Giving up on DVR Appliances?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 28, 2008

DVR appliance manufacturers are swiftly moving away from DVR appliances. This is a very risky move, maybe a necessary move, but chances are it will not work out well for them.

March Networks today announced that they will be using Sun servers for recording and storage in their next-generation VideoSphere platform.

March is not the first to announce such partnerships; AD, Verint, NICE, etc. have all previously done so. What is significant about March is that March, more than any DVR manufacturer, has made its reputation and success based on building rock-solid appliances that don't fail and are easy to service. It's not as if March simply loaded its software on a windows PC. If that was the case, it would be easy to understand using SUN, HP or Dell hardware. But, it's the opposite. March's core competitive advantage is building better appliances (built over 10 years and through their heritage from Newbridge Networks).

So why does a vendor surrender their core competitive advantage?

Before I explore that:

From March's perspective, I am sure they don't believe this is the case. They likely see this as an expansion where customers can now choose from both March's own appliances and the March/Sun appliances. To them, it's the best of both worlds.

Doing both is going to be tough because of 1) integration challenges and 2) focus contention

1) Integration Challenges

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

It is tough enough building one platform, if they are really going to support both Cieffe and R5, the integration effort has to be very complex and time consuming. This is not a knock on March. It would be hard for anyone to do it. Even if you pull it off, it can take a long time and distract you from other product development efforts.

2) Focus Contention

Given that the two product lines serve two different customer classes (traditional March appliances distributed, small facilities and new Sun appliances large facilities), where does the organization focus its sales, marketing and engineering efforts? Companies often wind up worse in both areas when they are torn between two mutually incompatible options.

So, now why is March doing this?

The biggest growth area in surveillance for the next number of years is super large deployments - schools, cities, bases, nations, etc. Traditional DVR markets like hospitals, retailers small/medium businesses are fairly saturated with DVRs at this point so you are mainly competing on upgrade rather than greenfield business. If, you are like March, in need of large top line growth and you already dominate a lot of the classic DVR market, this is the area where you can find it.

But can March and other DVR appliance manufacturers make the shift?

While I appreciate the motivation, success is very risky. Essentially, they are abandoning their core strength and moving the basis of competition to an area where they are solid at best. Using another manufacturer's hardware places the emphasis on your software. The quality of your software now needs to stand on its own. It has to be better than the other dozen players, including a number like Genetec, ONNSI and Milestone that have been optimizing their software for this use over the last 5 - 8 years. Cieffe seems solid but it does not have features that really distinguish from today's software only leaders.

While I certainly believe March and other major DVR appliance manufacturers will win some big deals, this is a dangerous new world where new entrants focused on software only will suddenly be much stronger competition and where pricing pressure could be intense.

Recommendations:

For existing customers: Make it clear that you want the same level of support and enhancements for your DVR appliances that you have historically obtained.

For prospective customers: Check carefully how mature and ready the software and integration is.

For integrators: March's DVR appliances are still strong but evaluate carefully whether marketing their new system is the best choice for you. The software only NVR field is crowded with a number of players. many of whom have been optimizing their solutions for years.

Most Recent Industry Reports

AI Startup Anyvision Raises $28 Million Led By Bosch on Jul 20, 2018
Anyvision is the most ambitious heavy-spending video surveillance startup in many years. And, now, the startup has raised $28 million led by...
Fail: Dahua "Didn't Check The Lux Levels but It Was Dark" on Jul 20, 2018
Dahua UK has been promoting their camera quality on LinkedIn: I, and others, asked what the lux level of the scene was. (background: Lux Rating...
Free 100+ Manufacturer-Customized Camera Calculator Released on Jul 19, 2018
Now, any manufacturer has a customized IPVM Camera Calculator, free. The goal is to make it easier for companies to help their customers better...
Improved Security And Surveillance Bidding - 2018 MasterFormat Divisions Examined) on Jul 19, 2018
Navigating the world of system specifications and bidding work can be complex and confusing, but a standard format exists, and understanding it...
Last Chance - Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 19, 2018
Today is the last day to register. Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Ladder Lockdown and Ladder Levelizer Tested on Jul 18, 2018
Ladders are a daily necessity for surveillance and security installers, but working on an unstable surface can be extremely dangerous. In addition...
FST Fails on Jul 17, 2018
FST was one of the hottest startups of the decade, selected as the best new product at ISC West 2011 and backed with tens of millions in...
Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...

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