ObjectVideo's Poor Reputation and Blaming Others

By John Honovich, Published Feb 16, 2010, 07:00pm EST

The sad story of video analytics is now well known. Unfortunately, one of the ringleaders of this circus, ObjectVideo, has taken to blaming others while failing to prove their own effectiveness.

Poor Reputation

Video analytics suffers from an increasingly poor reputation, a hangover from the heady days of the mid 2000s. From my ongoing conversations with integrators and OEMs, ObjectVideo has a notably poor reputation, even relative to their peers. In ObjectVideo's defense, they were early, they were one of the heaviest marketers and they OEM their analytics to dozens of other companies.

Blaming Others

Twice in the last half year, ObjectVideo has pushed back on video analytic criticism, blaming others.

Last year, ObjectVideo called out the 'security industry' [link no longer available], saying how they were tired of hearing how 'video analytics did not work.' ObjectVideo felt that a lack of training and optimization was at fault:

Many in our industry correlate the need for trained users and the need to configure the analytics with the notion that analytics, as a whole, are immature and unreliable. Nothing could be further from the truth. This thinking highlights the resistance to change that exists within the security industry.

We believe it is the responsibility of manufacturers to make products work for the skill levels of integrators and the operational needs of end users. It is pointless to fight against this.

This month, ObjectVideo complained again [link no longer available] about "hearing that analytics are 'still not ready for prime time.'” In this post, ObjectVideo emphasizes that other factors beyond the manufacturer's themselves contribute to analytic problems. It offer a long story about how a technicality cost them a project. In the comments, ObjectVideo agreed with our assertion that this was an outlier and not a common cause.

We believe it is misleading to make a big deal of a rare occurrence at the expense of addressing the main causes (i.e., the analytics themselves).

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In defending themselves, ObjectVideo weakly asserted that, "In general, most [ObjectVideo] analytic solutions are deployed successfully." When we asked them what percentage were successful, they declined to answer. It leaves us wondering how many of their projects do fail and why they would offer a weak endorsement of their own solution.

Proving Their Worth

We would like to see ObjectVideo prove their worth and their viability. To that end, we have unsuccessfully asked for more technical information, case studies, etc over the past year with no positive outcome to date. ObjectVideo has very few public success stories nor technical information. They claim this is because their OEM practice restricts them from sharing such material. We think not only can they provide this but they need to do so to overcome their and their market's shaky reputation.

This being said, we are impressed that ObjectVideo has attempted to blog. Few companies in our market do so and even less actually speak their mind. The challenge we see is that rather than using the blog to build confidence and trust with the community, their repeated blaming and failure to speak at a substantive technical and operational level raises more issues. (By contrast, a good example that demonstrates technical expertise and builds trust is Genetec's blog. This is especially noteworthy since Genetec has historically been reluctant to publicly share information).

Video Analytics Market Future

We believe the best way for video analytics vendors to re-build their reputation is to prove clearly through real world successes and technical details that their products work well for real security integrators and users. Most are unlikely to believe hype and do not want finger pointing from the companies who funded the flood of unmet marketing claims.

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