Axis's Response to IPVM Cruise Criticism
Axis has submitted a formal response to our criticism of their A&E cruises. Here it is copied verbatim:
"My name is Domenic Locapo and I am the Public Relations Specialist at Axis working out of our North American office. As John will attest to, I work with him quite often – almost weekly – to answer his questions about the company and products, as well as assist with information so he can do the best apples to apples shootouts possible. It’s a good working relationship and I told him that I’d be commenting on the board once this week’s product launches had passed.
John is honest when he says he does not believe in ANY events like these when dealing with consultants (lunch and learns, golf outings, etc.). When we spoke over the phone last week following the comments l I’d sent before the post came out, he reiterated this point and said that he’s using Axis and the cruise to make an example because we are “the leaders” and others will follow what we do. John is 100% entitled to his opinion and I don’t pretend to believe that we can sway him from his beliefs – it’s what makes his site so popular and, frankly, enjoyable to read.
Regarding the A&E event, here are a few things we shared with John last week about why we chose this venue:·
As Nathan pointed out , doing a one-time event like this is the most practical way to keep the A&Es/consultants up-to-date on Axis products and ensure they have the proper information when creating specs for IP video.
John posted recently about the “education excuse” given by manufacturers – but this is a place that he and I disagree. For all our PR and marketing efforts, industry education is the goal. Yes, we sell cameras and encoders. But with the market still being around 70% analog-based, that’s our #1 competition and a lot of people in our industry have a long history with that technology.
BI-DIRECTIONAL EDUCATION: Education is NOT a one-way street. The interchange at the event is bi-directional. As much information as Axis provides the A&Es, we receive the same in turn. Our goal is to help them design better systems for safety and security, while they help us understand what products/improvements we can develop to better suit the industry’s needs. This year we’re actually running a technology brainstorming session led by the co-inventor of the IP camera where all ideas from the A&Es will be taken directly back to R&D.
IP ECOSYSTEM EDUCATION: When you’re educating about IP surveillance, you have to talk about the whole ecosystem – not just the camera/encoder aspect. This year we have 14 participating partners from the application software and technology infrastructure sides to showcase how they work in this real world ecosystem.
REAL-WORLD SETTING: Both Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Port of Miami are comprehensive users of IP video surveillance – they’re also gracious enough to provide live insights into their surveillance systems and explain the reasons behind each design choice. What’s especially great is that both a ship and port environment provide nearly all the different surveillance scenarios possible and A&E or integrator would run into (varied lighting including dealing with reflection and glare, a casino, pool area, perimeter surveillance, tight corridors, low to no lights, etc.). This affords the opportunity to show which camera/software/hardware/analytic technology is the best fit for each real life scenario.
A cruise is essentially a floating hotel. But the main benefit of the cruise (aside from real-world case studies listed above) is that meals are included as part of a room package – so, unlike at a hotel, the overall cost is per room, not per person. Since the room is already booked, Ron sums up the reasoning nicely behind the logic of allowing a guest. Note, too, that the event takes place over the weekend.
WHAT’S PAID FOR: Axis pays for the hotel and ship accommodations as well as food and beverages associated with Axis sponsored events. If an attendee wanted to pay for their own way, we would certainly not turn them down.
WHAT’S NOT: Airfare, meals/drinks outside of Axis-hosted meals, and Internet usage are the responsibility of the attendee -- as are any cruise excursions that John calls out a few times above. Anything outside of the event as outlined by Axis would be at the cost of the A&E/guest.
RE: TAX IMPLICATIONS: As a public company we follow the guidelines of our auditors.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I also wanted to note that this is not the only opportunity for A&Es to learn about Axis and IP video. They can attend any of our in-person Axis Communications Academy Fundamentals or Advanced courses and Webinars, and we run Lunch and Learns upon request. We also have a dedicated newsletter, real-time spec updates and attend the large consultant tradeshows.
Still, like any other tradeshow-type environment, this is a valuable use of time for folks to take out of their busy schedules and spend a weekend learning. John challenges that it would be most economical to do a one-day event, but with more than 14 hours of sessions, any person would be hard pressed to absorb that much information in one day, let alone without breaks or networking opportunities. You also have to ask would people fly in from all over the country for just one day.
I enjoyed diggersdad’s analogy above as well as Derekbt and Frank Ehrman’s comments from last year’s post. Frank sums it up nicely by saying: “Take a course! Research! Research! Research! Use manufacturers for their data, don’t be used.”
Fortunately the vast, great majority of folks that we work with in the consulting community are ethical and great at their jobs.
We’ll continue to run events like these for the A&E community as well as our partners until the attendees tell us that they aren’t a valuable use of their time.
And on a side note, I wanted to address Ed’s comments about charging integrators for training. As far as we are aware, instructor-led courses throughout the industry are fee-based from Axis and our competitors. As such, Axis has a mix of both free and paid training open to all of our partners. Our 2-day in-person Fundamentals course (which I think Ed’s referring to) is not only an Axis-employee led course, but is also recognized by the ESA for CEU’s and also qualifies for BICSI CEC’s. Additionally, all attendees receive an AXIS P1344 Network Camera and on AXIS Camera Station 4-base license. If you look at the MSRP for these products, it far outweighs the $500 training cost.
Hope this helps answer questions and concerns. Axis prides itself on being an honest and ethical organization, and we do take these comments seriously."
The full original report may be found here with all 50+ comments.