Riskiest Companies 2009 - BRS Labs and TimeSight

By: John Honovich, Published on Sep 09, 2009

BRS Labs and TimeSight are likely the riskiest video surveillance companies.

With extensive marketing campaigns and multiple awards received from questionable award programs, they are creating a lot of noise and obscuring significant risks.

Extreme Marketing Claims

Both have extreme marketing positions; TimeSight claims 90%+ storage cost reduction and BRS Labs contends a new form of video analytics which virtually eliminates false alarms.

Storage claims are easy to make based on assuming metrics on cameras, codecs, storage duration, etc that have limited applicability or are simply unrealistic.

Bogus video analytics claims are common as many companies have proven over the last decade.

Extreme marketing claims are easy to do if you are ignorant or unethical enough to make them. Where's the independent proof? BRS has none. Timesight's VMS has a negative review from the PSA [link no longer available] [updated 9/11: and no detailed comparative analysis on storage savings vs. other systems in typical deployment scenarios - see our recommended evalaution criteria (premium)].

Specific Product Concerns

[updated 9/14: In the comments, we have discussed a number of specific product concerns. These are summarized below to make it easier to understand the risks]

Timesight:

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

TimeSight's product claims suffer from 2 main risks:

  • The product's storage claims are significantly overstated for almost all surveillance deployment. TimeSight assumes the use of only MJPEG megapixel cameras for 3 - 24 month recording compared to VMS systems with no storage optimization and continuous recording. By contrast, the use of more typical assumptions, like H.264 megapixel cameras, a high percentage of analog or SD cameras and the activation of competitor's storage optimization, TimeSight's claims would not be very impressive.
  • TimeSight is being praised for its storage optimization but it's overall VMS performance is questionable (including the PSA's statement that TimeSight is "an extended storage solution versus a video management solution." However, TimeSight must be competitive as a VMS system because it is incompatible with other VMS systems.

BRS Labs

BRS Lab's products claims suffer from 2 main risks:

  • BRS Labs sometimes claim they detect abnormal behavior without rules and other times that they do traditional video analytics (perimeter detection, abandoned object, etc.). If they are just doing the later (traditional video analytics) or their use cases can be solved by traditional video analytics, there's lot of other options out there that work fairly well, less expensive and integrate well with existing VMS/PSIM systems. In this scenario, there's nothing much interesting about BRS and should not win any awards.
  • BRS Labs is drawing attention and winning awards for abnormal behavior detection. There's no independent published proof of how well this works (false negatives/false positives, environmental issues, etc.). Abnormal behavior detection without rules is a very hard technology to implement for production level security systems (especially if the costs for high end servers and software are to be kept at levels that users can pay - not $3,000-5,000 USD per camera, etc).

Strong, Large Competitors

Both enter established markets with competitors that have developed sophisticated products with extensive field deployments, numerous features and integration with large numbers of 3rd party systems.

Timesight and BRS Labs are nowhere close to the level of their direct competitors (companies like Milestone and Genetec for Timesight and ObjectVideo and ioimage [link no longer available] for BRS Labs) [updated 9/12: in overall features, maturity of product and support for third party systems].

Their core claimed advantages are questionable and what they lack in comparison is significant.

Refused to do Independent Tests

Both BRS and Timesight have refused my repeated requests to perform an independent, unpaid, hands-on test of their product. [Plus, I have spoken with both companies repeteadly over the last year and the only independent test publicly available is the PSA one for TimeSight].

4 reports cite this report:

Investments & Acquisitions Directory 2011 on Dec 26, 2010
This directory provides a single source of information on funding and acquisitions in the video surveillance market. It is part of our Video...
Readers Respond: 134 Votes, 25 Comments Examined on Feb 14, 2010
Over 100 people voted and more than 25 left detailed comments to our recent question/discussion. In this post, we review and respond to the...
BRS Labs Layoffs and Skepticism Mount on Dec 04, 2009
Revelations of problems and concerns with video analytics up-start BRS Labs is mounting. An investigative report by the Houston Chronicle on BRS...
Is the Web Replacing Security Magazines and Shows? on Sep 27, 2009
While ASIS show attendance was down and disappointing for the second consecutive year, online traffic to security websites continues to rise...

Related Reports

Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
Crisis At China's Largest VMS Provider, Netposa, Now State-Controlled on Oct 07, 2019
NetPosa, which bills itself as the PRC's largest VMS provider, is in a crisis. The firm is pursuing huge unpaid bills from clients, and its...
Hikvision ColorVu is Smart Marketing on Oct 03, 2019
Hikvision ColorVu (see IPVM test results) is smart marketing, a lesson to be learned by competitors and a rising trend. Inside this note, we...
Vivotek 4K S-Series Camera Tested on Sep 30, 2019
Vivotek's highest-end S-series camera claims "Supreme Night Visibility", "Smart IR II", "Smart Stream II", "WDR Pro for unparalleled visibility in...
Consumer IP Camera Analytics Shootout - Arlo, Google / Nest, Amazon / Ring, Hikvision / Ezviz, Wyze Cam, Yi Home on Sep 26, 2019
AI analytics are hitting the mainstream in the consumer camera market, with entrants Wyze and Yi Home releasing free people detection on their...
RealNetworks SAFR Facial Recognition Profile on Sep 25, 2019
RealNetworks entered the surveillance market by giving away their analytics to schools for free, and is now targeting large commercial users with...
Hikvision Acusense Analytics Tested on Sep 23, 2019
Hikvision touts "The Magic Behind It All" in their new Acusense line are 'deep learning algorithms' inside these cameras and recorders. But how...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 70 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...

Most Recent Industry Reports

US DoD Comments on Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua Cyber Security Concerns on Oct 16, 2019
A senior DoD official said the US is "concerned" with the cybersecurity of Hikvision, Dahua, and Huawei due to "CCP" (China Communist Party)...
Pelco Sarix Pro3 Camera Tested on Oct 16, 2019
Pelco has released their Sarix Professional Series 3 cameras, claiming "more security detail in challenging scenes with excellent low light and...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator. The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos demonstrating and explaining the...
Altronix Claims Tango 'Eliminates Electricians' on Oct 15, 2019
Power supply provider Altronix claims its new Tango power supply 'eliminates the need for an electrician, dedicated conduit and wire runs'. In...
Pelco CEO Out, Seeking New Industry CEO, New CEO Found on Oct 15, 2019
Just 2 months after Pelco was sold, Pelco's CEO is out, with Pelco bringing in an outside President and searching for a new CEO from the industry,...
Hikvision Dissolves North American Business Unit, Splits Canada and USA on Oct 15, 2019
Hikvision has dissolved its North American Business Unit, splitting up US and Canada operations as the PRC-government owned manufacturer faces...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Oct 14, 2019
Camera focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can significantly reduce details, making cameras less effective. In this guide, we...
"UL Has Blood On Their Hands" Alleges The Interceptor / Keith Jentoft on Oct 14, 2019
"UL has blood on their hands" alleges Keith Jentoft of "The Interceptor Project". We examined The Interceptor in-depth last year, see: The...
Access Control Course Fall 2019 - Last Chance on Oct 14, 2019
Register Now - Fall 2019 Access Control Course. Thursday, October 17th is the last day to register. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...