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

Blink XT Outdoor Totally Wireless Camera Tested on May 11, 2017
Running wires for cameras outdoors is one of the biggest challenges, especially for consumer or DIY installs. Now, Blink has released an outdoor...
On-Board Storage Usage Statistics 2017 on May 03, 2017
SD card slots are now commonplace on IP cameras, but is on-board storage usage now common place? In 2014, integrators reported using edge...
Instant Cloud For Hikvision - Manything on Apr 28, 2017
One ISC West exhibitor had a very specific and clear pitch - cloud for Hikvision: In this note, we examine their offering, key differentiators,...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
US Border RVSS / Video Analytics System Examined on Apr 21, 2017
US Customs and Border Protection has been rolling out a video analytics-based detection system along the US/Mexico border, with detection ranges...
Dell EMC Surveillance Division Profile on Apr 20, 2017
With revenue growth from traditional IT customers slowing, Dell has set a focus on the security industry as a market where the company can offer...
Best and Worst - ISC West 2017 Show Report on Apr 10, 2017
IPVM went to Las Vegas, examining what vendors are showcasing and what is new. Attendance was up, according to the show, and was certainly well...
VMS Vs NVR Usage Statistics on Apr 07, 2017
What is used more often? VMS software or NVR appliances? 160 integrators told us what they most commonly use and why. [premium_content] Key...
Deep Science - Active Threat Cloud Monitoring Startup on Apr 03, 2017
Deep learning for $2 a day for a system that automatically detects guns and masks, alerting the police to robberies and threats? A US startup is...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...
Aura's 'Invisible Ripple' Next Gen Intrusion Detection Tested on May 22, 2017
Aura Home is a startup intrusion detection system, but it claims new, high-tech sensing that monitors the 'invisible ripples' movement creates,...
Pelco Shutting Down Clovis Line, Laying Off 200 on May 22, 2017
Pelco's Clovis facility once turned out some of the industry's most popular products. Now, the facility is mostly building "obsolete" equipment,...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
Remote Video Monitoring Providers Directory on May 19, 2017
Remote video monitoring can help integrators generate RMR plus end users lower their security costs and/or improve response to critical...
Axis Criticizes OEMs: "When You Buy An Axis Camera, An Axis Camera Is What You Get!" on May 19, 2017
When you buy a Honeywell camera, you likely get a Hikvision, Dahua or some other company's product. The same goes for easily 100 different...
Hackable 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide on May 19, 2017
Despite being one of the most popular credentials, 125 kHz credentials are easily copied and insecure as we showed in our test results, video...
Forget The Backdoor, "ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS" On Sale on May 18, 2017
Less than 2 weeks after the Hikvision Backdoor was confirmed, Hikvision has launched a sale "ON ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS". In this note, we examine...
Amazon Techs Installing IP Cameras Tested on May 18, 2017
In 2015, Amazon started offering video surveillance installation. Now, Amazon has made it a lot easier, with automatic add-on options and...

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