Tri-Ed's Terrible Advice

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 24, 2012

Tri-Ed / Northern Video is not exactly known for being the highest end or most sophisticated distributor. However, even for them, their recent advice to analog holdouts [link no longer available] is quite bad. In this note, we examine their advice, its flaws and our alternatives.

Let's start with a recap of the most noteworthy advice Tri-Ed offers:

  • "The most common roadblock to making the leap into IP video is the fear of the networking component. To overcome this, invest in your staff by giving them basic network training."
  • "Most manufacturers are offering products that help eliminate many of the pitfalls, so a basic understanding of networking is typically enough."
  • "The retail market will begin to adopt IP video as a standard because of the 'business intelligence' analytics that are available or being developed."
  • "Most dealers would be able to deploy basic analytics such as loitering, fence-line monitoring, color matching and others without much difficulty."
  • "More complex analytics like facial recognition, license plate recognition, or age-gender determination may require some specialized training from a manufacturer, but still should not be out of reach for almost any dealer."
  • "While analog video still has a strong place in a security dealer's arsenal, IP video is a tool that must be considered."
  • "Manufacturers and distributors are great sources for training, information and assistance" [ironic in light of the above statements]

Who are these Analog Holdouts?

Good advice is relative to the person who is receiving it. As such, this begs the question: "Who are these analog holdouts?" My guess - mostly old school CCTV installers - guys who have been in the business for 20+ years. These guys likely received electronics training back in the 70s or 80s when electronics was what IT is today. It is very rare for new surveillance companies or new surveillance techs to hold out for analog because (1) the growth is in IP and (2) young people are growing up with IP as an everyday technology. 

For this discussion, analog holdouts = veteran electronic technicians.

A big part of the problem is that a lot of these guys 'holding out', simply do not want to learn. They are too comfortable or not motivated enough to put in the extra time and effort to upgrade their skills.

Basics are Not Enough

Contrary to Tri-Ed, I disagree that a 'basic understanding of networking is typically enough.' It is enough to handle simple, happy path scenarios but troubleshooting IP video issues requires more advanced skills or experience. Without them, the installer might get 80% of the cameras up right away but spend hours troubleshooting the last few cameras. To be efficient you need much more than the basics.

The Kid Off the Street is Better Than You

The good news is pretty much anyone under the age of 30 has these skills plus schooling in computers/ networking. These people will also work for less than a senior analog tech.

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The analog holdout would be better off hiring a kid to do the new installs for them. Put an ad on craigslist [link no longer available] - no joke.

Stay Away From Analytics

The most preposterous aspect of Tri-Ed's advice is recommending analog holdouts to learn the basics about networking while advocating for them to use complex video analytics. 

Seriously, if you need help getting IP cameras online, you are going to be in a world of hurt trying to optimize facial recognition.

The Future of the Analog Holdout

The future is fairly dim for the veteran electronics installer 'holdout'. If they have not made a serious effort to become strong in IP by now, there is not much hope nor time left.

The main upside is that these installers are likely close to retirement age already. If they want something simpler for their remaining few years and do not want to learn anything new, HDcctv is actually a seriously useful option.

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