This Spec Wizard Makes a Mockery Out of RFPs

By John Honovich, Published Dec 05, 2014, 12:00am EST

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 hard to make that happen.

In this note, we look at the process and the problems involved.


Most manufacturers have A&E specification sheets for their products, that they hope specifiers will copy and paste into their RFPs.

But one company, Arcat, takes it a step further, with a 'spec wizard' that automatically generates CSI 28 conformant specifications simply from clicking on a few checkboxes.

Manufacturers pay Arcat to be included on their website. Within security, Honeywell, Vicon and Aiphone are the big names there.

How It Works

Here is a video that shows how you can auto-spec Vicon:

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

You can try it out yourself here - Vicon spec wizard.


These specs make a mockery out of bids and designs, essentially hard spec'ing an individual product line.

You might as well have the manufacturer write the spec for you, which is not often not allowed, making this a great way to get around such restrictions.

Manufactureres Here How It Works

From speaking with Arcat sales, there are 3 main components to using their service:

  • Specification hosting for $6,400 annually
  • Spec wizard tool function usage for another $6,400 annually
  • Profile page for users to search / find your products (like Honeywell's page) for $7,900 annually

Altogether, it is roughly $20,000 per year.

Included, at no additional cost, is Arcat writing CSI 3 part structured specifications for the manufacturer.

The site reports 200,000 monthly visits, though this is spread out across various construction fields, not just security.

It is not cheap but if it helps snag a few more deals a year...

Comments (3) : Members only. Login. or Join.
Loading Related Reports