'Do It Yourself' RFP Problems

By: Ben Wood, Published on Jul 25, 2013

What's worse than having a crappy consultant prepare your RFP? Perhaps doing it yourself, as this case shows.

Everyone thinks end users should be more educated and more proactive about spec-ing equipment for surveillance projects. "They should do their research," people say. A small community in Arizona took this to heart designed their own surveillance project through Internet research, advice from integrators and online templates. But just days after the 48-page invitation for bids was drafted and published it was rescinded, and the project was cancelled. In this note, we talked to the director of the project and review this invitation for bids and explain how the IT department got put in charge. 


Earlier this summer, the Gila River Indian Community Department of Community Housing released an invitation for bids on equipment for a surveillance system to monitor quality of life in public housing for the elderly. It wanted cameras installed that would cover the main windows, all doors, and every entry and exit gate at seven different sites. But right before the pre-proposal meeting the department abruptly cancelled the project. 

A Mix of Analog and IP Cameras

Gila River specified mix of analog and IP cameras for the project. The cameras were required to be Bosch or ViconNet and the project calls for one Solar SolsticeCam fixed camera from Sun Surveillance. 

One of the cameras, was listed as a bullet camera with 6-50mm lenses, 600 lines of resolution and an IR range of 300 feet. An integrated IR camera that can 'see' 300 feet is practically impossible given the limitations on the number and strength of LEDs integrated. Indeed, the model spec'd is a generic analog integrated IR camera from Supercircuits. It is misleadingly spec'd to 300 feet, probably because of its long max focal length (50mm). However, the IR light emitted is certainly not strong enough to illuminate at that distance in the dark. 


The document says all of the cameras must have vandal resistant housings and clear domes, but failed to provide an IK rating that would quantify the level of vandal resistance.

Low Frame Rates and Resolution

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

"Cameras shall be set to record and live stream at full resolution," however the system would operate at 1 fps normally and 10 fps on alarms. This is quite low considering the average frame rate is 6-10 fps

Additionally, the housing office said it would also be using some of the cameras for facial recognition (human based, not automatic). However, analog cameras, even at max recording resolution, can only capture faces at ~10' wide max FoV.

Recording / Storage

After reviewing the specs with the IT department and senior management, it was agreed that the amount of surveillance suggested was more than what the housing department needed. For example, senior management questioned the 2000GB storage spec and noted that would be likely be reduced. This change however, would have little impact on the budget of the project as there is ~$25 difference in 1TB vs. 2TB while it would substantially reduce recording duration or quality. 


The VMS specified was Vicon’s Kollector Strike Hybrid DVR with ViconNet software. It had to support analog channels at 120 fps and up to 8 additional IP channels at 30 fps each and provide 2000 GB of storage. The housing department’s loyalty to Vicon products suggests that they might already be using Vicon for an existing system elsewhere in the community, and that they are likely unaware of the company’s slow downward spiral. The community has an existing surveillance system, but the manager for the project said he did not know the details of the system. 

Additionally, the spec says a minimum of "five IP camera manufacturers must be supported from leading companies such as Bosch, ACTi, Arecont Vision, IQinvision, Panasonic, Sony and Pelco" where they could have just specified that it be ONVIF compliant. 


The housing department wanted a one year warranty with options for an ongoing service agreement. As part of that plan, the installer would be responsible for maintenance and repairs during the warranty period and would be expected to fix any problems within six hours. It was eventually decided that a plan like this would be too expensive so when the housing department does add a surveillance system, the IT department will be in charge of maintenance. 

Project Cancelled

The project was cancelled for both design and budgetary reasons, according to the project manager. After researching more of the technical aspects and costs of the project, the manager found that a reliable system was going to take more than an invitation for bids and that they probably needed to put out an RFP instead so an integrator could have a chance to design a system that would best fit their needs rather than getting the lowest prices on a list of equipment they weren't that familiar with.

Instead of the housing department, the IT department will be creating the final RFP.

Many of the specs, including the "300 ft IR camera" were pulled from Internet research, advice from integrators and video surveillance system templates online, according to the project manager. We agree that end users should take more of a role in finding surveillance to fit their needs, but unfortunately this is an example of how they are often unequipped to make good decisions, even when they are proactive. 




Comments (3) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Razberi Technologies Company Profile on Aug 06, 2019
Razberi says they have doubled their revenue in the first half of 2019, citing their proprietary camera hardening and cybersecurity capabilities...
Avigilon Blue VSaaS Tested on Aug 05, 2019
Avigilon says Blue is a "powerful integrator cloud service platform", easy to set up and configure, quickly scale business, by leveraging cloud...
Hikvision 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 02, 2019
With their latest Smart Series 5 cameras, Hikvision is claiming cameras "fully loaded" with "state-of-the-art technology for high performance and...
Hanwha 4K Wisenet P Camera Tested on Jul 30, 2019
Hanwha claims "premium performance" and to "deliver the best in high resolution performance and efficiency" with their Wisenet P series 4K models,...
History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to ab emerging AI cloud era.  The goal of this history is to...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

TMA Apologizes to Amazon / Ring on Aug 23, 2019
Not only is Amazon / Ring making major incursions into the residential security market, the organization representing the biggest incumbents, The...
China Dahua Replaces Their Software With US Pepper on Aug 22, 2019
What does a US government banned company do to improve its security positioning in the US? Well, Dahua is unveiling a novel solution, partnering...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
First GDPR Facial Recognition Fine For Sweden School on Aug 22, 2019
A school in Sweden has been fined $20,000 for using facial recognition to keep attendance in what is Sweden's first GDPR fine. Notably, the fine is...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
JCI Sues Wyze on Aug 21, 2019
The mega manufacturer / integrator JCI has sued the fast-growing $20 camera Seattle startup Wyze. Inside this note: Share the court...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Uniview Beats Intel In Trademark Lawsuit on Aug 19, 2019
Uniview has won a long-running trademark lawsuit brought by Intel, with Beijing's highest court reversing an earlier Intel win, centered on...
Suprema Biometric Mass Leak Examined on Aug 19, 2019
While Suprema is rarely discussed even within the physical security market, the South Korean biometrics manufacturer made global news this past...

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