A Postmortem of VideoIQ and the Future of Video Analytics

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 02, 2014

With Avigilon to acquire VideoIQ, we answer a number of critical questions inside:

  • Where did VideoIQ fail? Where did it succeed?
  • What is Avigilon's best approach with VideoIQ's products?
  • What should Avigilon competitors like Axis, Milestone and Genetec do?
  • What does this say about the competitive dynamics of the surveillance market?

VideoIQ Failures and Success

VideoIQ aimed to be much more than analytics. Indeed, its main product acronym, ICVR, stands for: "Intelligent surveillance camera with video recording." The dream was all-in-one: a camera, video analytic and NVR in a single unit. And their cameras are literally huge because they offer a hard drive inside for recording.

Edge storage might be hot today with SD cards, but when VideoIQ launched this offering 5+ years ago, depending on hard drives was essential.

Unfortunately, the hard drive inside a camera approach was as bizarre then as it is now. It created ugly, big, expensive camera / recorders that struggled to integrate with third party VMSes (specifically recorded video). VideoIQ tried to compensate for this by giving away recording licenses (like the Mobotix model) but with a very limited line of big ugly expensive cameras, it was hard to get broad traction.

VideoIQ's all-in-one dream clearly was a failure. One certainly could argue that it was ahead of its time (with advances in processing, SD card storage and standards - like ONVIF Profile G), this might become a reality later this decade. However, as a strategy launched in 2007 / 2008, it could not deliver competitive value with the technologies of its day.

On the other hand, VideoIQ clearly succeed with their video analytics. VideoIQ analytics work reliably with minimal configuration or technical training. This, unfortunately, cannot be taken for granted, with most analytics either suffering from severe false alerts or requiring very time consuming optimizations to overcome issues. Because the video analytics market has been such a failure, this is an accomplishment and justifies an acquisition.

Competitive Dynamics of the Surveillance Market

That megapixel has been far more successful than video analytics is not news, but to understand the gap, compare the current market capitalization of Avigilon, a publicly traded company, with the price they are paying for VideoIQ:

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Avigilon is worth 40x more than VideoIQ, despite their similar origins and the fact that VideoIQ has been quite 'successful' as video analytic companies go.

While it seems impossible for VideoIQ to have matched Avigilon's market capitalization under any circumstances, they almost certainly would have generated far more revenue with a streamlined smart camera instead of an 'ICVR'.

Avigilon's Best Approach With VideoIQ

From a marketing perspective, Avigilon will have a field day with VideoIQ. They claimed to 'prevent' crime even before they had analytics. Expect them to team up 'super megapixel' and 'crime prevention' as a powerful one / two combination.

On the product side, VideoIQ benefits most from weak competition, but their product portfolio is rather stagnant and burdened with unnecessary baggage. Eliminating the hard drive and packaging the analytics into a 'normal' form factor, such as their Integrated IR line would be powerful. Less weight, smaller size and lower cost could all be accomplished. In the interim, they still have a 'smart' encoder appliance, the Rialto, that allows them to integrate / upsell existing Avigilon camera users at a fairly high price, given the cost of that unit (see Rialto review).

Avigilon could keep VideoIQ's products as is, but credible new analytic offerings could easily undercut VideoIQ's current positioning.

What Competitors like Axis, Milestone and Genetec Should Do

The big problem is that there are no other broadly trusted, turn key analytic offerings in the market. Archerfish flamed out. OV sued everyone. BRS Labs is, well, BRS Labs. Sightlogix is still way too expensive for 95% of the market. Agent VI probably is the next closest though is hampered by having to load on 3rd party cameras and set it up. Worse, there are no startups that are close to being ready for mainstream use.

Avigilon is going to load up VideoIQ into their marketing machine and, rightfully, bash away at major players like Axis, Milestone and Genetec for not having such a critical component. Avigilon will be able to deliver an urgency and their loyal dealers will push hard to customers who have not considered analytics in year. Plus, Given Avigilon's competitor's track record, they probably will do nothing, and just let Avigilon continue to wipe the floor with them.

Axis, in particular, needs to solve this. The 'let's partner' approach is clearly hurting them. For example, there are more than a dozen analytic options to add on to Axis cameras but hard questions for users and dealers remain: which one works, with what cameras and which ones will Axis stand behind? When performance is not a concern, partnering is fine but tight integration is critical when it is a risk, as it is for analytics.

Axis believes the future is apps, not more megapixels, and, if they do not do something about it, Avigilon will be able to capitalize on the killer app - perimeter detection (from VideoIQ).

Axis does has some bright spots. Their VMD 2.1 is better than Avigilon's motion detection but bizarrely Axis does not promote it nor has it been able to gain wide 3rd party support. Moreover, Axis' $29 crossline application is fairly decent though not as robust as VideoIQ's for harder outdoor applications. Finally, Axis has finally started to add in more analytics but, so far, only to their highest end 1080p PTZ.

However, Axis (as well as other major camera manufacturers) needs a direct, embedded, VideoIQ alternative. Indeed, Milestone and Genetec need this just as much because depending on integrating video analytics from Avigilon into their open system, large scale users is quite a risk.

Comments (32) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to emerging into an AI cloud era.  The goal of this history...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Wyze AI Analytics Tested - Beats Axis and Hikvision on Jul 17, 2019
$20 camera disruptor Wyze has released free person detection deep learning analytics to all of their users, claiming users will "Only get notified...
Ivideon Russian VSaaS Profile on Jun 27, 2019
Ivideon was an early VSaaS entrant, initially focusing on the consumer market, claiming massive growth to IPVM in 2014. We spoke to Ivideon, to...
Directory of 60 Video Surveillance Startups on Jun 25, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Startup Vaion Launching End-to-End AI Solution Backed with $20 Million Funding on Jun 17, 2019
An EU / USA video surveillance startup, Vaion, founded by ex-Cisco Senior Directors is launching an end-to-end VSaaS platform with $20 million in...
Sighthound Transforms Into Enterprise AI Provider Profile on Jun 14, 2019
Sighthound is now rapidly expanding its R&D team, building an enterprise AI service. This may come as a surprise given their origins 6 years...
Embattled $400 Million China Funded Philippines Surveillance System Proceeds on Jun 13, 2019
An embattled 12,000 camera surveillance system project that will cost ~$400 million will proceed.  The project contract was awarded, had its...
Carnegie Mellon AI Startup Zensors Profile on Jun 11, 2019
Zensors is a startup formed by Carnegie Mellon graduates from a Carnegie Mellon research project, offering customized models per camera that they...

Most Recent Industry Reports

History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to emerging into an AI cloud era.  The goal of this history...
Mobile Access Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 18, 2019
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Wyze AI Analytics Tested - Beats Axis and Hikvision on Jul 17, 2019
$20 camera disruptor Wyze has released free person detection deep learning analytics to all of their users, claiming users will "Only get notified...
Anyvision Aims For 2022 Revenue of $1 Billion on Jul 17, 2019
Only 3 video surveillance manufacturers do a billion dollars or more in annual revenue - Hikvision, Dahua, and Axis. Now, Anyvision plans to join...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
How To Troubleshoot Wiegand Reader Problems - Inverted Wiring on Jul 16, 2019
Wiegand is the dominant method of connecting access readers, but problems can arise for installers. In fact, one of the most difficult reader...
ZeroEyes Gun Detection Startup on Jul 16, 2019
A gun detection video analytics startup, ZeroEyes, is being led by a group of 6 former Navy SEALs, aiming to "save lives" by using AI to assist...
Motorola Acquires Watchguard, Adds to Vigilant And Avigilon on Jul 15, 2019
2 years ago, Motorola had no position nor relevancy to video surveillance. Now, they own major video surveillance, LPR and body camera providers...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jul 15, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...

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