Briefcam Buys Frost Award*

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 20, 2019

Frost 'awards' are well-known and widely disrespected. Now Briefcam is touting their win.

briefcam buys frost award

The way it has worked for many years is that Frost gives companies awards for 'free' and then tells the 'winner' that they cannot tell people about it unless they pay Frost, making the award invisible and virtually meaningless unless the 'winner' pays up. Moreover, the 'awards' are based on vague categories and negligible 'research'.

We first covered this a decade ago: Do Not Trust Frost & Sullivan Awards and a year ago CEO Refuses To Pay For Frost & Sullivan Award.

Briefcam CMO Stephanie Weagle confirmed to IPVM they followed the standard Frost process:

BriefCam is not a Frost & Sullivan customer, nor did we pay for the award.

BriefCam was notified that we had won the award back in late April. BriefCam purchased the re-print rights of the summary doc (which you downloaded), enabling BriefCam to share the content, and excerpts of the content in print and digitally. [emphasis added]

To the contrary, as one CEO discovered about his Frost 'award':

paying for an award creates a perverse incentive for all parties involved in such a transaction, especially the company offering the awards.

I was then assured that the payment is not for the award itself, but rather for the right to ‘license the copyright’ to the award. What that turns out to mean in practice, however, is that you are not allowed to mention that you won the award if you do not pay for it. (The value of an award is mainly to serve as a third-party validation of the value-add or contribution of a company or person, and so not being able to mention or publicise an award basically renders it meaningless.)

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The award Briefcam 'won' is the:


The vagueness of the award ('best practices', 'solutions', 'innovation') is reflected in the award report that Briefcam 'purchased the re-print rights'.

As another Frost 'winner', though, observed:

Justifications include that the awards are “research-based”, and that the research costs money, but I can confirm that, at least in my own case, the research consisted of public domain material obtained from a single article written by ourselves. [emphasis added]

The Briefcam report is similarly public domain material, though, given the vagueness of the award, Frost could make a case for anyone winning it.

Because winners need to pay Frost to tell people they won, it is inherently impossible to know who actually wins. Few video surveillance companies actually 'buy' though, that is clear just from the lack of public announcements.

It is surprising that Briefcam, now a Canon company and sister to Axis and Milestone, would do this. Evidently, Axis or Milestone are either not good enough to win these awards or sensible enough not to pay.

Nonetheless, Briefcam's CMO declared that Briefcam is "honored to receive this prestigious award."

2 reports cite this report:

2019 Mid-Year Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 01, 2019
IPVM's new 400+ page Mid-Year Industry Guide brings all of these issues and events together in a single resource to read and review. It can be...
Do Not Trust Frost & Sullivan Awards on Apr 03, 2009
Frost & Sullivan awards are common in the security industry. In the last decade, Frost has named dozens of video surveillance companies award...

Comments (20)

Only IPVM PRO Members may comment. Login or Join.

This is really interesting--thanks for sharing. I've worked for companies that have received Frost & Sullivan awards but was never involved directly, so I didn't realize. I have been involved in other awards in the consumer products arena that were similar--you weren't able to publicize them until you paid a hefty fee for the privilege. 

Because winners need to pay Frost to tell people they won...

That’s what they want you to believe but, facts cannot be copyrighted.

If they truly won the award, they can tell anyone that fact. The report itself is another story.




I'll ask Frost to give you an award and you can test that :)

they can tell anyone that fact

If Briefcam CMO tells their friends that 'fact', that's probably protected. However, if Briefcam's CMO wants to issue a press release and run a marketing campaign, I doubt that.

We've talked about this in the past - the issue of 'right of publicity' that limits what companies can do in marketing. For example, if Justin Bieber drinks a certain type of liquor and someone takes a photo, that's a 'fact'. However, if the company who makes the liquor puts up a billboard of that or publishes a press release on that, they are going to lose a lawsuit, yes/no?

So could you, for example, post a picture of Frost's notice (I assume this is a letter or email) on your company's Facebook page and just never interpret what it says? Couldn't you quote it verbatim and say it's from a private letter sent by Frost? It seems like if they voluntarily and unilaterally give you something, you should be able to publicize it. Aren't people allowed to post a picture of funny junk mail? Or maybe you could post it with editorial spin ("Sorry Frost, I'm not paying. Nobody should pay for this") and claim fair use?

Or maybe you could post it with editorial spin ("Sorry Frost, I'm not paying. Nobody should pay for this") and claim fair use?

Well, that's what the CEO did here

One can try what one wants.

My understanding is that you get the 'award' (not clear if it's just by phone or some email) but you don't get anything else. So when one pays, they know there won't be any legal issue plus you get a glowing quote in a press release and you get the report to use in marketing.

If Briefcam CMO tells their friends that 'fact', that's probably protected.

ok, well how about if an independent journalist interviews a manufacturer and asks “Have you ever won a Frost & Sullivan Award?” and “Which ones?” surely they could respond truthfully, no?  That would interesting,

Now, if there was just an independent journalist in this industry who also had access to industry execs, then they might add such a question to an Executive Survey.   Know anybody?  ;)

I have asked this question of a number of executives, including yesterday, and none had. Since many execs know the deal, it is not something that's generally interesting or a thing they pursue.

Now, if there was just an independent journalist in this industry who also had access to industry execs, then they might add such a question to an Executive Survey. Know anybody? 

I think the bigger issue is that nobody cares about Frost and Sullivan awards, or gives them any merit. People don't care if you've won one or not. It's not the result of some comprehensive testing, or a leading indicator of anything useful.

Frost and Sullivan awards are basically a cross between a participation trophy and lame shake-down attempt. In fact they may be one of the few awards where you look worse for having "won" one, as that also makes it clear you fell for their scam.

The business equivalent of "You've been listed in the 2020 'Who's Who' book (send us $50 for your own copy of the book)".


nobody cares about Frost and Sullivan awards, or gives them any merit

The CMO of Briefcam disagrees with you.... but yes, agreed generally.

where you look worse for having "won" one

That's one of the weird aspects of Briefcam's awards, there's definitely a correlation between video surveillance companies struggling and 'winning' these awards but I thought Briefcam was doing well.

It is surprising that Briefcam, now a Canon company and sister to Axis and Milestone, would do this. Evidently, Axis or Milestone are either not good enough to win these awards or sensible enough not to pay.

Well, if there was any doubt that Canon was leaving these companies to operate on their own, this proves it :)

Don't you also have to buy tickets to the awards dinner?

Lol, I am not sure but I thought it was included with the $15,000 or so for the reprint rights as they call it.

These misleading awards and processes need to be exposed more often and brought to light as to how they work.  Thanks for putting this information out there for people to think about and determine for themselves what they perceive the value of these awards to be.

Marketeers and advertisers are experts at creating perceptions and illusions to lead your brain into either positive or negative impressions in an instant; relieving your brain of any additional cognitive processing before imprinting their intended message (and hoping it sticks).  Many companies tout this Frost and Sullivan award (mostly newer companies and start-ups with the money to pay) and it seems to give them immediate legitimacy in their market. Is this worth 15K? I guess it is to some of these companies that otherwise would not have the know-how or reach to do it themselves.

I was in my first weeks with a very well known Security manufacturer (~20 years ago)... at ISC East when it was a thing.  We attended a rubber-chicken awards dinner put on by F&S, and received a plaque.

Four years later I moved to a very different role at the same company, and found myself hip deep in market intelligence.  Our parent company had been using F&S across its global girth for years:  but I'd argue that no one ever read any of it in context.  On one page, they said the market for XX security products in Germany was $55 billion dollars, which was provided as delivered fact.   So imagine a mid-level dweeb like me taking on the C-suite worthies with actual data (developed the old fashioned way, you know, by looking?)    I would put up facts as I understood them, then someone would argue for that $55B number plucked from F&S, well, because F&S said it and it made them look smart.   

 "...last I checked there's around 80 million Germans,  For this to be true, every man, woman, and child would have to buy over $600 worth of these products, every single year.  Does that sound right to you?" 

There's an art to making people look stupid without making them feel stupid.  One day I'd like to learn that art.

On this (new) job, my second move was to find better research outfits who were as transparent as I needed them to be.   My first move was to fire F&S.    That (all) being said, I can't tell you anything about the F&S of 2019, but my spidey sense suggests they're not much different today than in 2004.

A bonus habit I'll share:  it seems that there are a LOT of companies who want to sell their research services/reports:  these are the sorts of outfits which publish press releases  like "Home Security System Market worth $74.75 billion by 2023!"  (...yes:  that's the actual headline)

Our good friends at IPVM have ponied up some hilarious "fails" from outfits like these. 

When one calls me, I first ask how long they've been covering the space, and the rep invariably tells me it's been for five or even ten years.    "That's great!" I'll say.  "I've also been doing research in this space for many years.  I know you're in the business to make money, so I don't want anything of value for free.  Why don't you send me your report from five years ago, so I can compare your data with mine.  If we're in alignment I'd be happy to consider doing a lot of business with you."     

Exactly zero percent of the folks who cold-call ever send anything , and only a small number ever call back.    (I do wish they'd quit it with the hyperbolic press releases.  Every once in a while one gets forwarded to the CEO which means I lose a productive afternoon fighting BS with data.)


The other thing about these research companies is that they, like Frost & Sullivan, write multiple reports on multiple topics. Obviously you're not going to get in-depth knowledge when your company does reporting like this, something that is painfully evident when research companies tout reports in 2019 that mention company names that no longer exist in 2019...or 2018...

There can't still be anyone who attaches value to the marketing puffery of any product awards.  

If Frost & Sullivan is such a BS company, how could they have possibly won J.D. Power’s prestigious “2019’s Best E-mail Marketer Posing as an Independent Reseach Lab”? 

I want an award to place next to the trophy my mom bought me in the 6th grade (at a garage sale) when she realized all hope was lost.......

Does anyone have Frost & Sullivan's phone number? 

This is unfortunate as I like BriefCam. The money for the right of publication obviously came from the marketing budge. Unfortunately, with marketing spend, 50% of it is wasted. Even more unfortunate is the fact that you don't know which 50% is being wasted...In a word, unfortunate. :)

While I agree that this doesn't seem to help BriefCam, I don't see it hurting though as F&S is (imho) is just distant noise. It's like the Yelp award for having the most reviews.

Also, I'm guessing in order to hold someone to an agreement not to publicize an award without consideration, they had to sign a contract to be considered for the award in the first place.  Otherwise, F&S would not be able to enforce a claim that they have a right to restrict publication.

What it comes down to is marketing people conspiring to look like they're making a difference.

I'm guessing in order to hold someone to an agreement not to publicize an award, they had to sign a contract in order to be considered for an award. Otherwise, F&S would not be able to enforce a claim that they have a right to restrict publication.

That's not how Frost awards work, according to the various companies who have discussed it with us. There is no contract signed to be considered. Often, indeed, we have heard that companies learn that they have won with no prior notice or awareness. 

How they restrict is that they tell winners that they cannot publicize it and Frost will not publicize it themselves unless the winner pays. So the 'winner' needs to take a chance to publicize an award that the awarder may sue them for, ergo most everyone just ignores if they do not pay.

Related Reports on Awards

The Embarrassing Story of ISC West's Best New IP Camera on Apr 24, 2019
A sad but simple situation: Only 2 companies paid SIA the thousands of dollars required to compete for the best new 'cameras IP' The judges...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...
IPVM Launches Best New Product Awards on Oct 25, 2018
IPVM is launching its own Best New Video Surveillance Product Awards in 2019. The goal is to provide the industry with a legitimate program, based...
$25 Million US COPS SVPP School Security Funding Examined on Jul 24, 2018
The US Congress has authorized the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) to fund various security measures and training to mitigate active...
Nortek Acquires IntelliVision on May 08, 2018
One of the largest intrusion manufacturers, Nortek, has acquired the self-proclaimed 'Leader in AI-Based Video Analytics Software',...
'Best In Show' Fails on Apr 19, 2018
ISC West's "Best In Show" has failed. For more than a decade, it has become increasingly irrelevant as the selections exhibit a cartoon level...
Troubles At Arecont Vision on Oct 03, 2017
Arecont is facing big problems. But Arecont says the future is 'bright'. In this note, we share feedback from Arecont and from sources close to...
The 3 Most Outstanding Security Manufacturers (OSPAs) Make No Sense on Sep 08, 2017
The Outstanding Security Manufacturer finalists (US edition) are here: And if you are wondering, "How did those 3 get chosen?" then you are...
A New Low In Embarrassing Security Awards (OSPA) on Aug 03, 2016
The trade show stunts continue, though this one purports to be 'credible' and 'respectable'. The Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs)...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon H4 Intercom Tested on Nov 20, 2019
Avigilon is well-known for video surveillance and access, but how well does the company's intercom work? We purchased and tested Avigilon's H4...
The Cowardly, Greedy "Leaders" of Video Surveillance - SIA on Nov 19, 2019
The video surveillance industry suffers from cowardly, greedy 'leaders' focused on maximizing easy money while undermining public trust. The...
Hikvision Dual Lens Face Recognition Camera Tested on Nov 19, 2019
Hikvision's Dual Lens Facial Recognition camera, claims that it "adopts advanced deep learning algorithm and powerful GPU to realize instant face...
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2019 on Nov 18, 2019
2019 has been an explosive year for video surveillance, with the world's two largest manufacturers, Dahua and Hikvision, being sanctioned for human...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to access. However, some companies claim to be able to detect...
Wyze Fires Back at JCI - Your Patents Are Invalid, Pay All Of Our Costs on Nov 18, 2019
Goliath JCI targeted startup Wyze this summer alleging the fast-growing consumer startup was violating a slew of JCI's patents. Now, Wyze has...
ADT Stock Surges - "Leading The Commercial Space" on Nov 15, 2019
Don't call it comeback... but maybe call it a commercial provider. ADT, whose stock dropped by as much as 2/3rds since IPOing in 2018, has now...
Gatekeeper Security Company Profile - Detecting Faces Inside Vehicles on Nov 14, 2019
Border security is a common discussion in mainstream US news and politics, as is the use of banned Chinese equipment by US Government agencies....
Hikvision CEO And Vice-Chair Under PRC Government Investigation on Nov 14, 2019
In a surprising and globally covered move, Hikvision CEO Hu Yangzhong and Vice-Chairman Gong Hongjia are being investigated by China's securities...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...