The sales rep we worked with resigned, along with a couple more. Not sure if it was layoffs are just employees jumping ship before the iceberg makes impact. I know the few that we worked with have found new positions with other manufacturers, and I hope the others do as well. Not their fault at all, good guys and gals that deserve a good future. I'm sure Yugo salespeople felt the same way many years ago.
In all seriousness, I wonder how long Chuck Davis has left. He has been there a year, Hikvision is still having cyber security vulnerabilities, and they are now limited to a market segment that is going to be much less concerned about cyber security in general. It would almost be silly for them to still spend money on their Cyber Security roadshow circus. His utility in Hikvision seems extremely limited at this point, and I would guess he has a comp package north of $200K, a big expense for an unimpactful role, IMO.
This is really when they should put on the Gas as far as their cybersecurity efforts. If they want any chance of regaining their opportunity to do enterprise business and not risk any more loss of USA business, this would be crucial. Not sure how much of a current role Chuck Davis has in software design but they should let him have unlimited say so in it now for sure. High profile guys like Chuck feed off challenges such as this but they are going to have let him get very involvled in their software for his role to be effective. Let him hire a team cyber security experts. If he cant do it, then find someone who can. If they arent going to let him do this, then he should leave.
Make the next firmware package be specifically focused on cyber security. If I was Hik right now, I would be hammering Cybersecurity features like crazy for the next several months. If the ban ever got lifted because of cyber security efforts, that would have Phoenix like consequences.
Not sure how much of a current role Chuck Davis has in software design
I would wager less than zero. Software development is being done in China, and I have heard from several people at Hikvision, or previously at Hikvision, that they don't really like the guys in the US trying to drive development or engineering ideas in general. Hikvision US (and other non-China regions) gets a catalog of a subset of Hikvision's total products, and they can pick which products they want to bring into their markets, and maybe suggest some minor changes or alterations that are key for those markets. The non-China regions are not driving much of Hik's corporate development, they are shopping from a master catalog and making some tweaks.
Make the next firmware package be specifically focused on cyber security.
I'm reminded of the lyrics from Annie. Tomorrow...tomorrow...I'll secure ya tomorrow...
Software development is being done in China, and I have heard from several people at Hikvision, or previously at Hikvision, that they don't really like the guys in the US trying to drive development or engineering ideas in general.
Well if this is the case, then they have it backwards. Software dev should be done in the USA and hardware dev should be done in China. Ive heard that alot of their current GUI designs were suggested by USA customers which I can believe because it is so much better than most anything else you see come out of China. At any rate, Im sure some of what you say is true. But a big step forward would be to shift all software design to the USA, I can say that we are the global leaders when it comes to this. Hardware manufacturing, not so much.
This is GLOBAL company and as much as we like to feel like then center of the World we, the US, are not. Granted we are a large market but Hikvision corporate is based out of China thus their leadership, manufacturing, and product strategies are going to reflect that.
For example, as you probably know PTZ sales have declined in the US with Multi-Directional cameras being more readily adopted. However, in ASIA this is simply not the case and PTZ's are still sold more than a Multi-Directional camera.
This is GLOBAL company and as much as we like to feel like then center of the World we, the US, are not. Granted we are a large market but Hikvision corporate is based out of China thus their leadership, manufacturing, and product strategies are going to reflect that.
Correct, but being a Global company puts them in a better position to utilize the Globes various strengths. One of them being that the USA is superior in software development to the rest of the world. This is an oppurtune time to take advantage of this strength.
Hik can survive without the USA no problem, but not sure how long they can stay on top. I agree we are not the center of the world but many other countries may follow in our footsteps and this good be good or bad for Hik.
My rep is saying the firmware for US-market devices is being written in the US now. And that they have some sort of huge cyber security initiative that is a guess what you guys are talking about. They also noted that all? some? certain? cameras and software have met some kind of defense department security certification. No idea how much of that is true. Still won't specify it.
Sean- Chuck Davis is great.guy and definitely knows what he is talking about when it comes to cyber security. If Chuck had his way the cameras would be so locked down that they would not be usable. Chuck has zero power . The Chinese have final say on everything. The Chinese wont say anything publically to fight back. It is against there culture to fight back. This will not end well for Hikvision dealers and especially there employees.
#5, what do you think is the right way for Hikvision to fight back? I am genuinely interested in understanding what the right solution is. Clearly, they have tried to fight back but they are still looking for a better way to do it, yes/no?
Campbell, good point. There is some benefit to this 'small target strategy'. The upside of a public battle is that you may 'win' (somehow). The downside of public battles is that it can draw more and more attention to something that is best kept hidden.
This brings to mind Deng Xiaoping's famous dictum: "Hide your strength, bide your time." It is too late now but in retrospect, I think Hikvision would have gotten farther trying to keep a lower profile. Curious what others think - agree/disagree?
From LinkedIn, headcount trend report for Hikvision USA:
While LinkedIn does not perfectly represent trends, it is generally directionally accurate. And above, it shows net hiring already slowing last year and starting to decline this year. Note: we have not seen anyone laid off last week update their LinkedIn profile yet. When that is done, it will increase the net decline.
Btw, as a point of comparison, here is Axis showing steady modest net headcount growth:
And Avigilon increasing now after a modest net decrease in 2017:
Alot of good salespeople at Hikvision that I have came in contact with. Some prime talent will be available for the pickins. Just my opinion though, I dont think Hikvision needs as many salespeople as they do and I never have. The product sells itself.
I dont think Hikvision needs as many salespeople as they do and I never have. The product sells itself.
My understanding is that many Hikvision salespeople strongly disagree with that and dislike that perception. In particular (I think rightfully) they emphasize that they need to deal with serious cybersecurity and 'political' objections, two things that require more sales skill. Was it easy to sell Hikvision in 2015? Yes. Is it easy to sell Hikvision in 2018? No.
Sean, lol, I don't doubt your persuasiveness, however, I am curious, roughly how much less expensive are you on average than Hikvision USA? I hear the LTS guys are generally 20%, maybe more. Is that similar for you?
Until relatively recently, Hikivision was recruiting aggressively, waving huge paychecks around and acquiring a lot of talent. Lots of people I know and respect work for Hikvision. Hikvision even called me in January 2017 with a real attractive offer. I didn't take it, because I need to believe in the product in order to sell it, but a lot of people I know did.
Luckily, the economy is doing pretty well. My own company is currently having trouble filling a position, with most of the resumes being from new kids and retreads. A lot of the big manufacturers have open positions if you're willing to move, and most integrators need salespeople, system designers, and technicians.
Hikvision employees, if you're reading this: this is probably the best time to be unemployed. Good luck!
There is another take on this. Hik could be seeing it as a good time to bury bad news and cut loose dead wood. It can also align closely with the effects that Trumps tariffs are having, with the job cuts coinciding with the starting of the next phase of tariffs.
The rapid hiring of staff through the exponential growth of Hik, sucked in some sub-par staff members that really haven't brought anything to the party - simply riding on the ability of the product selling itself, so now is a good time to take stock, consolidate and let loose the dead weight, whilst blaming the ban and tariffs for US job cuts. The real workers in Hiks sales teams manage the sell through, stock and client relationships and have a real world view of the product within the context of its competitors.
Nett result is a shot in the foot for US jobs and the economy - along with the thousands to follow through Trumps juvenile, sabre rattling (not much a sabre though is it Trump? - more of a mushroom?). But hey, you can sleep safely at night knowing that China won't be spying on your back garden - and you won't have the slightest worry about Trumps new besties - Putin or Kim Jong-un, because they would never do anything naughty would they?
Nett result is a shot in the foot for US jobs and the economy
As others have already mentioned, plenty of other companies in the space are hiring so the net effect is jobs going from a company owned by a government hostile to our country to those that are not (whether that is Axis, Avigilon, Genetec, Hanhwa, etc.).
"The F.B.I. has arrested double-digit individuals in the last year or so all for spying on behalf of China."
This is creepy. (Off course if they get convicted)
That China is also doing an enormous coordinated effort to increase their own competence is clear. Just look at the number of students they support abroad as well as their own universities.
Also the number of patents from China is increasing .
"Japan posted strong growth in 2017 but was nosed out of the second position by China, which at current trends is projected to overtake the U.S. within three years as the largest source of applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) "
"Two Chinese technology companies were the top filers of international patent applications in 2017, with Huawei (number one filer) and ZTE (number two) followed by Intel, Mitsubishi and Qualcomm."
I think we in the west need to be very aware of this shift in competence and innovation that will follow.
Amazing how you can spin a story. The facts are that Trump wants (needs) China to put pressure in NK. A phony trade war and claims of cyber threats are seen as the pressure needed.
But like all games, there are massive risks in Trumps strategy. China can walk away, hammer the US with counter tariffs, disrupt US manufacturing and help NK by turning its back on the international order - Trump is also doing this by alienating allies and NATO. The danger is in allowing a fool like Trump to play the US hand in the highest poker stakes there have ever been.
You can find anything you want on the internet if you look for it. Ok, Johns been busy and found a great bit of propaganda from impotent puppets - you could have pulled the David Pitreas Bloomberg article that only mentions how the US needs China without any reference to it being a threat in 2018.
Or you could look at Gen John Hytens comments that only identifies China as a risk within the context that it's getting ahead of the US technologically (no reference to cyber-security).
If you want a reference source for any story to tell - you can find it, regardless of its relevance or integrity. But the world is not as stupid as falling for the narrative of Hik/Dahua being a threat through cybersecurity. Yes, there is a real threat in general cybersecurity, but to actually believe the level of technological threat is down to some loose coding in a retail product is a national threat - beggars belief.
There are never comments from NSA/GCHQ sources and for good reason. But if there were, they would be laughing at the comments made and belief that Hikvision is the existential threat to US national security through some coding that some hacks have uncovered. Give ELINT and SIGINT some credibility, and please stop imagining the world revolves around CCTV hardware, much as some would like to think.
We all knew this was coming it was just a matter of when. The good news is there will be a lot of talented sales people available for hire. The bad news is there might not be enough open positions in the industry for all of them.
A US-built camera running Chinese firmware is still a Chinese camera to the market.
Hikvision is hard specified OUT of some of the largest and most profitable applications in the US. Building a manufacturing operation here would require they double-down on their investment, bringing over equipment, adding people, etc. Even after setting up manufacturing, they'd have to convince the US government to roll back the ban on their Chinese-firmware'd cameras to get that operation to pay off. Then they'd have to win back the marketshare they lost in the mean time, and do so at the now increased overhead levels.
I don't see Hikvision bringing any "massive" manufacturing operations to the US, but I'm sure it's a fun dream for you.
Sorry, you have demonstrated such a poor understanding of things like cyber security, Hikvision sales spending, etc. in the past that I couldn't tell you were joking this time when making some outrageous claim about Hikvision.
As mentioned in the post, our estimate is a few dozen people but as also mentioned in the post, there is no official statement including none that has even been sent internally at Hikvision.
I do not understand your point a 'whole department being axed'. That's generally not how layoff works. They tend to be partial reductions of different divisions, not simply eliminating all of sales or all of marketing or all of engineering, etc.
Will the 2nd-tier China-based manufacturers also suffer some backlash by association and start getting picked off like tin ducks at a carnival shooting gallery?
This could get interesting since a lot of security gear is made in China, including not only cameras, but more specialty items like Biometric readers/controllers that have networking capability and firmware and software designed in China.
While it seems that a lot of security gear is manufactured in China, everyone there is really just OEMing core components from a handful of manufacturers.
Funny story: one of these top 10 (in terms of revenue) was working on facial recognition a while back and their lead guy on the project was so excited to show off their progress. It wasn't a 100% yet according to him. The system detected everyone's face except mine. He said they weren't sure what the problem was. I took off my glasses and it finally detected my face. *facepalm*
Even if the number of Hikvision employees remains the same, this is still going to be a big disappointment for Hikvision HQ.
Just over a year ago there were talks of splitting up regions and adding hundreds more field sales people, with a goal to have 1000 US based employees in a few years. The entire organization is obsessed with unsustainable exponential growth, and expected triple figure growth for the foreseeable future.
The headcount will be reduced, and the changing of the guard for North American leadership essentially signals that they are going back to basics.
We did hear that telemarketers (in Hikvision parlance 'client relations') were included but that there were others areas in sales as well.
I can believe they were nonproductive but the question is why? They have had such people for years and the role is standard in the industry (e.g., Axis and Avigilon have many people in inside sales / 'telemarketing').
If this trade war continues as well as the very clear fight for "US made" products and "no Chinese" continues , then I do not see that Hikvision has a place in the US market in a relatively short time.
25% tariffs, or whatever the final number is, and ban form public contracts will be to significant compared to competitors.
Not sure if this is a new strategy by Hik but I've leaned that if a Distributor signs up with Hik they cannot sign up with any other manufacturer there after. Yet Hik can appoint as many additional Distributors within the same territory as they wish further diluting the margins for existing Distributors etc.
UK Sales figures are under pressure as well as many recently hired Sales guys are starting to realize or have realized that the targets they were given are/were unattainable. Some have left already and others were let go. The bubble is slowly deflating at the moment, it's a matter of time...
Another positive development is the fact that specifications and tender documents are appearing with separate Cyber Security clauses stating that any brand involved in 'recent' security breaches will not be considered.
What has been happening in the US has not gone unnoticed at the other side of the big pond and it is having an impact.
I’d be interested to know the source and integrity of this “information”. As you are relating the story to the UK you’ll be aware that Norbain and ADI already supply most other brands and there really is only a handful of other distributors who are mostly aligned to Dahua.
I look at specs all day and have never seen the statement you mention. If it were true based upon your wording, Axis and Genetec would be included along with many other manufacturers who have all had to issue firmware patches.
It’s probably not coincidental that you are a manufacturer and have posted a comment aimed at damaging a competitor with a story, that as an integrator, I do not recognise in the UK. I fully accept HIK has had some sloppy engineering that has exposed vulnerabilities, but they are not alone in this. I’ve no idea what the distributor story is about and have not seen a single tender with any wording even close to what you mention. So in the interests of credibility, please share the OJEU tender reference of your source material and also a substantiation of the Distributor claim.
Indeed, but in fairness Jonathan, I’m pretty sure the statement is fictitious anyway. I’m waiting for the OP to publish the OJEU reference of the tender(s) they refer to. There’s nothing like a fact check when a competitor hiding behind anonymity, throws stones.
Hikvision UK are actually recruiting (publicised on LinkedIn and their website). Sales staff turnover is not unique to either HIK or the CCTV industry in general and there can be a multitude of reasons.
In all honesty, I don't believe anything until I've checked it. I'm not sure if Johns article suggesting Hik layoffs in the US has been substantiated, but on balance, t is likely to true. Within the UK, as all the reps are known to me, I know where the gaps are and what they are trying to fill - so yes, I do believe this.
I am not in the business of littering IPVM with unsubstantiated garbage or gossip.
Whether you want to believe what you read or not is up to you of course.
I don't have to do any 'additional' damage to Hikvision, they are very good at doing that themselves and IPVM is doing a great job in disclosing this.
Two NI based projects had the same paragraph on Cyber Security in the tender documents. This is a small section of said paragraph;
1.1 QUALITY AND CYBER SECURITY
All new equipment provided under this contract shall be high quality equipment manufactured for the high security industry. Entry level equipment shall not be used.
The system shall provide high cyber security and equipment. The equipment shall have a proven history of use in high security installations and without historical hacking events. Equipment shall not have any default programming to deliver images outside the system or default passwords to enable unauthorized access to the system...
All manufacturers will have to release software or firmware patches at some stage, it is inevitable when supporting software etc. Most however will do this as a preventative measure not after the horse has bolted...
Good luck running a server or client on windows with the clause of 'without historical hacking events'.
PS for over 2 years this is taken care of at HIK 'Equipment shall not have any default programming to deliver images outside the system or default passwords to enable unauthorized access to the system'.
This has been an argument Hik reps have made to us. There are tools we are forced to use, such as a computer OS. But we have many options for cameras and such, and in my opinion the Hikua vulnerabilities have been in a different class than Axis. And only Hik has such close ties to the government of a country that puts a priority on controlling its population and preventing subversion by any means.
So we can agree that the comment "stating that any brand involved in 'recent' security breaches will not be considered", is not what is now being said.
Given the non-anglicised spelling of unauthorised, I'm not sure this relates to the UK and/or OJEU tender, but I think its fair to say anyone reading it would assume it is eluding at close to a CNI project. I would rule out a host of entry-level kit from Adata through to Hanwha as my gut tells me this is looking like Bosch/Avigilon/Axis/DVtel Flir etc. So if we take your post at face value, the tender wording actually tilts (by definition) to the top 50% of equipment which would include Hik and a host of others.
The one criticism I do have of Hikvision (and others) that goes a long way to explaining some of the issues they are having now is that there are too many "cowboys" installing it. I understand channel control is difficult when selling in such huge numbers and it will always be a weak spot that a fistful of installers are throwing the kit in without looking at the cyber side of things, without maintenance contracts and firmware patches and without instilling any confidence in their work with the client. Again this is not restricted to Hik alone by any means - if it's on a shelf at ADI it can be installed and configured by a neanderthal.
If I was to be entirely pragmatic I would say Hikvision and Dahua have had, up to now a tailwind. They now have a headwind, but to underestimate their determination to turn this around would be a dangerous thing to do.
Pauline outs forward a very good case that is totally reflected in my experience. As a salesman - I find ways to discredit competitors who fall into the category she describes. this could be by highlighting the lack of cyber accreditation (ISO:27001), the unwillingness to pass the manufacturer warranty to the client (usually 3 years), lack of experience on enterprise projects and the list goes on.
It may be hard for some to comprehend, but a Hik system designed, specified, installed, configured and maintained correctly is far less menacing than suggested.
The issue is that the real story is Trump's imposition of tariffs in an attempt to "make the US great again" and discredit/punish/bully trading partners. China is bearing the brunt of this and Hik are part of that equation. With Trump off the scene, a new administration would seek to repair the colossal international damage caused. The issue for Hik is how to sail around this - do they seek a short-term solution or do they play the long game?
For my money, I'd say Hik will play the long game and wait until Trump is no longer. They have deep pockets and a strong worldwide market. They will ride the storm with damage limitation and accept that the US is a short-term problem. A new administration will be seeking to rebuilt relationships and create new jobs and wealth, without raising the climate of fear and hate as Trump has done. Hik will then engage and build manufacturing and R&D facilities in targeted areas in the US in return for the relaxing of sanctions, bills etc. at the same time as partnering/acquiring a domestically respected (US) IT partner.
Time will tell....but in the same way as the UK acquisition of Pyronix in the UK surprised a lot of people, their vision was clear. I see something happening similar in the US - once Trump is taken out of the reckoning.
Trump's actions against Hik (and others) have only complicated things for Hik 'recently' and should not be used as an excuse for the current situation Hik is in.
Their cyber security issues, Chinese State ownership and other facts have been disclosed long before Trump imposed his trade sanctions relating to Chinese goods.
Sure 'they' have enough money to play the long game but only for as long as the Chinese State, the majority owner of Hik, keeps pumping money in to the business helping them to keep prices low and subsidise product lines etc.
You can paint whatever picture you want but the reality is there for everybody to see.
Hik have created the scenario where the kit is available to every 'cowboy' as you call them by demanding unrealistic Sales results and by offering their kit through every possible channel including Amazon. It wasn't that long ago that Hikvision was offered online by TESCO...
The fact remains that you are a competitor to Hik and I think most people can see that you would be unlikely to defend, support or even be unbiased.
As for unrealistic sales targets - I'd hardly call that news. I had an interview last year for a company who set a target the same as the previous years turnover. I've worked for a US manufacturer who wanted all dealers stocked to the ceilings with kit they'd never sell and then return for credit only t do the same every qtr for the Nasdaq results and I've worked for Tyco were the Sales Director took 5% lead's and recorded them as a 100% sale for all the sales team at every meeting.
I hear people bleat about Hik being so bad for so many years - yet its only as the tariffs are being introduced that a bill, miraculously appears.
If you would disclose which manufacturer you are representing, perhaps we could look at your cyber credentials and where we can buy your kit it that isn't through a direct partner route? We could also double check that you don't and never have made use of the labour in that wicked country, because clearly - you're all about the ethics? Right?
Never noticed before, but the identity of UI#7 is exposed on the IPVM email notification to me. Is this because they are replying to me in the thread or is it an IPVM backdoor and breach of privacy data?
I had thought, wrongly, that by stating undisclosed, a contributors identity would not be disclosed, regardless - clearly not the case! Every day is a school day at IPVM....
Never noticed before, but the identity of UI#7 is exposed on the IPVM email notification to me.
That's a user setting. A user controls whether or not they want their comment to be undisclosed or not. They can post disclosed at first (which will show their name on the email) and then edit their comment to switch it to undisclosed (which will then hide their name on the site).
Source forwarded an internal email from Hikvision noting their 'closing the outbound call team', and discussing part of recent employee changes:
Organizational Changes to Outbound Call Team Team Hikvision USA and Canada, In an effort to keep the field sales team informed, we would like to update everyone that we have made some organizational changes to the inside call teams. With renewed focus on stronger sales support, we will be adding to our outside direct customer contact team. Our inside sales support team will remain as is and will continue to support our outside teams sales efforts. We will no longer be focusing as much time on outbound marketing calls and as such have we have closed the outbound call team. This change in no way effects our sales team headcount or tech support teams, and is only meant as a strategic move towards our increased effort in maintaining superior customer support. The restructuring was decided upon so that our sales team can better assist and focus on our ever-changing customer base. This shift ensures that there will be more local Sales Associates in the field who will be available to provide imperative face time with our North American customers. During this transition, the inside sales team is working diligently to make the shift as smooth as possible, while providing the field team with the finest inside sales support. Please refer to the attached inside sales team list for resources in your respective territories. Despite closing the outbound call team, inside sales is dedicated to having the best turnout possible on roadshows and special events. In addition to outbound call campaigns, we are still determined to deliver the level of support that was provided before. Some of those tasks include, but are not limited to the following: • Product recommendations • Processing project registrations • Answering general sales email inquiries • Providing pre-sales support on incoming calls • Creating event flyers If you have any additional questions about this change, please contact human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kind Regards, Eric Chen General Manager, Hikvision North America
Now, 13 months later, Hikvision's USA employees have declined but slowly, from what we have seen, through attrition. However, Hikvision has not done any wide cuts since. Indeed, we hear Hikvision USA has tried to stop people from leaving.
Now, with the sanctions in place, this will make things tougher but the past year indicates that Hikvision is trying to hold on in the US, despite increasing costs and decreasing sales.