I almost feel like that is not their typical sales model and they probably have some bright minds that can do those designs internally. I imagine that their typically sale is 8-16 cameras but I'm just guessing.
They do NOT have any bright minds in house to do designs. As a dealer for them i can say we get asked design questions constantly. Majority of the time we do all design and implementation. Now if the team would kick down some $$$,$$$ to thank to little guy that would be great. Hey we be happy with a couple more points. But like it was said before we can see the Greed they have. And disrespect to the trusted dealers of theirs is tough to stomach so much for channel sales approach.
As a participant in the recent discussions about this company, I will restate how I’m not a fan of their tech, sales approach, or closed system. I am completely impressed however with the disruptive mess so far! This is nothing more than the updated battle between the pony tailed grizzled alarm tech installing cameras and the 20 something in the IT department hanging up 4 cameras for the price of 1.
Same here, my previous employer had some large clients go out to tender to replace their intrusion/access system. It was a fully functional system, but only sold and serviced by one company. So they spent a bunch of money to get a system where they would not be locked to one service company.
But then folks are flocking to Verkada and Meraki. Locking themselves in.
Like I think the concept of Verkada is neat, I just really don't like the total lock in. But I'm not a customer, I am an installer. Like you'd think at the very least since people are paying full price for the camera, and not renting or leasing it, they could make it onvif, or compatible with another VMS system or something. If verkada goes tits up, or the customer just doesn't like it anymore they get stuck until a capital budget can be approved to replace everything except the wiring.
There are plenty out there that may not know any better. As organizations start to move more physical security decisions to the IT department (especially in the video surveillance world) you're going to have a lot of IT managers that know their Cisco/HPE/Dell marketplace but wouldn't know Genetec from GeoVision. To some of those individuals a closed system may not seem like a bad option because they may not know there is another option (and if you get to an IT manager that got moved to take over security as part of their job while also managing other systems there is a high likelihood that they jump at the first system that promises easy management/low maintenance).
They are growing so quickly because they have their own internal sales team (60+) that are mass calling end users directly. They have made themselves independent of dealers, distributors, consultants, reps, etc. and as they told us in our profile of their sales organization, their "sales always own the relationship with end customers".
IMO, this is the primary reason for their growth, not the SaaS model (and certainly not the current feature set).
If Avigilon started selling direct, they would crush Verkada, easily.
IP surveillance systems are crossing the chasm of being DIY-friendly, much like PCs/Printers/Networks have become, VoIP, etc. There are a very large number of end users that are completely capable of designing, installing, and supporting their IP surveillance systems, and Verkada is one of the first companies to capitalize on this fully.
Verkada's model is a lot different than the "buy some crap online from a website" model, where users are often forced to choose no-name inferior product and risk not getting any kind of support post-sale for their system.
I am less interested in Verkada than I am in the response of the "stone age" companies to their sales approach. Verkada's growth is a major dent in the armor of the integrator channel model.
We have just learned that there is an active RFQ on the street in Memphis for ~1000 Verkada cameras and cloud storage. We estimate the contract will be worth ~$1 million. We're working on a story and plan to post on Monday, but wanted to post a comment here in case anyone had information, comments, or feedback. Here is a copy of the RFQ, which can be found on the city's website here by clicking on the PDF FIle link in the upper right-hand corner.
Anyone with information, please feel free to comment here or email me directly at email@example.com.
They have an aggressive sales strategy. I found it unflattering. One of their sales guys somehow got ahold of one of our Senior Directors (who has nothing to do with Security or IT) our C-suite directed the Verkada rep to contact me instead. The rep then told me that *my* senior director had personally requested for Verkada to show me a demo (he didn't).
Instead of explaining the product whatsoever he just started listing off dates for a webinar. This all happened in the first 20 seconds of the call coming in. Told him I wasn't interested until I could research the company; now the rep contacts me every week or so trying to set up a webinar.
It all feels very used car salesman like. I deal with sales frequently and this was not a positive interaction.
I hate lock-in, but I bought a 1st gen iPhone (no 3G, no copy-paste, and initially, you couldn't do native apps for it). Up until then, I had used a plethora of Nokia phones and before the iPhone I had an HTC candy-bar phone running WIndows CE.
There was plenty of reasons to laugh at the iPhone, and I had lots of colleagues who were still on their Verizon junk-phone for another 9 months, and few of them knew what a SIM card was. They were locked in - hard - with Verizon, AT&T etc. I got locked in too with AT&T, and later, when I bought a contract free iPhone 4 for my wife, it was STILL locked to AT&T (jailbreak was available). The "freedom" that Windows CE provided was promptly sacrificed when I tried the iPhone. And the damn thing wasn't cheap either.
The iPhone totally reconfigured the market. Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, HTC, Blackberry... titans of the pre-iPhone market, got completely pummeled. Sure, today, you can get decent phones with those brand names, but the original divisions - pretty much eradicated. We've now come full circle, and I think that people buying iPhones are a bit foolish. The alternatives are as good, if not better, and cost a 1/3 (yeah, it shares my location with the Chinese government, but I don't care).
I'm not suggesting that Verkada or Meraki are the iPhones of the IP video industry, not by a long-shot, but I am willing to suggest that perhaps we're wrong about our assumptions as to what end-users want and value and are willing to tolerate.
Maybe we're too deeply engaged in group-think, that causes us to eventually miss the boat here. We've been drinking the "open platform" cool-aid for so long that we've forgotten the bitter aftertaste of sweaty armpits and red faces when the customer lost all recordings due to crap UI's and convoluted installations. We've been able to get away with blaming the customer for making "stupid mistakes" for so long that we now think we're the gods of IP video ruling over a herd of ignorant peons. Everyone, at some point, has bumped into the arrogant supporter who thinks the customer is a total idiot because he didn't enable X, Y, Z, then disabled Q, set up a rule for P and then examined the log in /users/data/somefolder/somefolder/logs/year/date/month/00001.xml as everone with a brain knows!
I've spoken to end-users who put on a brave face, and try to impress me by saying that they appreciate the myriad of settings and configurations, but then - when I say that I think it's a terrible UI, they come to their senses and more often than not, they admit that it's not really a delightful experience, oh, and there was that time a few weeks ago, when the whole thing stopped working "but then I just rebooted the server and then it came back online".
Then there's the tech...
ONVIF is an abomination. It was borne from a desire to obstruct and prevent interoperability and the emergence of a usable standard. It shows. Imagine if, instead of ONVIFs hundreds of spec pages, we just had one page: Live video ALWAYS comes from rtsp://[ip]/live/profile1 if you want to do PTZ, then use http://[ip]/pts?x=0.1&y=1.0&z=0.0 etc. but noooo... we have to have hundreds of pages, and we have to use SOAP, and one of the founders of the spec will decide to disable ONVIF per default - for "security reasons". For 10 years, the plot worked, and it successfully prevented commoditization of the cameras, but it also prevented a "plug and play" solution from emerging, that would also be "open".
So say you wanted to fight Verkada (boy, do I want to), and offer an "open" solution based on ONVIF. It wouldn't work. ONVIF specs RTSP as the media transport, a pull-protocol. This means that to get to the camera, you need to have inbound access to it from the outside - your VMS is actually a "client" when seen from the camera. What you need is something that autonomously can act as a client and push video to a server. RTMP lets you do that, but it ain't in the standard. Basically, Verkada, and everyone else who wants to do something of that ilk will have to be proprietary.
Verkada could publish the specs, sure, but lock-in is every manufacturers wet dream, and if they can score enough customers without doing so, it's the right thing to do (commercially). They can always do it later, but there's zero value in doing it now.
Axis snubbed an emerging Dropcam (who were re-flashing Axis 205's to support RTMP). Dropcam then decides to make their own camera, and are later swallowed by Nest. Dropcam/Nest paves the way for an avalanche of cheap and simple DIY solutions for video surveillance (all proprietary). Amazon picks up Ring, and introduce a bunch of other security features beyond video. In 6-18 months, Amazon will buy Verkada for at least a billion dollars, and maybe then the typical end user will suddenly see the solution as an "iPhone" of surveillance, and then there'll be some boardroom meetings where veterans will laugh at how foolish it was of Amazon to buy these know-nothing, hotshots.
Now, I gotta go...
I've got to get my soapbox, my sign and get down to the park and warn everyone that the world is ending.
Verkada could publish the specs, sure, but lock-in is every manufacturers wet dream, and if they can score enough customers without doing so, it's the right thing to do (commercially). They can always do it later, but there's zero value in doing it now.
They were locked in - hard - with Verizon, AT&T etc. I got locked in too with AT&T, and later, when I bought a contract free iPhone 4 for my wife, it was STILL locked to AT&T (jailbreak was available)
An important distinction with the Verkada / Meraki model is that not only are you locked in, you need to continue paying them money every year. Could you imagine the uproar if Apple said you were required to pay them more money every year or they would brick your phone?
And you still 'integrate' your iPhone with other phones since they support open standards like POTS telephony, text messaging, etc. The iPhone analogy to Verkada is like your iPhone can only make phone calls to other iPhones, not landlines, not Android phones, etc.
iPhones are proprietary but not closed off to only other iPhones.
ONVIF is an abomination
Integrators, as a whole, strongly disagree with you. You may view this from a development perspective and you may have a reasonable case.
Do they want ONVIF, or is the poll more a reflection of the desire for a standard protocol that enable interop? I think it's the latter, but I'm enough of a pragmatist to accept that ONVIF is the one we have (as bad as it is), and there's no point in working against it.
So, I think we agree - standards are very useful, and the industry should push for it - and call out companies that work against that movement.
I'm enough of a pragmatist to accept that ONVIF is the one we have (as bad as it is)
It's like saying "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
Or you could say do people want IPVM or do they want a genuine attempt at information finding and real discussion (rather than PR/marketing)?
To take your question back to the topic of hand, why are customers buying Verkada, despite its many issues?
I think one thing they are solving for end users is a professional sales organization that can sell value. What's been the norm for the past few years? Random guys selling low price Chinese boxes. We hear a lot from end users tired of dealing with crappy integrators trying to trick them into buying relabelled Hikua and poorly at that (one page quotes, no part numbers, aol email addresses, etc.). Now, you have a veteran Silicon Valley sales team that is selling ease of install, cybersecurity and a direct connection to the manufacturer, not Joe's Alarm, CCTV and Garden Emporium. Anyone particularly agree or disagree with this?
Verkada, “A pig in a poke”. Selling old technology, on the edge SD card technology that according to IPVM did not see adoption 3-years ago. What they are showing is that manufacturers who have “watered down” their sales channels, selling to anybody, including amazon should look at turning back the clock. Protected territories are the way to stop this Verkada nonsense.
Verkada, a 3-camera offering with a technology that avoids logical sense, or cost sense, and requires a whole lot of expensive bandwidth to even operate. A system that pays no attention to meantime between failure. A ridiculous annual license fee that holds the users hostage.
Appears to be a group of Silicon Valley brats that Sell,sell,sell, without offering a whole lot of features and benefits,.
From a sales perspective, though, Verkada's use of edge storage is interesting. Think about it this way. You have 50+ people sitting in California calling end users up day after day. How do you get those salespeople to close deals quicker? You make it such that every camera is its own complete surveillance system so when the end user receives it, they just mount it and connect it. While that increases the cost of the products (i.e., many SSD drives instead of 1 or 2 hard drives per site), it lowers the cost of the sale and installation (i.e., not dependent on a local integrator to drive the deal).
In the model of local integrator being on-site doing site surveys, installation, integration with 3rd party cameras and systems, edge storage is a niche / added cost. However, in the manufacturer telesales model, edge storage helps reduces the cost and friction of selling.
John, Interesting point. The operative word is "Telesales". They are trying to drive sales and service remotely. My understanding is they ship the cameras and it is up to the owner to install their own cameras. Their claim of 15-minutes / camera is not "real-world" This model looks very similar to a DIY model, where again the customer is being held hostage by software licenses and expensive cameras.
Has IPVM conducted research comparing robustness of SSD drives vs. SD drives? What is the average life of the SSD's? Will they require replacement, similar to a battery after so many cycles? What is the duty design for these SSD's? (example any hard-drive can be used in an NVR, however the WD purples have built in video duty design) What happened to Onvif and all the struggle to prove open architecture between multiple manufacturers?
It appears they are trying to say they are a new cloud technology but from what I have learned so far it seems the video is left on the camera and there is no backup to the cloud. The internet is used to gain access to the cameras through IP addressing. This is not the same as continually backing up to the cloud. Not sure if this is how the "cloud" comes into play with their offering?
The only way friction can be reduced in this "Telesales" model of selling is by limiting distribution to (1) sales channel, otherwise with multiple distribution channels competition will be forced upon the manufacturer as the client will always look for the best price through multiple bids. How they are able to lock out competitors who offer superior cameras and recorder technology is what baffles me.
Yes I get they are trying to simplify cameras. They are trying to simplify with a "skeleton offering" with lack of VMS features and no local service.
The other interesting point is it seems they are able to promote these "sole-product" offering is by calling this a "technology sale" , thus throwing to the wind standard bidding procedures set up for government, schools, and municipalities.
Has IPVM conducted research comparing robustness of SSD drives vs. SD drives? What is the average life of the SSD's? Will they require replacement, similar to a battery after so many cycles?
We have not. While there are obviously general statistics on SSD drive usage, how well and reliably they will perform inside of surveillance cameras is unclear (especially since historically it has been such a niche). For example, will 4 years from now, how well will these cameras installed outdoors in marine environments or cold locales stand? It will be interesting to see. If anyone has input, curious to hear.
Flock is doing the same thing in the HOA and self-standing camera industry (shopping centers, etc.). Locked in camera agreements with a self-built camera. Raise a lot of money, get a lot of sales. We have had 3 people leave Flock because of the system limitations but still owe a year of money before those cameras become a brick, or more likely Flock takes them back.
I installed a Milestone system for a school district five years ago........today consisting of 584 cameras, oldest cameras are 5 years old, (Panasonic, Sony, and Axis).
Customer was due a server refresh.......IT department explored options.........IT department really preferred a cloud solution for perceived simplicity.........customer considered (3) options Cisco Meraki, Verkada, and staying with Milestone..........I proposed a Milestone solution with on-premise servers with a full suite of managed services to offset everything "the cloud" offered, my goal was to limit any burden on the IT department............made a presentation to the board of ed with a 5 year TCO analysis.......my Milestone solution with managed services was approximately $10k a year less then the Verkada solution.....including factoring the cost for the customer to replace all 584 existing Panasonic, Sony, and Axis cameras with Verkada cameras.........
The customer choose to go with Verkada..............
I asked the security director and maintenance director why......stating "in good conscience I would never be able to recommend a solution from a company that is only two years old, locks you into only their product end-to-end, with only (4) cameras to choose from, with no 3rd party integrations, and an unfavorable product review from IPVM"........
My 10 year relationship response........"we have a lot of tech savy people in our IT department and if they are ok with it so am I"
What did I do.............
Become a Verkada dealer..............as the old says goes "if you can't beat them, join them"
In the TCO analysis of the Verkada solution they used a 10% annual camera failure rate starting year 6, i told them more realisticlly it would be less than 5%, also Verkada told them their ip cameras are old technology typically last no more them 10 years (i believe its closer to 15) and there will need to be replaced soon anyway.....plus Verkada told the it department it should only yake about 15min to swap out a camera........i thought this was going to be a “no brainer” layup win for me.....but the above misguided cost factors they were calculating with the steep discount from Verkada on product.....made the 5 year TCO much closer than i ever thought it would be
Verkada seems to be throwing out install figures that are nothing but "puffery". That is how it's done from a computer screen 1,000's of miles away, where installation is easy and it only takes 15-minutes to do. They can do this because they are not interested in installation. They are only interested in selling "BRICKS" Let's face it the most difficult and costly element of a camera system is the labor to install wire. We has just got to SELL,SELL,SELL!
Its true what Verkada says there are many cameras are old technology, which theirs will be in 2-years as well. First there was Analog, then IP, then higher resolution IP which will continue until we reach our eyeballs resolution of 10-Mp, and then further to enhance the eye.
They initally asked me to provide a quote to install the Verkada cameras as i needed to provide that cost as part of my TCO analysis....after telling me their decision to go with Verkada i asked them again....and they told me given the cost for that scope (which was about 90k), that the board is recommending now they get multiple quotes
After looking at Milestone, Genetec, and OnSSI, and subscribing to IPVM for a "neutral" viewpoint and reviews, we just decided on a Verkada system for our school district.
While I don't necessarily like the fact it is a closed system; our goal was to move maximize surveillance coverage given minimal funding and provide easy access to the users who need to use it regularly. Verkada was the best choice in our situation.
It's going to be a viable choice in a lot of situations, especially from what I see in K-12 and how funding generally works in our vertical.
provide easy access to the users who need to use it regularly
Compared to Milestone, Genetec, and OnSSI, that is definitely a very true differentiator. Most of the VMS companies have waited far too long to make it easy to get remote access. They can easily do it, why they do not, is still unclear to me, as Axis, Dahua, and Hikvision all have such capabilities in their recorders.
I would be interested to see how this system plays out in 1-3 years. With the limited camera options to get the detail needed to ID people and licenses plates are going to be a challenge especially with someone spec'ing the cameras from the other side of the country who is motived to sell more cameras over the right camera for the situation. I have seen it time and time again where the customer installs there own system and loves it until they need to ID a face or plate and the system just can't do it.
We'll have to see. I have to admit being the a "technical person" I was very impressed with the capabilities of the top-tier systems to do facial recognition, vehicle detection, fall detection, license plate recognition, etc. However, I am not the end-user.
The user in my case is a principal, student dean, or other administrator. They want a system they can easily access, understand and they want most overall coverage they can get.
Vekada simply doesn't have the right tools to get the detail needed most of the time. They DO have a nice management interface and it's easy to add cameras to the system but that is when the fun stops. Schools have long hallways and most of the time you want to use long lenses to get the detail needed to ID people walking down the hallway. I have seen it so many times where someone installs a wide angle camera a the end of a long and I would bet 95% of Verkada cameras are installed like this. Also, almost every school we talk with wants to be able to at minimum ID license plates. What camera does Verkada have that can ID plates? Their longest lens camera is 9mm.
Vekada simply doesn't have the right tools to get the detail needed most of the time.... What camera does Verkada have that can ID plates?
They have only been around 2-3 years and they just got $40 million. It is fair bet they will have double to triple the number of camera models a year from now.
What does Verkada 2021 look like? Many more cameras, many more AI analytics built-in. Those are straight forward things to expect.
The bigger question is whether they stop being closed (i.e., allow third-party cameras to connect or their cameras to connect to third parties). Those are difficult strategic decisions whereas more of their own cameras and expanded AI are incremental improvements of things they are already working on.
Yes, I agree they can/will address the lack of camera options but without people with knowledge of cameras and how to use the right tool for the job it's not going to work out when it matters. It will be interesting to see if they open up or not.
Actually I'm not sure it's in their model's best interest to come up with "many more cameras." I can certainly see a few more models to address capability gaps, but I just don't see them competing on the scale of major camera manufacturer with dozens of models. Simplicity is their mantra--too many choices will work against that. I would expect them to dramatically enhance their analytics.
Look at Cisco versus Meraki in the enterprise switching space. Cisco has almost as many product lines as Meraki has switches; yet despite this Meraki is doing exceptionally well.
I certainly could be wrong and their business plan is certainly more complex than just the cameras they offer, but consider this.
If you don't have the optimal camera to cover the space for a given situation and you're in a closed system with captive customers; how do you get around that? Likely, you sell two cameras (or more), complete with the perpetual maintenance fees. It really I think becomes a matter of providing "just enough" choice.
Were the demos performed with the camera in 'ideal' lighting - physical location - weather? A dirty dome completely ruins the night performance of most dome types.
You are probably correct that in 'most' situations the performance of what appears to be a very limited range of cameras was impressive. The real world presents a myriad of situations requiring a broad range of physical and optical characteristics that are currently met with a staggering range of devices. Camera phones obsoleted most point and shoots but professionals still use SLR's with all of their inherent customization. Where Verkada wins is ease of use and time will tell if this is enough.
While I would love to hate this company, after going through their website and documentation I was impressed. It could be all BS I guess.
Who hasn’t heard about Ring? How old are they and what did they start with?
Of course, I wouldn’t own one of it stopped working without paying the subscription. Interestingly enough, while I have an NVR and cameras around the house....I subscribed to Ring, cancelled it for about a year and recently subscribed again. I didn’t see the value in their Cloud service, and then I did after it kept sending me alert clips from the neighborhood.
I guess there is a butt for every seat as I was taught long ago.
Is anyone else on their free Yeti live webinar? It's something else.. they were hot mic'd by accident and they must have dropped about 20 f-bombs in about 45 seconds. The live chat is pretty funny too.
Lots of talk about sales, sales, sales and little mention of support and integration. What happens after the sale? What happens in year two, three and beyond when stuff starts to fail? Closed system or not, things are going to go wrong and if they don't have the technical support teams behind them, things are going to sour, and fast. We all know, bad news travels faster than good and all it will take is one major FU to burn down the house. Ring is NOT a surveillance system. Security and surveillance in government and enterprise are critical infrastructure. Like IPVM, I may be "stuck in the stone age", but boiler room, high pressure sales tactics don't belong in the security industry.
What happens in year two, three and beyond when stuff starts to fail? Closed system or not, things are going to go wrong and if they don't have the technical support teams behind them, things are going to sour, and fast.
Structurally, one thing in their favor is that customers have to pay a subscription fee ($199 per camera for one year at a time) so Verkada has a lot of motivation to provide strong technical support.
The opposite is the Hikvision model - sell something for super low, on sale, and then commit to free technical support forever. That's the model that has greater sustainability risks.
I did the webinar today.. it started with an open mic, lot of cuss words on how they are having a switch problem.. Ryan later took over and was going 100 miles an hour. Intially tried to scare people " you will be fired if you don't do this" .. have a closed system with no open firewall is the way to go.. then claimed that they are the only company that can go real time shared video, mutua-link and many others have been doing it for years. Then Ryan pitched analytics and then concluded with pricing.
I really felt the demo was weak. Maybe I am wrong.
$100 a camera with 10 year warranty is very interesting. It finally elevates software and makes it not important than hardware. Good luck to them.
We emailed Verkada asking for clarification. In past Form D filings, a higher amount being offered may indicate that the company will soon raise more (e.g., in this instance possibly another $10 - $11 million).
It's hard to fathom how fast Veraki has been able to get their company off the ground - especially when you see.... erhmm... other companies that ought to know what they were doing, struggle and stumble even though they had several years of head-start.
Entering access control seems like a smart move; I've been having fun with one of the bigger ones lately, and it does seem as if the UX is very 1995'ish while being crazy expensive (considering the bare cost of an RFID reader, an MCU and a relay).
So Verkadas 2MP camera is 50% better than anyone else 2MP dome? I haven't played with Verkada's 5MP and 4K resolution camera but I have played with Meraki and they have 5MP sensor but only stream at 1080P. So again how is that better than everyone else's 1080P?