Arecont: You're Uninformed, We're Innovative

By: John Honovich, Published on Nov 16, 2011

In the international integrator survey, Arecont Vision delivered the worst experiences of any IP camera manufacturer. Over and over, integrators cited Arecont Vision as having the most product problems plus the worst attitude and support in dealing with those problems.

Now, Arecont has fired back to their channel (though not to us). We have obtained multiple copies. Below is their email with our response embedded:

Dear Valued Customer,

Arecont Vision does not actively engage on popular security industry blogs.

Arecont is happy to copy and paste any PR reference in their own blog [link no longer available]. Wouldn't a responsible company want to 'engage' with 'popular' ones?

Consequently, we may have some uninformed statements made about certain aspects of our company.

This is the real world experience of dozens of integrators, your own customers. Why do you dismiss people with hands-on painful problems with your products as being 'uninformed'?

As a market leader, we are continuously pushing the technology envelope introducing more innovative products than most manufacturers in the IP security camera sector.

Releasing lots of new products does not excuse the systematic quality problems you have. Who would prefer a broken new camera over one released a year ago that works?

Regarding quality issues that you may have heard about, like any electronic systems manufacturer, we do have issues from time to time relevant to production processes and components.  

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In our integrator survey, not a single complaint was made about Axis, Panasonic or Sony's product quality. Do not try to undermine your own issues by unfairly maligning your competitors.

Last year we had some issues on certain production runs relative to our PCB assembly process.  These assembly issues have been addressed and rectified.  

Thank you for admitting this problem.

A more recent concern was with our day/night switch component manufacturer which we are resolving by implementing new QA processes at the supplier's facilities as well as in our AQL (All Quality Level) process at our facilities and by working on new supply sources.

Now, I am confused. I thought you said the problems were last year? We have also heard about this one and your company's recommendations of hitting your cameras with a stick to force them to cut over.

We are one of the fastest growing companies in America as listed on INC 500/5000, and we are proud of the way we’ve responded to challenges as they arise.  

Yes, you have been fast growing but you are leaving a massive wake of angry and abused integrators. How long do you think you can grow with this approach?

Specifically, the investment Arecont Vision has made to ensure continued decline in our RMA rates through QA processes, technical support procedures, and education have really been significant.  RMA rates have declined from 3% early last year to around 1.5% today with a target of less than 1%. 

Over a year ago, Arecont's CEO's claimed that Arecont was "rapidly approaching [their] target RMA rate of below 1%" Now, you are admitting that it is still (at least) 1.5%.

Whatever the RMA rate is, it grossly understates the percentages of cameras with problems. For instance, Arecont admits a day/night mechanical problem. Those cameras were or will eventually be fixed with a firmware upgrade. However, in the interim, it causes project delays, extra site visits and customer dissatisfaction. This was another point that integrators repeatedly criticized - the need to upgrade firmware to fix basic bugs.

We take all issues seriously regardless of where they emanate because they affect the effectiveness of our technology. About 1 year ago, we hired new Quality Assurance management and we have made terrific improvements to our QA processes and technical support/trouble shooting procedures.  Some of these changes are 100% thermal cycling,  16 hour testing & burn-in and 100% AQL inspection."

This is consistent with Arecont's standard response for the past 2 years: We are innovative, we are growing fast, we promise that this time it's fixed. Nonetheless, new issues continue.

Quality defects are a hidden tax on customers. This is all the more damaging because a main reason to choose Arecont is their low product prices. However what good is that if those savings are more than offset by increased troubleshooting, more headaches and customer problems?

Is Arecont getting better at quality? I hope so but as they admit the issues continue this year. With their focus on bare bones, low cost MP cameras, they can provide a vital option to the market as long as their quality problems can be constrained.

NOTE: The original report on 'worst' IP cameras is part of a series on integrator experiences and preferences. Here is the complete collection so far:

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