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

Camera Multi-Streaming Usage on Nov 22, 2017
IP cameras typically support multiple streams, allowing a single camera to transmit multiple streams at different resolutions, frame rates and even...
Law Breaking Longse Enters USA on Nov 22, 2017
Longse has established itself as world class, at least in spamming the industry, ripping off Milestone and Video Insight as well as Hikvision. But...
Amazon Key In-Home Package Delivery Examined on Nov 21, 2017
Interesting idea or invitation for criminals to rob you? Amazon's recent announcement of Key, a service that will help manage visitors, welcoming...
Top Maglock Provider Warns Against Using Maglocks on Nov 21, 2017
Do not buy my company's product. It sounds strange indeed, but a senior Allegion consultant stated that maglocks should not be used in common...
CBR vs VBR vs MBR - Surveillance Streaming on Nov 21, 2017
How you stream video has a major impact on quality and bandwidth. And it is not simply CODEC choice (e.g., H.264 vs H.265). Regardless of the...
Hikvision Chinese Government Owner CETHIK Exposed on Nov 20, 2017
Hikvision deceives about its Chinese government ownership. Contrary to their claims about 'independence' and simply having 'shareholders' that are...
Dahua Hard-Coded Credentials Vulnerability on Nov 20, 2017
A newly discovered Dahua backdoor is described by the researcher discovering it as: not the result of an accidental logic error or poor...
Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
Amazon Cloud Cam Is Poor (Tested) on Nov 17, 2017
Retail behemoth Amazon has entered the surveillance market with the Amazon Cloud Cam, the eyes of its just-announced Amazon Key delivery...
Nest Secure Alarm System Tested on Nov 16, 2017
Google's expansion continues, this time into home security with their Nest subsidiary's move into alarm systems. They paid more than a...

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