The Biggest Problem for the Video Surveillance Industry

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 23, 2008

Video surveillance faces many specific problems. All of these problems derive from a single crisis facing technology industries today.

Look at some of the key problems:

  • Widespread failures using video analytics
  • Angst and debate about whether to use IP cameras
  • Common confusion about how the next great codec, H.264, will work
  • Public skepticism on the value of video surveillance
  • Incredible difficultly to determine the best video surveillance products

The common cause of all of these problems is a lack of transparency. We obscure, we promote, we mislead, we hide – and this results in the festering problems we have to deal with in our industry. From talking to dozen of industry leaders, these problems are clearly known. Structurally, though, we are unable to address these problems head on, open and honestly. If only we were transparent about these issues, we could resolve them quicker and save customers and integrators from significant problems.

I want to explore 3 points:

  • The lack of transparency is a problem for all technology industries
  • Transparency will win in video surveillance just like it is doing in other industries
  • We can take steps to foster transparency

Lack of Transparency

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

This problem is a defining feature of an industrial, pre-Internet era. In the past, reaching people used to be incredibly expensive (TV, print, etc). The people who controlled those means could control the flow of information. Obscuration and distortion were rewarded. This practice repeated itself in each industry because it was a common characteristic to all.

The Internet has disrupted the old means of communications. The economics of the Internet radically change the cost structure of communicating. The cost of producing content and sharing content is orders of magnitude lower than they were 20 years ago. This decentralizes power and lets people with less capital to have huge influence and participation. I encourage you to read Umair Haque [link no longer available], the best thinker on this transition, as he describes how power is moving from the center (big companies) to the edge (empowered individuals).

Transparency Will Win

The economics make it inevitable that transparency will win. We can already see it in enterprise/web software. The war against Microsoft has raged for 20 years. In the last 5 years, it has become abundantly clear that Microsoft is dead. Economically, Microsoft cannot compete. Their monopoly is slowly but certainly being drained.

You see the same pattern in reviews and news on software. Traditional magazines in software are essentially dead. They have been replaced by expert developers who blog. Freed from the traditional power structure of advertising controlled media, they can and do speak the truth. Negative reviews and frank criticism of products is the norm.

These actions increase social and customer value. It rewards those who are building good products. It saves customers from buying deceptive or bogus products. The whole industry can more quickly flush out and find the right solutions. And, equally importantly, it is far cheaper to produce as the whole payola system of traditional media is exploded.

The transition will take longer to occur in video surveillance because it is far smaller and less sophisticated than enterprise/web software. I do not know how long it will take but my experience over the last 4 months indicates that the same power will impact video surveillance. In 4 months, with no advertising, this site is already reaching 10,000 visitors per month. It only costs me $39.95 per month for a virtual server (and the ability to code which is fairly common for my generation). This would have been impossible 20 years ago and even 10 years ago, very expensive.

Fostering Transparency in Video Surveillance

Honestly, I do not believe most big companies will accept transparency. They will continue to hype, promote, pay people for awards and white papers. They will struggle with speaking openly and honestly about what they are bad at and what are the limitations of their products.

This is a huge opportunity for emerging companies though. Most customers know not to trust vendors. Customers are longing for an opportunity to get open and honest information. Now is the time to leverage that trend and its underlying economics.

Here is what I recommend:

  • Start marketing transparently. Be clear about what you do well and what you do not do well [link no longer available]. Try this with your brochures, white paper, sales presentations.
  • Do a blog. Be honest about industry trends and what your are doing with your products. Teach others. You will build a powerful reputation for yourself that will attract high quality partners and customers.
  • Post on my site: If you don't have a blog and want to try it out, simply post on my site. Try it now [link no longer available].
  • Tell me what you are doing. I want to reward honest and open companies with coverage on my site. This can drive hundreds of new, extremely qualified leads to you.

Related Reports

Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
Video Surveillance History on May 06, 2020
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how...
AI/Smart Camera Tutorial on Feb 20, 2020
Cameras with video analytics, sometimes called 'Smart' camera or 'AI'...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud...
Faulty Hikvision Cali Colombia Fever Camera Implementation on Jul 20, 2020
The mayor of one of Colombia's largest cities has promoted a faulty Hikvision...
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...
Vulnerability Directory For Access Credentials on Feb 20, 2020
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be difficult to see,...
Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision; Responds - Selling NDAA Compliant Cameras, Pledging 50% Of Profits to Victims on Mar 24, 2020
US company, Athena Security, faked its coronavirus fever detection marketing,...
Coronavirus Hits Manufacturers, Standing Now, Worse To Come on Apr 06, 2020
Coronavirus is hitting security manufacturers, though overall modestly for...
Integrated IR Camera Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 30, 2020
The best and worst cameras tested in this IPVM shootout showed major...
Anixter Runs Fake Coronavirus Marketing Using Shutterstock Watermarked Images on Jul 24, 2020
Coronavirus faked marketing is regrettably commonplace right now but Anixter...

Recent Reports

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 199 "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...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Access Control Online Show July 2020 - On-Demand Recording of 45+ Manufacturers Presentations on Jul 30, 2020
The show featured 48 Access Control presentations, all now recorded and...
Face Detection Shootout - Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jul 30, 2020
Face detection analytics are available from a number of manufactures...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
Ink Labs Relabels China YCX Fever Camera And Steals Dahua's Marketing on Jul 30, 2020
A US company marketed a 'thermal temperature scanner' as its own, selling...
Genetec and Dahua-Backed Intelbras Split Examined on Jul 29, 2020
China is the cause of the breakup between Canada's and Brazil's largest video...
This YouTuber is Now Selling ThermoHealth Temperature Screening on Jul 29, 2020
An enterprising 20-year old is mass marketing medical devices on Facebook and...