Genetec: We Do NOT Support Avigilon

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 18, 2015

Two of the most significant surveillance manufacturers in the world, countrymen even.

No love lost.

A member asked about a problem integrating Avigilon cameras with Genetec's VMS. Inside this note, we examine Genetec's response and debate who is right or wrong.

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Comments (55)

All VMS companies should program their software to identify and specifically not to work with any avigilon product. Fix their @$$ for becoming lawsuit happy.

I actually think that not supporting Avigilon cameras is the worst idea. Not because of the "open platform" claims, though I do think being hardware agnostic is wise, and like them or not they are a popular, ONVIF-conformant camera brand.

I think it's a horrible idea because if you really truly hate Avigilon the way most of the VMS manufacturers seem to...why would you not want to say, "Hey Avigilon customers (and integrators)! Like your cameras but hate Avigilon? We can help you!" The alternative is to allow Avigilon systems to remain Avigilon, despite customers possibly wanting to move to your VMS, which doesn't make good sense to me.

I also wonder what would happen if a user with 200 or 500 or 1000 Avigilon cameras came to Genetec and wanted to switch, but wanted motion detection supported. Would it not make the most business sense to integrate them?

"if a user with 200 or 500 or 1000 Avigilon cameras came to Genetec and wanted to switch, but wanted motion detection supported. Would it not make the most business sense to integrate them?"

And that certainly is a risk.

On the other hand, Genetec has many huge accounts where they are deeply embedded plus a strong position at the high end of the market, given the breadth and depth of their feature offering (e.g., Favorite Large Scale VMSes 2015). How many Avigilon camera sales can it prevent by refusing to support them?

Which group is larger? The VMS sales they lose for not supporting Avigilon or the camera sales that Avigilon loses by Genetec not supporting them?

Ideally, everyone should 'get along' but Avigilon wanted a world where everyone would fight to the death for the sale, and this is a result of it.

If you really wanna stick it to Avigilon why not make a better product that customers would want to switch to. By removing support you are eleminating yourself from projects.

Same goes for Avigilon. Why does Avigilon refuse to let other VMSes work with their Pro series?

Becuase they can if they want to just like Exacq/Genetec can stop supporting Avigilon cameras. My guess is Exacq/Genetec is dropping support is going to hurt them alot more becuase there are alot more Avigilon non pro-cameras on the market then Exacq/Genetec customers that would need PRO cameras.

There are also a lot of cameras available to use instead of Avigilon with Exacq and Genetec. Many more competitive camera options than there are competitive VMSes.

We'll see what happens.

But your assuming new installs not current systems. I am refurring to current end to end Avigilon systems. Most customers can afford to switch VMS platforms but very few can afford to replace all their cameras and VMS and deal with that headache.

Maybe Avigilon should counter this by adding support to as many IP cameras as they can like Genetec/Exacq/Milestone. That would make things really fun.

"Maybe Avigilon should counter this by adding support to as many IP cameras as they can like Genetec/Exacq/Milestone. That would make things really fun."

Sure, it's fun to imagine. But we both know it is not going to happen. Avigilon does not want ACC users using non-Avigilon cameras. It's core to their business model to capture the whole sale, not just the VMS.

Guess you are going to have to wait to see :)

I welcome Avigilon doing that. It will cut into their sales, though.

The use of Hikvision with Avigilon is already cutting into their sales and I question how much Avigilon execs can or will tolerate that.

I disagree. Having support for Hikvision has enabled us to sell more ACC licenses.

But Avigilon is losing out on the camera hardware sale. You buy a Hikvision for ~$100 and Avigilon loses out on a camera sale of $300 or $500, etc, only getting the much smaller VMS license money.

Let me channel Schmode here: If you were a loyal and strong Avigilon dealer, you would convince the customer to buy the more expensive Avigilon camera and get the entire sale at the highest price.

Personally, I think the smarter move is to use Hikvision with ACC as much as possible but that is definitely not what Avigilon management wants nor what they are communicating to investors.

How does Avigilon lose out on the sale? They have no interest competing in the $100 camera market so Avigilon gained a license sale.

Personally, I think the smarter move is to use Hikvision with ACC as much as possible but that is definitely not what Avigilon management wants nor what they are communicating to investors

You clearly haven't installed or managed large Avigilon camera systems. We have and install both Avigilon end to end and Avigilon with 3rd party cameras. We can install/configure Avigilon cameras twice as fast plus the system is much easier to manage and upgrade over using Avigilon and Hikvision. Not to mention pixel search which is a huge time saver when reviewing video works with Avigilon and not the Hikvision camera. Not saying Hikvision has a bad camera but the end user experence is much better with Avigilon end to end.

"How does Avigilon lose out on the sale? They have no interest competing in the $100 camera market so Avigilon gained a license sale."

They have every interest in competing in the camera market. And instead of you successfully selling value and getting Avigilon 100% of the sale, you only get Avigilon a fraction of the sale.

And, yes, I understand your position about end to end Avigilon being 'better', that's why I am saying Avigilon's management position is you sell it end to end (every camera, every license), rather than be a partner who endorses buying Hikvision.

In my 5 years working with Avigilon selling thousands of cameras and licenses no one has EVER said to me I need to always sell ACC with Avigilon cameras. None of the many partners I know have ever mentioned this either.

In fact the ONLY person I have ever heard say this is you John.

The goal of Avigilon management is clearly to maximize the sale of Avigilon cameras and licenses, to strive to get everyone, not to publicly endorse buying Hikvision cameras that causes Avigilon to lose out on a significant amount of revenue.

Isn't the goal of every security manufacture is to maximize every sale? Is the fact that Avigilon actually is good at it the problem?

Point is NO one at Avigilon has ever told us or any of the dealers I know they have to sell only Avigilon license with Avigilon camera. Only place I have ever heard/read this is on IPVM.

"Isn't the goal of every security manufacture is to maximize every sale?"

No.

For example, Genetec here. They could easily build or OEM conventional cameras and that would help maximize sales. But they don't.

For example, Hikvision. Hikvision could promote / focus more on selling their own VMS software / recorders but they very explicitly de-emphasize that in North America.

Many surveillance manufacturers see the value of real partnerships. Avigilon sees the value of taking everything for themselves.

We checked other VMS support for Avigilon and of the common VMSes, Milestone and Video Insight both claim support, including motion detection.

We tested Milestone with an H3 bullet camera with current firmware, and motion events are indeed passed from camera to VMS. You can see it switch from live to to recording (top right) here based on me waving my hand in front of it (with a 3 second pre/post record):

We did not check to see if the H3 analytic cameras passed analytic events. But since you need ACC to configure events anyway, they're sort of a moot point.

Guys, Do you have any info that details what percentage of Avigilon cameras are NOT being used with their own VMS?

I would bet it is a very small number

Definitely more than half, probably around 3 out of 4 Avigilon cameras are used with Avigilon's own VMS.

Of course, that is by design. Avigilon focused on selling the entire end-to-end solution, not parts.

I understand being pissed at Avigilon. I don't understand refusing to take their customers away from them.

So is Exacq and Genetec going to stop supporting Axis? see Canon to buy Axis, Will Own and Milestone

Avigilon's own tactics are what is causing this. Avigilon relishes going after their VMS partners, Axis is far more concerned than Avigilon about making nice with their partners.

Also, Axis is not going around threatening its partners with patent infringement like Avigilon is.

How do you compare Axis to Avigilon?

Axis has always been classy competition. I never heard anybody say "the Axis rep said your product sucks" in my years as a rep.

Avigilon does not have a track record of being classy competition. They are the most cutthroat company in this industry and it's not even close. Remember Manufacturer Sales Pitches Revealed ? "They all suck"

Avigilon is a bully from every level. Their legal team with patent trolling initiatives, their management team with their constant turnover, and their sales team talking smack about their competitors.

Put me on Genetec and Exacq's side on this one :)

The real issue here is ONVIF, which although claiming to be a standard, routinely leaves (allows) various camera manufacturers implementing different API's, even on relatively common functions like camera side motion detection.

Paul, good point. Unfortunately, not sure if we can expect ONVIF to get things locked down any time soon.

At worst, it's could be a bit more than a gray area. Avigilon could be using ONVIF as a way to appear standards based, while actually using it as a wedge to allow their engineering team to help integrators into a proprietary system. This of course is pure conjecture on my part, but it fits the thread.

Paul,

Avigilon uses the ONVIF driver exclusively for our cameras (1-5MP H.264 cameras). Meaning, We connect to our own devices using the ONVIF driver. There is no "Avigilon driver."

I hope having that information changes your mind.

"Not all ONVIF cameras are created equal – some are much more expensive to support and integrate than others, and in this case the cost of opportunity is not worth it to Genetec. As such, Avigilon cameras are not on our supported devices list. We’re happy to work with your undisclosed integrator to find a suitable solution that fits their client’s need."

This is looking like ONVIF yes - ONVIF no, wasn't ONVIF created to avoid this grey area? Are we going to see this more now with Axis teaming up with Milestone, Panasonic with Video Insight and no body knows who is next. I would like to hear ONVIF comments on this.

That's a good point. I forwarded this to ONVIF asking for comment.

ONVIF support is really common divisor.

For mature features like video streaming or user management onvif is plug-n-play. For events it is another kingdom. Onvif is only specifying how to transmit events, but not about theit contents and meaning.

Just imagine camera that can detect car brands basing on logo. So, it will deliver events wjth car rectangle, logo rectangle and brand name. Onvif is only specifyong how to encode this infor.ation, but not spec how to give names to all this data, and how VMS should proceed this.

So, really open VMS should be able to import (by some admin confog) events from any camera, but it seems that in reality VMS manufacturers are customising their ONVIF drivers with vendor-specific add-ons, with all that magic inside. So, there are onvif driver with pre-configured events from camera aa that make sence to VMS xx, and the same for camera bb and VMS xx. VMS yy is doing something Similarily but not the same, as it internally support other events.

Alexander, good points and agree.

"VMS manufacturers are customising their ONVIF drivers with vendor-specific add-ons, with all that magic inside"

We have seen that many times specifically for VMD support.

John, Would it be possible to have a vote and see who hurts more from this policy Avigilon or Genetec. We all know for sure the End User will hurt the most - so i would leave that out.

Sure, here is a new poll on this. Vote now:

I work for Genetec and have requested cameras from Avigilon for several years, so we may pursue a supported integration. The resistance I've personally encountered came from Avigilon and the statement made was "We don't want to become a camera manufacturer solely, we are a solutions company - opening up our API to competitors reduces us to a camera manufacturer only and there's no money in that."

I feel, the years of not wanting to partner with the Open Architecture players in the market has cultivated this disconnect and has and will continue to truly hurt Avigilon as they go the battle alone.

I'm not sure if simply "integrating" is the end-all answer however, I would suspect that items within the cameras capabilities would not be provided in their API and reserved for support only within Avigilon's VMS. Much like they tout today, "Sure we support Axis, but if you want FULL support of any camera, you're better off with Avigilon cameras". This is speculation of course, based only off what my gut instinct suggests from past experiences with their organization.

I can't speak on behalf of Genetec's position to support Avigilon's cameras or not, it's much higher than my pay-scale, but I can say there's definitely resistance on Avigilon's side.

This is antecdotal evidence and proves nothing.

I work for Avigilon and know we have provided cameras to other VMS companies for them to offer support and integration.

I'm glad you admitted that this issue is above your pay scale. I do think it's funny that you say you "can't speak on behalf of Genetec's position," but are glad to provide a definitive opinion for Avigilon.

"This is antecdotal evidence and proves nothing.

I work for Avigilon and know we have provided cameras to other VMS companies for them to offer support and integration.

I'm glad you admitted that this issue is above your pay scale. I do think it's funny that you say you "can't speak on behalf of Genetec's position," but are glad to provide a definitive opinion for Avigilon."

Thank you for providing your definitive opinion that this is antecedotal evidence and it proves nothing.

Luis, I'm glad you caught the point of my comment, that neither of us are in a position to provide our employers' opinions on this issue.

Which VMS company have you provided cameras to? Not ours!

Avigilon employee, what did the Genetec employee say that was wrong?

He claimed Avigilon says, "We don't want to become a camera manufacturer solely, we are a solutions company - opening up our API to competitors reduces us to a camera manufacturer only and there's no money in that."

That's literally the standard Avigilon exec pitch to investors. Anytime someone suggests (CEO) Alex that Avigilon is a camera company, he immediately corrects them, emphasizing that they are solution provider and not in the widget business like Axis.

He also claimed Avigilon says, "Sure we support Axis, but if you want FULL support of any camera, you're better off with Avigilon cameras"."

Are you seriously contending this is not a standard Avigilon position?

John,

I was addressing the story told about asking for a camera and in the end saying it's above their pay grade to actually get anything done.

In broad terms, I don't disagree with the points you extracted above (other than the piece about the API, it's ONVIF).

I think it's fair to clarify this is a Genetec employee offering antecdotal evidence as hard fact while admitting they're not in a position in the organization to affect the outcome.

...Not with a bang but a whimper.

Across the board, how about ONViF growing a "pair" and DEMANDING an end to this nonsense?!?

The BACnet communication protocol has opened up many once proprietary devices, equipment and applications to integration. It still has issues with not providing access to ALL the the device features.

In the same way, ONVIF should make it clear that any manufacturer that wants it's ONVIF "badge" MUST put everything out where it can be accessed.

Do it like MODBUS where any feature available has a specific address in memory and just needs to be "called" to work. Publish the address list as part of the certification. Make all common address spaces identical from product to product.

If you have must have it, put the proprietary stuff (analytics, dewarping, etc) in software for the head end VMS.

that is just a matter of time.

onvif is just 7 years old and certification contains about 1000 tests. Bacnet is muchbolder and certification procedure contains 10000+ tests.

plus most interesting functions are a movieing target - it is still not possible to standartise (please look at my comment above)

Put simply, how about HP stating our heavy metal is the best in the industry but you should also buy HP switches, routers and desktops or laptops if you want full performance.....We don't integrate others hardware.

History's highway is littered with the bones of companies that made poor strategic decisions. The first indicator of deterioration is often the abrupt departure of multiple senior corporate executives "for personal reasons".

John,

What would be your Goal if you run Avigilon ?

"What would be your Goal if you run Avigilon?"

Answer: Here's What Avigilon Should Do Now

Genetec's decision to not support Avigilon looks like a defensive move, not an attack.

Avigilon has made it clear that they see their profits in litigation not innovation.

ONVIF provides no guarantees. Any company that supports Avigilon runs the risk of being sued by Avigilon for intellectual property infringement - a costly process whether there is infringement or not.

With no Avigilon connection, Genetec takes itself out of the line of fire.

"Any company that supports Avigilon runs the risk of being sued by Avigilon for intellectual property infringement - a costly process whether there is infringement or not.

With no Avigilon connection, Genetec takes itself out of the line of fire."

I doubt that. If anything, this should make Avigilon more determined to go after Avigilon.

The intellectual property infringement has nothing to do with supporting Avigilon cameras or not. It is about whether Avigilon has patents on core technologies or methods that Genetec is infringing.

The Avigilon omission is glaring.

Challenge, who is the next biggest camera manufacturer NOT listed?

#86 may be especially galling to Avigilon.

98 supported Genetec vendors.

  1. ACTi
  2. Advidia
  3. American Dynamics
  4. Ampleye
  5. Apple Computer, Inc
  6. Arecont Vision
  7. ATEME
  8. Axis Communications
  9. B-Cam Ltd.
  10. Basler
  11. Bosch
  12. Canon
  13. CBC
  14. GANZ
  15. Cellinx Systems
  16. Cisco
  17. CNB Technology
  18. Commend
  19. Comtex
  20. Dahua Technology
  21. DigiSensory
  22. DigitalBarriers
  23. DTC Communications
  24. Dynacolor
  25. Econolite
  26. Epiphan Systems
  27. Euklis by GSG International
  28. Evervision
  29. Extreme CCTV
  30. FlexWATCH
  31. FLIR Systems
  32. GeoVision
  33. GoPro Ltd.
  34. Hauppauge
  35. Hikvision
  36. Honeywell Security
  37. HW group
  38. IDIS
  39. Imi Technology Co. Ltd
  40. Impath Networks
  41. IndigoVision
  42. Intelbras
  43. Interlogix
  44. ioimage
  45. Ionodes
  46. IQinVISION
  47. ISD Tech
  48. JVC
  49. LG Electronics
  50. Lumenera
  51. Mango DSP
  52. March Networks
  53. MAVIX
  54. Merit Lilin
  55. Messoa Technology
  56. Micropower
  57. MOBOTIX
  58. Moog
  59. Moxa
  60. Oncam
  61. Grandeye
  62. OTN Systems
  63. Panasonic
  64. Pelco
  65. Phoenix
  66. IVS
  67. Pixel Velocity
  68. Point Grey Research Inc.
  69. Promelit
  70. Samsung
  71. Sanyo
  72. Scallop Imaging
  73. Selea
  74. Sensity Systems Inc.
  75. Sentry360
  76. Siemens
  77. Sightlogix
  78. Siqura
  79. Sony
  80. Speco Technologies
  81. StarDot Technologies
  82. TEB S.A.S
  83. Teleste
  84. Toshiba
  85. Traficon International N.V.
  86. Troll Systems
  87. TRUEN
  88. UDP Technology
  89. Uniview
  90. Verint Systems
  91. Vicon
  92. Vidcie
  93. VideoIQ
  94. Videotec
  95. Vievu
  96. VIVOTEK
  97. WTI (Wireless Tech)
  98. Zepcam b.v.

Unsupported manufacturers list (incomplete):

  1. 3svision
  2. Avigilon
  3. Dlink
  4. Foscam
  5. Trendnet

The VMS integration world according to Hikvision.

Avigilon present, but somebody else is missing...

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