Troubles At Arecont Vision

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 03, 2017

Arecont is facing big problems.

But Arecont says the future is 'bright'.

In this note, we share feedback from Arecont and from sources close to the company examining rep firms leaving, quality problems, enterprise account losses and down revenue.

******* ** ****** *** problems.

*** ******* **** *** future ** '******'.

** **** ****, ** share ******** **** ******* and **** ******* ***** to *** ******* ********* rep ***** *******, ******* problems, ********** ******* ****** and **** *******.

[***************]

Rep ***** *******

*** **** ******* ****** facing ******* ** **** Arecont has **** * *** firms ** *** **** 2 ****** *********:

*** **** **** ****, sizable ******** *** *******, with *** ***** *** most *********** ********** ***** Arecont's **** ** ****** sales ****** ** ***** America.

******* ********* **** **** was ******* ******* *** ************* the *** ***** ** many ***** ** *** world. *******, *** ******* close ** *** *** firms **** ***** ***** resigned *******. 

** ******** ** ****,*********** ******* ******* **** year *** ******* *** * ***** rep ***** ** ***** 2017

Quality ********

******* ******** ******** ** be * ******* *** Arecont, ********* ** ******* close ** *******. **** is *** *** ** Arecont, ** ******* *** infamous ******* ** *** 2010s ** ***** ******* problems ********* ******** ******* ***** ******** *** integrators. *******, ******* **** their ******* ******** **** long ***** **** ***** and **** ***** ******* rate ** ***** *%. On *** ***** ****, those ** ***** **** said *** ******* **** was **** ****** *** a ***** ****** ** rep ****'* ********.

Management *******

******* **** **** **** there *** **** **** positive ******* ** ***** sales **********, *********:

  • **** ****** [**** ** longer *********] ******** ** VP ** *** ********
  • ***** ******** [**** ** longer *********] ******** ** VP ** ****** ********* Accounts
  • **** ****** [**** ** longer *********] ******** ** Director ** ******

** *** ******** ****, Arecont *** ******** **** former ** ** ***** America-East Chris ***** [**** ** longer *********], *** ********* RSD Joe ***** [**** ** longer *********].

[******: ***** ******* *** LinkedIn ******* [**** ** longer *********] **********, ******* he ** *** ** of ***** ** ***-***** integrator SW24. *** ***** ** now ** ******** *** Mobotix ** ********* ** a ******* ***** ******* October ***.]

Multi-Imager *********** **********

******* **** ********** *** multi-imager ******, **** ***** tolerating *********** ****** ** shortcomings ** *** ******* in ******** *** *** flexibility **** *******. ** recent ***** *****-****** ******* have ****** ****** *********, with ********,****, *****, ******,*********,*****,********** ****** *** ******** multi-imagers, ***** **** ****** performance **** *********** ******* units.

***** ** ******* *****-******* (and ******-*******) **** *** years **** ********* ***** inferior *********** ******** ** the ***** ** ********** available ** *** ****. For *******, *** **** recent ******* *****-****** ****, ********* ***, ****** ***** *************, poor ***-***** ***********, *** high ********* *********** ******** compact ***** **** **** and *********.

Enterprise ******* ******

***** ********** ******** **** begun ********* ******* ******* with *********** *******. **** ****** ******* *** of ******, *** **** ******** confirmation **** ******** *** **** switched **** ***** ******* to ****. ** *** of **** **** *********** on ******** **** ******* multi-images, ** *** **** from * ******* *** company ************** ********* ******* ******* with **** *****'*:

Revenue ****

*******'* ******* ** **** significantly **** *** ****. We ******** **** *******'* 2017 ******* **** ** in *** $** ******* range, **** **** *** peak ******* ** *** decade ** ~$** *******. Arecont *** ************ ********* its ******* ************, **** recently *** ****, ***** Arecont ***** $** ******* [link ** ****** *********] annual *******. ***, ******* ******** to ******* ***** *******, responding ** ****: '** comment. ** *** * private ****'.

*** **** ****** ** Arecont's ******* ******* *******:

  • ******* ** ** ****** a ****** *** ***** cost ** *******. ****** 5 ***** *** *********** ************ ******** ****** per ****** *** ************* ********** ** their ******* ***** ** lower *****. ****** *** rise ** *** *******, Arecont *** * ****** low **** ** ******.
  • *** ******** ** *********** options *** *****-******. ***** Arecont **** ****** ** lower-cost ******-****** ******* ******, they **** ** **** multi-imager *****. ***, **** so **** *********** *******, Arecont ** ********** ** megapixel.
  • ********** ********, ***** ***** drive ***** *** ******** years *** *** **** up * *********** ******* of *******, ****** ******** options *** ******* ********** to *** ******* ********.
  • **** ** ***-*****, **** of **** *** ********* to ********* *********** ****** like ******, *** ******** working ******* ******* ** promote ***** *** ***** into ****** ********.

Loan ***** ***********

** ****,******* **** *** ** $80 ******* ****, *********** ******** ** that **** *********** ** the **-********, ***** ********* and *********. *******, **** any ****, ******* ********** needs ** *** **** money ****, *** ** sales ****** ** *** generating ****** **** ******* to ***** ********, ********** in ******** ***** ** the **** **** *********** to ******* ***** *** loan ********.

Legal ****** **** ****

******* ** **** ** a ***** ****** **** Axis, **** ******* ** their *****-****** *******. **** adds ** *** ******* ******** the ******* *****, ** losing **** ****** ***** reduce *** ***** ** Arecont's ****** ********* ** general, ******** **** *********** to ********* *** ******* with ******** **** ********* positioning ******** ** *******'* multi-imagers.

Arecont ***** ******

******* ***** "***,***** ******* ********" ** ************* *** their ****** *******. *********** sales ******, *** *********** wins, ******** **********/******* *********** or ***** ********* **** ***** have ******* **** *********** support ** ***** ******** outlook. ***** **** ** these, *** ******, *** what *********** *** ***-***** would ** **** ****** to ******* **.

*** ******** ******** *** no ******** ** '******' to **** ***, *** any ******* **** ***** to ***** *** **** (and/or *****) *** ****** *********** can ****** ******* ******* awards ** ****. 

Outlook ********

****** *** *********, *** firms *********, *** * general **** ** ********** and *********** ******** **** for * ******** ******* for ******* ******. *** industry ** * ***** has ********* ******** ******* in ***** ** ***** performance, ********* ************, *** reliability. ** ********, *** now ****-****** ************ ** multi-imager ******* ****** ******* for *** ******* ** sell ********** ** * larger, ****** ***********, **********.

Comments (52)

Well done report. 

These industry awards are mostly bogus. Arecont isn't going to win any awards for how much I spend with other manufactures to replace poor performing or dead Arecont cameras.   

It's amazing Arecont has lasted this long. Any time I've installed an Arecont product, I tell myself 'Never Again'. Their products are highly overpriced, and performance is poor. Currently have a 180 degree camera on my own office that sporadically decides not to function at night or do motion detection. Can't image if I installed this piece of garbage for a customer.

Any time I've installed an Arecont product, I tell myself 'Never Again'.

But do you listen to yourself? ;)

Slow learner...and not a particularly good listener

I tell myself the same thing never again and I wait a few years to try them again and its the same ol' issues.

Maybe a surge in demand for "Made in the USA" cameras, unintentionally provided by IPVM's strong stance regarding certain offshore mfrs, could improve their outlook?

demand for "Made in the USA" cameras, unintentionally provided by IPVM's strong stance regarding certain offshore mfrs

Please don't go there...

Related: Debunking IPVM Being 'Pro American' Manufacturers. Articles like these and our recent coverage of FLIR and our ongoing coverage of Lenel shows well that IPVM is not helping American manufacturers.

Please don't go there...

Ok, I'll rephrase just to say that you would think that being 1 of 3(?) security camera mfrs actually "Made in the USA*" would be a significant differentiator...

 

Certainly more so for Avigilon ('Made In America') but that is because Avigilon has stronger competitive positioning.

Stopped using Arecont 2013 because of major quality issues but they win the price in being the most arrogant company in the Cctv industry go away Arecont

For those wanting to get a sense of Arecont's approach to the 'truth', recall our post on Axis Boasts Kicking Arecont Out of Google, money quote:

Arecont's EVP Scott Schafer told IPVM flatly:

We do not normally address queries like this one. Your information is factually incorrect. We recommend that you check your sources more fully. Consider getting a real quote from a reliable source from Google or Axis Communications vs. street talk and rumors.

After we emphasized that we did have a 'real' quote, Schafer refused further comment and demanded his response not be published.

Ahh, Arecont... we used to have some of their cameras many years ago, but the only word to describe those things is 'shoddy', and that's saying a lot in that environment. I seem to recall some units had problems with even saving their settings and the web interface on them was godawful to begin with.

Honest question: What would it take for Arecont to revive their reputation?

I haven't seen an Arecont in three years and even the ones I saw back then dated to 2012.  As such, is there a chance these issues have been rectified and we're still harping on legacy issues?  if not, what would it take for them to resolve these issues and why have they not refocused on doing so?  Is it a lack of technical proficiency, manufacturing capabilities, or something else?

What would it take for Arecont to revive their reputation?

New management, frankly. It is bad culture based on short sighted executives.

There is no doubt Arecont could have been a top player in the market today - they were early, they had technology, they had great sales momentum but they did not take quality seriously, they thought they could just make a lot of money regardless of the integrator problems they created and they are paying the price for it.

I wonder if it is partly a case of managers/accountants putting pressure on engineering staff to use the hardware/processors on the market to keep manufacturing costs down, but at the same time wanting all the features...

I have seen this happen at companies where I have worked.

It is either something like that, or they just don't test their products properly.

Arecont is privately held and not part of any larger corporation or conglomerate that would introduce such pressures.

The story / reason of their rise and fall is largely about Michael Kaplinsky, their CEO. One day, when it is all said and done, a story worth telling.

Ex-Arecont Joe Bryon is now VP Americas for Mobotix as disclosed in a Mobotix press release October 4th:

He evidently enjoys challenges...

If I was planning on utilizing Mobotix (which I am not) this would certainly have stopped me

Campion dropped Arecont to pickup Sony. 

I'm not going to cast too many stones here. I've been exposed to, worked with, or competed against Arecont most of my career. The reasons for their current failures have already been well-documented and well-discussed for a decade or longer. I have more anecdotal examples than I'd even care to admit of interactions with the Arecont team, going all the way back to their earliest days.

But I'll say this, I was at ASIS last week and passed their booth many times. Even though the show was only lightly attended and nobody's booth was boasting standing room only, the Arecont booth seemed particularly lonely. As Arecont typically does at these shows, they hosted a beer/wine service in the afternoons of the show, but I never saw more than 10-20 people there (many of which were presumably Arecont employees) taking advantage of the free booze. 

Contrast this with past years where their booth beer events were very well-attended. It's anecdotal of course, but it's a data point that supports this article.

the Arecont booth seemed particularly lonely

I suspect a factor is losing 3 rep firms the month before the show as well as Sessa. Those people would have been there plus some of their customers, friends, etc. By contrast, Arecont's booth remained the same size.

I used to have a couple Arecont cameras at the office at my old company.  They worked ok (some mishaps)  The reason we had them at the office was not ok, we were forced to replace them with something that the customer wasn't going to bitch about.

Interesting timing....  Axis has been lacking stock on the 3707's and pendant kits so I quoted a ARECONT VI AV12276DN-28 a couple months ago.  It was more money but I thought I'd try them again since it had been years since the last Arecont install bit us, forgive and forget right? 

Well the ghosting is amazing unless you want to get rid of it, then you have to try their beta fix.  Haven't done it yet, asked for a refund.  Still waiting.....  Customer is pissed I think I will have to order the 3707 on my dime to please them.  If anyone wants recorded video "Tron" style, look me up, I can make you a good deal.

The only good thing about the Arecont that I can tell is the Rep.  But I didn't get a call back, my guess is they are getting hammered by these types of issues, so I can't blame him.

Got a call back!  Little later than I hoped but i appreciated it.  They were cool about it, it's apparently a known issue and they only way to fix it is the beta update.  For me that's not something I want to deal with at the moment so they are working with me on resolving it $.  If it's as good as they say it will be I'll look at them again after the new update is on the shelf.  US made is appealing but, they are going to need an aggressive promo's and near perfect QC to be a serious competitor at this point.  Maybe Trump's tax cut will give them a break?  Have a great weekend!

Bye Bye Arecont. So dumped you 3 Years ago. Tried your multi imagers...sorry...good concept with no attributes to build on.

Losing key employees, rep firms resigning, and a general lack of innovative and competitive products make for a troubled outlook for Arecont Vision.

The company needs a reset button more than their cameras...

As an integrator we stopped using Arecont Cameras about 18 months ago. In the engineering department we stopped using them about 3 years ago (but sales kept sneaky them onto job after our review and tried to justify the switch because of price competition.) Eventually I was able to prove using data from our service department that Arecont cameras were costing us 3-4 times the actual price because our techs had to service them so often during the warranty period. With that data we were allowed to deactivate all their part numbers from our quoting/ordering system. Beyond the service issue the biggest issue I had with them is their Web Interface. It has to be the worst in the industry.

...the biggest issue I had with them is their Web Interface. It has to be the worst in the industry.

Perhaps true, but unfair.  Its not their fault Toshiba shut down ;)

It has always been a problem. From the very beginning. So I disagree, they should have created a better web interface for configuring the camera at the start. Later, using the excuse, "Our supplier shutdown" doesn't cut it for me. They should have found a new supplier and updated the web interface.

So I disagree...

I'm not saying that Toshiba was their supplier.  I'm saying Toshiba had, IMHO, the worst web interface in the industry, until their recent demise.  

Perhaps making Arecont now the worst.

Sometime last year Arecont reached out to us, and to their credit were very forthright about previous problems. But assured us they were working on them and things would be different. We got tired of waiting and didn't see much improvement so we dropped the line completely. We had only been using the multi-imagers for the past several years anyways as that was their only real differentiator. But now they're plenty of alternative choices.

Major Arecont management change today - story on Monday.

To be Arecontinued...

I have several projects where the Omniview 2 cameras are failing all the time.

No worries, at least they say they've solved the cybersecurity problem in a just released whitepaper which has some gems:

  • Arecont  Vision  addresses  this  challenge  with  user  IDs/passwords  and  our  own  in-house  designed architecture. Arecont Vision cameras feature the ability to set user IDs and 16 digit ASCII passwords
  • Arecont Vision megapixel cameras do not have these vulnerabilities.
  • Should a hacker illicitly gain access to an Arecont Vision camera or obtain the user ID and 16-digit ASCII password to log in
    to a camera, the attack effort would be extremely limited in its success. The attacker would be able to view the camera’s internal web browser, and the camera’s settings could be modified.
  • A hacker would not be able to repurpose an Arecont Vision camera for a cyberattack

Yada yada...

It's true they have a Linux-less homemade architecture.  It's also true that this makes them immune to most if not all currently known canned exploits.  So let's give them that.

But let's not confuse extreme security thru obscurity with robustness. It could be that they have written their own security modules, and written them as well as their equivalent open source and propreitery libraries.

But it's far more likely that the overly insular development environment has bred genetically weak offspring, vulnerable to dying from a mere paper cut.  If you just knew where to cut them, that is.

But so far, no one apparently has found it worth their while to spend considerable time and effort understanding their random pidgin implementation.  But once it starts to crumble, it will all fall in a tumble.  These are the pros and cons of security thru obscurity.

Bashis says he's bored with Dahua; maybe the uniquely designed Arecont will provide the intellectual curiosity he requires to enjoin.  That and the thrill of being the first to land a clean punch on an fully upright opponent, as opposed to piling on to a barely breathing one.

Then again, who wants to learn a language that will get tossed anyway, if and when you successfully master it?

they have a Linux-less homemade architecture

That could be an indication that they are using processors/hardware that are not capable of running Linux. That would be consistent with what I see, that the units can't keep up with the demands from the NVRs.

It might keep the cost of the units down, but you also loose the benefits of using open source tried and tested software components. The worst thing they can do is roll out their own proprietary tcp/ip stack, web server, rtsp server, h.264 encoders etc. 

 

They use an FPGA-based architecture, which does not explicitly limit the use of linux, but will more commonly mean the code is custom/proprietary.

The worst thing they can do is roll out their own proprietary tcp/ip stack, web server, rtsp server, h.264 encoders etc.

Disagree, the worst thing (security wise), would be to ship open source components and then not have a robust method of patching when vulnerabilities are found.  Then you're just a sitting duck for script kiddies.

Was thinking about productivity, stability, quality, scalability and security.

a robust method of patching when vulnerabilities are found

Goes without saying, but using open source doesn't stop one from doing this.

Disagree, the worst thing (security wise), would be to ship open source components

They don't have to be open source but the point is there is just no way the average software team will improve on tried and tested components that are widely used and peer reviewed by very large numbers of users and developers (e.g. IIS, Apache, Windows/Linux tcp stack... ). For instance, a home grown web server from scratch will almost certainly be less secure as it still has to implement a number of standard and complex protocols in order to just qualify as a web server (e.g. tcp/tls/ssl/http/https..). These protocols, if amateurishly implemented will give hackers a field day...

 

Indeed, it's extraordinary claims of invulnerability that will likely drive someone to break them if they're ever relevant enough.

They apparently have only one CVE reported which seems like a good thing... but it looks like it was deemed unfixable?

We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem.

This was as simple to exploit as sending 'a UDP packet to port 69', which would disable the camera until reboot. I wonder how many similar problems are found by fuzzing and poking them.

I wonder how many similar problems are found by fuzzing...

I'm more familiar with buzzing and fizzing ;)

 

Uggh... after fifteen minutes of study, I get the feeling these things might be very, very broken... I'll look at it more in the evening.

A hacker would not be able to repurpose an Arecont Vision camera for a cyberattack

This seems plausible, according to feedback we see here and in other discussions on Arecont, integrators can barely get them to work for their intended purpose, much less for a new, unintended purpose.

I gotta give it to Arecont that there's probably a huge bunch of smart people there who can make their fairly unorthodox approach work as it does in the context of IP cameras. There are some advantages in their FPGA approach - their devices can be reprogrammed in a more wholesome way, licensing is simpler when you build it all yourself, surely, and it tickles the geek bone generally with all the special stuff they're doing in-house.

On the other hand, it's like there's a faint stench of MS-DOS or other legacy experiences there... something that gives you raw, uninhibited access, but is more for messing in a lab, not connecting to a network these days.

Since the FPGA can be reprogrammed with a firmware update, are there any limits to what it can be programmed to do? Could it just fry itself with an incorrect configuration?

The update is applied with their software, right? How is that protected, it probably just talks some binary to the camera? What would actually stop anyone who accesses the camera from completely reprogramming the FPGA to act as a very dedicated spambot, a never before seen kind of network disruptor, or just a fancy toy that beeps and overheats?

I haven't really worked with FPGAs, but should this company's firmware update protocol be breached, couldn't that mean that anyone can turn these things into toasters?

I haven't really worked with FPGAs, but should this company's firmware update protocol be breached, couldn't that mean that anyone can turn these things into toasters?

Sure.  But with the glut of free toasters out there already, is there a demand?

On second thought,  if you could do it, you might have exclusive access to a million bot FPGA army.   

Bitcoin mining commence in 3..2..1..

FPGA approach is good, ONLY IF their team is knowledgable with their own technology. It seems that they are losing their talent to the extent that, they failed to support their own special architecture. I saw so many failed firmware upgrades, problems reappear after several rounds of upgrades, camera halting or overheat after upgrade, out of control bitrate & firmware.....

.... camera halting or overheat after upgrade ....

Uh oh...

Is this a "news"? Their products are not stable (frame rate keep swinging, out of control bitrate, poor picture quality, more than 50% RMA in one year, 80% camera failed firmware upgrades, 20 plus recommended firmware upgrade in 6 months without fixing the problems....).

Arrogant support team ("every problem is not an arecont problem" altitude, VMS problem, network problem, installation problem, sunshine problem...), AND, irresponsible sales team (I didn't commit this kind of performance, while the required performance is just a stable product that can stand by itself without disconnecting itself....).

It is a surprise that, they still manage to have ANY business in this competitive industry. Good luck to anyone who still want to give this hopeless brand a chance.

Good luck to anyone who still want to give this hopeless brand a chance.

So you're telling me there's a chance?

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