Security Managers are Not Demanding Higher Image Quality

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 01, 2008

This statement may appear absurd because obviously security managers are buying higher resolution cameras, encoders and recorders. I do not doubt that. However, supplier's lower costs, rather than higher demand, is driving the purchase and use of greater image quality.

This may sound like splitting words but this is a very important distinction. How we understand this phenomenon is critical for manufacturers and integrators to serve customers appropriately and for their organizations to be successful.

This has 3 main practical implications:

1. Understanding how costs are dropping is critical to projecting what security managers will buy.

2. Communicating cost changes will best serve customers (security managers)

3. Determining who is going to be successful depends on who is generating a cost advantage.

Demand vs. Supply

When demand increases, customers are willing to pay more even if suppliers do not improve their products.

In the security industry 9/11 is a classic example of increased demand. Video surveillance suddenly became more valuable because the risk of catastrophic security incidents occurring increased. Customers were quickly willing to pay more and buy more.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

In today's news, crashing cranes in New York City is a classic example of increased demand for safety inspectors. Safety inspectors do not need to lower prices or offer novel innovations to acquire more business. People in NYC are now very concerned about crane safety and are willing to pay much more than they did 3 months ago to ensure their safety.

There is no equivalent source of demand increase for megapixel cameras. In general, the world's security situation is not particularly worse than it was 5 years ago. And specifically, types of crimes that need high resolution images have not disproportionately increased. This is not to say that we do not have security problems. Simply, that new security problems are not driving demand for high quality imagery.

By contrast, when supply increases, customers buy more, not because they view the product as more valuable but simply because the cost of the product has decreased.

Cell phones are an ideal example of this. While cell phones have improved over the years, the biggest reason why almost everyone has cell phones now is because they have become so inexpensive. In other words, vendors are willing to supply more at lower costs and consumers can more easily justify the purchase.

In our industry, storage duration is a prime example of this. 5 years ago, most security managers targeted 30 days or recording. Today, it is very common to see security managers targeting 90 days. 5 years ago, security managers knew that there was value in keeping video for longer. The problem was it was quite expensive. For the same amount of money they paid for 30 days in 2003, they can get 90 days today. This is increased supply at work, not demand.

Helping Security Managers

The biggest problem is the misconception that security managers will simply buy more. Security managers are responding to the decreased cost and only in the areas where decreased cost continues will the buying of greater image quality solutions continue.

For most security managers, the problem has been justifying costs rather than 'getting' technology. It is easy to think that security managers are starting to 'get it' finally. That may be the case for specific individuals, but as a community, the issue is much more an issue of the costs. 5 years ago, the costs were so much higher, it was hard for most to justify it. With each year, as costs decrease, the justification becomes clearer.

We need to focus more on understanding costs and the rate of cost decreases. Rather than focus on all the benefits of greater resolution, prudence dictates focusing on the power of decreased costs making these solutions more economically feasible. We need to communicate that costs are changing and how much lower the costs are now.

Optimizing Demand Generation

Security managers do not need lots of education on the power of increased quality. It is fairly obvious that it is beneficial. The problem has been how to justify the expense. Educating on the reduced expense is the critical step to 'generating demand.'

To the contrary, a lot of marketing concentrates on increased requirements. The assumption is that once security managers realize the requirements are increased, they will buy more. Unfortunately, the situation is the reverse.

Requirements are increasing because costs are decreasing not because the need has suddenly grown. For years, discussions have continued about the appropriate requirements for video quality and duration. The requirements have historically been set fairly low because smart security managers realized that high requirements could not be afforded. With technology products, requirements are rarely 'requirements' and calling them so is a misnomer. Requirements mainly document what the current best practices are given current costs and capabilities.

Security managers are better served and manufacturer's resources are better spent focusing on identifying solutions who costs are decreasing rather than advocating abstractly about the merits of better image quality.

Determining Who will be Winners

While most attention is focused on releasing new features and higher resolutions, winning will be better determined by who provides customers with the lowest overall cost structure. Since demand is not naturally increasing, suppliers most motivate by decreasing costs The lower the cost goes, the more security managers will buy.

The features and functionalities of megapixel cameras are not so dramatically different from 5 years ago but their adoption is significantly up due to significantly lower costs.

- Megapixel cameras themselves are 50 - 80% cheaper than 5 years ago.

- Megapixel cameras can now be integrated with mainstream video management systems.

- The storage for megapixel cameras is 2 to 3x less than 5 years ago.

The companies that lead the charge to reduce the overall costs for high quality imaging will have the best change for success. This is, for instance, why I believe H.264 is so critical for megapixel camera adoption. H.264 significantly reduces two of the remaining cost penalties (storage and bandwidth).

Both security managers and integrators will benefit from paying close attention to this phenomenon.

Undoubtedly, security managers are buying higher quality image solutions but we must be clear about why that is occurring. By focusing on reductions in costs, we can all more efficiently identify better solutions and help ease adoption of these systems.

1 report cite this report:

How Much Storage is Needed for Video Surveillance? on Aug 15, 2009
How much storage is needed for video surveillance is an important question for planning new system deployments and for determining total...

Related Reports on Storage

Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
FLIR Lorex Wire Free System Tested on Aug 29, 2017
Wire free video surveillance is a major trend amongst consumers. But wire free systems tend to be designed for few cameras, lower resolution and...
Camera Application Selection Guide 2017 on Aug 23, 2017
Entrances, hallways, rooms and parking lots are perhaps the 4 most common areas where surveillance is deployed. But what is the best type of camera...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
Nest Cam IQ Tested on Jul 10, 2017
Nest has released their latest entry in their camera line, the Nest Cam IQ, touting 4K "Supersight", facial recognition, "HD audio", invisible IR,...
Covert Cloud Camera Service Launching (KJB) on Jun 22, 2017
Cloud IP cameras, for consumers, has become increasingly commonplace. However, covert cameras, lag there, with few options. Now, North America's...
45 Drives 'Lowest Cost' Enterprise Storage Company Profile on Jun 21, 2017
45 Drives claims the "lowest cost per Hard Drive Slot in the industry." But who or what is '45 Drives'? What started as a product design to...
Samsung SmartCam A1 Totally Wireless System on Jun 06, 2017
Hanwha is keeping the Samsung brand alive in consumer cameras with the SmartCam A1, a new offering combining an autotracking 1080p camera with base...
Blink XT Outdoor Totally Wireless Camera Tested on May 11, 2017
Running wires for cameras outdoors is one of the biggest challenges, especially for consumer or DIY installs. Now, Blink has released an outdoor...
On-Board Storage Usage Statistics 2017 on May 03, 2017
SD card slots are now commonplace on IP cameras, but is on-board storage usage now common place? In 2014, integrators reported using edge...

Most Recent Industry Reports

SkyBell Trim & Slim Models Tested on Sep 25, 2017
Given continued growth of video doorbells and the central role Skybell plays in smarthome packages like Alarm.com and Honeywell Total Connect, we...
Hackers Globally Attacking Dahua Recorders on Sep 25, 2017
Dahua recorders are being hacked and vandalized around the world, as confirmed by dozens of reports to IPVM since the attacks surged 5 days...
Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...

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