Do Not Trust Frost & Sullivan Awards

By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 03, 2009

Frost & Sullivan awards are common in the security industry. In the last decade, Frost has named dozens of video surveillance companies award winners. Winners have marketed their awards heavily in press releases, presentations and marketing.

Awards are important. Awards should help us make better decisions and identify the best choices. Therefore, trust in the award granter is crucial. We need to be confident that awards are based on merit.

Frost & Sullivan Awards

Frost & Sullivan grants awards to video surveillance companies multiple times per year in a variety of categories. They describe their selection process:

Frost & Sullivan analyst team tracks end-user requirements and market dynamics within the industry. The process includes interviews with suppliers, end-users and industry experts. The product lines are compared with customer base demands, and the top-ranking provider is then presented the award.

In am interview with Frost & Sullivan, I was told that award recipients did not pay for awards and that comparison/evaluation data is not released to ensure the confidentiality of manufacturers.

Problems with Frost & Sullivan Awards

After interviewing various award recipients and examining the public documents, I saw 4 critical problems:

  • Vendors tell me they pay to use the awards
  • No criteria or justification is ever provided
  • The award categories are often dubious
  • Frost & Sullivan stated goal is to help manufacturers

Pay to use the Awards

The consistent theme I hear from award recipients is that awards are granted at no cost but the manufacturers cannot publicly announce awards without paying thousands of dollars to Frost & Sullivan.

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

No Criteria or Justification Provided

It is impossible to determine or understand how or why one manufacturer was selected over another. Accomplishments of the award winner are cited but nothing is shared on the comparative evaluation.

Dubious Award Categories

Frost awards have numerous categories that are often repetitive, narrow or vague.

Last year, direct competitors Vidsys and Orsus both won awards. Vidsys won the "2008 North American Award for Emerging Company of the Year in the Integrated Security Market" while Orsus won the "2008 North American Emerging Company of the Year Award for Situation Management". The awards are almost identical.

This is fairly typical with Frost awards. Recently, a manufacturer won for "European Megapixel Camera Product Line Strategy of the Year Award" and another for "Homeland Security Surveillance Product Differentiation." The first is very narrow and the second is so vague that it is hard to understand how the award is even judged.

Stated Goal is to Help Manufacturers

Frost' stated value proposition is to be a "Growth Partnership Company that helps clients accelerate their growth." They list their clients as "Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community."

Frost's interest and revenue comes from helping manufacturers that they award. This is a conflict of interest.

For another discussion on Frost problems, read a series of comments from people who claim to be former Frost employees. They discuss how awards are 'licensed' and how award winners are 'targeted.'

Conclusion

Awards are important and trust is crucial. If we are going to have awards that claim to judge and identify the best companies or products in the industry, we need to be confident that the judges are doing so fairly and with the interest of the community.

Frost & Sullivan and the award recipients should be clear about their financial relationship and the process of selection so that industry professionals can assess these awards appropriately.

Frost & Sullivan Response

Frost posted this response to us:

"We at Frost & Sullivan respectfully disagree with John Honovich's conclusions. Our Awards are the result of disciplined research that annually represent millions of hours of cumulative analysis, research intelligence, and contributions.We follow a rigorous methodology for the production of our Awards. Our Awards are intellectual property, and are part of a research deliverable available to paying clients.Frost & Sullivan licenses the publication of our Awards, and we charge a fee for the recipient to leverage our research findings as it pertains to their company. The fee covers the cost of the research and represents a standard industry practice no different from that of other industry award producers.We are more than happy to respond to all inquiries surrounding our Awards program. Please feel free to contact me directly at 210.247.3806 or jake.wengroff@frost.com to discuss. Thank you."

UPDATE 2018:

Nearly a decade after this article was published, many Frost awards are still 'licensed' but few in the physical security industry. This article is still frequently referenced in other discussions about the practice.

Also, see: CEO Refuses To Pay For Frost & Sullivan Award and Briefcam Buys Frost Award*

Related Reports

2020 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 06, 2020
The new IP Networking Book 2020 is a 280 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security systems,...
Verkada Salesman Falsely Alleges Competitor Bankruptcy on Jan 02, 2020
A Verkada salesman falsely told a large end-user that the user's VMS provider faced bankruptcy. Verkada management acknowledged the error to...
Getting Started With Your IPVM Membership on Dec 02, 2019
Here's how to get started and get the most out of your IPVM membership. Books for Members All members can download the 3 member-only books below...
How To Quickly Research An Unknown Company on Jul 23, 2019
There are hundreds of companies in the physical security markets, ranging from a flood of new startups to small companies that may or may not be...
Security Dealer 'Social Media Contractor' Program on Jun 25, 2019
A $20,000 video surveillance system can be yours for free if you are willing to post on social media about the security dealer. Good deal, bad...
Briefcam Buys Frost Award* on Jun 20, 2019
Frost 'awards' are well-known and widely disrespected. Now Briefcam is touting their win. The way it has worked for many years is that Frost...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
The 259 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our manufacturer favorability rankings and individual...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...
'Independent' Security Consultant Organization Sells Off Speaking Slots To Manufacturers on May 10, 2019
The International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC) have sold numerous speaking slots to manufacturers. This is part of...
Securadyne CEO: IPVM 'Entertaining For An Ignorant Few' on Apr 16, 2019
Securadyne's CEO Carey Boethel is unhappy with IPVM's report - Failed Integrator Rollup, Securadyne Sells to Guard Giant Allied. Indeed, he...

Most Recent Industry Reports

USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and branding itself as a "COVID 19 - AI BASED NON CONTACT THERMAL...
JCI Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 31, 2020
JCI has made coronavirus cuts, the company told employees in an email that IPVM has reviewed. Inside this note, we examine the cuts made, the...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door operators to fight the spread of coronavirus. This delivers...
Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance business for those new to the industry. This is part of our Video...
FDA Gives Guidance on 'Coronavirus' Thermal Fever Detection Systems on Mar 30, 2020
The US FDA has given IPVM guidance on the use of thermal fever detection systems being marketed for coronavirus, as an explosion of such devices...
Worsen: Integrators Hit Even Harder By Coronavirus on Mar 30, 2020
Integrator's problems have worsened over the past 2 weeks, according to new IPVM survey results. Inside this report, we share statistics and...
Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
UPDATE: NBC News Report Cites IPVM On Coronavirus 'Fever Detection' Cameras Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...