Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems (Statistics)

By Brian Rhodes, Published Feb 28, 2018, 10:04am EST

In our most recent statistics series, over 150 integrators told IPVM the most common problem their customers have with their video systems. Interestingly, common root causes emerged across integrator sizes or geograhic locations.

Inside, we gather those answers into key themes and provide integrator color comments in how they deal with them.

Customer Problem Call Root Cause Statistics

The key themes integrators cited include:

  • Lost Remote Access
  • Camera Dropouts/Video Loss
  • Exporting Video Clips
  • Forgotten/Lost Logins
  • User Error / Training Gap
  • Hard Drive/Storage Failure

The breakdown by percentage cited below:

Lost ****** ******

*** **** ****** **** root ***** ***** ** not * ******** ****** issue ** ***; ******, changes **** *** *******, router, ** ***/******** ******* in ****** ****** ** remote ******* ** ***** breaking. A ******* ** ********* told ** ****** ***** types ** ***** ******* on * ******* *****:

  • "**** **** ******* ****** or ******* ****** *** now ***** ****** ****** is ******. ***** *********** support *** ** *** apps *** ****** ***** a *** ****** ** particular."
  • "****** ****** ********; **** of *** ***** *** just ***************** ** ***** end."
  • "****** ****** ****** **** mobile ****** ** ****** machines. **** ********** *** VPNs ***'* ****** **** smoothly."
  • "*** **** ****** ******** are **** ****** ******* over ********."
  • "********* *** ****** ********...******* an *** ***** ** event"
  • "**** **** ******* ** client ******** ** *** pc ** *****"
  • "******* *** ******* ** their ****** ** ******* images **** **** *** out ** *** *******"
  • "****** ****** ******. **** of **** *** ****** by ***** *** *******, not ** *** **** equipment ******."

***** *** ******* ** setting ******* ** *** remote ******* ** **** to **********, ***** ** in * ******** *** secure *** ** ***** complex.  *** ******** *** tips ** *** *******, see ***: ****** ******* ****** *** Video ************ ***** *** ************ ******* ****** ****** Usage ********** *** * ****** ****.

Camera ********/***** ****

*******, ** */*** ** *** responses, ******* ******* ********* are ******* ***** **** unexpectedly. ********* ***** ** not ** *** *************** that ** *** ********* prompted ** *** *********, and ******* *** ********** is * ****** '***** stop' **** ***** ********* this *******.

******* ********** **** ***** are ****** ******, *** no '*** ******' ***** out ** ********* ** the ******* *******. ***** 'fixes' *** ******* ******* troubleshooting, *****/*** ******, ** even ******* *******:

  • "******* ***** **** ** the **** ******** ****. The ***** *** ** 100 ********* ****** *** most ** *** **** it's * ******* ***** that ** *** ** our *******."
  • "****** * ** **** / *** *******." ** sheer ******, **** ******** of **** ** ** far *** **** *********. The ******, ** ******, may ** **** *** varied, *** *** ******* that ******** * ******* call ** ********* **** that *** ******** ****** see ***** **** *** or **** *******."
  • "*** **** ****** ****** problem **** ** *** called ***** ** **** a ****** ** ****, which *** ******* **** a ****** ** ******* issues ** * ******** production ******* (******* ** is *** *********, ****** maintenance, *** ***** ******, etc)."
  • "******* ***** ******* *** to ******** *******."
  • "****** ***. *******, ***** failure ** ***** ******* some **** ** ***** issue ** *** ** camera."
  • "******* *** ****. **'* usually * ********** *****."
  • "**** ** ****** ************, which ** ******* * networking *****, *** *** a ****** ******* *****."
  • "*** **, *** *** cameras **** **** *** or ** *** ***** many *****."

Exporting ***** *****

*********** **** ******* **** users ********** **** ******* downloading *****, ***** ** not * *********** ** product ***** *** ****** training. ******* ******** ***** the ***** ***** ** execute * ******** ***** export ** ***** **** forgotten ** ***** ***** it **** ** ************ performed:

  • "****** ** ****** *** how ** ******. **** though ** ** ** important ******* ** *** be *** **** ***** not ** **** **** and ** ***** **** a *** ***** ** remember *** ** ** it."
  • "**** **** ** **** they **** ** ****** videos *** *** ****** Authorities!"
  • "********* ** ******** * video **** ** ******* storage ******."
  • "**** ****** *** ** export *****/*** *** ****** in **** *** *** we **** ** **** them ******* **."
  • "********** ******** ***** *** saving ** ** * disk ** ***** ***** "
  • "*** ** ******** *****. Customers **** ** ****** how ** ******** ***** from ***** *******."
  • "******** *** *** ** download *** **** *****."

**** *********** ********* **** this **** *** ** somewhat ********* ** ******* 'quick ******' **** **** a ****-**-**** ******* *** doing **, *** ***** guides *** ***** **** or *** ********** ** casual ***** *** **** to ******** ******** ***** due ** * ****** event. ******* *** ********** is ***** *** ******* method ** ******* **** for ********.

Forgotten/Lost ******

*** ** *** **** personal ****** ** *********** is **** * *** source *** *****. ***** simply ****** ***** *********** for ******* ** ** systems, *** **** *** integrator ** ***** **** it *** ** ********* or ****** ********* ** restored:

  • "***** ***** ****** ** login **** *** ******/****** app (******* ******* **** forgot ***** ********)"
  • "**** ********. ***'* ******** how ** *** ***** system / *** ******** starting *** *****'* **** how ** *** **."
  • "* **** ** ***-** password."
  • "***** ****** *** ***** user **** ** *********."
  • "****** ******** *** ** login."
  • "**** ****** ***** ********"
  • "******** ********** ***** ******** and **** **** "

******* *** *********** **** ***** ********* For ****** *** ***-**** Systems (**********) *** ********* ******** ******* ********** Statistics.

User ***** / ******** ***

*** ******* ***** ** users *** ******* ** forgetting *** ** *** their ******* ** ****** too, **** *% ******* it *** ******* ******* the **** ****:

  • "**** ***** *** ******* for *** ***** ** familiarity **** ********* **** may *** *** ****** to ** *********** ****."
  • "******* ** ***** *** In ********"
  • "*** ******* ** **** search *** ******** *****. No ****** *** **** times ** **** ****, they **** **** ** forget *** ** ****** and ******** ***** *****."
  • "**** ****** *** **** error ** **-******** ******. New **** ************** *** permissions ******* ** ******** users *** **** ******."
  • "* ** *** **** whether ** ** ******* the **** ********** *** too ********* *** ****** to ***, ** *** fact **** **** *** not ******* * "******** video **** **** * VCR" ** ** *****, is ********* ****."
  • "*** ****** ********* ** the ***********."
  • "** ***** ****, ** leave * ****** *** they ***** **** ** to **** **** *******."

***** *** ******** * product *****, ******** ******** how ** *** ********* systems ** ***** *** integrator's **************.  ********** *** new, ******, ** ********** surveillance ****** *****, ******** may ** **** ** an ******* ****** *** not *** **** ** done **** *** **** completed.

Hard *****/******* *******

******* ******** ******* ****** by *********** ** ***** the ****** *** *****: bad ******** **** ******. While **** *% ****** this ***** '******* *****', the ***** *** ****** enough ** ******** ** fairly ******: 

  • "** *** ****** **** Intel *** ****** ******* and **** ***** ****** to ******* *** *** drives ********* ** * RAID * ************* *** the **. ****** **** 1 ** **** *** Intel ****** ** **** saved ** * *** times. "
  • "****** ** ** **** drive *******. ** ******** the ****** ** ************ like ******* ****. ******* skipping. ***** ** ******* caused ** ***** *******."
  • "*** ********, **** **** just *** ***** **** than ******."
  • "******** ** *******. ******: we ****** *** ***."
  • "********* *******"
  • "********* ***"

** **** *****, **** disk *********** ** *** method ** ****** *** issue. ** ******* *** ** ****** **** Drive ******** ******* ****** **** *** RAID ** ********* **** arrangements, ******* ****** ************ practice *** ********** ** (2016's): ***** ************ **** ***** Failure ********** *** ***** ************ **** ***** Size **********.

Nontypical '*****' **** *******

*******, **% ** ********* cited ******** ** *** general ********** ** *** source ** ***** **** common *****. ********* *** not ****** ******* ******* failure ** *** ******, but ********* ******** ** add ******* ** '**********', increase ******* *******, ** other ******** **** ***** not ********** ** ********* until ******* *** ******* initially *********:

  • "****** ******* ** ***** they ******** *** *** covered ** **** *** hoped."
  • "*** **** ****** ******* is ****** ******* **** storage, ** * **** of ********** ** *********** faces ** ******* ******. Rarely ** ******* **** to *** *** ****** quality ******* ** * higher ****** ***** ** front, *** ** ***** after ** ******** **** are ****** ****** ********* of ***** ****** ** pinch ******* ** *** initial **********. **** **** to *** ** **** of *** ***** ** possible *** **** **** the *** ***** **** and ******* ***** *** fact."
  • "****** ********* ** ******* being ********. ** ** very **** ** **** a ****** ********* ** that ** ******* **** motion ******** ************ *** outside *******."
  • "*** ***** ******"
  • "** ******** ***** *******. Especially *** **** **** request ****** ** ***** on ******."

***** **** ****** *** mixed, **** ********* ******** a '******* *******' **** of *****, ***** ****** equipment ** ****** ****** optimization ** ****** ** prevent ********.

Comments (12)

The most common call root cause often is not a security system issue at all; rather, changes with the network, router, or app/software results in remote access or remote viewing of video breaking

This item is interesting to see be the #1 issue.  Cellular access is, in many ways, a bane for our industry IMO.  I have very few residential accounts I support but they are the primary users of cellular access almost exclusively.  Cell signal doesn't work in Nowhere, ND?  Service call.  Firewall at some completely unrelated site is blocking Wifi access? Service call.  Forgot your password since it is usually saved in the app? Service call.  New phone? Service call.  Bandwidth not sufficient on 3G? Service call.

For integrators specialized in small business and residential I can see this as being frustrating as all of the above is in no way their issue.  It's frustrating for me and I only support around a half dozen sites using mobile access.

Most of the other items are ubiquitous across all segments - forgotten passwords, forgetting how to export video, etc.  There is mammoth turnover in protective services staffing. I'd be interested to hear how everyone is addressing these issues.

Agree: 3
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Informative: 2
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Funny: 1

All of those service calls you mentioned are easily avoided by using the cloud. There is almost no reason to roll a truck for those issues anymore. We haven't rolled a truck for the above issues in over 2 years. 

We use TeamViewer dozens of times a day to assist with everything from "How do I export video?" to "I don't have remote access." We can remote into Android, iPhone, computers, everything. 

Our tech support staff and resolve just about anything in less than 5 minutes. If a camera is down we power cycle the POE port on the switch the camera is plugged into. If a client forgets their password we tell them to hit forget password in the app and an email is sent so they can reset their password. We almost never have issues with firewalls now that all remote connections are cloud-based. If for some reason there is an issue we force the VMS to use 8.8.8.8 as the DNS to make sure it resolves properly. 

We do everything we can NOT to roll a truck. This keeps clients ultra happy. 

Agree
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Informative: 1
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John,

I believe in what you believe about preventing truck rolls. But you still have the cost of providing support to your customers.

Do you absorb all the costs or what do you charge the customer for remote support?

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The majority of our clients are paying us a monthly fee for monitoring or maintenance, if they're a subscriber we don't charge anything for the remote service. If not, we charge per connection to their system. 

We do our best to bring on products that don't require us to help the customer use it. This has been a big focus of mine over the last 2 years and we have reduced tech support calls significantly. 

We have a fully staffed customers service department dedicated to helping our techs in the field and our clients. Paying for them is built into our RMR model already. 

Agree
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Informative: 2
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Funny

I don't think the report says nobody does. I think most smart integrators do. But you still get support calls.

Agree
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Funny

If only I could get my customers to agree to a training, and even when they do, they do not seem to be able to remember most of it in a few months. Out of sight out of mind, forever. 

Cameras disconnects are an issue from time to time, especially when I am dependent on the customer's network. For this reason I always recommend I build my own.

I was surprised NVR and Camera time were not an issue. I have problems with clocks behind firewalls since some of my customers do not allow Internet Time Server access. 

Since the purple surveillance drives have come out on the market I have had a lot less problems with failures. I really do not like hard drive issues because they should rarely occur.

 

 
 
Agree
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I was surprised NVR and Camera time were not an issue. I have problems with clocks behind firewalls since some of my customers do not allow Internet Time Server access

It is a definite issue. I have seen this many times. Eventually, the customers relent and allow NTP once the issues become too numerous. Veracity also has a device that we have debated using in the past which may be of use to you: Timenet Pro.

Agree: 2
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Informative
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Funny

I developed a solution for my own projects. It's a Raspberry Pi that acts as a timeserver for my system and then point the NTP settings at it. The Pi is configured with my zulu time and the current Daylight Savings settings and goes out to the Internet to grab the correct time. So it's like the Veracity device, just a little more primitive. 

Agree
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Informative: 1
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Funny

For me, 75% of my calls are operator related. The people that use the VMS refuse to learn on their own!! I set up PDF's,video links, manuals on their desktop. 

The other 25% (on the IP side) are cameras that are out/offline. Unplugging the cat 5/6 from the POe and plugging in again is the only fix. Why do IP cameras just go offline? 

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
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Funny

Why do IP cameras just go offline?

I ask myself the same question often. I can understand a technical "hiccup" occurring on the communication from time to time. What I don't understand is restarting the VMS service restores that one camera connection. Why doesn't the system have some sort of error correction in it to retry on it's own when it looses the stream? Why do I have to restart the VMS to restore that one camera?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Why Do VMSes Sometimes Have Difficulty Reconnecting To IP Cameras?

Agree
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Informative: 1
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I’m curious on what level of support integrators/dealers provide before charging for their time.

It would be great if you ran a related poll on “how do you bill the customer for these service categories”?

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Great question. Typically I charge a preventative maintenance agreement. Usually, one day a month where I go and maintain cameras and NVR systems. If my customer is not interested in a PM agreement than I just charge for site time. I also do not charge for online support or help up to 30 minutes.

This relates to support and time after a project is completed and kinks have been worked out.

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Informative: 2
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