A Postmortem of VideoIQ and the Future of Video Analytics

Author: 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 Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

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 (33): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
CODEC Guide 2016 on Nov 30, 2016
CODECs are core to surveillance, with names like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG commonly cited. How do they work? Why should you use them? What issues may...
Top Surprises in the Video Surveillance Industry 2016 on Nov 29, 2016
  The top 3 surprises of 2016 for integrators surveyed by IPVM were: The race to bottom, repeating 2015's Top Surprise Result New -...
Hikvision's ImageNet Win Analyzed on Nov 28, 2016
Hikvision is pushing hard to move up market and win at video analytics. One notable sign is Hikvision touting their #1 ranking for an ImageNet...
$38+ Million Funding Powers VMS Challenger IronYun on Nov 09, 2016
VMS and video analytics have received little funding this decade. However, one Taiwan startup, IronYun, has bucked this trend, with a relatively...
'Legal Protection' From Eagle Eye Contract Vault Examined on Nov 02, 2016
"I was promised the high-end model for the entry level price." "Nobody said there would be a monthly service fee when I signed...
China Hot For Intelligent Video on Oct 27, 2016
The clear top theme at the 2016 Security China show has been intelligent video. This is a big shift from past years, and China's historical focus...
Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
Cisco Meraki Launches The Most Expensive HD Camera In Years on Oct 14, 2016
The video surveillance market is racing to the bottom, with 3MP IP cameras being sold for as low as ~$100 through distribution. Cisco is not...
VSaaS Startup Raises $5 Million For Global Expansion on Oct 04, 2016
There is money to be made in VSaaS. At least that is what the investors of Morphean believe. The Swiss company received a $5M investment to expand...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Knightscope - $122,509 Revenue, $2.5 Million Loss Seeks $20 Million Investment on Dec 09, 2016
The robot that ran over a child, Knightscope, wants money and they need it. Investors can invest as little as $1,000 to participate and...
The Russian SMP Security Robot on Dec 08, 2016
A Russian manufacturer, SMP, has a commercially available outdoor security robot, at a lower price and with much less marketing than their main...
How Hikvision Beats Its OEMs on Dec 08, 2016
Hikvision GM declared that they are not aggressive with their competitors. But some of their own OEM partners disagree. Inside, we reveal a key...
Dahua Discontinuing H.264 Only Products on Dec 08, 2016
Dahua has taken a stand for H.265 and is discontinuing its H.264 only products. We examine the shakeup inside this...
IP Networking Course January 2017 on Dec 08, 2016
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Hikvision vs Dahua Mobile Apps Tested on Dec 07, 2016
With smartphone use and low-cost video recorders surging, many user's main interface to their surveillance system is their phone. With mobile video...
Paxton Drops US Reps, Plans Major Expansion on Dec 07, 2016
Paxton is gearing up to make a big run at  US access control success. The first step they have made is to cut all US Rep Firms, in anticipation of...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
Sony IP Camera Backdoor Uncovered on Dec 06, 2016
A backdoor has been uncovered in ~80 Sony IP camera models, attackers can remotely enable telnet on the camera, and then potentially login as root,...

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