Transit Center's Surveillance RFP Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Nov 06, 2010

In this note, we start a new series examining and critiquing published RFPs for surveillance systems. These are actual projects that are currently being bid. Here we examine an operations and maintenance center for a California City. For background, review the 71 page RFP [link no longer available] for yourself.

Key attributes of the system include:

  • 19 total cameras, all IP
  • 4 PTZ cameras, SD
  • 15 fixed cameras, all 1.3MP
  • All parts and pieces from Pelco including VMS and storage

Our observations:

  • As this is a California city, Pelco's ability to hard spec their offering is not surprising (given their local marketing strength).
  • We are surprised though that a government bid has been so tightly specified around a single vendor (many other vendors offer the same solution so it's hard to understand how one can make a single source justification).
  • This is a relatively small camera count deployment yet it went IP.
  • Megapixel is likely the driver to IP. The only element that was not megapixel was the PTZs. If this spec was developed a few months later, it would likely have included the recently announced MP Spectra's.
  • Also, if this spec was developed just a few years ago, it would be hard to believe that Pelco or their channel would have advocated an IP/MP solution.
  • Given that the physical area that many of these cameras are covering is large, megapixel enhances surveillance coverage and probably allowed them to specify less total cameras than if it was an all analog project (see the camera locations map on page 56 of the RFP [link no longer available]). Most of the cameras specified were domes, specifically the ID10DN8-1 that has an average online price of $720.
  • (2) 16 channel NVR appliances were specified. It appears that they are being deployed at the same location, so we are not sure why they did not simply purchase software licenses and a COTS PC/server.
  • The biggest surprise is the specification of two 9 TB SANs to be directly attached to each NVR appliance. The model, the DX8100HDDI [link no longer available] (a Pelco OEM of an Infortrend product), has an average online price of $22,000 [link no longer available]. Essentially, the city will likely pay more than $40,000 for less than 20TBs of storage - which is an extremely high cost even for a top quality storage system in 2010. Also, since the storage is segmented into 2 pools that can only serve a single NVR each, it scales poorer and will likely be more wasteful than a network based SAN or NAS device.
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