Startup Rhombus Systems Says Twice the Features, Half the Price of Verkada

By Sean Patton, Published Jun 04, 2019, 12:02pm EDT

Closed cloud systems may be the fastest growing segment of video surveillance with Meraki and Verkada. Now another California company is joining the market, startup Rhombus Systems who says they offer twice the features and half the price of Verkada.

IPVM Image

** ***** **** *******' co-founders ** ********** *** they ******* * ******** company, ***** *********, *** go-to-market, *********:

  • *** ** *******
  • **** ******* *** *********
  • **** ***** ************
  • *** **** **** ** Cost
  • **** ****** ******** *** Offered
  • **** **** ** ********* Are *******
  • **** ** *******' **-**-******
  • *** ******* ******** ** Verkada
  • ******** *** ***********

Rhombus ********

IPVM Image******* ** ****, *** US-based ***** ******* ******* 17 *********, ********* *********, at ***** **********, ** headquarters. ******* *** **-******* by*** ******* *******, ****** **** ****, **** **** *********** in ********** *** ***** security. ******* ******* ****** Networks (***** **** *** Chief ******** *********) ***** was******** ** ****** ** 2014. ******* **** ** spent **** ***** ******* Sophos *********** **** ******* could **** **** * strong *************-******* ******** **** the **** ** ***** management ***** *** **********.

************* $* ******* ** seed *******, ****** **** ** was ********* *** ******* path ** ******** ** company ***** ******* ******* Valley ******* *******, ********* hardware-focus **********, *** $*.* ******* fund****** *********** ** ******* ******** AI **** ********* *****.

******* ** ******** * closed ****** ** ***** own ******* (****) **** onboard *******, ***** ***, their *** ********* *** hosted ***** ******.

Cameras *** *********

******* ******* ****** ****** **** 4 **** *******:

*** **-*** *** **-* cameras *** ************* **** expensive **** *******'* ******* cameras, ** *** **** R2 *****, *** *** still **** ********* **** similar ******* ****** (******* fisheye ** $*** ******** to *******'* $*,***).

****** ********** ************* *** sold *** ******, *** two ********* ******* *** with ******* **** ********* for *****-**** ******** *****.

*** ********** ******* ******** their ** *********, *** 30 **** ** ********** cloud *******:

IPVM Image

*** ** ************ ******* costs $*** *** * year *** ******** ********** in *** ********** ******* except **-******** *** ***** storage:

IPVM Image

********* ******** **-**** ********** cloud ******* ******* *******'* offering ** *** **** price ($*** *** ****** per ****). ******* *** camera ********** ********* *** initially $*** *** ****** per ****, *** ***** storage *** ** ********** $120 *** **** *******. This ***** *** **** license **** ********* *************, but *** ***** *** purchase ***** *******, ** is ******* *******.

Analytics - ****** / ******* ********, ******** ********* ***** *******

********* ********* *** *** only ******* ** ***** R2 ******* **** ********** Licenses.

***** ********* ******* ******, people, ******* ********* *** alerts ** ******** **:

******* **** *** ******** analytics *** ********* ****** network *** *******-******* ******, noting **** **** *** heavily ******** ******** ** open-source ******, ***** ****** were ****** *********.

Made ** ****** *** *******

******* **** *** ******* are******* *****, **** ** ******, and **** ******** ******* they ** *** *** HiSilicon ********, ******* *** Ambarella *****. **** **** they **** **** ****** because ** ***** ********** developing ****** ******* ********, and ******** ***** ******.

IPVM Image******* **** ***** *** **** *** released ** ******* * true ********** ******** **** factor *** ************** *** **'* ***/******** form ****** ******. ************, their ** ****** *** upgraded ***** *******, ***, and ****** **** ******** Sercomm *****.

***** **** ****** **** IR, *** ** ********* 50' ** ************, ******** to *** **'* **'.

MicroSD ******* ********

***** ** ********* ****** in *** *******, ***** 64GB-256GB ******* ***** ********* on *** ****** ** retention ****** (**-*** ** 40-day ******* ******). ******* claims **** *** ***** "high-endurance" ******* ***** *** have ******** ** ********** or *********** ******** ** 2 ***** ** ********* cameras *** ************ **** it ***** ** * concern *** *********** **** the **** ****. ********* microSD ***** ** ********* for ******* ******** *** failures, *** **** ** certified ***********, *** *** users.

******* **** ** ******* record ********** **** *** 720P ***** ** *****, and ** ****** ****** 1080P ** *****. **** do *** *** ***** codecs, *******, **** **** compression *** ******** ******* -1Mbps *** ****** *** live *** ******** *******.

Broad ******* ***** *** / ** *** ***** ****** *******

IPVM Image

******* ************ ***** ******* support ** *** ***, offering *** ****** ****** (no *******), ** ******* app, *** ** ***** or ****** ***. *** Dashboard-focused ********* *** ** customized ** **** *** reports *** ****** (*.*. recent ***** ********) ** initial *****. *** ****** offers ******** ****** ** traditional ***** (*.*. ***** views, ************ *****-****** ********, Google *******), ** ******** to ***** ******* ******** like ******** ********* ***** links, ********* **** *********, and ************ ** *******/*****/****** Suite.

******* ** ******* *** Meraki, ******* **** *** support *** *** ***** cameras. **** **** ** is *** ** ***** current *******, ******* **** are *** ******* ** supporting **** ** ****** updates.

Amazon ****** - ****** ********* *** *** ******* ******

******* ** ****** ** Amazon *** *****, ***** they **** *** ****** because ** ***** ********** in ********** *** ******* solutions ** ***. **** claim ************ ******* *** ******* remotely ******* ***** ******* is **** **** * second, ***** ** ****, is *** ******** ** some ***** *********, *** similar ** ****** ***** ** ******* VMS *******(***** ****** *****).

** ******** ** *** latency ***** *********, ******* supports ******-****-****** ********* ***** connected ** *** **** LAN.

Edge *** ****** ** *********

*** ** **** ** ARM ****** *-** ****-**** processor, ***** ******** **** learning ***** ********* ** the ******. ******* **** the ** ****** ******* a ****** ******** ** AI-analytics, ********* ******* ***** machine-learned ********* ** *** camera, *** *** **** learning ********* ******** ** the *****. *** ********* can ******** ****** *** shown ** ***** *********.

IPVM Image

Go-To-Market **** ***********

******* **** ***** **** is ** **** ***% through ***********, *******, *********, they **** ** * mix ** ******-**-***-**** *** channel ******** ******* **** do *** **** ****** partners ** ******* ****** the **. ************, ******* said **** **** ** increasing ***** ***** ****, to ******* ***** ******* integrator ****, *** ******** marketing *** ***** **********.

Compared ** *******

******* ********* ** ****** significantly ***** **** *******, in **********, ***** ****** pricing *** **** ** a ****** ** ******** that ******* ** ******* (e.g. **** ********** ****** quality ********, *********** *******, vehicle/people ********, ******* ******** detection, **** ***********, ***, 3rd ***** *** ************). Verkada ****** * ****** models (********* * *******), and ****** ********** ********* (***** ****** *********** ****** during *******).

*******, ******* ** *** behind ******* **** ** comes **** ** ***** and ***** ************ (*.*., Verkada *** ***** **** salespeople ** *** **** 2 ***** **** ******* has *****). ******* *** benefit **** * **** antagonistic ******** ** ******** integrators *** **** *** never ***** ** ** Verkada's ******** ***-**** ***** machine.

** **** ** ******** test ** *******.

Comments (40)

Its all very expensive and in my opinion a rip off for end users, who don't know any better, or in some cases, should

Agree: 5
Disagree: 2
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

sounds more like

Agree: 2
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 2
Funny: 8

I suggest changing the hyperlink to point to https://www.rhombussystems.com/

The links on the https://perma.cc/G8HC-PXRB website are all dead links.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

We are using a new service to auto-archive links in case the pages change, are removed, etc.

That said, the links from that archived link should do to live links. We will request that and update accordingly.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

This will be interesting. Very overpriced to fund a disproportionately large salesforce versus good pricing with little to no salesforce because of lower margins. Who will grow faster? 

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

I'll bet on the large salesforce because I'm a pessimistic sysadmin who secretly fears aggressive sales people, but, yeah, it will be interesting to watch. 

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Am I missing something? A 5mp camera that only records at 1080p?
What's the point?

Agree: 5
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Meraki does the same thing but calls it a feature:  Sensor Crop   

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny: 4

Yes - it is for the reasons in this link that we (Rhombus Systems) have a 5MP sensor, but stream at 1080p.  Basically to enable features like digital pan, tilt and zoom.  

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

Garrett lets be real here.  The REAL reason is WAN bandwidth to the cloud which is why you don't use the full 5MP imager just like Meraki but they came up with a marketing term for it to sell it to uninformed people. 

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

You are correct that WAN streaming is a consideration, but since our solution doesn't stream continuously (we store video on the camera) it's really more about the storage.  If you store 4K resolution video it gets really expensive to store video at really high resolutions.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

On board the camera yes on a server-based system no. 

Agree: 2
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Which proves the point cloud video is not ready for prime time yet.

Agree: 1
Disagree: 4
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

what a bunch of crop ;)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 6

You missed your calling. You should have been a comedian. ;-)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

fwiw, technically a square is a rhombus, but we usually just call it a “square”, lest we offend real rhombi.

 

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 11

The Rhombus logo immediately made me think of Milestone's logo. Similar color too. Intentional?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I don't know. To me, the bigger issues are (1) having a name that is hard to spell, i.e., 'Rhombus' and (2) not owning the domain name (they are "rhombussystems.com" not "rhombus" which is for sale). That's why startups now make up names like Verkada to avoid such problems.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Can we focus people minds on the fact that Taiwan is actually the Republic of China and not recognised by the US as being a separate country from China? It seems convenient to lose the nuance at a time when Rhombus has jumped on anti Huawei bandwagon. It's not even in UN, so we can pretty well just call it China.

Agree
Disagree: 5
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Taiwan....can pretty well just call it China.

No. The US recognizes Taiwan as a country, e.g., on the TAA Designated Country list:

Taiwan is a country on that list, China (PRC) is not on the list.

And Taiwan products are not subject to the China PRC tariffs, etc.

As a matter of practice, Taiwan is clearly recognized as a separate country. As a matter of diplomacy, it is obscured because of the PRC's wrath.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

There was a large hoopla when Trump came into office because he recognized Taiwan as a separate nation from China. So we do acknowledge them as a separate foreign state.

 

Plus, they make some quality equipment at fair prices!

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

There was a large hoopla when Trump came into office because he recognized Taiwan as a separate nation from China.

though odds are he couldn’t recognize Taiwan on a map ;)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 4
Funny

Their R1 camera eerily looks similar to the Sercomm OC452 Full HD POE Outdoor Camera!

So, while Verkada decided to OEM the Vivotek cameras, Rhombus OEM'ed Sercomm but both of them seem to be following the AWS IoT Camera Connector on the AWS Cloud to the letter and adding an SD card, some firmware on their camera, and building the VMS on top. I'm sure we can find the Verkada models in that list of Vivotek cameras towards the end of that doc.

It's actually quite brilliant... they don't need to deal with the complexities of building the camera hardware (thought QC would be critical) or the NVR (which is a combo of firmware + an SD card, probably Micron) and instead focus on the VMS. I tried the AWS cloud formation template, and it really just takes 5 minutes to spin it up and have a SDK that you can drop into one of their approved cameras.

CamCloud is built on AWS too, probably a variant of this approach? Any other camera + SD card + VMS vendors out there using AWS?

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

This is Garrett (co-founder and CEO of Rhombus) and I'll jump in and respond to part of your comment.  

I can't comment what other vendors do, but at Rhombus we do not use AWS IoT Camera Connector or AWS Transcode.  All of our video streaming  delivery channels, compression and processing protocols are proprietary and end to end secure.  It is for this reason that we believe we are one of the few VMS companies that can deliver uninterrupted real time streaming over both LAN + WAN with latency of under 1 second for web, mobile and AppleTV clients which cannot be achieved using the AWS camera streaming services.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks Garrett.

As an aside, I noticed you referred to yourself as a "VMS company". Is that the right way to think about Rhombus? As a VMS vendor who sells the complete system primarily because it is easy to buy/ install vs. a camera systems manufacturer? And if yes, do you see Rhombus selling ONVIF compliant cameras or supporting other camera models?

A common theme/ concern about solutions like this is around lock-in and bricking of the hardware if the end user cancels their VMS subscription...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Yes, we do see ourselves as a VMS or I guess more specifically a "Cloud VMS" since we have complete management interface to go with our cameras.  

In terms of supporting ONVIF, we're definitely open to it in the future.  Right now we're focused on delivering an incredible experience for our customers with our cameras.  Once we've nailed that, if our customers have a strong demand for ONVIF cameras, then it is something we would consider.  

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Re: Undisclosed #7

The majority of cloud VMS use some sort of low latency streaming technology for live streams, but the AWS transcoding/media pipeline is too expensive to use out of the box for 24/7 cloud monitoring (disclaimer: we use AWS but not Media Services pipeline).

AWS does allow publishing low latency streams out of the box and RTMP has been available on AWS for a long time, but it does require the flash player plugin. In the last two years, the amount of media services AWS offered has increased from none to more than seven on-premise appliance support. It seems AWS is determined to grow Streaming services and compete with specialized streaming products such as Wowza and others in the future.

Latency issues and different way to implement were discussed at Verkada Video Quality issues. My guess is Verkada uses HLS or MPEG-DASH and this technology by definition has a buffer, and therefore delay.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 5
Unhelpful
Funny

If I had a nickel...  and I am fan of VSaaS. How do these companies get the funding they do?..love to see their pitch deck and projections...it takes years to scale a VSaaS service to meaningful RMR and offering proprietary  hardware with a closed system is not the answer to quick scalability... and that timeline to profitability is further extended when using an intermediary who is taking a slice of the RMR.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Is the intermediary (integrator) getting a cut on the annual subscription in say years 5 or 6? Or is it only on the initial purchase?

It could be that the bet being made here is similar to the play that Meraki had/ has in the WiFi space:

1. A simpler product with fewer moving parts, making it easier to sell (and shine vs. incumbents) to customers with simpler requirements

2. A direct sales team that makes the sale, and can be more aggressive, targeted, and faster in terms of making pricing and config decisions vs. a channel model

3. Publicly published prices that set a ceiling on markups by channel

4. High margin VMS license fees in later years going directly to the manufacturer because the manufacturer has a direct line into the customer

5. Guaranteed VMS revenue stream in later years due to lock-in on the customer once the initial sale is made, because they cannot switch out the VMS without bricking the camera

6. A large market with several customers, so enough fish in the sea

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

I can't speak for other vendors, but we (Rhombus) give integrators a cut of all future RMR.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I wish your company lots of luck... it will be "a long row to hoe".  Not sure going to market that way is the best... I would let the installers/integrators have a nice piece of the hardware or a camera maintenance contract (because those SD cards will fail/corrupt) and you keep all the RMR... after all the cameras are really just a lost leader for the RMR revenue.  Furthermore, the integrators (should be called "installers" since there is nothing to integrate with/to) are doing nada to support the service to earn that RMR...they are just eating into your profit since you are bearing all the cost.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

Rhombus said their plan is to sell 100% through integrators, however, currently, they sell as a mix of direct-to-end-user and channel partners because they do not have enough partners to service across the US.

not to be argumentative, but does ever this happen where someone is selling direct to end-users and thru dealers, and then eliminates the direct sales?

whats a good historical example of a company doing this?

also, are the prices list or dealer?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

does ever this happen where someone is selling direct to end-users and thru dealers, and then eliminates the direct sales?

I think that is a general pattern for startups in this space. When you first start a company, virtually no integrator is willing to resell your product because of the risk and immaturity of your product, so companies have to sell direct or risk having no sales. Then, many companies tend to switch to a channel focus.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

what you are saying makes sense.  but do you have an example of company who started direct but no longer even offers direct sales?

if my memory serves me, Nest made some noise about selling thru the dealer channel a few years back, I don’t know how successful they were, but it would be shocking if they were considering eliminating direct sales at this point.

also, if as is claimed in the corporate response, integrators get a cut of the RMR,  is there also a seperate dealer price list?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

It is hard to unring a bell.  Companies aspire to a 100% channel model, but most of them fall short.  As an example, Axis sold directly to large legacy customers from many years (and still may today)... at the end of the day it is about what value does a channel model have.  For VSaaS, I don't believe the channel has little value other than the installation of the hardware.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

The report has been updated to reflect new camera options and licensing structure:

Cameras and Licensing

Rhombus offers 4 camera models with 3 form factors:

  • R1 4MP sensor / 720P stream Cube: $250 15-days or $350 40-days on camera storage
  • R1 4MP sensor / 720P stream Cube with Dome: $285 15-days or $385 40-days on camera storage
  • R2 5MP sensor / 1080P stream Outdoor Dome: $499 20-days or $500 40-days on camera storage
  • R2-180, R2-L 5MP sensor / 1080P stream Outdoor Dome: $899 40-days or $1,199 90-days on camera storage

Camera connection subscriptions are sold per camera, with specific R1 and R2 camera licenses, that cost $99 - $199 per year, with discounts for multi-year contract terms. R1 licensing includes the following features:

R2 licenses include the features of R1 licenses, and their AI analytics, and 30 days of continuous cloud storage:

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Added to the report a note related to the much higher cost fisheye and long-range lens options:

The R2-180 and R2-L cameras are significantly more expensive than Rhombus's initial cameras, or the base R2 model, but are still less expensive than similar Verkada models (Rhombus fisheye is $899 compared to Verkada's $1,899).

Also regarding the license cost updates:

Including standard 30-days continuous cloud storage matches Verkada's offering at the same price ($199 per camera per year). Rhombus per camera Enterprise licensing was initially $120 per camera per year, but cloud storage was an additional $120 per year license. This means the base license cost increased significantly, but for users who purchase cloud storage, it is cheaper overall.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Our test report of Rhombus Cameras, VMS and Analytics was published today.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Our Rhombus Presents report based on the Startup Show and VSaaS Show presentations was published today.

This report is also updated to reflect the following changes:

  • New camera models introduced (R360 12MP sensor Panoramic, R400 8MP sensor 4K Optical Zoom)
  • Onboard storage costs updated for each model
  • Licenses updated (R1 license no longer offered, two licenses are now Enterprise and Professional)
  • Analytics updated (no longer offered for R1 cameras, "advanced" AI features e.g. unusual behavior detection, facial recognition, vehicle counting no longer offered separately, they are sold jointly in Enterprise License)
Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny
Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 7,114 reports and 943 tests and is only available to members. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a member? Login here | Join now
Loading Related Reports