Avigilon, Is This Ethical?

By John Honovich, Published Jul 19, 2013, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

An Avigilon executive has confirmed that an Avigilon employee has illicitly obtained copyrighted IPVM information, advertised the illicit redistribution of that information and used it in a promotion for Avigilon.

Here is the message / advertisement posted on LinkedIn: 

**** ***** *** ****** ******:******* ******** ********** **

*** ****** ** ** ******** ********:

Avigilon's *******

******** ********* **************, **** ********* **** President ***** ****** *********** ****:

"**** *** **** ** ******* ** are *** *** ****** ** *** employees ******* **, **'* ***** *** us ** **** **** ** ********."

****** ****** **** ***** ******** ******** a **** **** ** ********** ***** first ******* ******** **** ***** ******** had ** **** *******. ************, *** source ******** ******* ******* ***:

"* *** ******** ** *** ******* from * ***** **********"

****** ******* ** ******** *** *** integrator ***, *** ********** **** ********'* employee:

"****'* ********** **** ********"

*** *** ********'* ******* ************ ** knew *** *********** *** ******'* ****. Moreover, *** **** *** ********* **** a ********* *********** ** *** ***, saying "********* *** [******'* ****] ** [Date] *** **** *******'* ******** ***." 

Good *** **?

********'* ********* **** *******, ******** **** their ******** "******* ** *** ***** something **** ** ********* **** ******."

*******, ** ****** ****** *** ** is **** *** ** ** **** a ************ ******** **** **** *** member's **** ******* ** **** ***** own ********.

Terminated ********'* ******

***** ***** *******, **** ********'* ********* to **** **************, ** **** ********** Avigilon's ****** ** ****.

******** *** ******** * ****** *** their **** **********. ******* ***** ***** violations, ** *** ***** ** ** so.

***********

**** **** *** ******** **** ******* actions *** **** ******* *** *********** information *** *** ******* **** ***** used ** **********.

[****** **** ****: ** ******** ** follow ** **** ******** *****, ****** for ******** ******** ** **** ********* them ** *******.]

Comments (38)

What a circus. This guy right here is glad he didn't accept any of Avigilon's job offers.

Seems like someone needs some lessons in Business Ethics and Crisis Management / PR. First from the integrator and the employee. But mostly from the Executive Team at Avigilon.

Imagine how different the scenario would have been if Avigilon avoided the tactic of excuses and just apologized, while promising to discipline the employee. Imagine if they promised to properly train ALL of their employees as to the obvious infraction, risk to their brand and public reputation, and again APOLOGIZED. At the end of the day, the buck stops with the leadership of Avigilon, and they should have communicated that to you, as well as publically.

Not rocket science....

No apology whatsoever was offered.

I sympathize with Avigilon sr. mgmt in this case. My CEO once told me (30,000 employee corp) the biggest headaches on any given day were caused by employees doing clearly dumb things without thinking first. Avigilon is in that boat, you can't oversee everyone directly. That being said, first rule in PR communications when there's a misstep is: Take ownership, APOLOGIZE, then APOLOGIZE again.

Take it easy on the poor RSM herein being flogged - every PDF can be edited to whiteout or erase text and anyone who would break a glaring prohibition by sending it on to others without first erasing the source information printed on it probably needs help just to breathe. The RSM gets it reportedly from a member, presumably with the source infor blocked out, and leaps to make his customers aware of the independent confirmation of his product's quality. Let's consider the RSM collateral damage here, it's Avigilon that owes IPVM an apology and then we move on.

Jack, good feedback!

To your point, we have had other incidents with manufacturer RSMs. However, none of them has ever brazenly advertised to illicitly redistribute our information. Plus, every other manufacturer has taken responsibility and committed to making sure it would not happen again.

Hi John, was this guy, purportedly offering the "illicitly obtained copyrighted IPVM information", a subscribed member of your blog IPVM.com?

No, he was not a member. According to the Avigilon executive, their employee obtained this through an integrator.

Regardless of how he obtained this, IPVM does not allow manufacturers to use us for promotion or anyone to re-distribute copies of our information to 3rd parties.

I saw the notification of this article pop up in my email earlier and my first thought was of my Colbert-eating-popcorn meme. Alas, it's been pretty tame thus far - I was expecting a far more interesting thread!

Of course, this is not the first time we've seen something like this from people connected to Avigilon...

Hi John, thanks for the answers above. Since the person did not illicitly have access to your blog, 1) was the "integrator" who shared your info identified?, or 2) did the manufacturer trangress your global allowance agreement or was it a specific clause which they did not adhere to that caused their termination?

Luke, as I explained in the original post, Avigilon refuses to identify the integrator they claim illicitly shared our copyrighted information.

Avigilon's access is terminated because, specifically, we do not allow any manufacturers to use IPVM in promotions, and manufacturers must take responsibility for the actions of their employees (or else manufacturers can simply abuse our brand and information by simply blaming it on the 'personal' actions of their employees).

Hi John, you certainly have rules that manufacturers must respect if they want your blog promotion, but what confounds me is if 1) why would they use your material for promotion (the claim) if it is clearly presented in a derogatory way, you destroy their features, surely they want to hide your review from public view? I have not read it yet, is it a good review which needs ethical protection?

@Luke: "why would they use your material for promotion (the claim) if it is clearly presented in a derogatory way, you destroy their features, surely they want to hide your review from public view? I have not read it yet, is it it a good review which needs ethical protection?"

It's actually a pretty favorable review for the Avigilon cameras tested - John linked it in the original article (or here for your easy reference).

Luke, as Matt noted, that test report is quite favorable to Avigilon, ergo why someone at Avigilon would be motivated to use it for promotion.

Luke, can you please read our original post and the referenced test before commenting further? Thank you.

There are 2 facts here that are indisputable. 1. Avigilon mishandled the incident when it was brought to their attention. 2. IPVM has the right to create and enforce any rules they choose for their Intellectual Property. Clearly Avigilon would react swiftly in enforcing their IP. Why shouldn't IPVM be afforded the same right?

The RSM in question could have made a mistake and should be disciplined and educated. Disciplined (not by being fired) because any employee must be cognizant of their actions and their impact on their company.

Avigilon has a much greater degree of cuplability and responsibility. Have they created a Social Media policy? A PR /Media policy? Have they educated their employees on this policy as part of their onboarding. This is their legal, ethical and fiducial responsibility. If they didn't before this incident, they should do so immediately. In this case IPVM "merely" revoked their subscription and refunded their money. It could've been worse.

Hi John - Very interesting thread. Very amateur behavior it seems to me at Avigilon - as was noted above. On a more troubling note - this seems to indicate a lack of controls and an unprofessional business culture that could lead to much bigger issues later on.

I bet it was [REDACTED].

Avigilon has now blocked us from following them on twitter.

As a very large shareholder, I don't like how all of this is playing out. It makes me wonder about the future of the company and the people charged with running it. I think I'm out.

John, so blocking you from their Twitter feed will fix all of their problems, won't it? What are these people thinking? Or are they?

Michael, I do not know. If someone has insights into Avigilon's decision making, perhaps we could all learn.

Gee, blocking someone on Twitter... what is this, grade 8?

Would be amusing to see what they do if random members here started sharing their tweets... what would they do, block EVERYONE?

Even our old pal Rocky is calling them out for being childish:

@ipvideo @Avigilon I understand trying (in vain) to silence a critical voice, but what is accomplished by not letting critics read tweets?

Don't think for a minute this is a random issue at Avigilon. In my opinion, they have decent products but their management is horrible. Which is the exact reason we will never use them again. There are far too many equal or better choices.

It's amusing to read the "undisclosed" users spout off about Avigilon -- come out from behind the curtain and we might believe your statements a bit more. Seems like they have been getting beat in the field by Avigilon lately and looking to blow off some steam. The Avigilon employee made a mistake (salespeople tend to not think before they act lol), they should have apologized and all would have blown over.

The review was very positive and I continue to feel they have the best total solution out there and continue to make innovative products with the most stable and user friendly vms on the market. I am biased because I have a lot of happy clients using their products - but with 9 years in this industry we have seen the good, bad, and ugly from mfgs and they continue to be in the good pile.

Paul Grefenstette, I'm not amused that I can't disclose my name for fear Avigilon will take retribution against us. I truly believe that's how their management would react and not a company we want to deal with. Avigilon isn't beating us on any projects, not a one, because we're a design build company. If we didn't have existing installs we have to support I would put my name in bold.

BTW, there is no such thing as an "undisclosed" comment on here because IPVM staff can see my name. If they were to call me on my comments, I would provide the proof to back up my statements. The truth is a great defense.

In my opinion, the truth is:

-Avigilon has good products, but they've had some serious issues along the way that they failed to deal with. When your dealer is telling you the camera is not working right to look into it 5 times with no resolution is an issue. Having issues with new technology happens not addressing the problems is not acceptable.

-Avigilon management has no desire to deal with anything or anyone that doesn't drool all over them and sing their praises. I believe any professional company would address any issue brought to senior management, this does not happen at Avigilon. If their senior management doesn't care why should I?

-Avigilon has a niche market that other manufacturers see as profitable and they will continue to enter it. We see better competition and better product to Avigilon all the time. If Avigilon continues on this path they won't last long. Seems like the hottest companies burn out the fastest. Remember when AOL and Blockbuster were the hottest companies around...where are they now?

I don't really care if Avgilon makes it or fails, but they treated us so poorly when I get a chance to share my story I make an extra effort to do so. You can believe what I say or not, that's your choice. I stand behind my comments.

John; Perhaps IPVM should take the Avigilon Ban one step further and stop reviewing their products. Particularly since most of the IPVM reviews of their product have been positive. That would probably get a response and plenty of apologies from their executive management!

I don't think that would be necessary or prudent. I think a little perspective is in order before this turns into any other Internet message board. Avigilon may have poorly handled the situation, and so they've had their membership revoked. Is anything further at this time really needed? Even though we don't use Avigilon products (we were in the process of getting some demo's when all of a sudden we stopped getiing replies back from them), but a lot of integrators and end users either still rely on Avigilon products or are interested in them and how they perform, so it's as much a service to Avigilon end users as may or amy not be benefical to Avigilon.

I'm not saying there's could never be a situation worth stopping reviews, but I don't think it's warrented now. That is my own opinion.

IPVM reviews are for the benefit of our thousands of members, not for any manufacturer, regardless of whether they like, hate, malign or praise us.

Avigilon could burn me in effigy in the middle of Stanley Park, but it is not going to impact how or whether we cover them.

Avigilon, as well as their supporters, have been calling us biased for many months now despite the fact that, as undisclosed notes, our product reviews have continued to been quite favorable overall. We do this because it is the objective outcome of our testing, not because we like (or dislike) their executives.

Just like with any manufacturer, this does not mean it will always be positive (or negative). However, not covering Avigilon would hurt our members who depend on our analysis and research to help make decisions.

That said, Avigilon has made it increasingly difficult for us to get feedback from them (including tactics like the silence treatment to numerous specific questions). We have still been able to get feedback and access to product through alternatives means, but this might change given their level of evident anger at us over this issue.

As always, we will continue to do our best to fairly and thoroughly test and report on manufacturers important to our members. Thanks for the feedback.

"but they've had some serious issues along the way that they failed to deal with" -- example of these serious issues? -- I am more than happy to give my opinion or help. I also highly doubt Avigilon would take the time to mount a vendetta against you or your clients for your comments here -- what would be in it for them?

Avigilon is the only major mfg that I have direct access to senior product management and am fully integrated with every beta camera and software they release -- that's big for us and we havent seen this kind of connection with anyone else in the market.

Paul, you say that you, "highly doubt Avigilon would take the time to mount a vendetta against you or your clients for your comments here."

It does not have to be a 'vendetta' but why would Avigilon not terminate undisclosed as a dealer? I suspect many (if not most) manufacturers would terminate dealers who publicly criticize them to the extent that undisclosed has. "What would be in it for them" would be a message to other dealers not to publicly criticize them.

This, to me, would be a common tactic by many manufacturers. Avigilon, though, perhaps is even more likely, given their, let's call it, 'confidence.'

Good points John, I was specifically talking about "undisclosed's clients but I get your point.

We haven't seen this kind of behavior undisclosed is describing from Avigilon but we very well are in different parts of the country and perhaps his local sales and tech contacts havent been the best -- happens when a company is growing as fast as they are - hard to find quality people.

I can only offer my help and experience if he chooses to take it.

Cheers

Paul, you shouldn't have to dig far into the IPVM archives - the "serious issues" and integrators' fear of "vendetta" has been discussed before. Neither is unique to Avigilon either, be it in this this market or others.

Gentlemen, the survillance market is still very young and unfortunately we will see more of these s.c. "accidents". What Avigilon have done will drop their trustworthiness as a reliable and honest company, no excuses will help, and at the end, the market will clean itself. Right now there is to many cowboys out there.

Paul, there's a reason Avigilon replaced their JPEG2000 domes with auto-focus H.264 domes. Thanks for the offer of assistance, but it's not something we want to pursue.

John,

It would be interesting to know from you how many similar instances like this you had in the past? Have you had to ban any other large companies from the group? Is this a growing trend you see happening in a competative market to try and gain advantage over others or a very unfortunate mistake this guy never thought through the consequences of getting found out?

Maybe he learned his lesson, lets hope so!

We have instances of misuse every couple of months. We have banned / blocked manufacturers in the past, typically 3 to 6 months. However, in each of those cases, the manufacturer took full responsibility and committed to making sure it did not happen again.

That said, it does not strike me as particularly growing, as I think most manufacturers are aware of our position and enforcement. It seems more of a random problem, initiated by clueless sales people.

As for Avigilon, they continue not to take responsibility for this incident or make any commitment to prevent similar actions in the future. Until they do so, and disclose who provided their RSM with the report, Avigilon will remain blocked from IPVM.

I'm still catching up on all of these articles but I've noticed a another manufacture doing this, posting from IPVM to their social medias like Linkedin.

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8, please let us know if you see this (email me at john@ipvm.com if you like).

It's one thing for someone to just share a title and link, it's another thing for them to offer to give away a member's report or to use our report as validation for their own sales efforts.

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Will do John. I support the hell out of this site, and the information you give to us. It's definitely done a lot for me personally.

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