Bad RFP Leads to Homebrew System

Author: Ben Wood, Published on Oct 29, 2013

Bad RFPs continue to plague the industry. In the case of one city, a poorly written RFP led to a contract that likely fails to address one of the main problems they were hoping to avoid. In this note, we review the RFP and what this Illinois city plans to do. 

Here are the basic requirements from the three-page train station RFP:

** ***** ******, ** **** ******* * *** ******* **** show ******* ***** *** ******* ****** ** / **** **, like **:

*** **** ** ****** **** **. ** ***** ***** ********* details ** ************.

The ******

**** **** *** *** ** "*****", * ************ *** ******-***** *** ****** ** ****** ******* ***********

What ** ***'* *****?

*** **********, ***, **** ** ****** *** ** *** *********, including ******* ** **** *** ******** ***** ** ********** ********, but ******** ****** ********* ************** ** *** ********* ** "**** it **** ***** ******** ** *********** **** ***** *** ******* it." 

*** ******* **** ****** ***** *** *** *** **** **********.***. *** **** **** ********* ****** ************ ****** *** ********.  *******, *** ****** ************** *** ****** generic - **, ****-****, *********, ******* ***** - ******* *** listing ** ******** ************ - *.*., ***, ***** **, ***.

Main ******* - *******/******

** ****** ****** ***** ******* ***** **** * **** ******* is exterior ******* **** **** ** ****** **** *** **** ** well ** *** ******* ****** ******** ** *** ******. ****** sunrise/sunset, **** **** ** ******* **** ********. **** **** ********** for *** ******* ** ***** *** ****** ***** ** ***** or ********* ***** *** ********.  

*** ****** ***** **** **** **** ** ********* ** ********* with *** ********* *** ********* *********, *** ** *** *** included ** *** ***.   

*** ******** ** *** ******* *** ******* **** ***** *** WDR, *** *** *** *** ******* ***** ** ******* ** to ****** ******** ** ****** ******** ** ******* *** ******. "** there's ***** ** ** ******** ** *** *******, *** ***'* aim **** ****** *** ***. **** ********** **** **** ** toward *** ***, *** ****'* *** **** *** ***'* **** to **. *** ***** ** ***** *** ********. *'** **** in **** ******** ***** ****," **** ***** ****, *** ***** ** the *******. 

*** **** *** ******* **** **** *** ****** ***. 

**********

***** **** ** ***** *** *** *******, ***** ** *** it ** ***** ** ********* **************. ** **** *** ***** were ****** *****. 

"* ****** **** ******** ***** *** **** ******** ***** ** two ****-******* ******** ******** **** ********* ** ****** **** ** the *****. * ****** ******* *** ******** **** ** ** monitored. There **** ** ****** *****. ***** *** *** * *** of *********** ** * *** ** ********* ******. ** ** honest, * ******'* **** **** ** *** ***. *'* * non-techie ******," ** ****. "* **** ****** *** ***** ** the ******* * ******. * **** ******** *** **** '***** are *** ****** *'* ****** ** *******' *** * ***** that's **** ** *********. *** ******* ** *** **** ** the ****** ** *** ***** **** *'** ***** **." 

** *** ***** ****, ***** **** *** ***** ********* *** objective ********, *** *** ** *******, **** ** *** * technical ***** *** * ********** ****, *.*., ** *** ******* / ****** ***** *** ***** ** *** ***, *** **** could ** ***** **** ******** *********** ************ / *************.

** ******* ******* 

*** ****** ********* **** ***********, ******* **** ******* ******* ***: 

****** *********** ********* *** *** **********,****** ******* ***********, *** *** ******** ******* ** *** *** **** *** that *** *** ****'* ****** ************ *** **************. *** *** done******* ******** ** ********** ******** ****** *** *** *** **** ************ ******** *** another ******** **** *** **** **** ***** *****.

*** ****** ***** **** ****, ****** ******** *** *** ****** because ** "**** ** ******* ** *** *** ****** ***** be **** ** *** ******** ******" *** "** ********* ** relocating ** ****** *** ******* *** ** ********** ***********," *** chief ****. ************, *** **** ******* *** * **** ******* built ** ***, ********* ** **** ******* *********. 

What ** **

*** ***** **** ***** ***** ***** ** *******. ****** *********** *** *** ****** and ********* **** ** ************* *******. ********* ******* /****** ***** ** **** ** ***** ** ** ****** ********** ** ** ****** ******* **** the *** *** *** ******* ****** ******** ******* ***** ******* that ************* ** ******* *** ***** ************ ****** *** *** the **** ***** ** *** ****.

Comments (5)

A useful process is to have a rfc, request for comment from a series of suppliers. This way you can get get an opinion of how things can be done, what types of issues may need to be addressed and many other unexpected comments not thought of. This can then be used to help build an RFP with more meat that can be then be used as criteria to evaluate proposals.

I agree that getting comments from suppliers can be useful. Two things to keep in mind:

  • In this case, the Police evidently knew what the issue was but they simply did not include it in the RFP writeup. If so, this lesson is more about being thorough in documenting one's specification.
  • The challenge of getting comments from suppliers is making heads or tails out of the claims (one supplier says MJPEG is mandatory for use in court, another says P-Iris provides much better images, a third says a 29MP camera replaces 95 analog ones, etc.). It can be overwhelming for a user, without additional research of their own, to figure out which suppliers are correct and not simply regurgitating the marketing pitch.

Chief Holub would be well served by an IPVM membership before undertaking any new RF?s...

I've seen numerous bids like this, responded to a lot and won some. It usually ends up becoming a nightmare post install because the customer assumes they are getting a high tech expensive system for a low cost because they went out to bid. We always bid to meet the bare minimum of the spec and then put in an alternate for a better system we thought was more of what they wanted. Then if we won and they chose the lower bid we could always tell them we provided a cost for a better system.

Thanks Jason. Users take note:

"We always bid to meet the bare minimum of the spec"

That's what users have to expect. In a competitive bid, you can't expect the integrator to anticipate needs and add them in to the base response. Why? It's suicide. They'll ensure they lose the deal.

"Put in an alternate for a better system we thought was more of what they wanted."

That's above and beyond. Good technique though to establish the right expectations and to cite if the customer becomes dissatisfied with their original 'design'.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
Congressional Letter Urges Sanctions Against Dahua and Hikvision For Human Rights Abuses on Sep 04, 2018
17 US Congresspeople sent a letter to the Secretary of State and Treasury urging sanctions against Chinese officials plus Dahua and Hikvision,...
France Political Scandal Reveals Video Surveillance Problems on Aug 22, 2018
In what French media describes as "the most damaging crisis yet for" French President Marcon, a political scandal has revealed major gaps in the...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Belgium Bans Private Facial Surveillance on Jul 06, 2018
Belgium has effectively banned the use of facial recognition and other biometrics-based video analytics in surveillance cameras for private,...
China Public Video Surveillance Guide: From Skynet to Sharp Eyes on Jun 14, 2018
China is expanding its video surveillance network to achieve “100%” nationwide coverage by 2020, including facial recognition capabilities and a...
French National Police Buy 10,400 Hikvision Body Cameras on May 31, 2018
France’s national police forces bought 10,400 Hikvision body cameras earlier this year, in a high-profile deal that’s coming into effect as the...
Amazon Enters Home Security Services on Apr 26, 2018
Move over ADT? It is certainly what investors have feared for ADT, especially since Amazon acquired Ring. [Update: We spoke with Amazon and have...
ISC West 2018 Access Control Rundown on Apr 06, 2018
For ISC West 2018, what is new and interesting in access control?  This rundown will bring you up to speed on the exhibitors, what they are...
30+ Emerging Tech Companies Examined on Mar 28, 2018
ISC West has a new segment for 2018: the 'Emerging Technology Zone', which they boast: Featuring 50 of the latest and greatest startup...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

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