Is It Time For Me To Start Selling Hikvision?
Ok is it time to start selling Hikvision? Lost 4 projects to an electrician and 2 to an alarm installer in the past two months. I'm recommending Axis M and P series cameras with Axis Camera Companion and Netgear Poe switches, their recommending Hikvision IP cameras with Hikvision Poe NVRs. Side note both use ADI for materials. Our install quotes are about the same but the Axis cameras is where their beating us Typical install for us is 6-14 cameras mainly small manufacturing, warehouses, commercial businesses and some residential.
Searched and read all articles on IPVM including camera comparison (the price difference is unbelievable for a camera similar to Axis), it seems Hikvision has a product and price point that should be considered. Others in the discussions and surveys have stated they switched.
I'm thinking of quoting two quotes for each job, one Axis for their quality and dependability, one for Hikvision for price. Is this crazy or should I just quote one or the other?
The other option was going to have the client pay for the materials (cameras, switches, and cabling) I would absorb the immediate cost of labor and incorporate it into a service contract for a period of 3 years. Every three months we clean, adjust, and update firmware if needed. So why not spread that cost out over three years. The contract would have to, I want to say the cameras and all other equipment are the property of the contractor for the three year period. Just think or typing out loud.
Do your clients care if they are buying Chinese products? Do you care?
If not, why sell anything else?
Dwayne, great question!
Quoting both options, I think, is a good approach, especially in this situation. There's definitely debate around this and you can see it here: Should Integrators Be Offering Multiple Options / Quotes?
Dwayne, what is the price difference (for products) between your Axis proposals and the Hikvision ones? 50% more? 100% more? That's a bigger factor in evaluating what you should do.
As for Hikvision, they are doing very well, especially in the 6 - 14 camera market you are typically doing. For example, see Favorite SMB Video Surveillance Manufacturers and Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing Ground. So it's not an aberration and, for the relatively simple needs of smaller camera count users, Hikvision's overall offering is close to Axis'.
The challenge is, given Axis product portfolio weakness in the low end market, there's no combination of Axis products that are going to be close in price to equivalent spec'd Hikvision. And it is going to get worse as more dealers use Hikvision's HDTVI which is even less expensive than Hikvision's IP offering.
The other approach is to go full on negative against Hikvision. Like the Avigilon employee above (undisclosed manufacturer 1), you can attack the 'Chinese' for being 'Chinese', if you are comfortable with that. More specifically, you could emphasize that (1) Hikvision has had some serious security issues and (2) that Hikvision's growth is heavily dependent on their success inside China, while China is facing a steep stock decline / crash that could hurt them.
I've had the same problem and I switched to Hikvision as well as Dahua. Dahua cms being harder for the customer to learn to use. Still for the price and image its hard to beat. I do still sell "upscale" but its become less and less unfortunately.
By the way, I do mention to the customer that they are chinese products and that I have tested them in my own home for the past 2 years without an issue. If I had not previsously tested the cameras I would not, in good conscience, have made the recommendation to use Hikvision or Dahua for their project.
My way of thinking, why be one of the herd. If you have been in the business awhile, we have had these shooting stars before.
Better differentiate yourself in some way.
Being the lowest price does not lead to longevity.
I like the service component better.
FYI: the chinese are not our friends, unless you are Wal-Mart.
Try to get the end user to see the VMS and image quality of the cameras. Help them understand the difference between the two solutions. Your manufacturer representatives will assist with demonstrations at no cost. Also, you will most likely be the only one showing them the product. We find that if a decision maker gets the opportunity to see our Spectrum VMS, 9 out of 10 times they will pay more for the better solution.
I use Hikvision for your standard installs describe it to my customers as the Toyota Corolla of CCTV equipment good cost good quality everyone knows it. I have had no problem with the Hikvision product it seems to work well and is price competitive the only issue I have heard of althrough haven't struck myself is that it is so widely avaliable direct to the client via the web (Alibaba etc) that clients will balk at paying anything more than a basic price as they have seen it for bugger all on the web. I used to use Bosch for my more technically difficult installs (lighting issues etc ) where price wasn't the issue but the local supplier here has gone downhill so I have started looking at the Axis as an alternative where quality is defnitely the issue rather than price which it seems with the Axis (forensic WDR etc) is better. I also like the Axis edge recording which they seem to have put a lot of work into (whereas I'm not so sure with the Hik offering) this can give you a price advantage if you don't have to quote an NVR. In a scenario I am quoting at the moment I am looking at the Axis as it is kioisks in mall enviroments so very small space to work with plus mall management demands so the ability to not have to put an NVR and UPS in whch saves on space and heat issues and power an edge recording AXis camera off a switch and than back to the router is an attractive option. In short I would say diffrent horses for diffrent courses.
A few years ago I was working for a BIG IP VMS brand. They decided to start their own range of cameras. When I questioned them "Why...The Chinese are coming"... My comment was dismissed as they will never succeed... How they are regretting this now. Whether we like it or not..HV and others have the manufacturing ability to really hit hard.
It has been known for a while that a product with USA on the label will sell big in the USA... It also carries a premium on price sometimes.
Companies like HV and others offer a VERY good product at a very competitive price.
As Bob Dylan sang... "Times they are a changing"
Well, here is my point from European market perspective - I think many companies here were in your dilema situation and I think they opted for the Hikvision/Dahua/TVT solution long ago and those who did were on the winning side. We started working with Hikvision in 2008 when Hik was still a relatively unknown in Europe analog PC cards manufacturer, starting to sell analog DVRs. At that time we were using and selling Pelco, Arecont, DM. Then Hik came with IP cams, then NVRs, then came the iVMS 4000 software platform, this year we are starting the Hikvision access control and video doorphone... For some years we were doing the "Two quotes" scenario but we came to the point where we were giving to the client two offers (One brand/one "Chinese") with same functionality and picture quality but 2x/3x difference on the price tag. And this scenario I think leads inevitably to the all Hik option. We went more and more with Hik wining more and more of the former high brand projects and clients. Of course the highly suicidal policies of some of the high-end brands like DM did help a lot this to happen, but this is another story :)
On the other hand the only sensible advantage for some higher end brand today here is System integration. For example the cases where you have a shopping mall, stadium, industrial facility etc, where you can supply the video and other systems - alarm, access control, fire detection, PA and it is really an advantage (both in terms of functionality and price) if you can offer a total solution from one manufacturer who can guarantee things will work together without glitch (and we're talking low system level, not just plain ONVIF). Here is where Bosch, Siemens and others come strong in Europe but Axis is not in that "total solution" group. AND if you compare just apples to apples and Hik cameras to Axis cameras there is not much reason left to pay much more extra for the brand itself. If the Swedish guys/the new Canon guys don't change anything (and they haven't done anything so far) I think Axis' long term future looks grim, like just another expensive high quality niche product like Mobotix for example.
So in your case with 6-14 cameras - surely you should go with Hikvision - if you don't, the competitors you mentioned will continue to take the pie away. As for the other option - sacrificing your labour costs and/or margin just to get Axis in the game just isn't feasable in my opinion, it will just hold the situation back for a while, but as agent Smith would put it:
We have been selling Dahua and Hikvision fOr years now and have yet to have more than two bad units. We have many in service for well over three years now, without a SINGLE service call. I have never SOLD Axis cameras, but we have worked on quite a few. I can assuredly say that we have seen FAR more issues with Axis than Dauha or Hik.
As far as the security of Dahua or Hik, lock down your network and it isn't an issue. You should be doing that already.
On to the VMS vs NVR debate. We will sell an NVR/DVR if the client can't afford a VMS and server, but we try our best to sell DW Spectrum for ease of use and features missing from the Chinese based NVRs.
But, if we are selling an NVR, why not just go with HDCVI and sell a similar DVR. The Dahua Tribrids can also support a few IP cams if needed. They also integrate analog SD, if the client has some already. It supports ONVIF if you decide to add the VMS server down the road. AND it keeps pricing low to get the project bid won. Get in the door and go from there. Show them you do good work and they won't want to work with anyone else.
Hi Dwayne, I work at Axis on the communications team and monitor this site. I encourage you to discuss pricing and partner status with us directly. I'd start with your local account executive, Alex, by calling Inside Sales at 1-800-444-2947 Option 3. You're welcome to reach out to me directly at email@example.com as well, and I'd be happy to put you in touch.
I was an axis die hard, I made sure that Axis was my brand when I moved to my new company and started up their premise security devision. After i got my ass handed to me on a few jobs by some total crap cameras, I needed to find something that fit the price point and wasn't total crap. Installing them was relatively painless. My company does a lot of work for banks and other highly regulated industries. I use exacq because its a windows platform and i can manage it with WSUS. my biggest selling point is going into a banks network to perform an IT vulnerability scan and finding weaknesses in a linux based OEM DVR. So for those of you asking why not use a full Hikvision solution that is why because we want to make sure that the system is on a platform we can manage with standard enterprise tools (AD, WSUS, SEP, ect.)
As for the Hikvision, the only thing we had to do was disable the UPnP and change the SNMP info around to pass our vulnerability scan out of the box. The latest firmware fixed the other vulnerabilities in those cameras as well.
Just my two cents on them.
Thoughts from a "prosumer":
1) Market stability - What is best for the industry is stability and product availability. I purchased a number of Axis cameras for my own home a year ago assuming they were as stable as any company out there - hoping to avoid long-term, overpriced VMS licenses. I actually started with Logitech Alert cameras for my small application using the same logic. Now, I am 0 for 2 (hard to know Axis' future). Any time you are selling a product at a consumer level many times above its reasonable price, a group like Hikvision will drive the pricing down. That's a market economy for you, and is what made your big-screen TV, car, cell phone and personal computer possible and affordable. Hikvision is filling the gaps in the market (financially and otherwise), and driving down prices through efficient production processes. All the other companies are using the same factories, so production techniques are pretty standardized across the whole technology industry.
2) Ignoring consumer market - The other major industry problem is their lack of vision (no pun intended). The industry is too worried about forcing consumers to hire outside firms for installs/updates, that only a fraction of consumers interested in home surveillance will achieve their goal. If a local surveillance store would actually let me see cameras, talk to them about options, etc. - I may hire them or at least buy the cameras from them. Getting consumer flow through your store is a good thing since retail pricing is higher than wholesale. Surveillance software is stuck in the 1990s, and an intelligent voice would be valuable. But that is not possible since I do not want to pay an installer to hook a CAT5 cable into my camera. Best Buy is not selling sufficient technology, so I have to order online and trust this site. Thanks IPVM! There will always be mid-to-large applications that need professional installs. Industry has to stop ignoring their largest potential purchaser - the consumer. And stop calling me an "end-user". Can you imagine if your phone company talked to you like that?
3) Volume - The industry needs to move from a low-volume/high-price-per-unit model, to a high-volume/reasonable-price model with retail sales operations. Consumers are the solution! With significant upgrades in technology happening every few months, people won't spend $1000 on a camera in the future. Every company depending on overly high-priced cameras will collapse. The past year is just the beginning. In 1985, IBM was the #1 company selling larger corporate installs and using archaic software. Now Apple is #1 selling great hardware/software directly to consumers. I hope the surveillance industry recognizes their current business model is not sustainable.
NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: I Hope The Surveillance Industry Recognizes Their Current Business Model Is Not Sustainable
Here's another idea: Use Axis/sony/whatever on those locations where you need better performance (for instance WDR or low light). On the other locations where you just need 'general overview' with no specific needs, buy Chinese directly from China without the middle men. The total cost of that in cameras will be comparable to the total cost Hikvision you buy through distribution and your overall solution will outperform Hikvision. Show this on site with the customer, take your WDR camera and post it to show his entrance door full of direct sunlight. Ask him to have his Hikvision elektrician to do the same and compare the snapshots. You'll win tyhe deal with one or two top quality cameras and the rest equal performing but a lot cheaper than distributed Hikvisions.
I tested this with the cheapest Hikvision mini bullet HD with IR and put a, in this case, Longse right next to it. Results are very comparable in image quality.
To be honest, i don't know yet how long the Longse will work but at their price point i can throw it away and put another one in and still be cheaper and still make money on the deal. I did have an issue to get it into Milestone at first but their support fixed that quite fast.
I too am a happy LTS reseller. Have you had any experience with using the POS features?
Thanks to all. I want to thank everyone (even the undisclosed - it would be nice to know who you are, yes there are times when you should be undisclosed) who have given their opinions and experiences on this subject. You input has helped guide me in my quest for a competitive edge. Offer value, service, integrity, and never bullshit the client.
On the Hik vs Axis, Is it value added or price point? With one you have value added the other (was price) now it seems Hik is catching up. Each time that IPVM has conducted a test Hik seems to hold its own ground. Impressed as I I'm with the results of the test and the opinions and experiences of this community it seems the best option for us is to offer both. We have to differentiate us from the competition with our experience (as short as it may seem to some), the quality of products, and services we can offer.
Thanks all Dwayne
Please continue to commit.
John, On this kind of project you arely see the high end Hikvision models such as Darkfighter. Also, these models get closer to the, for instance, Sony EM model pricing (for instance if it's WDR you need).
On the other hand, how many end users really care about the brand and model? We're all used to sell camera's of brand X and model Y but how many do really care? End users care about what they can do with the image, how long their investiment is going to last and if the image will be there if and when they need it.
So, why are we selling hadware then? Shouldn't we be selling a kind of 'image/performance warranty'? You guarantee the customer that the images provided will suit his needs (for instance, read a license plate on a screen, provide general overview etc etc), that the images will allways be there and you charge a monthly fee for it for a minimum of say three years. Which hard and software you use to get this done is your problem, you just have got to make it work.
This way, it will be much harder to shop online and compare pricing. That's the way we're going to go anyway but i have to admit we're just getting this story in shape so we'll have to wait on how well it will be accepted.
Sorry Guys this started happening about 4-5 years ago. create a frenzy of down,dirty,cheap installation companys where they were charging prices 1/2 what i could as i only used high quality products and they dont care , just want pictures.
Example normal cost cams 150-400, down & dirty cost 40-80 , how do you compete?
this is the new standard for cctv in the world we live in . Hit & Miss video, 480 line res cameras with 900 line details on the spec sheets , IR Specs which say 180 ' which really mean 30 meters using words like HD which really mean 720 p , not 1080 p
Its all about the sale, not the product
when you view their work the use 70s installation techniques, with large loops and boxes with wires hanging to cameras .
Clearly low bid, low cost , down dirty, what ever it takes to make a few cents, not a few dollars, and certainly not a great product or installation.
There is 2 standards now.
Cheap, Really Cheap
Professional vs trunkslammer
So we have a client who used to buy Axis only. When their IT dept could no longer support all of the cameras, some failing, some just dated, we were hired to take over. They have a variety of older and somewhat newer Axis cams. We have added some Dahua and Hikvision cameras at way below the cost of the Axis cameras they had been buying. If you ask my client which cameras have the best image quality, they likely would say the cheaper cameras.
Now, there is a time and place for a higher end camera, like Axis. When you have a particular need for a given feature that only Axis provides, then I could justify it. But when all you need is a high quality image from a reliable camera, Dahua and Hikvision fit that need at a much lower price.
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