Hikvision ColorVu is Smart MarketingBy John Honovich, Published on Oct 03, 2019
Hikvision ColorVu (see IPVM test results) is smart marketing, a lesson to be learned by competitors and a rising trend.
Inside this note, we examine why, what competitors are missing, how ColorVu can help Hikvision and what issues there are in Hikvision's marketing.
Effectively, ColorVu is a white light floodlight built into an IP camera:
Instead of using IR LEDs, ColorVu has white light LEDs:
While Hikvision did not invent this (e.g., Sony and Axis have had a few similar models in the past, Dahua Lorex has a current one), Hikvision has launched a full series and a major marketing campaign for ColorVu.
Why It Is Smart
ColorVu gives real color images and a 'free' floodlight while existing offerings are generally either black & white only or noisy / dim in color.
Low light performance is a major buying criteria and while IR has made capturing images in 'darkness' normal, IR has limitations - no color, overexposure, etc.
While color (non-IR) imaging has improved significantly over the decade, not using IR still typically means noisy, dim images in dark scenes under 2 lux and often significantly more expensive cameras.
ColorVu, or more generally the category of IP cameras with a floodlight built-in, fills a gap between these two, addressing an important need.
Moreover, since no one else is offering a similar series, this gives Hikvision effectively a 'unique' position even though the technology behind this is easy for any manufacturer.
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Competitors Miss 'Demand'
Various competitors say there is no demand for this, from our discussions. We think they are factually correct about this. Historically, we have not heard integrators or buyers asking for IP cameras with built-in floodlights.
However, this misses the point. Consumers certainly demand better low light imaging and 'IP cameras with a floodlight built-in' solves that.
Moreover, Hikvision is going to generate significant demand as they continue their systematic marketing.
Marketing Examples from Hikvision
Over the last year, Hikvision has ramped up a marketing campaign for this, including videos like:
Plus this brochure:
Product Pros and Cons
We tested ColorVu and while it is not great abstractly, for a ~$200 camera, it provides decent color images in 'complete darkness' and effectively a free floodlight as a bonus.
The product can certainly be improved on (e.g., near range overexposure, weak color at the FoV edge, weak color at 10+ meters, etc.).
However, who else is offering a $200 camera that gets some color with a floodlight thrown in? And what can beat that for many users who just want to add in some cameras and some lighting?
Problems With Marketing
The most notable negative is that Hikvision's marketing about 'complete darkness' can confuse users:
ColorVu does not provide 'full color in complete darkness', it adds a floodlight that eliminates the 'complete darkness'. Presenting it the way Hikvision can mislead users into thinking it is some form of groundbreaking imaging or that it needs no light.
Outlook Positive For Hikvision
Overall, this is a smart move for Hikvision. We think that this category is here to stay and that by Hikvision aggressively marketing this, it gives them a significant advantage in leading this.
In 5 or 10 years, maybe cameras get good enough and inexpensive enough to deliver 'full color in complete darkness' and when that comes this will certainly reduce interest in this category. Until then, the combination of better color imaging and an included floodlight is likely to continue to gain traction.
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