OpenALPR Doubles Prices

By IPVM Team, Published Jun 06, 2019, 10:21am EDT

There is no 'race to the bottom' in cloud / AI video surveillance. In May, Verkada increased their prices. Now, OpenALPR is doing the same with a drastic doubling in price for its CloudAPI service.

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Further, the price hike is accompanied by a cutting in half of what that price gets you.

Inside this note, based on feedback from OpenALPR and its new owner Rekor Systems, formerly Novume, we look at the following:

  • Why they doubled their prices
  • What the new pricing is and what it gets you
  • What the old pricing was and what it got you
  • How price doubling is atypical
  • Response to price increase from IPVM member
  • Compared to others
  • New solutions using OpenALPR
  • IPVM analysis
  • Outlook

Why ******** ******* *** ******

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*** ****** ** ******* for ******** ** **** of ** ********* ** pricing ****** *** ******* line.

What *** *** ******* ** *** **** ** **** ***

***, **** * *** months ***** ** ******** on *** ***********, ********'* pricing ** *** ** double ** **** *, 2019, *** **** ********* get ** *** ** half ** **** *****:

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**** ** ******** ** a ******** ** ***** is *** ******* ** half ** **** *** customer ****. ** ** not ****** **** *** cost ** ********* *-****** of ************ * ***** has ********* *************.

What *** *** ******* *** *** **** ** *** ***

********'* ******* ** *** CloudAPI ******** **** ********** ** ***** *********** by ******(***** ********* ***** ****** ** ***** Systems ** ***** ****) ** *****:

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** *** ****, ***** CEO ****** ****** **** IPVM **** **** *** future ***** ** ****** licensing *****, *** ***** not ********* ** ********* or *********, *** ******* a *********.

How ***** ******** ** ********

********'******* ** ******** ********* twice ** **** *** half *** ******* ** atypical.

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Response ** ***** ******** **** **** ******

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**** * ********* ****** signals **** ********'* ****** that *** ***** ******** will ********** ****** * continued ****** ********** *** sales.

New ********* **** ***** ***** ********

******** **** **** **** had * ****** ** new ********* ********* *****-********** *******, ******* *********** ***** ** ***** *******, **** *** *** OpenALPR ********:

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IPVM ********

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** *** *****-****, ********* will ****** ** ***** and **** ** ***** to *********** ***** *******. However, ***** *** ** a ***** ******* ** atypical, ***** *** *** many *********** *** ********* to ****** **. ***** OpenALPR ***** **** ** lose **** **** **** its ******** ********* ** see * **** ** revenue *** *******, ** is ****** **** ** the *****-**** **** **** make * *** ** money.

*** *** ******** *******, will ******** ** **** to ******** ** ****?

** *** ****-****, ** is ****** **** * proliferation ** ***** ******** companies **** ******* **** competitors.

*******

** ****** **** *** company **** ******** **** its ******* *** ******* from **** ****. *******, we ****** **** ** draw ** *** *********** that **** ******** ********'* now-much-higher *******.

Comments (27)

Pricing may seem fair,; however is this per camera or per site pricing? If per site is that unlimited amount of cameras? Also what happens when we exceed the monthly recognition limit. Does the system just stop? What if there are bad reads. Does that count against our monthly total?

Thanks

 

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This pricing is per API call...or recognition request. You have an account with a unique key that can be used by any camera you want use regardlesso where that camera is located / or site. 

The is no concept of good read or bad read...any read request is billable whether correct or not. There is no checking against a database. 

If you exceed your tier by 1 recognition a month you get charged at the next tiers price level. There is no governor on the monthly tier meaning it doesn't stop working once you hit your plan max. You may get a notification to let you know that you exceeded your limit.

 

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Marketing 101 Final Exam

You are VP of Marketing of a mid-size company and you have been instructed to double pricing across the board.  Your current pricing for three tiers is:

Level 1: $49  Level 2: $195  Level 3: $995

While staying roughly within the mandate to double prices, what is the least number of numerals that need be added or altered, so as to minimize the appearance of the change to customers?

Answer: 3  (the theoretical minimum for 3 price changes)

Level 1: $99  Level 2: $395  Level 3: $1995

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Novume (now Rekor) is not a profitable company so they had to do something, plus they have a lot of debt service to pay off associated with borrowing $20M for the OpenALPR acquisition and other purposes (working capital and to pay off other debt.). 

I doubt there was much thought given to existing customer impact. It would be nice to grandfather existing customers' price levels (if they signed up for multi year commitment for example) as these are the customers who have built businesses around the OpenALPR service and helped get a good SaaS valuation for OpenALPR...now they are stuck with either raising their prices on their customers or diminish profit if their customers have signed multi year commitments with them.

 

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It would be nice to grandfather existing customers price levels (if they signed up for multi year commitment) as these are the customers who have built businesses around the service

While I don't know the company's motivation nor grandfathering strategy, I have seen various infrastructure SaaS providers raise prices significantly over the past few years with the understanding that given the cost, complexity, and risk of switching to a new service, generally, customers stay and just eat the extra costs. They may not be happy (justifiably) but there is a bit of being trapped.

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It may be risky to change but what is more risky is that there is no concept of a SLA or guaranteed uptime for the OpenALPR service or price lock so they can raise prices anytime which  is more concerning if I were using it in my product/service.

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no concept of a SLA or guaranteed uptime for the OpenALPR service

I don't doubt that but take a look at Verkada's SLA:

Exclusions

Verkada does not include in its calculation of downtime any time the Platform is not provided due to:...

  • Actions or inactions on Company’s part;

Outside of the humor of such an exception, I do think such things are a risk but I am not sure what any video surveillance cloud provider is really providing for reliability assurances.

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I doubt there was much thought given to existing customer impact.

maybe not, but $195 x 2 = $390, not $395 and $995 x 2 = $1990, not $1995

if there wasn’t “much thought given” to the impact of the new price, wouldn’t you just double it?  what’s up with the lingering 5 that makes it more than double?

if there’s a better explanation than because “it superficially looks like the old prices more”, I’m open to it.

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Any update or comment on if this is also the case for the on premises commercial license ?

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I suspect these prices will increase as OpenALPR is about a  1/2-1/3 the cost of an inferior PlateSmart offering. You used to be able to buy licenses directly with a credit from https://license.openalpr.com/ but not anymore...so much for that frictionless buying option.

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"...the cost of an inferior PlateSmart offering."

Not to get off-topic, but do you have reasons why PlateSmart is "inferior"? Curious on the comparison.

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You can test it out for yourself... well, at least OpenALPR lets you submit an image to their Cloud API (as does Sighthound) and test the results...while Plate Smart does not. If Plate Smart were confident in there solution is better, they would allow customers to freely test/compare against other solutions.  The reason why OpenALPR is superior is because the big data set that it was trained on  - from all over the world - all those customers that use the Cloud API service are contributing hundreds of thousands of images to make the software superior.  Plate Smart has no such access to such as large data set of plate images to train its algorithm. 

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making the differential between the “Free” tier and the paying tiers larger will surely increase the “Free” customers at the expense of the paying ones.

 

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We are OpenALPR users using their per-camera pricing plan, which is currently $39/mo. for the "Basic" service. That gets you unlimited reads per camera. They retain 30 days of plate metadata in the web portal, but offer a WebHooks service where they post the metadata for each plate read to your own server so you can have whatever retention for which you want to allocate enough disk space. We have not heard, yet, of a price increase for this service offering. Our installs currently aggregate to about 500,000 plates a month. That would put us in the $2,000 tier for the API service, but we pay only about half of that using the per-camera model, so the API price changes are making us nervous.

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Hello UI#4,

We reached out to OpenALPR/Rekor to ask about other price increases. While they would not discuss future pricing increase plans, they confirmed that the pricing on the site, including the $39/month rate for the Basic-Level Cloud Stream service is current.

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The Cloud Stream service ($39/mo/camera) is different from the Cloud API service ($49/mo/25K requests).  I would expect an increase in the Cloud Stream service to follow.  After all, you have to pay debt service and management team's high salaries.

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Update: They are now coming out with their own hardware / turnkey appliance, Rekor Edge:

Specs include Built-in 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS and 12V DC so could be used for remote / solar applications too.

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"their own hardware" is a stretch. This is probably a Dahua camera with a Jetson TX2 in the housing. This strategy is domed to fail, lacks differentiation and flies in the face of what OpenALPR was all about. Stick to software as a service... the margins are much better. 

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I don't think they literally built the components from scratch but it is their own offering, whereas previously it was software only, which is a material shift for the company.

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This strategy is domed...

eventually perhaps, but it looks like they’re starting with a bullet.

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Good one. Pat, I would like to buy a vowel... an "o" please.  doomed to fail is what I meant.

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Stick to software as a service... the margins are much better.

Margins are undoubtedly better, however, they may be able to drive much higher top line growth and more total margin dollars since this is an easier 'thing' (literally in this case) for less tech savy users to buy.

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this strategy will alienate their OEM partners who have far greater reach than Rekor.  OpenALPR is doing what ARH did... which drove ARH partners looking for alternative, non-competing solutions.

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alienate their OEM partners who have far greater reach

Seems plausible to me, though I am not an expert in this area. But is it worth trading off 'reach' for greater 'depth'? In other words, sure if you have a bunch of partners, you can do software revenue of say A x B (where A is partners and B is per partner revenue) but if you offer your own turneky solution maybe you do A/10 x 20B (i.e., you have fewer partners but the deals you do get are so much more revenue that it's a better model?

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first security camera with built-in GPS?

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Table stakes for LPR, repo and red light cameras.

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In my experience companies who do this type of price increase in a niche market are dealing with supply vs demand issues..... are they trying to slow down sales while maintaining revenue?? (seen this before in other markets) It can come around and be a problem when you (the supplier) fix the supply issues and don't really want to roll back the price hike to improve sales.

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