IPVM Seminar Poll Results

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 24, 2011

At our first ever IPVM seminar, we held a number of real time polls asking attendees what they thought on a variety of important surveillance topics. We found the results to be quite interesting.

Below are 7 of the poll results answering the following questions:

  • A 5MP camera is equivalent to how many analog cameras?
  • How reliable is the pixels per foot metric?
  • What lens do you usually use?
  • How important is low price for entry level VMS ($50 vs $100)?
  • Is VSaaS a threat to VMS software?
  • Do you recommend VMS Appliances (Intransa, Pivot3, etc)?
  • What level of gain control do you use?

Of course, these results are not scientific. More importantly, the results are skewed by the type of audience attending which primarily consisted of technology people / surveillance experts. As such the results are more likely to show what well educated domain experts believe rather than the general opinion in the surveillance market.

Here is one of the most interesting poll results:

I was pleasantly surprised to see this. While the 'marketing' answer is 15 to 17 analog cameras (because a 5MP camera has ~15-17x the number of pixels), in reality the practical benefits are far less. Attendees cited obvious logistical limitations such as walls, poles and other obstructions wasting the extra pixels, lens limitations and environmental factors such as harsh light and low light reducing the true increase in quality.

Another 6 polls and our analysis can be found inside the Pro section.

Again, we were pleasantly surprised to see that no one found pixels per foot to be 'very reliable'. We would also fall into the group of 'somewhat reliable'. The big problem with pixels per foot remains that it assumes ideal lighting, an overly simplifying assumption that is violated almost always in real world deployments.

More than 2/3rds of our attendees use the lens either provided or recommended by the manufacturer. Indeed, we think the percentage that specify their own preferred lens is much higher than the broader market as a number of our attendees were very particular and sophisticated about lensing. Either way, it is not surprising that most people use the default lens. This is the basis of why we typically use default lenses when we do camera tests.

In the past year, after Milestone started aggressively dropping prices, a number of VMS vendors swore to us that low prices were not important. We found this to be bizarre and unbelievable - not as a surveillance issue but simply as a matter of basic economics. As such, we are not surprised to see that our attendees so strongly believed low price is very important. In the discussion, many attendees said this was obvious, noting how cheap and budget constrained entry level end users are.

This is an interesting poll as the answers show how uncertain people are about the future of VSaaS. One attendee rightfully mentioned that the poll is hard to answer since it really depends on what segment is being assumed. That's fair.

While most never use them and only a small fraction use them regularly, VMS appliances clearly show fairly wide adoption. In the discussion, for bigger projects it was easy to justify on technical ground (primarily for failover) but for smaller/regular sized projects, the consensus was that the appliances were little more than a sales tool.

This is not surprising at all. Indeed, I would say this is a good thing. Changing gain levels is something that only experienced users should do in very specific applications. See our test report on gain controls / AGC.

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