Bad Marketing Beware - Intransa is Back!

By John Honovich, Published Mar 13, 2015, 12:00am EDT

After burning $100+ million on a mythical 'secret sauce', quietly going out of business, dropping all warranties, could Intransa top themselves?

They are trying.

Reborn as 'Viakoo', the bad marketing is back.

Petitioning Homeland Security

Viakoo's VP of Marketing is petitioning the US Department of Homeland Security to "Require reporting of security video uptime".  In a month, their petition has gained just 18 supporters so it looks like that is not going to happen.

Bad Marketing - Only 70% Working

Viakoo's hook is that surveillance systems only work about 70% of the time. They are vague about how they calculate that metric but cite a few horror stories such as Philadelphia's disastrous system and the Kansas City sexual assault incident.

Their 'best' 'source' comes from a June 2014 Security Magazine 'article' that is a fluff piece for Viakoo, where they declare, definitively, yet without any evidence, that:

"At any given time, 30 percent of an IP video network does not work properly."

Even more astounding, the Co-Founder of Viakoo, Mark McCourt [link no longer available], was simultaneously Publisher of Security Magazine at that time the article was published, which is an astounding conflict of interest.

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30% Not Working

The 30% claim is extremely high in our experience (e.g., in a 100 camera system, 30 cameras not working properly). If an integrator's client had 30% of their cameras not working regularly, we severely doubt how long the integrator would stay in business.

Moreover, if 30% of a surveillance system is not working, this is almost always the result of one of three issues:

  • Indifferent: The user does not value their surveillance system and does not care what happens to it.
  • Political: There is a political issue where internal groups are finger pointing over responsibility and costs.
  • No money: Most common when cameras are not working, the user cannot allocate the funds to fix / maintain their system.

Viakoo - $5 Every Camera, Every Month

Viakoo's 'deal' is that you pay them $5 for every camera, every month and they will report the health of your cameras, recorders and video system. They will not fix anything for that, just provide information on what is or is not working.

If you have a 100 camera system, that is $6,000 per year to Viakoo.

The Catch-22 For Viakoo

Leading with the 'only 70% working' claim actually hurts them, because:

Well run organizations who have almost all of their equipment working will conclude that Viakoo's pitch is not applicable for them.

On the other hand, those with 70% or less 'working' don't need to pay thousands a year to know that they have problems. It's obvious. Worse, they will generally be too indifferent, incapable or unable to pay for Viakoo.

Outlook

Intransa / Viakoo are their own worse enemy. Instead of building a product at a reasonable price to meet real needs, they have to play these games where they invent wild claims and try to foist them on surveillance users.

There is some potential for video surveillance health monitoring but it is hard to do (limited information available from most systems) and there are many alternatives (including well developed integrated options from bigger VMSes and network monitoring offerings). Trying to sell that for $60 per camera per year (effectively more than a VMS license) is a really hard sell. Perhaps that is why they are left to trick users.

2 reports cite this report:

PennyAlerts is Pretty Interesting on Jun 25, 2015
We have criticized Intransa / Viakoo pretty harshly. And they deserved...
How Embarrassing - 28 Security 'MVPs' on Jun 03, 2015
Security industry awards are nonsense. This is not news. From pay to promote...
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