Small City Vendor Lock In RFP Review

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 26, 2010

The worst kind of specification requires exact products, refusing any alternatives. This is such a bad practice that many organizations and government entities bar it. Unfortunately, a North Carolina City's recent Network Surveillance RFP shows this bad practice in action. It's even worse because the City's needs are quite simple and the 'solution' is far more expensive than needed.

Let's start by reviewing the City's requirements:

  • Total of 13 cameras, all fixed, all SVGA
  • 4 cameras outdoors, 9 cameras indoors
  • Axis cameras hard spec'd (indoors the M3203-V and outdoors the P3343-VE)
  • OnSSI NetDVR and OnSSI Ocularis Client Lite
  • Technical specs are included but they are quite generic
  • "The solution to be provided shall meet all requirements as specified herein and no substitution of equipment shall be permitted."

Keep in mind that this is a small city facing budget pressure. Creedmoor, NC, USA has less than 4,000 people. Additionally, like most US cities, tax receipts and city budgets are down. Their annual city budget is less than $6 Million USD.

The city could easily save thousands with a few substitutions.

  • Analog cameras and DVR: Given the simple setup and small camera count, a traditional CCTV system would provide substantial savings. Ironically, the city's specification is very close to the 14 camera hypothetical scenario in the Axis 'study'.
  • Lower cost VMS: Even if you stayed with a 'pure' IP system, NetDVR is overkill and costs over $150 per channel. Switching to Milestone Essential would save about $1,300.
  • NAS Appliance: Given the simplicity of this system, a QNAP or Synology NAS device could eliminate the purchase and setup of a separate PC (as well as provide storage redundancy and easy storage expansion). This also could save $1,000 or more.
  • Indoor cameras: There are 26 dome cameras at or less than the price of the specified Axis camera (13 of those are megapixel). A number of options could reduce the per camera cost by $100 each for a total savings of almost $1,000.
  • Outdoor cameras: The specified Axis outdoor cameras (P3343-VE) are overkill for this application, packing in lots of unnecessary high end features at about $900 online price. There are 21 outdoor, vandal dome cameras more than $250 less than the required Axis. Any one of those could save another $1,000.

Even with an all IP solution, the City could save $3,000 and not sacrifice material functionality or performance.

The City should share some blame for refusing any substitutions but ultimately these specs are likely copied and pasted from a rep or territory sales person.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on RFP

Fortune 500 Company Bars Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 30, 2017
A Fortune 500 company has barred Dahua and Hikvision cameras from a large RFP due to cyber security concerns, IPVM has confirmed with the...
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...
Bluebeam Revu Security Floorplan Estimation App Test on Jun 15, 2017
Bluebeam Revu is a construction design markup tool that claims it is "used by 94% of top US contractors", but what role does it have for physical...
US Government Entities Hard Spec Hikvision on May 26, 2016
The US and Chinese governments are working together. Now, US government entities are not only buying video surveillance products from the Chinese...
Poorly Written College Town Camera RFP Examined on May 25, 2016
State College, PA issued an RFP for a neighborhood surveillance system that leaves out many key details required to invite qualified bids. We...
Large Video Surveillance Systems Guide on Oct 29, 2015
This 14 page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the large system surveillance market. A global group of 80...
This Spec Wizard Makes a Mockery Out of RFPs on Dec 05, 2014
Terrible RFPs are commonplace. If only there was a way to make it easy to generate terrible RFPs. Well, Honeywell, Vicon and Aiphone are working...
Ridiculous $100K Project / Now Stalled on Oct 31, 2013
Update 10/31: When we first published this in July, we broke down how flawed the RFP was. Now, the city is delaying the project as it works through...
Bad RFP Leads to Homebrew System on Oct 29, 2013
Bad RFPs continue to plague the industry. In the case of one city, a poorly written RFP led to a contract that likely fails to address one of the...
10 Top Discussions This Summer on Sep 01, 2013
This year, IPVM launched its own discussions, with over 10,000 comments so far. Now, we have improved it with 12 new features. Here are 10 Top...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Cisco Falling - Favorite Network Switches 2017 on Oct 20, 2017
1 major manufacturer fell and 1 outsider manufacturer gained as integrator favorites for network switches from more than 140 votes / explanations...
Uniview Recorder Backdoor Examined on Oct 20, 2017
A Chinese research group has identified a vulnerability in Uniview recorders that allows backdoor access in a method similar to the Dahua...
Hikvision Access Control Tested on Oct 19, 2017
Hikvision aggressive pricing and marketing combined with generally reliable hardware and free software has made them a major player in video...
Verkada, Silicon Valley VSaaS Startup, Targets Enterprise on Oct 19, 2017
Verkada says they are building an enterprise-class VSaaS offering, calling it "The new platform for video security". This is a departure from the...
Exacq Unbreaks Avigilon Integration on Oct 18, 2017
For nearly 4 years, Exacq had broken and effectively blocked use with Avigilon cameras, as IPVM reported in January 2014. Now, Exacq has...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Dahua Removes Auto Rebooting on Oct 17, 2017
For years, Dahua has automatically programmed its IP cameras to reboot weekly, a highly atypical and questionable practice. Following IPVM...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...
Multipoint Lock Access Control Tutorial on Oct 17, 2017
Doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and money can be misspent on wrong locks that leave doors quite vulnerable. While closed and locked...

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