Member Discussion

What Is The Difference Between A Verkada Subscription And An IPVM Or Netflix Membership?

IPVM charges me yearly for my membership just as Verkada does and if I don't pay my membership I don't get access so essentially my membership is bricked.

What is the difference. Explain this to me because I am stumped?

NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: Verkada Employee Turnover Listing (35)

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Garth, thanks for the question, I moved this to its own discussion since it's worth addressing directly.

The difference is, with Verkada, all my cameras become bricks. With IPVM, no hardware is bricked.

  • IPVM is like Netflix. Cancel Netflix, and you don't get Netflix but your TV and monitors, all your hardware remains functional.
  • IPVM is like Dropbox. Cancel Dropbox, you don't get Dropbox but your laptop, servers, phones, all your hardware remains functional.
  • IPVM is like the WSJ. Cancel the WSJ, you don't get the WSJ but your laptop, phone, tablets, all your hardware remains functional.

If Netflix was like Verkada, they'd brick all your TVs if you stopped subscribing to Netflix.

We've covered this in the Hostage as a Service post:

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If Netflix was like Verkada, they'd brick all your TVs if you stopped subscribing to Netflix.

Close, except Netflix would also have originally sold you the TVs at an exorbitant price.

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I think this illustrates one of the key differences of the VSaaS market vs other cloud offerings. Most other cloud offerings only use devices that you already own - typically a computer or mobile phone. VSaaS though requires cameras, which maybe you own already or maybe you don't.

The closest analogy I have come up with is IP phone systems. Many companies work with 'standard' IP phones such as PolyCom, while a few require that you use their phones to work with their system. You can generally find those on eBay a few years after they were installed.

The bottom line is that nobody is saying that there's anything wrong with a subscription, the problem is that the hardware that you buy stops working when you stop paying. This is not a common paradigm in other SaaS offerings.

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Verkada calls it a camera. If Netflix said you have to buy their expensive video monitoring device you may have an out as it is listed as a proprietary device exclusive for their use. But if you say it is a monitor or TV you ssume it works with other things as it is a standard.

Imaging of they put a special connector on the monitor so only their device plugged in to it.

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Btw, I don't expect you to believe me, since you are a Verkada dealer. But maybe you will believe Verkada's CEO who explained the same point:

It's about the 'big sunk cost' of the hardware and how it makes it more difficult to switch. Great economics for Hans and Garth, bad future options for end users.

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Is this a real question?

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Only if you work for or sell Verkada. Everyone else gets it and is either fine with it or knows it is a huge ripoff.

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The subscription is probably similar - the difference is the hardware. With IPVM and Netflix the hardware still works if you don't pay the subscription.

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For me, the real risk has always been that the company would end support for the product line, leaving customers with worthless and unusable cameras. If Axis goes out of business tomorrow, my Axis cameras would continue to work just fine for years and years. If Verkada goes out of business tomorrow, all their customers are screwed.

If IPVM goes out of business tomorrow, I would be very sad, but it wouldn't put my business at risk.

People have been talking about the abandoned tech problem for years.

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Lol, thanks.

I think the more practical risk is that the company goes sideways and while staying in business, new product releases become weak.

Verkada can easily counter the out-of-business claim by saying "Why would we ever go out of business? someone would surely buy us." And I would agree because almost anything can get bought, someone bought Arecont.... Arecont.

Arecont still exists but if you were locked into Arecont, you surely would not be happy. That's the more practical risk for Verkada customers.

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Sure, the not-abandoned-but-might-as-well-be tech problem. People talk about it less because the name isn't as snappy.

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I had a credit card hack, I forgot ro update IPVM and Netflix. My subscriptions were suspended. My TV and computer still worked.

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Garth,

We don't have to buy proprietary POS IP Cameras that don't even support ONVIF. With IPVM or Netflix I can use any commodity device/browser to view the content.

We also don't own the rights to the Netflix or IPVM content but do for Verkada or other VSaaS offerings. When they close their doors where does the content go if you did not export it of their cloud.

#MIKEDROP

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Verkada isn't anything like a garden plant. I buy it, put labor into planting it, water it and then, if I stop watering it, it dies and I lost all of the investment. At that point I have to choose to expend labor to remove it.

Verkada isn't anything like insurance. I pay for it, I don't file a claim, I stop paying and all my investment went to waste.

Verkada customers are buying a solution. That solution has inherent benefits and risks.

While many may dislike Verkada's offering and would prefer to tailor it to something YOU feel is a good business, that's not what they are there for. They are there to provide a return on investment to those investors who do believe it's a good business opportunity and a solution to those who purchase from them.

I believe in a free market and letting the market decide. People are buying "free alarm systems" all day long, knowing there is a monthly payment and recourse for ending the agreement early. Even after signing an agreement, with a 3 day waiting period, some are still shocked that after not paying the authorities are no longer called and someone may come by to pick up the equipment.

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I believe in a free market and letting the market decide.

This is letting the free market decide. IPVM is in the business of analyzing security doohickies and giving their honest opinion on them, and IPVM's opinion is that this business model is dumb and potentially harmful. This ain't no hippy commune, people pay good money to read these opinions.

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Is Verkada selling "free cameras"?

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Verkada isn't anything like a garden plant.

Actually I think Verkada is like a garden plant. You buy it and plant it but you can only water it with special Verkada water that you pay for on a monthly subscription. If you cancel your "water" subscription your expensive plant dies and you then have to expend effort to remove it and re-plant with a plant that can be watered with generic "water".

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The issue is that many of these SaaS providers are not pure software plays... they have some locked-in hardware to enable the subscription model.

It would be cleaner if there isn't a charge for the hardware but "included"...then it would be more of a pure service offering.

I have some service models where I include my appliance as part of the service, and part of the value proposition is that it includes continuous warranty, firmware updates, etc.

I also have *many* customers that want a flat-rate everything included, perpetual licenses, dont-nickel-and-dime-me, I want to pay once model.

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DISCLAIMER: I work for Ava Security

I agree with you to a degree, but I think perspective with regard to the intent of the hardware to lock in customers isn't necessarily accurate. For a company like Verkada / Meraki / Rhombus, the cameras (a major portion of the solution investment) become unusable if the subscription stops for whatever reason.

That said, controlling the hardware is often necessary in order to provide the more advanced feature set not typically found in appliance based cloud solutions, i.e. AI based intelligence, secure connection to the cloud service, etc.

The key here is not whether proprietary hardware is necessary...it's what kind of options are provided to the customer IF the subscription stops. For instance, Ava requires the use of our own cameras if one wants a direct camera-to-cloud offering. A key difference in our approach, though, is that all our cameras are also being updated this year (new and existing units) to be ONVIF compatible so that if the customer decides to end the service, the cameras are still usable on any ONVIF compatible platform, of which there are many to choose from. No one is "locked in" or trapped even though it is a cloud subscription model.

Alternatively, the Cloud Connector (appliance) architecture allows the use of 3rd party cameras (ONVIF or RTSP) and internally applies all the AI / analytics to those video streams.

Ultimately, the question is not whether or not specific / "proprietary" cameras are required for the direct-to-cloud service, but whether the manufacturer is willing to give customers the option of using those cameras on another platform if they decide to terminate the service.

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On Netflix you can watch Schitt’s creek, with Verkada you’re up it.

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this one literally made me laugh out loud - I love that show!

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With Netflix you get Daredevil

With IPVM you get John Honovich

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If it's the movie version with Ben Affleck then John wins. As for the series, sorry John.

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Should any of us be surprised that a VerNADA dealer can't figure out the difference? Talk about gormless, or brainwashed. Probably both if you're still associated with VerNADA.

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Talk about gormless...

I knew there had to be at least one insult not used against Verkada, ‘til now.

Good luck trying to find another :)

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I think John is finally convinced, just noticed this:

IPVM Image

Introducing the IPVM laptop.

To view your IPVM subscription.

Windows 8 Modified, Custom BIOS.

Required starting 5/2021.

Connects only to IPVM.com, and IPVM can only be accessed using one.

Buy one now for only $10,000!

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False advertising, you forgot to mention that the laptop will only power up whilst you have a valid subscription.

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Windows 8, you monster.

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The Verkada business model doesn't map to the IPVM business model. It maps much better to the Juciero business model. With hardware that becomes useless once the subscription is ended. The plus to Juciero was at least their overbuilt machine didn't have a backdoor for creepy frat boys to peek in at my home.

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I would also consider the labor put in.

If I cancel IPVM, NetFlix, Milestone, Avigilon, Spectrum etc and something happens, I am just looking at some software changes.

If I stop paying Verkada, not only do I lose the camera, I lose the labor I invested in the installation.

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Jay, good point, when Verkada's Chairman laughs about his customers "literally bolted the hardware to the ceiling", he well understands this cost as well.

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Jay's point was the only way I was able to sway a school district from going down the path of Verkada. They were totally fine with the subscription, and okay with the bricked hardware too (seemed weird to me). The last thing that made them think otherwise was talking about the initial installation labor and then the labor to remove and re-install something else. In this opportunity, there were close to 200 cameras. Some on the fly math made him put the brakes on Verkada which eventually changed the spec.

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To me it seems comparable to the cellular industry several years ago. You pay for and own the phone but are locked into the carrier. The carriers did not want to unlock the phones to allow you to choose your cellular provider. You were stuck with the provider or having to buy a new phone. That is how I see Verkada.

The cellular companies held you hostage knowing that you would have to buy a new phone to leave.

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I associate it more with my Tivo DVR. I pay for a subscription to Tivo for a DVR that gets updated more often and has better features that the cable company's offering. When I stop paying they stop working, and I did pay a pretty penny for the highest teir device they offered. I can sell the used units, not sure if you could sell your Verkada cameras when cancelled.

Only bad I've seen with Tivo is now that the focus is on streaming their DVR has taken a backseat to their streaming device, therefore is is starting to fall behind that offered by the cable company. I think they probably have enough customers to keep it going, at least at the current level, and when they stop supporting it I probably will have cancelled already anyway. I only use it about 10% of the time now and should probably officially cut the cord.

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I love my Tivo (2nd gen), but recently stopped using it. One big difference is that Tivo offered lifetime subscriptions. I purchased my Tivo more than 10 years ago, and haven't paid a dime to them afterward. They even were nice enough to transfer the lifetime service to another unit when I needed warranty service. I have other tivos that I was given that had lifetime service and they transferred the service to my account.

I wouldn't say tivo is a lock-in, as you can use your own OTA, cable, etc. with them. You can continue to access your recordings and watch live tv with them. If you had a monthly service account and stopped paying, you could still use it as an old-school VCR, IIRC.

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I'm afraid that I can't conflate these. I can cancel - at anytime - with Netflix on IPVM. Verkada is a lock-in contract where you own the equipment, but can't use it if you aren't paying the subscription fees. So, you pay good dollars for equipment that is essentially bricked. IF they gave their customers an opt-out with all data (which I can't say if they do as I'm not that knowledgeable about their contracts) and the ability to run a "local" instance of the viewing platform OR if they allowed the cameras to be onboarded to another VMS, then I think they would better serve their customers. I understand their perspective in that RMR (and locked RMR) provides monthly revenue and holds customers as "sticky" to their product offering - generating consistent revenue over term. These kinds of contracts are a little odious in my mind as many people don't read the fine print or don't understand the long-term consequences of being in this type of relationship. caveat emptor consumers!

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