Pissed! Why the UK is so Upset with Norbain

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 10, 2012

The pitchforks are out in the UK, with hordes of integrators and manufacturers angered at the UK's most prominent distributor, Norbain. If you are outside the UK, you might have missed this but it is a very interesting case study in the evolution of the surveillance industry. In this note, we examine why so many are upset with Norbain.

Background

Norbain, whose annual revenue has historically been ~$200 Million USD, suffered a major shakeup, going into administration (similar to a bankruptcy restructuring in the US) and then being sold to a new company [link no longer available]. Most importantly, these events confirmed that Norbain had been losing significant amounts of money and had built up unsustainable debts. Basically, their business model was broken.

Manufacturers Impacted

Many manufacturers are major debt holders to Norbain and are unhappy as they will lose a lot of money as Norbain cannot / will not pay a significant portion of those debts. From what we hear, it is a tense negotiation for many manufacturers as both sides have a lot to lose.

While manufacturers may not get paid for their outstanding debts, manufacturers also have power to no longer do business with Norbain. Indeed, Dedicated Micros has voided all warranties for all products bought via Norbain [link no longer available] - an unprecedented move that demonstrates how serious this situation has become. Other manufacturers may change their terms and / or restrict product availability to limit their exposure to future Norbain issues or as retailiation to being screwed by Norbain.

Integrators Impacted

One of Norbain's biggest historical advantages was its generous credit terms for integrators. Indeed, many of our contacts referred to Norbain as ‘the UK's bank' for the security market. The attractive financial terms certainly helped win business and helped cash tight integrators.

Our contacts tell us that those terms are now being tightened and Norbain has become much more aggressive in getting paid on past due bills from integrators.

We see a number of important impacts on integrators:

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

  • For those that owe Norbain money, expect pressure to pay this back. Integrators that are financially weak may be significantly hurt by this.
  • For new purchases, expect less generous financial terms that may make Norbain less attractive to buy from.
  • Product availability will likely be impacted. Integrators should carefully check which manufacturers are still available and how long it will take to get products under Norbain's new condition.

What Caused This

We are too far removed from the local UK market to offer our own opinion. However, we have heard the following as potential factors:

  • The UK economy and overall security market remain weak.
  • Norbain was too slow to IP and too committed to old school analog installers.

The Future

While some of the anger is due  to Norbain's heavy marketing expenditures over the last few months even though they were deep in debt and in trouble, much of the anger is about how this will change the UK security market. While Norbain confidently trumpeted that they are back to ‘business as usual', many in the UK market disagree as manufacturers and integrators affected by the fallout struggle to adjust. Given the bridges that are being burnt and the probable reductions in financing options and product availability that will come from this, it will be interesting to see if Norbain can maintain its prominent position in the UK market.

On the other hand, a brighter future may be ahead for the UK's security market. Given that Norbain has been selling products for less than cost over the last few years, eliminating this may force out weaker players (both manufacturers and integrators) strengthening the survivors in a healthier ecosystem.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Worst NVR / VMS Manufacturers 2020 on Feb 10, 2020
For the second time in a row, a global manufacturer has been selected by...
UK Big Brother Watch: Hikvision Is 'Morally Bankrupt' on Nov 13, 2019
UK civil liberties advocate Big Brother Watch has condemned Hikvision as...
White House Trade Advisor Calls Hikvision "Very Evil Company" on Jun 24, 2020
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has called Hikvision a "very evil...
Hikvision Illicitly Uses Back To The Future In Marketing on Jul 03, 2020
NBCUniversal told IPVM that Hikvision UK's ongoing coronavirus marketing...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss...
Hikvision USA Fights LTS on Nov 04, 2019
Hikvision's USA subsidiary is fighting with LTS, having recently quietly...
PSIM CNL Acquired By Everbridge on Mar 09, 2020
The end has finally come for CNL. Despite for years saying they would...
Verkada Speaks On Disrupting Security Sales Channel on Aug 28, 2020
Verkada's fast growth has taken the industry by storm and their enterprise...
Hikvision Dissolves North American Business Unit, Splits Canada and USA on Oct 15, 2019
Hikvision has dissolved its North American Business Unit, splitting up US and...
UK Government Says Fever Cameras "Unsuitable" on Jul 01, 2020
The UK government's medical device regulator, MHRA, told IPVM that...
Rhombus Cameras, VMS and Analytics Tested on Nov 06, 2019
Rhombus boasts they have created "the new standard in Enterprise,...
Verkada Falsely Claims "First Native Cloud-based Access Control and Video Security Solution" on Jun 18, 2020
Verkada's false claims continue, this time to be the first native cloud-based...
Temperature Screening Is Ineffective, Says US, UK, Canada, Israel, And Ireland Health Leaders on Aug 25, 2020
Health leaders around the world are increasingly speaking out about the...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive...
IFSEC Report: US Ban Hurting Hikvision In Europe on Sep 04, 2019
Prominent UK publication IFSEC Global has issued a new report finding that US...

Recent Reports

OnTech Smart Services Partners With Google and Amazon To Compete With Integrators on Sep 25, 2020
A pain point for many homeowners to use consumer security and surveillance is...
The Future of Metalens For Video Surveillance Cameras - MIT / UMass / Immervision on Sep 25, 2020
Panoramic cameras using 'fisheye' lens have become commonplace in video...
Hikvision Sues Over Brazilian Airport Loss on Sep 24, 2020
Hikvision was excluded from a Brazilian airport project because it is owned...
China General Chamber of Commerce Calls Out US Politics on Sep 24, 2020
While US-China relations are at an all-time low, optimism about relations...
Verkada Disruptive Embedded Live Help on Sep 24, 2020
Call up your integrator? Have someone come by the next day? Verkada is...
IP Networking Course Fall 2020 - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 23, 2020
Today is the last chance to register for the only IP networking course...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 23, 2020
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet...
Norway Council of Ethics Finds Hikvision Human Rights Abuses "Ongoing" on Sep 23, 2020
Hikvision's involvement in "serious human rights abuse" in Xinjiang is...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Sep 23, 2020
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The...
Installation Course Fall 2020 - Save $50 - Last Chance on Sep 22, 2020
This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
SimpliSafe Business Security Launched Examined on Sep 22, 2020
SimpliSafe has launched "SimpliSafe Business Security" that the company...
FLIR CEO: Many New Fever Entrants "Making Claims That The Science Just Won't Support" on Sep 22, 2020
FLIR's CEO joins a growing number calling out risks with fever / screening...
China Bems Temperature Measurement Terminal Tested on Sep 22, 2020
Guangzhou Bems (brand Benshi) is the manufacturer behind temperature...
Axis Exports To China Police Criticized By Amnesty International on Sep 21, 2020
Axis Communications and other EU surveillance providers are under fire from...
Milestone XProtect on AWS Tested on Sep 21, 2020
Milestone finally launched multiple cloud solutions in 2020, taking a...