Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program'

By IPVM Team, Published Mar 19, 2019, 03:21pm EDT

There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras?

While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are rare. Now, Avigilon has launched what it calls a 'renewed products program'.

In this note, we examine the program, share feedback from Avigilon and compare it to other approaches used in video surveillance.

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Vote / ****

Comments (26)

do you think that these are typically DOA cross-ship return units that are then refurbed?

or are they the result of field upgrades?

However, we are not aware of Axis, Bosch, Hanwha, Pansonic, Sony, etc. having such programs.

although you would think Arecont could have benefited from one, being fed from any “try and not buy” units:

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"tested and certified by Avigilon to perform and function to the same standards as equivalent new products .... and come with a 1-year warranty unless otherwise indicated."

what's the warranty on new cameras?

separately, is there a way to prevent dealers from eating the extra margin themselves while passing off the cameras as new to customers - beyond the dealers own ethics?

i.e. does Avigilon maintain a database of refurbished camera serial numbers that someone could check and compare against?    

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does that Imply that the “almost new” devices could be almost 3 yrs old?

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There is no means that I am aware of to prevent unethical dealers from abusing the program aside from when that dealer is caught one year down the road on a service call.  As with everything there has to be come level of trust put into the dealers.  Avigilon used to be pretty selective as to who becomes a dealer.

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Sounds like a good program for cost sensitive Avigilon buyers, but a one year warranty just isn't enough. For us, three is good and five is best.

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It's an interesting program particularly if you are stuck in trying to get Avigilon product in overly price conscious buyers.  The drawback is that stock varies so widely from day to day that it cannot be counted upon for a project that is a couple months out.

This program makes me wonder what other manufacturers do with product we send back?  I wonder if there is a landfill out there full of Axis Q6000-Es.

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This program makes me wonder what other manufacturers do with product we send back?

they fix it if it’s broken.  regardless, when the next one fails in the field, that’s the one you get sent as your warranty replacement.  you know the phrase “will repair or replace at our discretion...”

so if there is a high DOA rate, there will be a equal number of refurbs to replace them.  that’s how you end up with refurb when you bought new.

its a dirty little secret in electronics industry.

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I think this is a great idea - it'll be interesting to see how much this program is leveraged. Will customers prefer NIB units or will they be happy to take refurbs? Will it really give Avigilon a needed pricing edge in any meaningful deals? I don't know enough to speculate.

There's something about refurbs that makes me nervous though. Is it possible that someone could plant malware on one of these cameras that is not successfully removed during the normal refurb process? If flashing the firmware is not completely rewriting the OS, could someone gain root access to the camera, plant something low enough to persist through a firmware flash, and then effectively turn the refurb program itself into a trojan horse?

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Is it possible that someone could plant malware on one of these cameras that is not successfully removed during the normal refurb process?

The world's largest IP camera manufacturer is owned by the Chinese government and you are worried about this? :)

Regardless of the manufacturer, I think the refurb risk is low. I think re-flashing the firmware is likely enough but even if it was not, it's a pretty low value attack vector, i.e., you would have to buy / get these devices, add malware, ship them back and hope they then get re-sold, with the malware, to someone that is of value to the attacker.

 

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The world's largest IP camera manufacturer is owned by the Chinese government and you are worried about this? :)

I reserve the right to have concerns about two or more things at once :) Obviously a government having direct influence over the operation of a manufacturer poses a larger risk, and you're right that the risk here is quite low. It is just something that would concern me if I were the manufacturer, and I'd want to make sure that the refurb process addresses it.

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There's something about refurbs that makes me nervous though. Is it possible that someone could plant malware on one of these cameras that is not successfully removed during the normal refurb process?

In this case, probably not. Avigilon already has a pretty strict firmware checksum/control, making it hard to load unauthorized firmware in general. Being able to load some form of malware that would survive a presumed factory firmware upgrade or reflash is going to be slim odds. On top of that, how many devices could such an attacker truly infect and send back without being detected? I'm sure the company would get suspicious of a large volume of RMAs from one source.

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I'm not sure what the catch is. Selling used cameras cannibalizes new camera sales. Designing a product that meets profit goals but also strips features at  reduced cost is always better than discounting and devaluing a better product. I get selling old models at a discount, which almost all manufacturers do in some capacity, but it's less expense to have more accurate demand forecast than fire sell overstock. The risk of a repaired camera going bad again is exponentially higher than a new camera in my experience. Warranty or not, Avigilon isn't going to cover the labor and trip charge the integrator incurs and the end user is unlikely to agree to pay a $100 service fee to repair a used camera they paid $250 for within a year and will be especially unsettled if they have to spend another $250 plus install charge at month 13. Even at 60% discount off a $500 MSRP camera, the end user is still buying at $250-300 at minimum. As a consumer and supplier, that is not worth the risk. As someone said, 3 year is good, 5 year is best. After 5 years, the camera has depreciated most value and much greater technology is available around the same price they paid 5 years ago. I don't see how this is a good strategy to enter a cost-prioritized market. Very few end users will go for a used 1 year warranty product when there are many options for new and 5 year warranty for a similar price. Avigilon has always marketed an end-to-end solution. Are they selling preowned recorders and licenses, too?

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But selling the same camera twice is pure genius! I don't think this will be good for end users or competitive bids though. Some integrators will be honest but others will not and that will effect everybody. 

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Good time to revisit the part in my specs about all equipment being new...

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The same for me! I added further clarification of what new means. 

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i think that for most use cases, buying new will be better than buying refurbished.
many of the cameras i see are almost like consumer electronics, if my tablet or dvd player breaks, ill just buy a new one, wont spend time on fixing it  or buying refurbished.

 

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I don't think we will use this much but it will be nice to have as an option for very cost sensitive smaller customers.  

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I'd be curious the portion of this product that was returned, inspected and classified no-problem-found.

Though I don't know Avigilon's return policies, I've seen high no-problem-found returns with other security product manufacturers.  At some point an installer becomes completely convinced the product is defective and won't continue the diagnostic process to find the misconfigured setting, upgrade firmware, etc..  So you send them a new one with factory default settings, walk them through the proper configuration process, and the new one magically works.  The manufacturer gets the old one back, upgrades firmware, defaults it, and they suddenly have a properly functioning camera.  

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i agree with you that no-problem-found RMAs are a thing that all manufacturers wrestle with regularly...

when the RMA process is not well-managed (including proper troubleshooting/diagnostics), the loss of revenue/value can be significant - for all the reasons mentioned above regarding the value of 'almost new' vs new. 

Even if a manufacturer has the best investigative support crew that requires installers to walk through specific troubleshooting steps, some will lie and say they've already done what you ask them to - or, as you mention - 'won't continue the diagnostic process'.

Since you can not change human nature, you have to then try and change human behavior... by whacking offenders with prohibitive $250 no-problem-found RMA fees.

 

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Since you can not change human nature, you have to then try and change human behavior... by whacking offenders with prohibitive $250 no-problem-found RMA fees.

Pelco used to exercise something similar to this and may still.  I would receive pretty good reports/invoices on what was found wrong.  For all of the criticisms, Pelco was a class act in many regards.  I have never received this level of detail from any manufacturer since.  Even when I was hit with a fee I thought it was fair.  Here's a cropped warranty repair sample:

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Which Manufacturers Provide Detailed Reports On Camera Failure Causes?

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Avigilons warranty processes great they overnight you a camera replacement if your camera is in warranty, but if you want to have a couple extra on the shelf just for temporary service I see no reason not to buy a few of these.looking through the list of renewed you can tell it some of the products that are less popular like 9-22mm 1mp cameras and a lot of box body cameras. I think it's a good way for them to get rid of EOL products to clear their shelves for the new inventory rather than having two revision back products.

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looking through the list of renewed you can tell it some of the products that are less popular like 9-22mm 1mp cameras and a lot of box body cameras.

Quite a few H3s/H3As on there as well.  Not the most current product and definitely dated, but they are fairly usable when someone demands ultra-low cost.  Discount needs to be more though.

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Avigilon declined to comment about how end users would know if products were new or 'renewed' and about disclosing how old or used any 'renewed' product offered was.

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Kind of along these same lines, how many integrators end up with perfectly good video equipment on their shelves due to over purchase, didn't work in the application as expected i.e. wrong lens type, change by customer after purchase, brokered a deal for new system by including buy back of customers existing equipment etc.?

A myriad of things come up that result in products on the shelf and over time it adds up.  Example:  we have 4 brand new, in the box Altronix cctv power supplies that are now 3yrs old but never used - 3 of them have never even been opened, several fixed Digital Watchdog HD bullet cameras and 2 DVR's that were replaced in an attempt to figure out a problem that ended up being unrelated to cameras, 8 Mobotix M15's used for a few months and then changed camera standard etc. 

Surely there's a market for this kind of stuff at 60/70% off MSRP??  I haven't found one and have considered establishing one so input from IPVM members would be helpful in validating or invalidating that idea (I'm also not opposed to someone stealing and implementing this idea as long as you let me know where to find your site so I can post my stuff! :) )

I'm interested in what others think: 

* is it a problem for you?

* how do you get rid of that kind of stock?

* If there was an "online marketplace" established for this kind of thing would you post items for sale on it? 

* Is there already a marketplace like this somewhere? (besides ebay - I have in mind something specifically aimed and marketed to the security industry)

* Do you think end users would  take advantage of it for emergency backup stock?

* Could you sell this kind of equipment to smaller retail, residential customers with understanding it only has a 30, 60 or 90 day warranty or is "pre-owned" or whatever? 

* Would offering that kind of sale to an end user be detrimental to the industry as a whole?

* Manufacturers:  would something like this be an avenue for clearing out your old inventory without degrading your new product sales?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Integrators, What Do You Do With Products That You Buy But Do Not Use?

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