Recommending Video Surveillance Products

By John Honovich, Published Apr 08, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

Starting June 1, 2010, IP Video Market will make recommendations on the selection of specific video surveillance products. This post provides background and explanation of our plan. We invite the community to respond with questions, feedback or objections.

Need for Recommending Products

We see a clear need from end users and integrators for product recommendations:

  • Members email us multiple times each week asking for recommendations. While we are happy to answer members directly, continued rapid growth in membership makes this increasingly infeasible via e-mail.
  • Many individuals have expressed a desire to get a short list of optimal products for their needs. They would prefer to simplify their search as they may not have the time and inclination to read and watch all of our tests.

Concerns About Providing Recommendations

We believe the two greatest problems in providing recommendations are:
  1. Recommender is compensated by product vendors. Often the recommender is a reseller of products or provides consulting or advertising to vendors. Other times, the recommender will accept payment for reprinting recommendations, biasing recommendations to those who are likely to purchase reprints.
  2. Recommender is unqualified. Often people recommend based on demos, marketing brochures or phone calls with vendors. Hands on expertise is minimal, making recommendations shallow and easily swayed by 'fancy' marketing claims.

Our Plan to Recommending Products

Here is how we plan to recommend products:
  • No Compensation Direct or Indirect from Vendors: As we have done since launch of the Pro service, we will not accept any advertising, sponsorships nor consulting projects from manufacturers. The only service we offer to anyone, manufacturers included, is our Pro subscription service (maximum $499 per year for a company). Additionally, we do not sell nor receive compensation on the sale of any products.
  • No Re-prints nor Re-use of Recommendations: Manufacturers will not be allowed to publicize our recommendations in any form. This will ensure no possibility of these recommendations being turned into a marketing/ promotional opportunity.
  • Recommend Only What We Test: We will only make recommendations (positive or negative) on what we have already tested. This will ensure we understand the product's operation and detailed functionality.
  • No Generic Recommendations: We will not make general recommendations (like 'best' camera or 'best' NVR) as these are generally useless and inappropriate for real decision making.
  • Specific, Use Case Recommendations: Our recommendations will be constrained to specific narrowly defined use cases (e.g., VMS system for single site deployment, 16 channels or less, existing analog cameras). This will increase the value and accuracy of recommendations.
  • Price Factored in: We will examine relative pricing of products and factor in the value a product provides for a specific use case. This will help ensure the best fit and lowest cost.
  • Provide 'Short List': We will provide recommendations of 2 - 4 different manufacturers for each use case, allowing users to review multiple options that may fit specific needs.

We plan to start our recommendations with VMS systems and megapixel box cameras as they are the two segments where our testing is the most well developed. We plan to add recommendations on other categories (panoramic cameras, hybrid DVRs, video analytics, etc.) throughout 2010.

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