ADI Proves It Knows Nothing About Surveillance

By John Honovich, Published Dec 27, 2013, 12:00am EST (Info+)

ADI has a terrible reputation. Box pushers, Order takers, etc.

Indeed, a riot almost broke out when a member asked if they should let ADI design and quote jobs for them.

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******* ******** ** ******* ** *** Boston *******, ******* **********:

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****, ** ******, ** ******, ** the **** ****, ******* ******* ****** came **** ****** ******, *** ************ cameras. *** **** ***** ****** ***** videos **** ********, **** **** **** better ****** ** ****** ** *** street ******** ******** ******** **, *** high ** ** ************ ******* *** normally **********.

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**** ** **** ********* **, ****** for *** **** **** ********** *** person ******* ****, **** ** ***** ADI, ****** **** ********* ***** ***** surveillance.

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Comments (32)


He doesn't even mention that you can improve the quality of recorded images to help identify bombers just by replacing your VHS tapes more frequently??


Just to pick a small nit (and yes, it does depend on your definition of a "major event"), but Boston was not really "the first major event where mobile phones played an equal if not greater role in identifying criminals" (although the previous one DID INVOLVE Boston...)

In any case... these articles actually read like they were written in about 2004. I had to search some of the phrases to see if any or most of the blog content was listed from old websites or something (found nothing - it appears to all be original, newly-written content).

Good point about Vancouver.

Undoubtedly, these types of events and the growing dependence / value of individual's mobile phone images and videos presents a 'new world' for surveillance.

That's funny about how they read like they were written in 2004. I had that same though initially, like "Is this blog post from December 26th, 2004 or something?"

Btw, the ADI author is the "U.S. Senior Product Manager for Video Surveillance at ADI. He is responsible for ADI’s CCTV and video surveillance product category including strategy, product and program management, vendor portfolio management, and promotional programs." You would suppose he would have some knowledge about surveillance since is responsible for their strategy here.

"You would suppose he would have some knowledge about surveillance since is responsible for their strategy here."

At the risk of sounding cynical... he doesn't really HAVE to know anything about the industry; that's what manufacturer and vendor reps are for.

That was _incredibly_ cynical.

Why even have such a person then?

I just don't get ADI. I guess their customers are either (1) totally ignorant or (2) don't want any help from ADI anyway so it does not matter if their people are knowledgeable.

What's crazy here is ADI (and their few supporters) tend to argue that the counter people don't know much but their senior people do. Evidently, this post shows that is not the case.

"Why even have such a person then?"

Peter Principle?

"Evidently, this post shows that is not the case."

An old phrase about substances trickling downhill comes to mind... *sigh*

I don't blame the author of the post. I am sure he's doing the best that he can. He's only been in the industry since 2011 (LinkedIn profile).

The question is for ADI management. Does knowing about surveillance even matter to them?

Well I dunno about other branches, but around here they have a couple dozen other fields to fall back on...

"or (2) don't want any help from ADI anyway"

Unfortunately, I've found the opposite to be true. Many of the typical ADI core customers DO want help, and the fact that these are the suggestions they get is what makes a big swath of the industry littered with scary and questionable installs.

That's why I suspect (1) as the alternative. Certain customers are so ignorant that they do not even know how bad the advice is.

I guess the joke's on us though, ADI is laughing all the way to the bank.

This really drives the point home. The customers DO want help, and the help they get is, to be charitable, questionable. So our markets are littered with questionable installs.

What is a shame is that there are resources that ADI can claim and utilize to their own benefit; the manufacturers and the reps, and it costs them nothing.

But then, the role of the manufacturer rep is questionable at this point also.

ADI is no different than any other business, large or small, in that the knowledge of a particular market varies depending on who you work with. There are individuals within ADI that are extremely knowledgeable about surveillance systems. To many dealer/integrators fail to educate themselves and then throw bids together at the last second frequently relying on whomever or whatever resource is available.

The integrator/dealer does the installation and is ultimately responsible for it (be it good or bad.) I cannot tell you the number of dealers/integrators that have told me they are to busy for training (or owner/managers are not willing to send/pay employees to be trained.)

If a system is poorly speced by a consultant, why bid it? The best salesmen know their limitations and should not be afraid to say they are not qualified to design a particular type of system. This holds true for counter salesmen at the distributors as well as manufacturer sales reps and consultants.

The security industry has created the environment where the fifty year old lacking in application knowledge responds to the type of information on the ADI blog. There are dealers livng in the past from a technology and applications knowledge standpoint.

If you want to clean up the quality of CCTV installations, mimic the fire alarm industry and license integrators and require that system plans be reviewed. This is by no means a perfect solution and there are certainly poor fire alarm installations that occur. There are to many dealers that will not turn away work which is above their level of expertise.

There are also to many manufacturers and distributors relative to qualified dealers and integrators out there. At the end of day though, you should not sell and install something they you do not understand. The security dealer that expects a distributor to design their system(s) should quickly return to selling (giving away) home security systems.

The great crime here seems to be that poorly written posts were made to a blog. Had it been sent to the ADI Systems Group for review, I suspect that it would have been trashed. Incidentally, I do not currently do much work with ADI. I am a manufacturers rep that has worked with many of their branches in the past. I have also worked with dealers, integrators, consultants, and end users that knew less than I did about video (I graduated in business.) However, I took it upon myself to get educated.

Anyone that makes an assumption about all ADI employes based on blog posts is lacking in common sense.

Just because Lowes can sell you the material to build a house does not mean they are qualified to design it.

By the way, a large integrator I work with is sending me a parts list and spec to layout a system for them. I am going to pass and send it on to the factory. Just another day in the security industry....

All Due respect, but the point of the discusion is that ADI has a Blog and on that Blog they are making suggestions and recommendations. This has to be presumed to come somewhere from the Management or Marketing segment of ADI, and that the information is flawed in the opinion of some.

They themselves are purporting to tell you how to build the system, and how to effectively use the gear. If they just want to sell gear, then that is what they should do.

Don, this was exactly my thought while reading Dennis's reply below - yes, ADI is a distributor and probably shouldn't be assumed to be more than that... this wouldn't be a problem if they weren't portraying themselves as more than that with things like the blog that inspired this thread.

I have purchased products through ADI for many years and will probably continue to do so. I think the independent contractor/systems integrator business would be crippled with out ADI in my region.

I make a realistic assumption about the level of expertise and product knowledge that will be available directly from ADI. When I need information beyond the glossy, I contact the manufacture through the WEB or directly.

I am the systems integrator, I take the in-depth product knowledge responsibilities upon myself. Systems design and implementation is how I earn my piece of the pie.

ADI is a stocking distributor, with direct delivery capability and local counter sales for commodity items. Inventory, vendor relationships and logistics is what I tap into when I use them.

I just don’t see ADI’s position in the food chain the same way they are being critiqued and because they have been a real asset to me, I’m inclined to provide them a little cover. Hasn’t anyone else found their inventory indispensable at times?

Dennis, great feedback. I agree with you that they are valuable for just the reasons you are laying out and how you operate as an integrator.

The issue is when ADI claims or purports to be more than "inventory, vendor relationships and logistics", which they frequently do, like in the blog post referenced above. The resulting problem is that a lot of "integrators" actually use them for designs.

John, you never fail to make good points and there are no exceptions here, thank you.

I subscribe to a belief in supply chain Darwinism, where the pegs will eventually become squarer or rounder or eliminated based on their tendencies. I suppose discussions like these serve that purpose.

If there is criticism that could be lodged I would say that we all tend to favor our own strengths. I would hate to under value the service that low tech/high volume provides to the environment.

That being said, I appreciate the effort in keeping everyone honest.

I do not rely on the manufacturer or distributor for design, but use them for product information and to understand what's working and not or better yet, who is cheating on their specs to get field feedback. I've seen some horrible rep designs over the years especially since they live in their product mix box and don't see the big picture in a lot of cases. I agree that ADI is fantastic at logistics and getting me product quick. Caveat Emptor

ADI is a very large company, how well does their system design group perform?

Maybe IPVM could randomly conduct a few design support requests and share the results.

I will say I recently did an install in a new ADI branch and thought their design was a little odd. Even some of the employees of the branch thought the same. They chose to install analog cctv in a brand new branch, while touting the benefits of IP. While I agree there are many benefits to IP over analog, why install an analog CCTV system in a brand new branch?

For their little after hours pickup area, they opted for a cheap all in one pin pad to control access instead of a half decent access control system that could give protection as well as be easier to control.

Great story!

Btw, did they connect the analog cameras to a quad monitor and then use the parallel output to a single channel encoder? ;)

Unfortunately Joe Public is conditioned into believing this type of Bull Shit.

They make claims that any professional installer knows cannot be delivered upon, but the newbie falls for this line of BS and sells the solution to his end-user customer. For the newbie the steep learning curve begins!

End result: the end user thinks the installer is no good and CCTV is a waste of time.

The newbie learns that he cannot trust his supplier “ADI”! And has a choice to (a) become a fly by night type installer saying anything to get the sale, the cheque and not deliver. (b) swallow hard, learn quick, accept the supplier was playing with smoke and mirrors as many suppliers do.

Learn what can be realistically delivered upon, what the customer will pay for that “promise” on a wet Thursday evening when you get down from focusing t he last camera. Under promise and over deliver! and use every opportunity available to make fools of those who over promise.

My pet hate is the ridiculous IR / night vision claims for IR cameras commonly 20m to 30m claims are made. You may see shadows at 30m but you will not get usable images at anything like that. If 25 little led lights are fit to adequately light something 20m away then why would anyone bother with flood lights?

Happy New Year,


My pet peeve is the application of the monicker "night vision" to IR-equipped cameras. People see "night vision" and they envision high-tech military hardware:

The reality of course, is that more often than not it's a low-budget workaround for cheap, low-grade cameras that's essentially just shining an LED flashlight on the subject.

The 20m claim is typically justified by indoor tests (aim it down a long hallway or open area) with white walls, that maximize reflection of light. The problem is that typically when someone cares to see 20m+, they are doing so outside, where the light dissipates over much shorter distances.

I realize the thread is about ADI's blog, but that opens up a can of worms for would think Honeywagon/Ademco would have real experts on board to help exploit other manufacturers product lines by promoting their own. ADI = Ademco Distribution Inc which I believe came from Ademco Manufacturing seeing the opportunity to offer their own products while simultaneously selling their competitors product.

Don't you think they like the distribution business because it helps to forward their own product sales. ADI is certainly a large distributor with local branches/convenience centers spread out across the country and now across the globe, selling everything from vacuum cleaners to fire alarm systems.

Given that Honeywagon does own them, why do so many of Honeywell's competitors, ie. Axis, Bosch, Pelco, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, etc. bother letting them have access to their pricing strategy, marketing efforts and have their products to distribute? Honeywell's video product line has grown significantly since buying ADI.

David, from talking to many manufacturers, my perception is that ADI moves a lot of volume and is fairly open to selling 3rd party products.

I think maybe it’s time you understand the makeup of ADI as a whole? while they certainly cannot control the quality of their customers (but maybe they can to some degree), or what their customers say to end users - or how they to either foster the negative or enhance the benefits of the Video surveillance market as a whole.

But certainly fostering a negative image of ADI as a whole based on benign marketing speak, is just ridiculous.

These are press release statements, designed around creating the awareness and benefits of Video surveillance and Video security as a whole....and the benefits of what some distribution channels can offer as a value added service.....

Technically speaking it works (as its described) - what you don’t know is its likely the customer likes what they have, however old and outdated, and just wanted remote IP browser viewing......nothing more.....

Is it ideal? Likely don’t know the constraints placed on the installer, and in turn were placed on ADI to make a kluge design work....

For system design on a daily basis you would not be engaging the Product manager, but rather the design group.

"Fostering a negative image of ADI as a whole based on benign marketing speak, is just ridiculous."

Bengin marketing 'speak' is stuff like "ADI is #1", "ADI loves its customer", "ADI is dedicated to making its customers successful". All of that is perfectly fine

This is a very specific technical recommendation, not benign marketing speak:

"A small retail account has an analog four-camera system. The four cameras are viewed on a quad monitor. On the back of the monitor there is typically a parallel BNC connector. Using a coax cable, the parallel output can be connected to a video encoder such as the ACTi ACD, ADI part number AR-ACD2100....."

They choose to publicly showcase a poor, way out of date, design that delivers less value for more money. Their decision...


of course you leave out an important part of the example - so it would appear you showcase selective jounalism, to fit an agenda...

Below clearly mentions it is not an ideal solution - and it may be one that forces the customer to reach deeper into their wallet, and invest in proper equipment with better quality....

"It’s important to note that if the original analog CCTV images are of low quality, transmitting them through the LAN and the Internet will not improve the images; it is likely that due to lower available bandwidth the viewing over the Internet will provide lower quality images than will be seen on the local monitor. While some dealers may see this as a negative, putting the existing CCTV system onto the Internet may well cause the client to see that their older cameras are not providing the quality of images they want. Putting the old cameras on the Internet may well nudge the client into updating their cameras, providing new sales opportunities for security dealers."

If we are talking about agendas, perhaps you want to disclose your name and past affiliations.

That said, their disclaimer is about camera quality. The problem with their "design" is their choice for bringing the video onto the Internet (an out of date single channel encoder vs a modern network based DVR).

Listen, if you really think that attaching a single channel MPEG-4 encoder to 4 camera feeds is anywhere close to being as good as a 4 channel DVR, it is not saying much about your competence.


I don’t believe my name was hidden in most of my posts...Its likely I forgot more than most know in this industry.... :)~

Your just harping on an issue that really isnt relevant and your embellishing on it just to prove a point or agenda - but certainly this one example does not define the organization as whole. And certainly an organization that has done more good for the industry as a whole, then this web site ever will with topics such as this...

As for my past affiliations, they’re extensive, and I have no need to self-promote myself by listing them...

Hope this helps

I am responding to your 8 comments in the last 2 days on this and the ADI design discussion. I am not interested in 'harping' on this but if you want to make claims, I will certainly respond.

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