameras at that time. There were also products like Covi that had an interesting IP/analog hybrid solution that could make some use of existing infrastructure to deliver higher resolution video.

While Pelco was well known for their support, that is less of a barrier to entry for competitors. You can't patent "good support". Good support is also costly, and depending on how Pelco addressed the R&D costs of creating an HD analog solution, and how they priced it, it may not have been possible to maintain the level of support they were known for, and also release an HD analog product that coerced enough of the market to bypass IP in a way that would have let Pelco continue to be "Pelco".

 

It would have been a great solution to upsell to their already giant Analog followers. Easy upgrade. I agree though, they would have had to be the first mover to make this valid.

But then again, there are some companies who focused on the coax only route, even transitioning into the HD over coax variants, who seem irrelevant today. Which is why they should have also invested into IP more at the same time.

I think that Pelco, and all of the other former greats, such as Panasonic, Sony, Bosch, etc. should have produced HD analog cameras.  If they had done this, they could have leveraged their install base to upgrade to hybrid solutions or even to simply upgrade their DVRs, monitors, matrix, etc. to all support HD.

 

Very few (or any?) major household name brands have release HD analog products.

It's been mentioned in many discussions that the core failure of pelco/SE was lack of innovation. That much is a clear path to mediocrity and ultimately failure of a business. 

I'll throw this name out there; Dave Underwood (and his team). I represented and sold the lights out of integral technologies starting in 1998 and into the mid 2000s. Integral was a leader in technology. More important, they were a leader in user experience. It was easy to use.

Circa 2005 and beyond, development of more advanced features, capabilities and reliability ceased (or so it seemed). Circa 2007 and beyond, digital sentry/control point (the user experience) had lost all momentum because development stopped or was completely distracted by infighting. I'd suggest at this point that digital sentry/control point and pelco could have been Axis, genetec and avigilon all rolled into one if they committed and executed back then.

If they developed non proprietary server, analog encoder, analog HD encoder/cams and HD IP in step with the general evolution of the industry, they would still be king. They did none of the above. That's why theyre a failure. They could have leveraged there massive base and huge reputation to successful transition and didnt. HD analog could have been an enormous transitional success because of their historical leadership, reputation and passionate network of end users and end user facing integrators.

Back to Underwood (and all of his team). Let's start Exacq and do the right thing all over again. Deliver a great user experience through ease of use and open technology (although absent HD analog).

So to answer the question, pelco could have leveraged the lights out of HD analog if they were timely on technology and had a core focus on user experience. They didn't.