Top 4 End User Problems

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Dec 04, 2012

A global panel of video surveillance end users cited these four problems as the most common and painful ones they face:

  • Too Hard to Use
  • Network Problems
  • Camera Performance
  • Poor Support

Inside this note, we break down these problems and share dozens of comments from end users explaining these issues.

The Big Four Problems

We asked "What are the biggest problems you have using / operating your surveillance system?" While a variety of feedback was offered, four central themes emerged:

  • Too Hard to Use: Simply keeping operators up to speed on how to use the system is the largest struggle.
  • Network Problems: Not all network environments are created with video surveillance in mind. Many end users noted the difficultly in managing the 'behind the scenes' equipment.
  • Camera Performance: Now that megapixel is here, it is hard for end users to appreciate SD cameras the same. These responses reflected unhappiness with older analog and poor image quality cameras.
  • Poor Integrator/Manufacturer Support: Many end users feel 'left out in the cold', either by integrators who will not respond to service requests, or by manufacturers who have obsoleted equipment being used.
While we have addressed this issue in surveys before, this marks the first time we have gone directly to end users to get their unfiltered feedback. An interesting contrast compares these complaints with our 'Top End User Complaints' report, as seen from the integrators perspective. A comparison of the answers show a closely match, but unsurprisingly deviate on one critical issue. Which issue was it? In the section below, we dig in and analyse those answers.

Detailed Responses

In the following section, we dive into the detailed responses to see how end users explain these headaches. While our responder pool is skewed to large system (more than 500 camera) users, a cross analysis shows that users expressed the same common issues regardless of systems sizes or vertical markets.

Too Hard to Use

Not at all surprising, these end users express frustration in the complexity in having employees operate the system. As we noted previously, training end users on the use of equipment - especially those migrating from analog based systems - is a critical and often underserved aspect of new system installations.

  • "I'd say the biggest issue we have is getting all of operators trained and up to speed and comfortable using the systems."
  • "Lack of training."
  • "Teaching others how to save and export video files or pictures."
  • "Difficulty using DVR"
  • "Teaching end users how to set up Milestone and others to remotely view video. "
  • "The balance of offering a full featured UI that is also simple."
  • "Employees need to work the system easier/better."
  • "End user training and guard turnover. Lack of sophistication in the guard force that uses the system is troublesome at times as well."

Network Problems

These responses indicates end user frequently battle infrastructure or network equipment limitations. Our past experience shows that many end users specify stand-alone networks to avoid these problems. However, especially with older, pre H.264 equipment and shared networks, fighting for bandwidth and reliable networking is a big problem.

  • "The only issue I have is cameras go offline periodically. This is mainly due to existing infrastructure (fiber runs/connections)"
  • "Bandwidth on our ring infrastructure. However we are going from 1000 Meg ring to a 10,000 Meg ring this summer to accommodate network growth."
  • "It's a minor thing, but the lag in calling up cameras, especially multiple cameras at once, can be annoying."
  • "As I add more and more HD cameras im going to have network bandwidth problems."
  • "Bandwidth usage"
  • "Our network was expanded for video, but needs a proper redesign."
  • "Stability for air (wifi) link."
  • "Lost communications"

Camera Performance

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

With the purpose of video surveillance being to have visibility in critical areas, several end users mentioned that image quality of their systems fall short. Technology advancement in the aspect of surveillance has been rapid, and an image considered 'superior' fives years ago may seem little more than mediocre today. Beyond just image quality, several answers discussed limitations of non-networked analog cameras and the cumbersome configuration of networked cameras.

  • "Low resolution video from the old analog cams"
  • "Poor night visibility"
  • "So many of our images are grainy"
  • "Resolution is not good enough on many scenes"
  • "Analog equipment isnt HD"
  • "Better resolutions during investigations are a problem"
  • "Existing cameras aren't networkable"
  • "Firmware management"
  • "Fine tuning each camera for a specific locale."

Poor Integrator/Manufacturer Support

Not surprisingly, this answer was not commonly cited by integrators in the companion report. Many end users get 'hung out to dry' by their vendors. Aside from being a leading cause of "Why Integrators Get Fired", many end users do not have the internal resources to maintain systems themselves or to upgrade older equipment. Whether it is because service technicians are scarce, or because replacement parts are getting harder to find, these users find their biggest headache is simply keeping surveillance up and operational.

  • "The biggest problem we have is little company support for the use of cameras and equipment we would like to use."
  • "Manufacturer has discontinued our system equipment and inventory is drying up."
  • "Coordinating between security contractors and IT dept."
  • "Integration issues with video analytics and pos system."
  • "Getting equipment serviced takes considerable effort for us."
  • "Supplier support is plain poor."
  • "Vendor just wants to sell me new equipment rather than fix what's broken."
  • "Our parts sources are nearly out of parts and my tech spends the vast majority of his time keeping us "ALIVE"."

Conclusion

The fundamental responsibility of serving any market is to first listen to what the customer is saying. While none of these issues can be immediately resolved, the integrators and manufacturers working with these customers can do much to alleviate these pain points through communication and proper planning. While many users would like to 'snap their fingers' and have an easy-to-use, well designed and supported, full HD video surveillance system, they simply are not in a position to have one.

However, integrators and manufacturers can offset the weaknesses of current systems frequently training, planning, and communicating about the current system with end users. Instead of surveillance being a source of 'headache', workable solutions and strategic migration plans can then be reached.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Pelco Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 11, 2019
Pelco had a significant favorability problem amongst integrators in our previous study (see 2016 Pelco results). Now, in the first edition of our...
Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Jan 10, 2019
Today is the last day to register for the Winter 2019 IP Networking course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Wavelynx Access Control Manufacturer Profile on Jan 10, 2019
Denver-based WaveLynx is not well known as an access reader manufacturer, but OEMs for big industry brands including Amag, Isonas (Allegion),...
Managed Video Services UL 827B Examined on Jan 09, 2019
Historically, UL listings for central stations have been important, with UL 827 having widespread support. However, few central stations have...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
Surveillance Codec Guide on Jan 03, 2019
Codecs are core to surveillance, with names like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG commonly cited. How do they work? Why should you use them? What issues may...
Camera Course January 2019 on Jan 03, 2019
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
The Battle For The VSaaS Market Begins 2019 - Alarm.com, Arcules, Eagle Eye, OpenEye, Qumulex, Verkada, More on Jan 02, 2019
2019 will be the year that VSaaS finally becomes a real factor for professional video surveillance. While Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS)...

Most Recent Industry Reports

The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have not only been big buzzwords over the past decade, but they have also become core features of video...
NYPD Refutes False SCMP Hikvision Story on Jan 18, 2019
The NYPD has refuted the SCMP Hikvision story, the Voice of America has reported. On January 11, 2018, the SCMP alleged that the NYPD was using...
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Exacq Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 17, 2019
Exacq favorability amongst integrators has declined sharply, in new IPVM statistics, compared to 2017 IPVM statistics for Exacq. Now, over 5 since...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact