Best New Product Awards Investigated

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 03, 2012

The ISC best new product awards use a secretive process that lacks transparency, making it impossible to understand the rationale, fairness or accuracy of the awards. Equally troubling, SIA, the organization behind this program, chose a Pixim marketing manager to chair a committee bestowing awards on multiple Pixim customers at ISC West, raising conflict of interest concerns. SIA should make major changes to improve their program's legitimacy.

No Transparency

These awards suffer from a lack of transparency. Decisions are made in secret. No one publicly ever learns why one product won over another. SIA simply releases a long list of winners with hardly any details about why or how a decision was made. Even if nothing 'sinister' occurs, this encourages sloppiness or favoritism as no one can question, debate or check decisions.

Judges Barred

Amazingly, SIA's "code of ethics" enforces severe restrictions on judges. Specifically:

  • "Support the program by refraining from any public criticism of it."
  • "Keep all conversations about a specific product or service confidential."

North Korea has nothing on these policies. How does it support the program to bar judges from publicly ever saying anything negative about it? What if there are legitimate ethical or procedural problems in the judging that SIA will not address? How will these ever be overcome?

Questionable Awards

Each year, people across the industry question these awards. This year a few stand out in particular on the video side:

  • Best Video Surveillance Wireless: A transcoder service won (Ocularis X). This does not even fit into SIA's own definition - "video security system components that operate via wireless protocols."
  • Best Analytics: A 4 channel analytic encoder won (VideoIQ Rialto). How is this new or innovative in 2012? I, of all people, recognize the lack of innovation in this segment but to give an award for such a mundane product advancement takes away the value of awards.
  • Best SD camera and Judge's Choice: Both awards went to Pixim powered cameras. We detail our concerns below.

Maybe the committee is 'right', or has insights and information the rest of us lack. Or maybe they screwed up or simply misunderstood certain products. Unfortunately, we will never know because these questionable awards are chosen in secrecy.

Pixim Background

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

The Pixim awards are especially strange.

Both award winning Pixim powered cameras cite Pixim as their core differentiator in their award submissions:

  • Interlogix claims: "The UltraView XP4 Series of analog cameras offer a one-size-fits all solution that combines industry leading wide dynamic range and extreme low light performance in one package. These box and outdoor-rated rugged domes utilize a customized Pixim Seawolf platform."
  • TKH affirms: "The Siqura BC620WDR is a network box camera that provides superior performance and wide dynamic range under all lighting conditions. This is possible through its distinctive image sensor, which uses adjustable shutter speeds for each individual pixel."

Not only did both products win awards, the TKH camera won the 'Judge's Choice' award for the second best overall product in the entire show - out of 60+ entries.

The only public rationale offered by SIA for the TKH camera's award is that the "camera provides superior performance and wide dynamic range under all lighting conditions." That is a description of the Pixim chipset, returning us to the troubling condition of a Pixim chaired committee issuing an award to a product because it uses Pixim even though dozens of products use the same Pixim solution.

Pixim Response

Pixim offered the following response: “Although a Pixim employee, Jennifer Martin works in a volunteer marketing and press-interface role that has zero impact on award results, does not view the presentations, does not vote, and has no idea of the voting outcome in advance.”

Awarding Pixim Powered Cameras

We see three technical issues in awarding Pixim powered cameras:

  • Not New: The Pixim Seawolf series was released 2 years ago (in 2010).  These awards are supposed to be for new products. Considering the Pixim Seawolf series itself at last year's awards would have been far more appropriate.
  • Widely Available: This series is now widely used in dozens of cameras, mostly second or third tier brands that cannot afford to develop their own technology. These awards are supposed to be for novel products, not technology that is available in dozens of manufacturer's existing lines.
  • Not Cutting Edge: Compared to today's leading MP WDR cameras, Pixim Seawolf is neither cutting edge nor tops in performance. We have tested a Pixim Seawolf powered camera. While the results showed improved performance against Pixim's previous generation model, overall Pixim Seawolf was nowhere near competitive to top Megapixel WDR cameras. This performance deficiency has only increased as large vendors such as Axis (Q1604) and Pelco (Surevision) have released advanced MP WDR cameras. Indeed, Axis Lightfinder, another entrant, lost to multiple Pixim cameras. This is shocking considering how significant an advance this is in low light imagining (see our Q1602 and Q1604 test results).

[Update: The Interlogix Pixim based camera (XP4) is not yet shipping, according to Interlogix customer service. The product should therefore not be eligible for an award, according to SIA's own policies.]

What To Do

The combination of no transparency and awards to multiple customers of the committee chair is problematic. A simple, but incomplete step would be to no longer have a committee chairperson who works for a manufacturer (whether it is a product or component one). The more important, yet tougher one, is for SIA to open up about how they judged products and why certain products won or lost. Not only would this improve transparency, it would help the community better understand which products to use or avoid.

1 report cite this report:

Ocularis 3.0 Reviewed on May 09, 2012
Hot on the heels of making a splash at this year's ISC West with an 'award' winning new product announcement, OnSSI surprised many this week by...

Related Reports

Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
Hanwha 9MP Fisheye Camera Tested (PNF-9010R) on May 09, 2017
12MP sensor fisheye panoramic cameras are becoming increasingly common. We have tested Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F as well as Panasonic's SFV481 4K...
Axis Lowest Cost Outdoor IR Camera M2025-LE Tested on Apr 24, 2017
Axis has lagged offering low cost IR cameras while their Asian competitors have made IR standard even in their most entry level cameras. Recently,...
Hanwha Lowest Cost WiseNet X Camera (XND-6010) Tested on Apr 13, 2017
IPVM bought and tested the lowest-cost WiseNet X model, the indoor 2MP fixed focal XND-6010 dome, continuing our testing of Hanwha's new WiseNet X...
Pelco Surevision 3 Tested on Apr 12, 2017
Pelco has released generation 3 of its Surevision cameras, claiming improved performance in both super low light and WDR performance. We bought...
The Sleaziest Booth Of ISC West - Rapid Response on Apr 10, 2017
The use of 'booth babes' is way down overall, but one company, Rapid Response, continues to treat ISC West like it is an HBO brothel documentary...
Best and Worst - ISC West 2017 Show Report on Apr 10, 2017
IPVM went to Las Vegas, examining what vendors are showcasing and what is new. Attendance was up, according to the show, and was certainly well...
Hanwha Wisenet X Tested on Mar 27, 2017
Hanwha has released their latest generation, the Wisenet X series, powered by their new Wisenet 5 processor. This new series claims improvements...
Top Trade Shows For Security Integrators on Mar 16, 2017
100+ North American security integrators told us what trade shows they attend and why. The most well known shows are ISC West and ASIS but there...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Anti-Hack Access Card Shields Tested on May 26, 2017
Keeping your access control card information secure is becoming a big priority, especially since cheaper copiers can hack details easily. Multiple...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on May 25, 2017
Since 2013, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
CyPhy 'Unlimited' Flight Time Security Drone Examined on May 25, 2017
Drones face several issues as commercial security platforms - legal restrictions (e.g., in the US, the FAA), costs, and limited flight durations...
Milestone Entry Level Mobile Password Vulnerability Disclosed on May 24, 2017
While many manufacturers have only addressed cybersecurity vulnerabilities after public disclosures were made (or threatened), Milestone has...
How Integrators Use IPVM on May 24, 2017
150 integrators explained how they use IPVM and how it helps them stay informed and improve their business.  The 4 main uses integrators cited for...
Alarm Supervision Guide on May 24, 2017
Burglar alarms can constantly monitor the health of attached circuits, sensors, and devices to ensure that they remain operational. This is known...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...

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