Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems (Statistics)

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 28, 2018

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:

** *** **** **************** ******, **** *** *********** told **** *** **** common ******* ***** ********* have **** ***** ***** systems. *************, ****** **** causes ******* ****** ********** sizes ** ********* *********.

******, ** ****** ***** answers **** *** ****** and ******* ********** ***** comments ** *** **** deal **** ****.

Customer ******* **** **** ***** **********

*** *** ****** *********** cited *******:

  • **** ****** ******
  • ****** ********/***** ****
  • ********* ***** *****
  • *********/**** ******
  • **** ***** / ******** Gap
  • **** *****/******* *******

*** ********* ** ********** cited *****:

[***************]

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.

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. 

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?

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. 

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

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.

 

 
 

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.

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. 

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? 

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?

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”?

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.

Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 6,435 reports, 865 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

Related Reports

Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how...
Worst Camera Manufacturers 2020 on May 06, 2020
Which camera manufacturer have integrators had the worst experience with in...
The Problem With Fever Detecting Thermal Sunglasses on Apr 15, 2020
While the media has promoted using thermal sunglasses to detect fevers, this...
Beware Of Feevr on Apr 14, 2020
Beware of "Feevr". The company is marketing a 'Feevr' solution that...
Worst NVR / VMS Manufacturers 2020 on Feb 10, 2020
For the second time in a row, a global manufacturer has been selected by...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...
Verkada Falsely Claims "First Native Cloud-based Access Control and Video Security Solution" on Jun 18, 2020
Verkada's false claims continue, this time to be the first native cloud-based...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM...
Integrators Hard Hit By Coronavirus on Mar 18, 2020
Integrators are already being hard hit by Coronavirus as brand new IPVM...
Don't Deceive. Lessons From Scott Schafer on Mar 20, 2020
Deception is bad. We can learn some important lessons from Scott Schafer, a...
Uniview Heat-Tracker Temperature Screening Series Examined on Apr 22, 2020
Uniview is marketing #UNVagainstCOVID19 with their Heat-Tracker series,...
Milestone Presents XProtect On AWS on May 04, 2020
Milestone presented its XProtect on AWS offering at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
ZKTeco SpeedFace+ Are Medical Devices, Per FDA Definition, Contrary Claims Are False on Jun 12, 2020
ZKTeco SpeedFace+ series products are medical devices as defined by the US...

Recent Reports

VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
Dogs For Coronavirus Screening Examined on Aug 06, 2020
While thermal temperature screening is the surveillance industry's most...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of the...
SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 201 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...