Avigilon Employee Claims ‘Pissing Contest’ With IPVM

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 16, 2013

I saw the same ad that most ISC West attendees probably saw at McCarran International Airport. Baggage claim was draped in Avigilon banners with bold letters proclaiming “Analyze, Prevent, Stop.” At the bottom of the banner, it says to “get the full story” visit the Avigilon ISC West booth.

Preventing and stopping crimes are the 'holy grail' of surveillance but actually delivering this is hard. We wanted to better understand how Avigilon was doing this.

I visited the booth five times during the show, however, each time employees told me I needed to direct any questions about the ad to its marketing team who for the duration of the show, “wasn’t available” --- at least not available to speak to anyone from IPVM. After the first day of the show, Avigilon’s marketing manager started following me on Twitter. I reached out to him there and never heard back.

By the last day of the show (and probably after getting annoyed with my hanging around the booth so often), an Avigilon employee said not only were they not allowed to talk to IPVM -- even about something as innocuous as an airport ad -- but also that I “should know that this is a pissing contest.” "Between Avigilon and IPVM?", I asked. “Yeah, you know the deal already.”

Comments (62)

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Certainly, this is not the first time that a manufacturer has been 'pissed' at us. However, all we simply wanted to know is the 'full story' they said they would provide about a very intriguing and prominent ad.

I can understand that manufacturers have trouble with an independent organization like IPVM. In fairness, manufacturers are used to simply negotiating price for favorable coverage or taking poorly paid 'editors' out to dinner. That obviously does not work with us.

We reach out to manufacturers because we want them to explain their position. It is certainly Avigilon's prerogative to give us the silent treatment, but I am not sure what that will accomplish.

We are still happy to speak with anyone from Avigilon. Barring that, IPVM members who are Avigilon partners, feel free to comment and make the case for Avigilon.

I thought all Avigilon partners shared the same IPVM account? *wink wink, nudge nudge*

Okay, okay, just kidding guys... boy, but Avigilon's infamy around here just keeps growing, eh?

I have a question about that ad too: what are they purporting to "stop" here? Old guys at the mall, napping in the Husband Chair? Seems like a victimless crime, no?

That's a security guard napping in the ad. I think they could stop security guard napping, obviously, assuming the guard watching the cameras isn't asleep.

If you are getting under their skin it simply means you are doing the right thing.

Just like any other mfg they have some pretty bad marketing from time to time. Luckily their products are solid. I definitely did not like the add but I've seen far worse... I wonder where some of these marketing campaigns come from and how on earth they get approved? At least they didn't have half naked girls in their booth... even if some of the business suits were questionable. I guess marketing departments will be marketing departments and thinking about it I guess the add did peak some interest... including IPVM.

As a partner I will say their products are great and from an intuitiveness, ease of use / setup and reliability standpoint their software is second to none.

Joshua, I actually didn't think it was a really bad ad (certainly compared to others from them), just a confusing one. The concerted effort to hide any explanation to us was more puzzling.

Certainly, peaking interest is one goal of marketing but it should not come at the expense of generating other concerns about the company.

I didn't like it considering all the things they could have done. As you stated if the idea is to spark interest then it worked and no explanation is necessary... so it really isn't puzzling why no one felt the need discuss it with you because there is no definitive explanation and it would be better to avoid you and spend their time with potential customers rather than try to appease you with some explanation.

However, from an egineering, technical and generally inquisitive mindset the add itself I did not like as I try avoid seemingly definitive statements. Maybe simply put the word "Help" or "Facilitate" or a combination of both at the top.

"...if the idea is to spark interest then it worked..."

By that token, Domewizard is doing something right - I would never have heard of them if not for John taking up the cause against "booth bimbos" here :) There is no such thing as bad press, after all.

from Matt Ion "...Domewizard is doing something right..."

Way to take one phrase out of context - nice move! I can do it too...

Joshua, I agree with your point about trying to avoid definitive statements in ads, especially since they are strong ones (e.g., prevent, stop).

Matt, there are a group of senior women inside the ASIS group actively working on a petition to ASIS and SIA asking them to ban 'booth babes' in the future, as a result of this issue. Plus, it's created a lot of ill will towards Dotwokz.

Manufacturers aren't reality stars, where even bad press can lead to more money.

John, I think personally that if you don't say anything they will think that all is well, and everyone thinks the way they think.

If you say something you stand the chance that no one will like what you say. If you just agree, then everyone just wants to follow suit and just follow the norm. We all just become robots & mindless wonder's in cultural mess.

Thanks for having an opinion and giving it. We wont know if something needs to be fixed or make it better or improve on something if we don't sit down and, have objective opinions, that are different from the status quo.

It helps development & thinking out side of the cubicle or boxed cage. It is very hard to always agree and make a statement that all viewers like.

This is very interesting. Although every company seems to have their flaws, whether it be product development and/or lifespan, RMA policy, tech support issues, pricing, etc, it's concerning that Avigilon would be battling what integrators are seeing as an advocate for their industry. Some execs may see IPVM as a nuisance or a pain in their ass, but the truth is, they are keeping the manufacturers honest and actually helping the industry become more competitive in nature. People are more informed- across the board. R&D is seeing what needs to be further developed on; Tech Support is seeing where they need to increase their efforts; Corporate is able to see everything across the board; Integrators and end users are able to judge for themselves on the product and manufacturer response (or lack thereof) without financial burden or failed jobs.

Avigilon acting in this way just shows they are afraid of something. Or hiding something. It's quite apparent.

I'm new to IPVM but I'm not new to CCTV or Avigilon. I can personally state they burned us on 3 projects due to less than stellar product, lack of technical support/problem resolution and when you question their desire to fix the problems they will kick you out.

Based on their actions, I interpret this as they're growing to $100M+ in revenue and as long as that growth continues they could care less about anyone pointing out an issue. They sure seem to spend 3 times more time denying they have a problem than it would take to fix it.

We're forced to use them for our existing customers, but would never consider them for any new projects---ever. I'd rather deal with Milestone, Genetec, Pelco, Interlogix or the like where there are issues but they'll step up to address them rather than put you down.

This is my personal opinion, but should Avigilon decide to attack me....I have all the emails as proof. I don't even feel comfortable disclosing my name in a public forum for fear they will attack me. It just shouldn't be that way for any company.

I have never dealt with Avigilion but all this talk on IPVM is making me sick when I hear "Avigilion". Ughhh! Are they that bad? (feeling cautious and sick as I ask)

As we have said repeatedly, Avigilon's products and pricing are strong. It's their marketing and interactions that seem to draw the most concerns.

I've had similar sorts of horror stories with other manufacturers, one in particular that's got some top-end hardware but is a nightmare to deal with the company... and frankly we've been considering Avigilon as an alternative to that one product line, in large part of because of the good rep their technology has. Gotta agree with "undisclosed integrator" above - the more I hear, the more I'm leary of going there at all. Why would I want to simply replace one headache with another one???

I would be REALLY interested to know whether any Avigilon mucky-mucks are reading this thread (I bet they are) and whether they take any of what is being said here to heart, or if they're just going to jam their heads further into the sand and blame IPVM for it all.

Note to Avigilon: IPVM is not your problem; they're just the medium here, provding a space for US, YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS, to share information. If it doesn't happen here, it will happen somewhere else on the 'net. Perhaps you should be paying attention instead of playing coy and simply denying there's a problem.

Worth noting, Avigilon has been using the same exact banners for like three years now- why is it suddenly subject to so much criticism? With regard to their growth and aggressiveness, it mustn't go unnoticed that their once confident dealer base (who made them what they are today) is rapidly abandoning ship due to their rather noteworthy decline in both customer service and reliability. Avigilon's over the top, pompous execution of product demonstrations and outlandish bid proposals aren't helping them either. I hear derivatives of this quite often, but most recently one of my customers, one of the largest school districts in the US, told me about their Avigilon demo- this is a direct cut n paste (names obscured): "...I wouldn't worry about it in the least, the board just wanted to see their options. Avigilon software is nice and all, but it's a bit too rich for our blood. Not only can the rep not get enough of himself- nice suit, but we told him our budget, and he came in with $10k cameras, more than triple ******'s bid. And if you ask me, something fishy is going on there too..." -The fishy part WAS extremely fishy. Anyway, get out of the suits, and get over yourselves.

It's not the banner that's being criticized (other than a few gentle jabs), it's the Avigilon booth personnel's reaction to John's attempt to take them up on the offer on the banner to "Get the full story at the Avigilon booth" that set all this off.

What's with the multiple references to Avigilon's suits? :)

Yes, the banner was not a big thing to us, it was just one of many displays we took pictures of at ISC West. As Matt said, it was Avigilon's response that triggered this discussion.

Btw, I am genuinely confused why Avigilon does not simply defuse these situations. It's PR 101. Even if Avigilon does not respect us, it is easy to spin. Here's what I would do if I was Avigilon's marketing person:

"Sorry we missed you at the show. We had an immense number of people stopping by our booth, and we were busy every single moment. As the fastest growing company in the history of capitalism and the most popular booth around, you sometimes run out of time. Anyhoo, we certainly meant no disrespect. We know how passionate your team is about low level details and just wanted to make sure that we got you the right answer. Specifically, as to the banner, we were emphasizing the incredible ease of use of our VMS and our industry leading range of megapixel cameras that helps guards prevent and stop crimes. We have an immense amount of success stories [insert link, etc.]. Thanks for your interest."

They do not even need to answer our question directly, as I demonstrate in the fake response above. At least, it would make them look responsive and allow their supporters to point to their position.

That being said, considering how they admitted and never did anything about their home page ad, it's not surprising not to hear from them. But that said, such silence is a questionable PR tactic.

What does Avigilon do that is so special anyway? Cheap encoders and auto focusing cameras? Gimmie a break. I know of another school district in my neck of the woods where there is an Avigilon system not function properly as well. Avigilon was very diffcult to deal with in our experience in dealing with them. Back in 2011 we were looking to replace Pelco with them but Pelco has made improvements since then and we chose to add Axis instead (thank god). The JPEG 2000 was really what grabbed us but we felt that you had to built an entire seperate video system for it work properly. Not too many clients have budget for an H.264 system and a JPEG2000 system backing the main system up. The company shouldn't have gone public so soon since they are going through growing pains. I'm glad we don't have to deal with those a******

They have been after us to integrate with their cameras even though we compete in the VMS space. So at this most recent tradeshow we had our camera integration engineer go over to their booth to get a demo from them. While he was watching the "criminaldo" video, an Avigilon employee walked up to him and asked if he was with our company. When he responded in the affirmative, he then kicked him out of the booth! And it wasn't a nice, "Sorry but we are competitors" it was more like a "Get the f**k out of here!" Usually companies at the show have a "You show me yours, I will show you mine" kind of attitude.

Lets just say we won't be doing them any favors by integrating with their cameras.

Any one wanna give Avigilion a break?

I'll say the sales rep I talked to was quite nice and a lot more knowledgeable than most that I talk to when I was interested in using them. However I think we've decided to go with Axis...

Avigilon doesn't need a break, they need to address these issues. I posted 1 time above (I'm new to IPVM but I'm not new to CCTV...) so it's clear there are plenty of other unhappy users. Not everyone is a member of IPVM (though they should be) so I'm sure there are plenty more complaints just nowhere to post them. One or two issues alone is meaningless, but if you look at the total of the responses there seems to be a pattern: misleading ads, arrogant sales pitches, problematic installs, less than perfect equipment, and bad attitude towards other industry professionals..

If they had a product that warranted their "we're the best and none else is close" attitude (my statement) then one could overlook it, but in my opinion they don't. Their VMS is good, cameras decent, pricing is decent....but nowhere worth the dealing with the other issues.

Let me make it clear, if Avigilon dealt with these issues in house then there would be no need to state them here. I didn't come here to gripe, I did want to share my experiences. I would have much preferred working with Avigilon to correct my items but they made it clear they were not interested.

If they had a product that warranted their "we're the best and none else is close" attitude (my statement) then one could overlook it, but in my opinion they don't. Their VMS is good, cameras decent, pricing is decent....but nowhere worth the dealing with the other issues.

If you believe the posts from Avigilon partners here and on other forums, you'd think their VMS and cameras are the proverbial greatest thing since sliced bread... or spliced cables... or whatever. And in fairness, I don't think there's anything on the market that comes close to their Pro line for resolution and support for high-grade lenses.

But a single product line isn't enough to gloss over the issues presented here, especially since that line IS a fairly niche product, and the technical issues appear to be with the more bread-and-butter products.

We went to the ISC West show this year to find an alternative to Avigilon's VMS and we found many options. This was not the case three years ago. Our team went to the show and agree Avigilon booth was in retro mode this year. Many manufacturers have competitive VMS software, maybe not the high megapixel cameras, but yeah how many clients are going to install a 29 Mega pixel camera, at ahhh ......how many frames per second?????? Arrogance leads to complacency

Bunch of empty suits.

I actually subscribe to this site for video knowledge, I have however found that this is quickly turning into a TMZ website. I'm not sure what I gained from reading this, besides that someone in this post actually thought Pelco was good? Probably won't take that very serious!!

Hi Brandon, if you are looking for video knowledge than I recommend, for example, our in depth panoramic shootout results we just released yesterday.

Evidently, there are lots of people who want to discuss this as this was a short article that took on a life of its own driven by industry people commenting.

Kohler is my herooooo...

"I'm not sure what I gained from reading this, besides that someone in this post actually thought Pelco was good?"

Seriously? Have you actually READ this thread? There are at least a half-dozen very similar stories here of integrators trying to deal with Avigilon on various levels and having nothing but problems. There are two or three instances of integrators having problems with their hardware and receiving little if any technical support, and two or three more of people trying to learn more about their products and being shuffled unceremoniously away.

This kind of dicussion and sharing of information and experiences is, to me, one of the big advantages of this site. I can read marketing hype anywhere.

Yep, I read them. I don't really take to heart bad reviews, misery loves company and I feel like most integrators screw up IP systems based on their lack of knowledge and not the manufactures equipment. You can find a lot of bad reviews for every company and when the title of the article is already inviting people to write bad reviews I take it with a grain of salt.

Kohler, this isn't personal but it is a response to your comments. Kohler's reply is perfect Avigilon speak and the exact reason there are so many negative Avigilon comments here:

1. Ignore there's a problem.

2. When presented with a problem more than once tell the dealer it's them not the equipment.

3. Indicate that what you "feel" is fact and what is really happening is caused by anyone else because they are: stupid, angry, incapable of figuring out the simple Avigilon system/software, fill in any the blank other than address the problem.

4. Criticize other manufacturers but still don't address the problem.

I feel like most integrators screw up IP systems based on their lack of knowledge and not the manufactures equipment.

Sorry Kohler, how you "feel" and reality are not even close. For you to insult every poster here with your Avigilon attitude...never mind. Go install your Avigilon systems and tell your customers how great it is and it's the best thing since Walter Bruch. I was a true believer as well, eventually I woke up. When you do I'll be here for you.

I always find it better to discuss a problem rather than insult those presenting it.

It's all well and good to claim that technology-related issues are the fault of the integrator, and it may even be true in some cases... but that still doesn't explain OR excuse their behavior in dismissing John as described in the original post... or the VMS manufacturer whose integration engineer was (allegedly) rudely dismissed by an Avigilon rep.

Granted, some things are open to interpretation - maybe the Avigilon guy really wasn't rude to the VMS engineer, but it was only perceived that way, for example. Maybe John was too aggressive in his initial approach to the Avigilon booth. Maybe that's what Avigilon will say should they deign to respond to all this. And maybe that's a good reason for John to start wearing a tie-clip camera to trade shows :)

FYI, it was Carlton that went to the Avigilon booth 5 times, not me. He's the author of the article, as listed at the top of the page.

Ah, my bad... well, have to outfit him with the tie-clip cam then :)

I don't think they would have let John step foot on the carpet.

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