Bad RFP Leads to Homebrew System

By: 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:

** ***** ******, ** does ******* * *** picture **** **** ******* where *** ******* ****** be / **** **, like **:

*** **** ** ****** much **. ** ***** major ********* ******* ** requirements.

The ******

**** **** *** *** an "*****", * ************ *** ******-***** DVR ****** ** ****** ******* ***********

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

*** **********, ***, **** it ****** *** ** its *********, ********* ******* to **** *** ******** needs ** ********** ********, but ******** ****** ********* specifications ** *** ********* to "**** ** **** being ******** ** *********** that ***** *** ******* it." 

*** ******* **** ****** built *** *** *** from **********.***. *** **** **** also***** ****** ************ ****** *** ********.  However, *** ****** ************** are ****** ******* - IR, ****-****, *********, ******* rated - ******* *** listing ** ******** ************ - *.*., ***, ***** IR, ***.

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

** ****** ****** ***** Michael ***** **** * main ******* ** ******** ******* that **** ** ****** east *** **** ** well ** *** ******* placed ******** ** *** tracks. ****** *******/******, **** will ** ******* **** sunlight. **** **** ********** for *** ******* ** along *** ****** ***** no ***** ** ********* block *** ********.  

*** ****** ***** **** that **** ** ********* he ********* **** *** companies *** ********* *********, but ** *** *** included ** *** ***.   

*** ******** ** *** whether *** ******* **** built *** ***, *** did *** *** ******* would ** ******* ** to ****** ******** ** direct ******** ** ******* and ******. "** *****'* ***** to ** ******** ** the *******, *** ***'* aim **** ****** *** sky. **** ********** **** them ** ****** *** sky, *** ****'* *** what *** ***'* **** to **. *** ***** it ***** *** ********. I've **** ** **** business ***** ****," **** ***** Coan, *** ***** ** the *******. 

*** **** *** ******* will **** *** ****** too. 

**********

***** **** ** ***** the *** *******, ***** is *** ** ** light ** ********* **************. He **** *** ***** were ****** *****. 

"* ****** **** ******** views *** **** ******** views ** *** ****-******* commuter ******** **** ********* on ****** **** ** the *****. * ****** inbound *** ******** **** to ** *********. ***** **** no ****** *****. ***** was *** * *** of *********** ** * lot ** ********* ******. To ** ******, * wouldn't **** **** ** ask ***. *'* * non-techie ******," ** ****. "I **** ****** *** scope ** *** ******* I ******. * **** pictures *** **** '***** are *** ****** *'* trying ** *******' *** I ***** ****'* **** is *********. *** ******* me *** **** ** the ****** ** *** first **** *'** ***** it." 

** *** ***** ****, given **** *** ***** described *** ********* ********, but *** ** *******, this ** *** * technical ***** *** * procedural ****, *.*., ** the ******* / ****** issue *** ***** ** the ***, *** **** could ** ***** **** demanded *********** ************ / optimizations.

** ******* ******* 

*** ****** ********* **** unavailable, ******* **** ******* summary ***: 

****** *********** ********* *** the **********,****** ******* ***********, *** *** ******** because ** *** *** only *** **** *** the ****'* ****** ************ and **************. *** *** done******* ******** ** ********** ******** ****** *** was *** **** ************ provider *** ******* ******** city for **** **** ***** years.

*** ****** ***** **** from, ****** ******** *** not ****** ******* ** "lack ** ******* ** how *** ****** ***** be **** ** *** dispatch ******" *** "** reference ** ********** ** moving *** ******* *** to ********** ***********," *** chief ****. ************, *** city ******* *** * mesh ******* ***** ** CCI, ********* ** **** council *********. 

What ** **

*** ***** **** ***** ***** ***** ** writing. ****** *********** *** not ****** *** ********* lead ** ************* *******. Defeating ******* /****** ***** ** **** to ***** ** ** ****** impossible ** ** ****** omitted **** *** *** and *** ******* ****** provides ******* ***** ******* that ************* ** ******* the ***** ************ ****** but *** *** **** needs ** *** ****.

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

Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
China PRC Government New National Video Surveillance Standards on May 14, 2019
The People's Republic of China (PRC) government has released a new set of overarching standards for authorities to follow when they install video...
Aegis AI Gun Detection Video Analytics Startup on May 07, 2019
Gun detection analytic startups are increasing as the promise of AI and the threats of active shooters grow.  One company, Aegis AI, is being led...
Verkada Gets Million Dollar Memphis Spec on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
"Automated Racism": Chinese Tech Companies Profiling Ethnic Minority on Apr 26, 2019
Scrutiny of Chinese facial recognition providers, including Hikvision, has sharply increased following a New York Times report that they developed...
UK Camera Commissioner Calls for Regulating Facial Recognition on Apr 15, 2019
IPVM interviewed Tony Porter, the UK’s surveillance camera commissioner after he recently called for regulations on facial recognition in the...
Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Tested on Mar 28, 2019
Backed by Jeff Bezos, the Silicon Valley startup, Deep Sentinel, has declared: No One Does Home Security Like We Do Our Surveillance Team has...
IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...

Most Recent Industry Reports

NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...

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