Subscriber Discussion

Thoughts On Supporting Multiple Surveillance Systems, With 2-3 Vendors?

Our client is getting pressure from other departments to have multiple vendors support the camera systems across 16 sites. This means all vendors will have access to servers, cameras, Ubiquiti wireless devices, Ubiquiti cloud switches, etc. No single point to hold accountable for anything.

 

The 16 sites are all local, so its not a territory or capacity issue. It stems from the fact we do a lot of calls on sites we did not install, but the outside pressure is ignoring the fact we have 1 failure in 2 years, on site we installed.

 

We are heavily considering dropping this client if they choose to do this. It would be a shame, as they are our first client, and a decent client. But I see this being an absolute disaster.

 

 

Thoughts? Just a disaster waiting to happen?

 

Liability concerns?

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Seems like a disaster waiting to happen from my point of view. I don't know what it's like in your area, but here some companies really do not get along, and I have personally seem sabotage. Granted this was in the residential small commercial market. We never shared clients.

I can easily seen some one screwing something up, whether intentional or on purpose, and blaming one of the other vendors. Or just not even taking credit/mentioning the issue at all then the blame game goes around.

Unless it's clear cut, this vendor works at this site only, B Vendor these sites, C Vendor that site over there. Or Vendor 1 this system, Vendor 2 that system. But even then I can see problems arising.

It seems like such a nightmare from their point of view even to have multiple people servicing their system. I don't understand that choice at all. 

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I have one client who uses multiple integrators  to support a nationwide access control system with close to a hundred sites. The sites are divided up into about five regions with one integrator for each region.

What makes this successful is that one of the integrators has been assigned the role of "master integrator" who has sole responsibility for maintaining the servers and software. When a new facility is added, the regional integrator installs all the equipment at the local site and connects it to the network. The regional integrator then sends site configuration data to the master integrator, who programs the system and makes it operational. All equipment at each site is maintained by the regional integrator, but only the master integrator and the client has access to the servers and database.

Not sure if this would work in your case, but its an option to consider.

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Isn't that basically the customer has hired one integrator, and then that integrator subs to separate companies? Or does the customer legit have contracts or what ever with each individual integrator?

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In the case I am describing, each of the regional integrators has a direct contract with the client, plus one of the integrators has a contract to serve as the master integrator. 

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I'd happily wait for a disaster to happen. After explaining that I can not held be liable for anything what's going on there so they have to sign a waiver or call me back when their equipment quits working.

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What is the concern / pain points of the 'other departments'? Anyway to resolve or address those points to eliminate the desire to have multiple  vendors supporting the systems?

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Apartments. We work with the IT department so they know what is going on.The regionals seems to be unhappy with the fact that we do so much service work, and they think our bids are too high on new installs.

But its not all relative. They used to use another vendor, which had zero tech skills, and the IT department had to provide all programming and troubleshooting of the Unifi radios. The old installer was basically laborers to install conduit, etc. And even that was done poorly with liquid tight pushed into the bell ends of PVC, electric and CAT5 run in the same conduit etc. All the radios are programmed using auto frequency, auto bandwidth etc so they hop around

So we do a lot of service work for them. Resetting radios, fixing links etc. We never have had the opportunity to own the whole thing, reprogram radios to our standard etc.

The 4 sites we installed in the last 2 years have had 1 failure. UPS, proper electric, grounded CAT5, proper radio programming.

 

Then they use Ubiquiti cameras so cameras get stolen from the laundry rooms all the time. We have no way to really secure them. Same with their bullet line.

 

They are looking at changing from Unifi video, and getting service plans, etc, and we plan on asking to meet with all the regionals, the owners, etc to discuss everything and present our proposal.

 

I asked my contact this: "So to summarize this, we service all the shoddy work done by the other vendor at a billable rate, we charge a little more for our installs and in 2 years you have had 1-2 failures across ~100 cameras on our installs, yet we are the bad guys and they want to find a cheaper provider" He laughed and said yes.

 

We were asked to quote a new install using Milestone for LPRS, Unifi for the rest, multiple poles, trenching etc. Then they had someone else come in, gave them a completely different (simpler scope), then are heaving why the quotes are 15K apart.

 

 

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I would explain your concerns about the serviceability and the liability of the project. The only way I would stay engaged is if the customers IT "managed" the system and verified every companies work to sign off on liabilities, or if your company was the tier 1 contact and you preformed that function of babysitting the other installation companies.

 

Honestly though, I'd be looking at how to walk away from the customer for now until they want to give you the entire hog.

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