Manufacturer Sales Pitches Revealed

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 02, 2014

IPVM sent a 'secret shopper' to ISC East 2014 to talk to manufacturer sales reps at their booths. We wanted to understand and contrast how they pitched to a prototypical end user.

Would they follow the stock company line? Would they go off script? Would they attack their competitors? How would they make the case of why to choose them?

4 Questions Asked

Our secret shopper explained that they were looking for a ~20 camera system.

Each manufacturer was then asked the same 4 fundamental questions:

  • "What's the 3 biggest reasons to choose your company?" - Goal: to see what they emphasized as competitive differentiation.
  • "My boss has suggested buying a kit online. What do you provide that they don't?" - Goal: to determine how they positioned themselves against low-cost commodity offerings.
  • "Someone on the floor told me about this company named Hikvision. What do you think of them? How do you compare?" - Goal: to understand how manufacturers are dealing with the growing presence of Chinese manufacturers.
  • "Where do you recommend I buy your products? Can I get them off Google shopping?" - Goal: to see how much (or little) manufacturers supported the traditional integrator channel.

Manufacturers Covered

We 'secret shopped' 12 manufacturers including:

  • Avigilon
  • Axis
  • Bosch
  • Canon
  • Exacq
  • Genetec
  • Milestone
  • Mobotix
  • Vivotek
  • Panasonic
  • Pelco
  • Samsung
  • Sony

Note: Acti, Arecont and Hikvision did not have booths at ISC East 2014 and, therefore, were not included.

Key Excerpts

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

We received many fascinating responses. Here are a few of the most intriguing:

  • "They all suck."
  • "The Cadillac of IP Cameras"
  • "The most intelligent product"
  • "The premier camera company ever."
  • "Most user friendly on the market."
  • "Best image on the market."
  • "[Our company name] is like saying Jello'"
  • "They don't take cybersecurity seriously."
  • "They are full of malware."
  • "The Apple of IP solutions, others follow."

Universal Defense of Channel

The one area where all manufacturers questioned agreed upon was going through the channel / integrators. Despite our shopper saying that they were an end user and asking specifically about buying online, every manufacturer advised buying through an integrator. Even more surprisingly, and obviously incorrectly, Axis' rep claimed that users 'can't buy' their products, and Bosch's rep said theirs are 'not available online."

More Aggressive Than Company Marketing

Most reps were notably more aggressive than their company marketing material. For example, Pelco saying that they are "The premier camera company ever", Panasonic that they were "The Cadillac of IP Cameras", and Axis boasted that they are "The Apple of IP solutions, others follow."

Nonetheless, Avigilon beat them all with their matter of fact response to our question about competitors.

Avigilon

"They all suck" - Avigilon rep's blunt assessment of his competitors.

Avigilon's rep was confident and technical, though monotone.

The core pitch centered around them 'doing everything' (i.e., end to end solution) and having 'the largest range of MP cameras'. The third element was analytics / intelligence. For our secret shopper, Avigilon emphasized using the microdome.

When asked about Hikvision, the Avigilon rep was taken aback, retorting that 'they [Avigilon] make higher quality', calling out their 1 to 29MP offerings.

Axis

The Axis rep focused on their positioning in the industry, claiming that they were the 'leaders of the industry, that they were the 'Apple of IP solutions' whom 'others follow', and that they invented the IP camera.

The other core pitch was their openness, emphasizing their open architecture and development partners, emphasizing that 'most are closed.'

Regarding Hikvision, the Axis rep said that Hikvision is 'swamping the industry' but that Hikvision's quality is 'no comparison' to them. The Axis rep acknowledged that are 'not as low [priced] as others' but argued that they backed it up with quality and support.

The strangest claims from Axis was on sales. The rep emphasized that they 'don't sell direct', which is technically true since Axis only sells to a limited number of distributors but misleading since they re-sell to anyone. The real head-scratcher was the Axis rep contention that 'users can't buy', that they have to go through integrators and partners. While partners surely appreciate such support, this is simply not correct, as end users can buy through a vast array of online resellers.

Bosch

Outside of generic claims of quality, Bosch's rep emphasized their direct to storage approach, which he claimed 'eliminated the NVR' and was 'unique in the industry'. While Bosch's direct to ISCI aspect is rare, it is limited to Bosch's own products and has never really taken off.

When asked about Hikvision, the Bosch rep smirked, saying that Hikvision was 'just a camera' contrasting it to built-in analytics and storage in Bosch's cameras.

Finally, the Bosch rep said that their cameras are not available online, which is, of course, not true.

Canon

Now that Canon owns Milestone, would this change Canon's pitch?

No. The Canon rep did not bring up Milestone ownership at all, only mentioning Milestone as part of a list of VMSes that are partners with them (also mentioning Genetec). Indeed, for our secret shopper's application, they recommended going to Digital Watchdog.

Canon's rep said that Hikvision was for 'basic systems', emphasizing Canon's support, relationships, and warranty.

Exacq

Exacq focused on usability, touting that they were the 'most user friendly on the market' and that anyone could be comfortable using the system.

Genetec

Genetec focused on 'unification', emphasizing 'one interface', a 'single pane of glass' that can manage video, access and LPR all in one. 

Beyond that he emphasized scalability and reliability, noting that they go from 2 camera to 200,000 camera systems.

Milestone

Milestone's rep not only proclaimed them 'open platform' but also, amazingly and incorrectly, 'open source'.

Despite being owned by a camera manufacturer, the Milestone rep was sticking hard to 'openness'. Also, the rep cited 4,000+ cameras supported and ONVIF conformance as well.

Another claim was being the "#1 global leader brand out there.' Presumably, this relates to IMS rankings of only software providers (See: Genetec / Milestone VMS Ranking Distortion).

Interestingly, despite our shopper being on the lookout for a 20 camera system, the Milestone rep did not pitch Milestone's new Husky NVR/ DVRs. Instead, the rep emphasized them being software and having 'all hardware options' open.

Mobotix

The Mobotix rep lead with being:

  • "The most intelligent" / 'PC built into the camera"
  • "Made in Germany" (Note: Is this really convincing for US camera buyers? This is not a car.)
  • 360 cameras that can replace 4 analog cameras

In comparison to kits, Mobotix emphasized their longevity and reliability claiming a 9 year average device life.

Compared to Hikvision, Mobotix said Hikvision was better than kits (weird, since many kits re-brand Hikvision) but not as good as Mobotix. In particular, Mobotix emphasized higher resolution than Hikvision, ability to trigger lights and lower power consumption.

Panasonic

The Panasonic rep focused on image quality, boasting that they were "The Cadillac of IP Cameras" and saying that was what 'set them apart from Samsung and Axis'. The rep also noted that new models were coming out.

For Hikvision, the Panasonic rep claimed that 'they were full of malware' and incorrectly thought that Hikvision was from South Korea.

Pelco

Pelco's rep hammered home their brand name, ironic given that our shopper did not know whom Pelco was going in.

The Pelco rep enthusiastically emphasized that, Pelco was "the premier camera company ever', and that 'Pelco was like saying Jello'.

As for Hikvision, Pelco emphasized being from California / the US and that Hikvision was 'not in the same field'.

Samsung

[Note this interview occurred before Samsung surveillance was sold off.]

The Samsung rep lead with their IP cameras using their own developed chip (WiseNet III), claiming that 'all others buy theirs'.

The rep said that Samsung was a 'great product at a great price' emphasizing the overall affordability of their offering. However, the rep also claimed less than a 0.1% failure rate.

As for Hikvision, the Samsung rep said that Hikvision 'does not take cybersecurity seriously' and that Hikvision IP cameras can be hacked. In addition, Hikvision was selling on 'low price, not quality.'

Sony

Sony's rep emphasized that they had 'the best image on the market', claiming that they 'own the broadcast market' and that 'everyone is using a Sony chip'

In particular, Sony emphasized their WDR capabilities, their 'less than 1% failure rate' and that they, unlike kits or low cost providers, 'will still be around' in the long term.

Vivotek

Vivotek's rep lead with:

  • Manufacturing their own product
  • Large feature set + range from low to high resolution
  • 'No compatibility issues', flexible support from third party recording platforms

For kits, emphasized varifocal and fisheye / panoramic as differentiators.

Finally, for Hikvision, the Vivotek rep hesitated but then declared, "We don't compete with them. They are made in China. We are from Taiwan." Though that might be a justification in Taiwan (versus China), it is not a compelling counter for most buyers.

4 reports cite this report:

Manufacturers Don't Want to 'Bad Mouth' The Competion on Apr 28, 2016
Sure, you do not want to be the like the Avigilon sales guy who said all his competitors 'suck'.  Not convincing and you look bad. However, that...
Manufacturers: Get Paying or Get Sued - Avigilon Patent Licensing Program on Jul 29, 2015
The new Avigilon 'patent licensing program' is starting to roll out, confirmed Avigilon's CEO on today's earnings call. This is just a month after...
The Hikvision Hacking Scandal on Mar 03, 2015
What was once just warnings and consumer concerns has exploded into a major problem for Hikvision. A Chinese province's Hikvision devices have...
#1 Threat 2015 - China on Jan 07, 2015
Over 125 manufacturers shared with IPVM their outlook for 2015. We asked them: "Positive / Negative: Is your outlook for the 2015 video...
Comments (24): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Manufacturer Sales People Are Very Important - Statistics on Jun 26, 2017
IPVM's new integrator statistics show what sales people say regularly: Sales people are very important. From 150 integrator...
Importance of Sales To Integrators - Statistics on Jun 23, 2017
One of the top trends in the industry over the past few years has been the rise of across-the-board sales (e.g.: Hikvision Sales, Dahua Sale,...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...
Dahua Demotes USA CEO on Jun 19, 2017
Dahua has demoted their USA CEO Tim Wang. Inside this note, we examine the move, Dahua's challenges and what lies ahead for the...
VMS UI - Light vs Dark Preferences on Jun 16, 2017
Several VMS manufacturers have the ability to choose a user interface with either a light or dark color theme. 150+ integrators told us which they...
ESX 2017 Final Show Report on Jun 16, 2017
The ESX (Electronic Security Expo) day 3 / Thursday is done and the exhibits are over. IPVM was in Nashville covering it in-depth. Below covers...
Panasonic Sells VSaaS Company To Eagle Eye (Cameramanager) on Jun 15, 2017
While many VSaaS companies might hope for one acquisition, Cameramanager has managed to get acquired twice. First they were acquired by Panasonic,...
ASIS 2017 Cuts Day 3 Exhibits to 3 Hours on Jun 14, 2017
The 3rd day of major trade shows are always the worst attended. And with shows with poor traffic, like ASIS over the past few years, day 3 has...
Axis 20MP Q1659 Camera Tested on Jun 13, 2017
Axis has joined the super high resolution camera trend with their Q1659, a 20MP model equipped with Canon's APS-C sensor. We tested the Q1659...
NLSS / ATV Partnership Examined on Jun 13, 2017
NLSS has been one of the most ambitious security / surveillance startups. After selling his last startup, Sypixx, to Cisco, Pete...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Biometrics Pros and Cons For Electronic Access Control on Jun 26, 2017
Biometrics has been long sought as an alternative to the security risks of cards, pins and passwords. While biometrics has improved somewhat over...
Manufacturer Sales People Are Very Important - Statistics on Jun 26, 2017
IPVM's new integrator statistics show what sales people say regularly: Sales people are very important. From 150 integrator...
No Personal Opinions About Work on Jun 26, 2017
One rising trend is the tendency for people to disclaim their statements on work related topics as their own 'opinions' or 'personal...
Importance of Sales To Integrators - Statistics on Jun 23, 2017
One of the top trends in the industry over the past few years has been the rise of across-the-board sales (e.g.: Hikvision Sales, Dahua Sale,...
Deep Learning Surveillance Startups Deep Problem on Jun 23, 2017
The undeniably good news for the video surveillance market is that we are seeing the rise of more startups than in many years. The cause of this...
Avigilon Announces RADAR-Based Presence Detector on Jun 22, 2017
RADAR is gaining momentum within physical security. Two months after Axis announced a network radar detector, Avigilon has announced a RADAR-Based...
Covert Cloud Camera Service Launching (KJB) on Jun 22, 2017
Cloud IP cameras, for consumers, has become increasingly commonplace. However, covert cameras, lag there, with few options. Now, North America's...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...

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