What Do People You Talk To Think Of IPVM?

I am curious. As members, you know and read IPVM but what do other people you talk to think of us? For instance, when you are talking to someone from another company on the phone, at a meeting or tradeshow?

Don't be afraid to hurt our feelings. Things like "No one has ever heard about IPVM" or "They despise you" is perfectly fine.

I am trying to get a sense of how mainstream we have or have not become. Thanks!

IPVM? Who are they?

I've been in the industry for 20 years and just heard about you folks 6 months ago.

Well, we are only 5 years old! EJ, how did you hear about us then?

As an extemely new member (less than a month), I think it is a mixed bag. On the positive side, most end users I speak with love having a forum to share thoughts/ideas and review 3rd party test. I would say integrators/manufacturers are on the less positive side. Some integrators/manufacturers seem pleased that there is a 3rd party site for both customer and integrator education (amazing how some integrators only know of the product they are incentivized to sell) but they often recommend taking the site with a "grain of salt". I assume that means they agree with positive reviews of their product/services and disagree with constructive reviews. :)

I am a security integrator. Whenever you have a positive review of a particular product, next time that company's sales rep stops in my office they ask me "Did you see the review of our (whatever product) on IPVM?". I had one whip out his tablet to show me. At least he wasn't copying it and e-mailing it to everyone. The ones that get negative reports, I ask them about it and usually get "it wasn't a fair test" or "that Honovich is a real a-hole" or something to that effect.

Overall, the people that know of IPVM have a high regard for it, even if they don't agree with the reports and tests.

BTW, we found IPVM a few years ago via the LinkedIn group. It's been a valuable resource for us ever since.

I am living in Finland and found your site about two years ago. I must say that you are not well known in here northern Europe but IMO you have a great site. I have been in surveillance / security industry since 1989 and having own VMS developing team eight years now, so it is very interesting to see latest news.

Undiscloseds, thanks! Funny how IPVM's credibility with manufacturers ebbs and flows with how positive we are about their newest releases!

Pekka, thanks! It's a miracle of the Internet that anyone knows us in Northern Europe!

John, I said I only heard of you folks 6 "months" ago...not years...:)

But I'm glad I did, I love your forum. It's like having an in house R&D team.

Make sure you take the team out this Friday night after work for a beer.

EJ, we are spread out now in 7 different cities :)

I think that many of the manufacturers pay close attention to IPVM...and if they're not they should be. Some probably wish that you would go away. LOL But love you or hate you, you're (or perhaps I should say we're) keeping them honest. I appreciate it when manufacturer's reps participate in discussions, responding to constructive critsism or effectively rebutting a coment that a member has erringly made about their product(s). Hey, we need to be put in our place from time to time as well.


Most manufacturers I talk to have heard of IPVM. Opinions are probably neutral on average, some hate IPVM, but most see the value.

Of the integrators I mention IPVM to (I feature several of your articles in my slide presentations ;) ) most have not heard of it before. Those that have usually say it's valuable, others that I have mentioned IPVM to follow to say thanks for making them aware.

First of all, no joking about featuring IPVM articles in slides. We all know that Avigilon has an exclusive for using IPVM for promotion - ha ha ha

In all seriousness, though, please let me know if any manufacturer sales people are using IPVM materials in slides. We've had a few reports of camera manufacturers doing so. None of this is allowed, and I want to stop that.

I do believe that most integrators have not heard of us, which is a positive to the extent that it means we have a lot of room to grow. We continue to grow revenue at 50%+ annually and suspect this can go on for some time. There is a virtuous cycle to this, the more revenue, the more we can expand our team and cover more things (e.g., our hiring this year of Carlton, Sarit, Derek plus 2 new people next week).

A sales rep friend of mine has commented to me...once he knew I was an IPVM member this and I quote:

"Honovich has too much power". Product lines which he reps probably took a hit via shoot out or something. I never followed up on that with him. It could also be taken that what you guys do educates us intergrator / installers / consultants etc and an educated consumer can be a sales reps worst nightmare!!

Michael, huh? That's weird. From what I can tell from talking to manufacturer sales people, it is our 'business' side posts (layoffs, firing, restructuring, marketing) that appears to have disproportionate impact. They seem to go more viral than our test results, even though we spend far more time on them. Test results are certainly read collectively far more than business ones but they do not seem to have the emotional impact.

John, imagine for a moment that you made your living convincing installing security integration firms that product A is a better line then product B and you rep for product A, IPVM can be a threat to your success for many reasons. IPVM produces a product that appears to be thoroughly tested, There appears to be no slant. You accept no money from manufacturers that will expect favorable comments and results in return, You produce a product that is growing in popularity and breadth etc. In other words, you and your team are knowledgeable and credable.

If I made my living peddleing snake oil or sub-par equipment, IPVM research and commentary could provoke an emotional response, No? Particularly if someone cites information learned here.

I'll tell you what I have heard and honestly what I initially thought as well. Basically it goes something like this:

"Why the hell would I pay that kind of money to join a blog/forum when I can see all that information for free from other sites"

Luckily I overcame this hurdle because I knew of other people that I respected that were members of this site that found value. And I am glad I did, because you cant find this info for free. But I guess that would be something that people "think" of this site.

Michael, I agree. Thanks!

Sean, that seems to be a prevalent attitude at CCTVForum in particular :) While I do not want to give trial memberships, I do think it would be useful to offer some more free sample so people can see the difference (e.g., here's a free test we've recently been promoting).

Yeah but you sed to give trial memberships at one time, right? I normally don't try anything without a free trial unless it's something for sure I know about.

We have never done free trials, and it has not been an issue. Conceivably, free trials could increase members even more but it might not. As we get bigger, we will offer more for free (whether samples or possibly limited access) but that is not a priority.

Regarding free trials, one thing to try might be to make older articles convert from PRO to Free after like 2 years. Even though the industry moves slow, I think the value of much of the data deteriorates over time, at least for shootouts and stuff like that. Things that are more timeless, like pixels-per-foot tutorials, would stay PRO-only.

This would give people a better opportunity to see what they are missing and convince them to subscribe to get data when it is most current and useful.

Brian, I think it makes sense to open some of the older articles. One thing that I do not want to do is open up test results for specific manufacturers because I do not want to give any impression that those are public because it has been paid for (regardless of its age).

I think a lot of people in the industry that work for manufacturers who have been subject to negative tests by IPVM have a serious dislike for IPVM. If you had a hard time selling a product because an end user said "IPVM had terrible things to say about your product." and your commission took a hit because of it how would you feel? I don't think this should come as a surprise.

However, I enjoy reading IPVM far more than securityinfowatch or security sales and Integration. The articles are much more interesting to me and touch on topics that are more relevant to the industry than the alternatives.

The answer to the question is that some people really dislike IPVM and some people swear by it. IPVM is a polarizing subject and I think its because they are putting the heat on the manufacturers in this business to make them more ethical, to put out better products, and to market their products more responsibly. No matter how you slice it IPVM is good for the industry.

I understands IPVM's concern about protecting their copywrited content. If it didn't happen, this membership funded independant testing organiation would cease to exist. However, I believe that an integrator should have some way of providing printed material or giving electronic access of IPVM tests to a perspective client. If a product is being recommended by an integrator based partly on the results of IPVM testing, this information should be available to the client to back the integrator's claims.

Perhaps there could be some way of providing the members some type of pay per use access to particular IPVM articles so that they can demonstrate the strengths of the product(s) that they are recommending to their clients?

Vincent, thanks for the good feedback. In terms of sharing tests with clients, it is not a money issue, but a promotional problem. I do not want integrators using IPVM like it's a Frost & Sullivan award, because it can make us appear that we are endorsing the sale of certain products.

Here's specifically what I do not want: a powerpoint slide or brochure or proposal that says anything like IPVM says a product is high quality or a top choice or best in class etc. Similarly, including our logo or a single snapshot of an image quality comparison. Those things inevitably skew our analysis, leaving out downsides that we mention in the report.

Any integrator who wants to share a report with a client, is fine with me, as long as it's (1) the whole report and (2) it's done specifically when a certain product is being considered, and (3) you send an email to info@ipvm.com to confirm.

I decided I needed an IPVM.COM subscription after I noticed multiple vendor complaining about John. You can identify a useful Internet information source by who they piss off ;-) I find it quite useful even if just to remind (screwing up) integrators that they could buy an IPVM.COM subscription just for the tutorials - 100 dollars a quarter is not going to break anyone's training budget.

I could make snarky comments about the quality of the product reviews, but that's because I've done them before (Network World, other places) and I know how hard it can be. They're useful and getting better all the time - and - there isn't a lot of other review data out there. (It appears most pubs are either afraid of litigation or too in bed with the vendors - product reviews are scandalously lacking in this field in general.)

Keep going, please. Just like you are. Complete with the shrieky reaction when some jerk sales droid copies your stuff inappropriately. Definitely including the numbers analysis stuff about market growth etc. And I do like the product reviews, warts and all - and they are getting better and better all the time.

I hear mixed reviews. Some are aware of IPVM and some are not. The integrator side is pretty aware of the site as they really value the information. I believe very strongly in testing and knowing ahead of time the test results of certain technologies. Specifically IPVM helps me advance my knowledge of what things I need to get educated on. With out the exposure to all the technologies available it is difficult to understand what it is that an integrator needs to know to be successful. Its the hidden problems that exist that are some of the biggest problems. IPVM shows us what to avoid and what really works. Then it is up to the person individually to do their own field testing.

I make sure to always educate people on why IPVM is so important, especially for the new person engaging in the industry.

I haven't talked to many people that have heard of IPVM, but I can say that it has been a wealth of knowledge and haven't found this information anywhere else from other websites I have looked into. You are very similar to the site I'm part of for professional audio, Syn-Aud-Con. However, I believe manufactures support them and they don't really give product reviews but instead mainly have blogs on product theory.

The discussions tend to not review products but solve problems. However, if there is technical problems with spec sheets, many will speak up. There is a fear of litigation for speaking out though and I think this is in many industries. I feel if someone produces crap, you should be able to freely tell the world it's crap without fear of litigation. This is especially true if you can easily and scientifically prove your claim.

The real knowledge of Syn-Aud-Con I find is in the discussions. The way your site is setup though, gets me to read more of the articles on your site instead of just discussions. Most of this is due to the email notices I receive.

IPVM is gaining momentum all the way down here in Oz. I guess its been slow to get exposure and get those all important subscriptions from the punters here but more and more people are talking about IPVM and the articles, tests and forums. Keep up the great work :)

I can't say I have heard good or bad press about IPVM. Other than myself acknowledging I use it and me myself promoting it as the Comsumer Reports for the CCTV world, I have not had a sales guy tell me about it.

Everytime I hear of a product or get told about this or that I always do my research via what has IPVM said about the company or their product. If a sales guy or manufacture does not like it too bad so sad. Get over it.

My opinion, in general, is that if you are 'ticking' someone off you are probably doing the right thing.


For an A&E or specifier, which is my role, having access to untainted (not necessarily unbiased) test data is invaluable. By far the majority of your test are competently done. They also focus on key issues, such as low-light performance which often drives camera selection for exterior areas. I regard the occassional bias as reflecting your many years of dealing with canera manufactuers, some of whom will never learn or change their stripes. That is nost neessarily bad as IPVM provides its data transparently, enabling all readers to make their own decisions. I'm not aware of any other souce of such info. Keep up the good work.

Jim McGuire

Jim said it best, "data transparency" is key. It is difficult to be unbiased but when balanced with well founded knowledge and information it is easier for us mere mortals to filter the good from the bad to make educated decisions.

Joel Kriener

As an entrepreneur I value the business coverage: particularly the cautionary tales regarding security startups gone wrong.

"My opinion, in general, is that if you are 'ticking' someone off you are probably doing the right thing."

I think that may depend on who it is you're pissing off, for instance the Russian Hacking underground

John - that story might make a pretty interesting article, I was blown away when I read it

Sometimes I discuss your content with colleagues. About 38% likes the information, 60% remains neutral and 2% hate it.

Being in the manufacturing side of things I can say I personally love IPVM. It's nice to hear an unbiased, yet educated opinion or factually based finding good or bad.

The truth will set us free (unless we don't want to hear it...then it'll just make us mad).

This industry and others needs an organization like IPVM to keep everyone on there toes. Plus you allow manufacturers to argue a point they don't like as long as they don't do the marketing song and dance around the actual issue.

Keep it up!!!

I think a lot of the inspiration for negative feelings and comments is that security (while it now 'includes' it) is not the IT industry. I've only been in the industry for about 7 years, IT and military experience before that, but I hear stories about the early days of the industry, conventions with people in patent leather shoes, slick smiles, and lots of grease for your palm.

The IT industry, while similar in age to surveillance and access control (at least similar versus the paper industry), is much larger and more mature. In the IT industry, manufacturers expect that if they release something new, CNet, 200 other professional websites (or more if a major release), and 27,348,312 blogs worldwide, will have released some sort of review or commentary within a day or two of the release, and that probably half that much will have happened before the release. How many articles were written predicting the new features of the iPhone 5 or Windows 7 before they came out?

In the security industry, the old guard way of doing things involves consultants telling large end users (schools, gov't agencies, large companies, etc) what is right, and what is good. This often filters to other users when someone actually likes what they end up with. Honestly, in my experience, a lot of what consultants recommend is not well thought through, well-informed, or tailored well to the end user/organizational needs.

The other major people have traditionally learned about products is through product rep firms hired by manufacturers, and the outside salespeople from product manufacturers who are employed by the manufacturer. These are also the same people who, as anyone in the industry more than a week knows, are heavily influencing consultants through a variety of means that will go unmentioned.

A third way that I consider more minor is industry publications, but I think most of us take any article written for example in SDM or security executive or whatever with a grain of salt, because we don't really trust that they're not being influenced by the manufacturers who pay their bills through advertising.

I'm not really familiar with any other groups in this industry that really do what you do - provide independent analysis that people really believe is independent. You're what we call a 'disruptive force,' and like changing a child's bedtime to an earlier time, people are naturally disruptive to change when they get set in their way of doing things, and as a result there will be tantrums. As people get more used to it, this and presumably other similar organizations and maybe at some point publications people trust will be more the norm of how people get their information about new products, and there won't be as much resistance.

And - I don't know anyone in person that's ever heard of you or IPVM that I'm aware of, not that I ask many people, but it has come up in conversation.