What Does Your Demo Setup Look Like?

Many integrators and most manufacturers have demo setups. They bring in customers to show off new technology or explain the benefits of what they offer.

I was hoping some could share (and brag if they want) on how they set up their demos. Big screen TVs? Rows of cameras? Specific tricks or rigs?

Cameras: One outside aimed at driveway for LPR, one aimed at car spaces to demonstrate smart search (pixel search), one in stairs to demo directional tripwires, one aimed at cash register for retail clients.

VMS servers: one for each of the 3 VMS packages we carry, each with its own IPC monitor, own PoE switch and own cameras.

Client PC to demonstrate remote viewing and to let clients play with the IP camera web interface.

A board dedicated to transmission technologies showing Wi-Fi, Homeplug, EoC, PoE extenders

One screen connected to our standalone NVR with a joystick dedicated to a 1080p PTZ that customers love to play with.

An analogue DVR with a few wide FoV cameras just to show the lack of detail, and in particular the poor user interface/experience.

I've seen some demo setups that cost tens of thousands of dollars that simply fail to accomplish anything but make the demo-ers look incompetent.

The secret? Keep it very simple, don't emphasize 'bells 'n whistles', but DO demo the actual equipment being proposed. Who cares about discussing you exotic compression methods if the customer cannot first see example video from the camera you're proposing? Sometimes a laptop with the RIGHT demo VMS, a crossover cable, and the RIGHT camera is all that is needed.

On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in 'proof of concept' demos, where an amount of integration is done beforehand to show your proposal 'can be done.' Costly and potentially a waste of time, but most of the time the extra confidence in your abilities go a long way with the customer.

One of the most effective (non-security) 'trade show' demos I've used was an 'auto-tracking' enabled PTZ connected to a hotspot monitor.

As crowds walked by the booth, the camera followed them, and was so uncomfortable or startling that many folks simply stop and must know more about the 'high-tech cameras' you're showing. If 'contacts' are the goal of tradeshows, it proved to be a simple way to get noticed.

I use my iPhone to demo our analog cameras on a Speco app all the time. Its way better then lugging a laptop around. 10/10 times the client is happy with the picture quality. We have a 70" LED TV in our conference room to demo our IP cameras As well.

Take your tablet or smart phone to the customer's site and show them your cameras and access controlled door back in your office. Just about every VMS has a web client or smart phone app. Or put them on your webiste.

Get laptop and a portable hotspot. Bring with you to customer, log into Hybrid. Show them a your highest quality analog camera and an HD-IP camera in similar fields of view, blow up to full screen, and let them see the difference. IP camera system sold!

I like the cell phone idea as well but when trying to compare analog and IP, its hard to do on a mini screen as they look kind of similar. You need a bigger screen to show the true difference.

I believe it should be more conceptual ...

Going back into time with this post!

I have an opportunity to rebuild our demo system and was interested to see what others have done and to get some ideas.  

Here is what I am thinking so far:

Fisheye vs Multi-imager

PTZ vs super high res

Super high res vs HD res 

Low Light

Wide FOV vs narrow FOV

Intercom integration

analytic/deep learning 

Multiple VMS solutions


IR coverage

Everywhere one camera is going to be installed install 2 cameras for A/B testing. 



IPVM time travel - I like it.  ;)

FTR, I never realized that Sean Nelson had been posting for more than 5 years.  I think I will call the posts from this time period, from him, his pre-hikuan era.

I still like the original reply from Bohan in this string from 2013 and the follow-up replies from Mr. Rhodes from way back in the day... they all still ring true to my ear some 5+ years later.

I am, however, interested in Mr. Millers' time machine premise.  i.e. I'd like to hear - like he asks - what others are doing now in this space.

We demo multiple ways. For a quick show we pull up a mobile app to see cameras on our building. For a full on demo we will bring in a laptop, tripod and cameras that way the customer can see what the video will look like at their site. We also have a Lenel can with a handle to demonstrate card access and what integration with cameras does as well. When needed we even bring in the big boys, aka the manufacturers, to demo their equipment as well. It's a lot easier this way as I don't have to lug a bunch of stuff around.

How do you have your camera's setup on your building?  What cameras did you install? 

We have typical areas covered on our building. Front, back and interior. Internally we have a couple of spots where we can easily change out cameras for demoing different cameras. We are running Axis and Bosch cameras. These go into either Exacq, Milestone or a Bosch recorder.

I believe at some stage of the sales process it can be very beneficial to bring the actual camera product or something very similar to the customer site both indoor and  outdoor applications.

A few years ago we upgraded the main camera support rig from a lite weight display support set up that could not handle larger cameras or multiple cameras. The current set up is based on a Manfroto lighting stand, I added a section of 1" square steel tube with 1/4" holes every inch to attach gear onto. The service team shares the battery pack WiFi PoE injector module. If the camera is an Axis camera I use the screen snapshot function to grab simple jpegs. If we need some video capture or it is not an Axis camera I use a demo install of 3xLogic Vigil on a laptop. We like to meet with folks first to understand the potential application and then configure the test fixture to match up. It has proven to be very effective especially with fisheye cameras, multi sensor panoramics, and movable muti-sensor cameras. Field Test fixture ANPR camera and Wide field with Ubiquiti antena

Here is our access control setup. Even have a 1/3 size door we can even take out to demo. Not as beneficial these days but has proved very effective when dealing with large groups that don't understand access control though.

Access Control Panels

Nice setup, except the reader on the dwarf door is not dwarven ada compliant.

Luckily we were able to get a variance on this door. Took some doing but we got it. Luckily I know a guy! :)

I guess that's what happens when you keep your ear low to the ground. 

I am interested in hearing the integrators thoughts, opinions, and experiences in using manufacturer's demo/show/experience rooms. How often do you bring end-users or even your staff to these locations for product exposure, training's, or just to hold meetings? I know some distributors around the world have large show rooms with products staged and functional, and more brands are creating these locations as well but they will be brand specific of course.

Those of you that have used these spaces, what was the outcome? 

As a field sales manager, my demo setup adapts to the end user's needs (this is certainly different for a fixed office demo setup).

I have an assortment of cameras with tripod and battery PoE and laptop which I use to shoot sample footage of their regions of interest and to solve their pain points. My demos are rarely the same and demo setup is always focused on solving problems with their application and needs at hand. Store the sample video and show it in the actual demo. 

Also, always focused on value engineering of camera placement and camera selection with total cost of deployment in mind. (ie, why pole and wireless/fiber if I can do it from the building)?

In most cases, if you show evidence of the value of your solution, you win. 

I can't remember the last time I did a PPT presentation. 

We have a large camera demo setup outside of our office where we can perform over 20 side by side camera comparisons.  We use this as a tool to validate the devices we specify, perform proof of concepts and we also use it to show end users the differences between the devices using long term footage in all types of conditions. We use multiple virtual servers to test various software platforms and how each camera performs on that system. End users have been extremely responsive to this and it is a very laid back and no pressure approach since the manufacturer sales people are not there. We also have an access control testing lab and intercom testing lab which are too ugly to show:)

Elert & Assocaites Camera Testing Lab

Too much?  :)

Not if you're trying to mimic the many facets of an insect's eye.

Great Wall of China :)

While we offer a full range of remotely accessible cameras in our main office showroom, bringing the camera to the customer and/or actual site where it will be deployed is always preferable.

After mixed results over the years with wobbly tripods, uneven terrains and eternal quest for nearby power outlets and/or network connections, we've invested in a solar/battery/LTE equipped trailer allowing us to easily and rapidly setup a field demo in virtually any location or environment.

On occasions where we have presentations in front of groups or customer boardrooms, the trailer can easily parked outside and dialed-in remotely via LTE offering customers a live view of their own parking and nearby roads