Competing Against Surveillance Self-Install / DIY

By: John Honovich, Published on May 26, 2015

End users sometimes look at integrator proposals, see ~$100 per hour pricing and think "Hey, we can do that ourselves for a lot less."

In this note, we examine 6 key issues that end users must consider when evaluating the total cost of doing it themselves.

  • Learning Curve
  • Mistakes in Design and Configuration
  • Ongoing Support
  • Training
  • Insurance and Licenses
  • Risk protection
  • Plus we cover scheduling, tools, manufacturer constraints and more

We break down each inside, including the potential costs and impact of each one. Finally, we look at the opposite side and alternative approaches.

*** ***** ********* **** at ********** *********, ***~$*** *** **** ********** ***** "***, ** can ** **** ********* for * *** ****."

** **** ****, ** examine * *** ****** that *** ***** **** consider **** ********** *** total **** ** ***** it **********.

  • ******** *****
  • ******** ** ****** *** Configuration
  • ******* *******
  • ********
  • ********* *** ********
  • **** **********
  • **** ** ***** **********, tools, ************ *********** *** more

** ***** **** **** inside, ********* *** ********* costs *** ****** ** each ***. *******, ** look ** *** ******** side *** *********** **********.

[***************]

Learning *****

** ** *********** ********** takes *** ***** ** do ** *******, **** a ******* ******** ** IT ****** ** ***** to **** ************* ****** if **** **** *** done ************ ******** ****** or **** ****** **** the ******** ****** ** systems.

*** ****** **** ** an ********** ******** *** training, ***** *** ***** needed ** ***** *** only ************ ******** *** the ****** **** **** new *****.

Mistakes ** ****** *** *************

**** **** ****** ** ******** cameras, ** *** ** setup ***, ** ******** rules ** ******** ** the ***, ************* ****-********** are ****** ** **** a ******* ** ****** mistakes.

******* ********* *** ****** is **** ********* *************** issues **** **** ** that *** **** ***** or ****. *********, *********** integrators **** **** ** solve **** ******** ** minutes ***** ** **** experiences ** ******** *********** with ************ *******. **** when *********** **** ** spend **** ****, ** is ********* **** ** they *** **** ******* eliminate ******.

Ongoing *******

*******, **** *********** ******* support *** ******** ******* for ** ***** *** first **** ***** ************. If *** ****** **** up, *********** **** *** them ** ** ********** cost ******* ****-********* ******** incur ********** *******.

********

** * ******* ** installing **********, **** *** (or ******) **** ***** people ** ************ ********, which **** **** **** and ********* **** ** the *******.

******* *********, *** ***** will ***** **** ******* to ******** *** ***** / ********* ** *******. Integrators, **** ********* **** world ********** **** ******* and ********* *** ****** show *** ****** ********* on ******* *** **** out ** *******.

Insurance *** ********

************ *********** ***** ***** numerous ********** **** ***** a ******* ** ********* deficiencies. *** ******* '****** *** *********' (*&*) ********* **** address *** ********* *** damages, ********, ** **** poor ******* ** ** corrected.  ** ********,*** ** ******* ********* * ****** *********** of ************* ****** ******** where *** ***** **** for * ******** ******* the ******* *******, ** even ******* *** ******** ability ** *** ********** completing * ***.

** * ****** ******, specific ********** *** ************** required ** ***** *********** to *********** ********** *** fitness ** ******* **** in * ******* ********* manner.  *******, ******** ***** are *** ********** ** project **********, *** **** do ******** ** ********* of ***** **** *** regulations ** **** ******* to * *****, *** casual ** '***-**-*****' *********** often **** *** ***** awareness.

Risk **********

** ********, ********* ** integrator **** * ***** price *** ********** *** project (********* ****** '**** fixed *****' ******* *** price ** **** *** fixed ********** ** *** many ****** ** **** it ***** *** ********** to ****** *** ***). This ******** **** ********** for *** *** ****, because **** **** **** is *** *****.

** ********, ** ***-**** who **** ** ********** may ******** *** *** hours, *** ** ***** 130 ** *** ** 170 *****, *** ********** cost ** ******** ******** by ****. **** **** is **** **** *********** if *** ***-**** ***** experience **** ************ ******* or *** ******** ******** being *********.

Other *******

**** *** **** ***** factors ** ** ****:

  • ******** **** - ***'* internal ********* ***** ** paid '****' $** ** $30 ** ****, *** after ****** ** *** other ******** (****** ****, vacation, **********, ***.), ***** fully ******** **** ***** be $** ** $** per ****, ******* **** the ********* *******.
  • ********** - ** ***** be ********* ** ********** in-house ********* ** ******** time ** **** ** the ************ ******, ********** if ***** ********** ***** or ********* ***** ** be **** *******.
  • ***** - *********** ***** their *** *****, ******* it ** *** ***********, testing, ***************, ***. **** an ***-**** *** **** to ***.
  • ************ *********** - ******* manufacturers **** **** ******* support *** ***** ******** through ********* *** *****.

The **** *** ***

** *** ***** ****, there *** ********** **** can **** *** **** stronger *** ***.

**** ***********, ** *** user *** **** ** being **** ** **** someone **** **** *********** expertise. ** * ******* is *** ******, **** might ** **** ** hire **** ** *********** technician ** ******** **** an **********.

******* ****** ***** ** the ***** ** *** organization *** **** ****** and ******** ** *** a ******** *******.

*******, **** ** *** organization **** *** **** experience ** *****, **** might ** * ********** amount ** ******** ********, that **** *** *********** build ** ***** *** internal '**********', *** ***** experience ******* ** *********** integrators **** ****.

Alternative / ************ ********

**** ************* *********** ** 'part' ***, ***** **** do *** **** ***** install **** - ******** cameras, ******* *******, ******* recorders, ***. *** ***** the **** ******* **** to ** **********.

********* ****** *** '***** and ******' ********, *** integrator **** *** *** user ** **** ** the ******** **** *** is *********** *** ***************, commissioning, *** ********.

Comments (6)

How about licensing, insurance requirements and in MA, a permit and a Public Safety License

Hey Robert:

Great feedback! We added them to the 'Risk Protection' section above. Thank you.

The MA state security system licensing requirement doesn't appear to apply to persons or businesses conducting a self-install. Rather, it appears to apply to those in the business of installing and maintaining such systems. From MGL Chapter 147 Section 57, "No person, firm or corporation shall engage in, advertise, or hold himself or itself out as being engaged in the business of installing, repairing, or offering maintenance for security systems..."

MA permitting and notification requirements appear vary widely by locality. About 70 of the 290 townships require some formal action for a security system installation, with the requirement often triggered by the alarm functions.

Just this superficial level of detail supports the point that it can be time consuming to hunt down such details, and for DIYers, there is no assurance when done that all relevant requirements have been discovered.

In my experience, procurement can be a major DIY obstacle. Often, things are not as they seem. In one case, on a tight timeline, I procured over $4,000 "worth" of gear based in part upon a vendor advertisement for their "Arecont AV5155DN-1HK Network Camera Pan / Tilt / Zoom." In another case, a Hikvision arrived with non-standard software that was completely missing some capabilities and could not change some settings such as shutter speed and power frequency. Thankfully we had the luxury of time and had only purchased a single test product in that instance.

I like to contrast video surveillance to IT. Both are complex technical fields that share some common elements. IT seems relatively mature and transparent. Even before conducting detailed research, buyers have a reasonable idea of what they'll be getting when they order a switch, or a NAS, for example. In contrast, these experiences in video surveillance suggests that the segment is still something of a wild west (eg, what does PTZ mean? What software should one expect on an IP camera purchased in the U.S. market?). Whenever it appears that deep experience is required to navigate these sorts of pitfalls, that can be a boon to industry veterans. And, those distributors got a sale from someone they'd likely never hear from again anyway: that's a win for them, right? However, what about the industry as a whole? Does the market segment win or lose when gateway experiences are discouraging?

Throw in a project "oh yeah we need off-grid power too" and all sorts of solution provisioning expertise muddies the decision process further.

Well, as both an end user and now more recently a consultant, I for one would support the "smarts and parts" approach to this issue.

Having spent probably 3 or 4 times what I would have had I let a professional take care of the whole project, I would never advise anyone in business to do a DIY install. I learnt the hard way.

In the past, part of me grudged paying top dollars watching someone spend hours and sometimes days running cables and doing things that I or my staff could have done quicker (with our knowledge of the premises). Whilst I realise that there's still a margin for installers in doing the grunt work, I think it's a short sighted view to expect this revenue stream to be around for ever.

I'm sure John and the IPVM team have made comments in the past suggesting that integrators start specialising and work to improve their knowledge base and skill set. I could not agree more. Give me an true expert for a day, not someone who can 'get the job done' in a week.

And I've mentioned this before - there's a quid to be made in an online professional tech help service. I'm sure of it.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
ADT's Top Dealer "The Defenders" Sued 20+ Times on May 07, 2019
ADT's largest authorized dealer, The Defenders, has been sued more than 20 times since 2012, IPVM has verified through analyzing legal...
Aegis AI Gun Detection Video Analytics Startup on May 07, 2019
Gun detection analytic startups are increasing as the promise of AI and the threats of active shooters grow.  One company, Aegis AI, is being led...
Restaurant Security Manager Interview on May 06, 2019
Wright’s Gourmet House in Tampa, Florida has been around for over 50 years. During most of that time, there were no security measures in place. Now...
Ranking Manufacturer Favorability 2019 on May 06, 2019
24 manufacturer's favorability was ranked based on 170+ integrators feedback. Voting plus in-depth comments revealed insights on which brands were...
Camera Configuration Manager Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision on May 01, 2019
Which camera manufacturer has the best management tool? We tested 6 manufacturers - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision to find...
Ex-Integrator Now Growth Strategist Interviewed on Apr 24, 2019
For more than a decade, Scot MacTaggart was a security integrator (at PA-based PSX). In late 2018, he left the industry. He is now a Growth...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Trump Signs 'Huawei Ban' - Executive Order Targeting Foreign Adversary Technology on May 16, 2019
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting technology provided by 'foreign adversaries', in what is widely being called a...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact