How Critical Should We Be of Video Surveillance Products?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 07, 2010

IP Video Market Info is definitely critical of video surveillance products - routinely looking for hidden problems or over-hyped claims. Many love this, some hate it, others are confused.

We think it's essential to be critical as it helps to balance and educate an industry whose information flow is shaped by those who sell products. That being said, we'd like to hear feedback from the community on how critical (or not) you'd like us to be.

What Do You think?

134 people responded to our survey on "How Critical Should We Be of Video Surveillance Products?". Here are our results:

Non-manufacturers

For the 104 non-manufacturers responding, such as integrators and end-users, the breakdown was:

  • 68%: Just Right
  • 9%: Too Critical
  • 23%: Not Critical enough

Manufacturers

For the 30 manufacturers responding, the breakdown was:

  • 60%: Just Right
  • 7%: Too Critical
  • 33%: Not Critical Enough

We are encouraged that readers want us to be more critical and pleasantly surprised that manufacturers want that level of criticism as well.

Uncovering Important Flaws 

We believe manufacturers routinely fail to disclose important limitations on their products (see our expose on low light exposure tricks as an example). These limitations can cause serious security and business problems for end users and integrators. It's also not feasible for each end user and integrator to research all of these issues by themselves. 

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We believe IP Video Market Info is a valuable tool to help end users and integrators quickly pinpoint key issues that might impact their deployments.

An Alternative to the Traditional Media

The traditional media (trade magazines, consultants and analysts) generally reruns press releases or write 'fluff' articles on how great products are (see Frost & Sullivan awards as the worst form of manipulation).

It is no coincidence that these organizations make almost all of their revenue from a small number of large manufacturers whose goal is to drive sales of new video surveillance products (by contrast, see our approach to maintaining independence).

We believe that IP Video Market provides an important alternative and balance to the media endlessly and blindlessly promoting products.

Defending the Silent Majority

We believe the silent majority of integrators and users in the security industry prefer simple to use and install solutions (whether this be IP or analog). While many hope or pray for IT taking over security, this transition has been slow going at best. Today, almost all would agree that traditional integrators and security managers are 80% or more of the global security user base. 

Manufacturers, because they are generally technical experts, tend to over-estimate the ease which less technical users (like most security managers and physical security managers) have in using complex solutions.  This is an aspect we recently examined in our usability analysis for Video Management Software.

Optimizing Reviews

This all being said, we are very interested in optimizing our reviews and tests. If there are better ways to deliver this message or different ways to cover topics, we are happy to discuss and improve them.

While we will never be promoters or cheerleaders for products, we do want to be as informative as possible.

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