Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News"

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 02, 2020

Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of news'.

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Later, Verkada told IPVM that the comments Verkada posted did not align with how Verkada views IPVM.

However, Verkada's comments absolutely align with the fundamental problems Verkada has.

Access Control Debate

While access control is typically a quiet domain, Verkada's entrance caused some controversy. First, Verkada falsely claimed to be the "First Native Cloud-based Access Control and Video Security Solution" despite numerous incumbents already offering this. Such clearly wrong claims are rare for most but not Verkada.

Then IPVM criticized Verkada's access control system for only supporting Wiegand and not the newer, now fairly broadly supported OSDP.

'Not A Good Look'

Verkada quickly slapped down Jacob Hengel, the CTO of YourSix, telling him that 'IPVM being your source of news is not a good look':

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While Verkada employees are seemingly proud of not knowing much of the industry they are in, the retort that 'everyone uses Wiegand' is particularly odd. One, it's obviously false, higher-end manufacturers and deployments increasingly use OSDP and, two, with that 'everydoes does' logic runs counter to Verkada's own core messaging that Verkada is somehow newer and better.

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As for us researching the product, we asked and received input from Verkada's VP of Product who confirmed the lack of OSDP, saying that Verkada might add it "in the future based on customer demand." After IPVM complained publicly about the lack of support, Verkada now says they "expect to roll out support for 3rd party OSDP readers over the next 3-4 months."

Despite Verkada's dismissal, Hengel persisted, saying:

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Verkada was unperturbed declaring that "IPVM should never be your source of news" and that Wiegand is 'not actually a problem':

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Wiegand, it's actually a problem.

Bigger Problem Verkada Ongoing False Claims

The bigger problem, though, is Verkada's ongoing false claims. For example, Verkada recently claimed to manufacture its cameras in the USA:

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This is false. Vivotek contract manufacturers for Verkada in Taiwan. And this is concerning because misrepresenting manufacturing in the USA is a legal issue. After we brought this to Verkada's attention, they edited the comment.

Other examples of Verkada false claims include:

Verkada Response

Verkada responded to Verkada's Facebook posts saying:

Many of us are avid IPVM readers. The comment you shared does not align with how we view IPVM. We have enjoyed all of our discussions with the IPVM team to date and look forward to working with you in the future.

IPVM Used to Manufacturer Attacks

For us, it is not a big deal and comes with the territory. For example, 3 years ago, China government-owned Hikvision said we were cyberbullying them and were destined to fail:

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Now, US Silicon Valley mega-funded startup Verkada rips into us.

Verkada should mature, be more careful about saying false things, and then they surely will get more positive (or at least less negative) coverage from us and others.

Poll / Vote

Comments (153)

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There's a poll option missing: "4. I trust Hikuawei over Verkada"

What is the IQ level needed to participate in such a poll? Free for all?

#Thanks

Found the Verkadite.

Looks like they're letting the aggressive (and inexperienced) salespeople control their public accounts. It's bold, but not necessarily a good idea. Now it looks like the company has a split personality, being extremely dismissive vs being respectful. They need to have a unified voice, and that comes from limiting who can post (hopefully to people who know what they're doing).

Passive-agressive is a Bay Area thing for sure. So this makes sense.

I work for a company that could be considered a Verkada competitor. However, I will try to be as professionally unbiased as possible. That being said, I feel very personally biased against Verkada.

These guys are taking the standard Silicon Valley approach of "throw a bunch of crap on the wall and see what sticks" to physical security. They have some fancy marketing and honestly some decent features. The problem is that since they don't have knowledge of the industry they often have misleading messaging. That coupled with their high visibility results in a lot of mislead customers.

If your company is building an app to find the lowest fare on airplane tickets, or allow someone to order food to be delivered - this approach is maybe fine. You can fix the bugs as you go. However, if you're building life safety equipment - especially access control, that approach is simply irresponsible.

Verkada June 2020: OSDP - Nobody wants it!

Verkada July 2020: OSDP - We gots it!

Love it

love it ^2

:)

Undisclosed Mfg 3 is just as terrified as the rest of us, is as terrified as the IPVM cavalcade, that Verkada signifies the end of an era; Verkada is to CCTV what SimpliSafe is to the alarm industry, and as the local hypocrite who fired my Alarm.com guy for a $99 Black Friday deal from SimpliSafe, yeah, solid mark of approval there too. Fat cats of the industry, bloated on six-figure salaries cushioned by sizable commissions backed by ample expense accounts, be warned: the millennial-driven Verkada reckoning is nigh; they’re lean, they’re agile, and they can talk.

The grim reality, Verkada works. I’m qualified in saying that as one of the few who has exploited Verkada’s mindlessly simple demo hardware program, a demo program that leaves one asking “Now remind me again why I’m telling people not to buy this?” Granted, as someone who sells against Verkada CONSTANTLY, this also means I know how to exploit their hardware/software weaknesses, but they’re few. IPVM is doing a disservice to their subscriber collective by not focusing on the numerous competencies Verkada is touting, and honestly, I’m appalled IPVM hasn’t made further efforts to embrace this 900lb mustached Tesla-driving 30-something gorilla parked in the corner of the room, pinky up, sipping an espresso and listening to the White Stripes.

Like it or not, Verkada is where we’re headed. High time manufacturers and IPVM alike give them a good hard look and second-guess their roadmaps. In the meantime, Verkada’s number one weakness is their leadership, both those currently in the field, and those flagrantly posting contrasting opinions all over social media.

Wow, this was just...good.

Found the Verkada employee.

I don't know that I'm 'terrified' - maybe so. If I am it's not necessarily of Verkada, but maybe the lowering of standards. If it's so easy to bullshit your way into a customer then why should anyone try to do the "right thing."

Verkada is to CCTV what SimpliSafe is to the alarm industry

LOL, SimpliSafe is the company who freed security customers from long-term contracts, Verkada is the one who is trapping them but, heh, I get your point!

What would be real financial engineering genius is if, in 2025, Hans starts a new company whose premise is to free security users from the lock-in jail that Verkada has put them into. "Open Systems?!? What a great new idea!"

Like it or not, Verkada is where we’re headed.

I think Verkada is going to get acquired for a ton of money because Silicon Valley loves SaaS and loves no-churn (i.e., locked in businesses). We are certainly headed for more VSaaS, for more direct customer marketing but I don't think lock-in will be the norm. There are enough sophisticated customers out there and there will be enough horror stories over the next few years as many Verkada users realize what it means to be stuck... unless Verkada opens up before then.

Right now, Verkada only offers a access control solution. And when that license runs out, one would only have to change out the control unit itself. All the card readers, DPS, etc. would still work with a third parties control unit. So, if you did not want to renew the Verkada license, you could replace Verkada units relatively cheaply. At least for far less than renewing the license. In other words, nobody is locked into anything other then the Verkada contol unit which is the cheap part of the system.

Right now, Verkada only offers a access control solution. And when that license runs out, one would only have to change out the control unit itself. All the card readers, DPS, etc. would still work with a third parties control unit. So, if you did not want to renew the Verkada license, you could replace Verkada units relatively cheaply

I am speaking here about Verkada's video surveillance business, which is reasonable to believe will always be far greater than access control. If you have 100 or 1,000 Verkada cameras, it is going to be a big financial issue to replace them.

I understand. And customers have to take this into consideration when they purchase Verkada. However, even open systems have costs associated with them year to year or if you wanted to switch VMS. The cost of the license is how Verkada chooses to charge for those cost. One big advantage of the Verkada license is that every new feature that is released, a customer is automatically upgraded to it (as long as the model camera they have can support it.) So, there is value in the license.

However, even open systems have costs associated with them year to year or if you wanted to switch VMS

For sure, but the difference with the Verkada model is that they have fused the cost/features of the camera plus VMS into one.

This has been our main critique for some time - the fact the camera 'hardware' turns into a brick when you stop paying the license is crazy to me. You pay money to Verkada every year and you get features and the extended warranty, etc., is good for consumers. You don't pay money to Verkada every year and your camera bricks is not.

Let's do a comparison: let's say you have Avigilon (cameras + vms) or Verkada. If for whatever reason Avigilon is no longer what you want (features, support, partners, etc.), you ditch the VMS, keep the Avigilon cameras, and plug them into whatever your choice is of various VMS systems. With Verkada, you have to trash your cameras. Negative or not?

This is true, but consider: The cameras would be depreciated in the time you decided to change VMS making them worth far less than purchase price. If you waited 4 years, most likely the camera are worth nothing at all. In other words, by the time you want to change VMS, you will be changing the cameras too.

I have a customer right now that is changing out 50 brand new Axis cameras (they have never even been turned on) because they decided they do not want to deal with Genetec's VMS any longer. They are moving to Verkada.

I understand your point and it has validity. But most customers know that the cameras are not worth anything in a few years and changing them out does to matter all that much. So, while it is a issue to consider, it is not that big a factor.

If you waited 4 years, most likely the camera are worth nothing at all.

Maybe to you but lots of companies use cameras for 7 to 10 years. For example, 2016 cameras are still relatively serviceable.

I have a customer right now that is changing out 50 brand new Axis cameras (they have never even been turned on) because they decided they do not want to deal with Genetec's VMS any longer. They are moving to Verkada.

I believe you but it's a highly atypical case statistically in the overall market.

Seriously, you sound like you specialize in customers that let the money flow for video surveillance and that's not the norm in the video surveillance market.

My customers are all over the place. From small companies with two or three cameras to enterprise accounts. I have some customers with over 800 cameras installed. Recently, I won a job for a very large company with 18 locations needing 600 cameras. They had a committee of 7 people from IT, security, and Facilities. They looked at just about every major manufacturer and got presentations from them all. At the end of the day they choose Verkada. When we asked them why, they said the number one reason was ease of use. They said it would have taken way too much time to train the folks at the remote sites to use the Genetec system. Same with Milestone. The second thing they mentioned was the ongoing cost to maintain those systems.

1. They said it would have taken way too much time to train the folks at the remote sites to use the Genetec system. Same with Milestone.

2. The second thing they mentioned was the ongoing cost to maintain those systems.

#1 sounds more like the talking point of a Verkada sales person pushing the 'ease of use' button vs actual reality. Even the high-end VMS systems you mention (on purpose) have certification programs in place that teach the fundamentals - and even train customers to use the system with their VAR partners. Also, you ignore the far easier to use VMS's (also on purpose) like Nx and Exacq and others that don't even require certification. It only takes more time when customers want to learn about all the other features that need more instruction than just "push a button".

#2 Do you have a chart/graph of assumed ongoing maintenance costs of a traditional VMS vs the recurring monthly fees that are paid to Verkada? When is the break-even point? 6 years?

I sell all the solutions you mention. I am only telling you what the customer told us about easy of use. They loved the way the Verkada system worked. These were sophisticated buyers. Everyone proposing a solution had to provide a demo system. When the Genetic guys came in for a demo, it was so overly complicated that they were almost immediately ruled out.

I don't have a chart. But we have run cost comparisons for customers and in the end, Verkada is price competitive. Most of these customer understand that 5 years down the road, the cameras are depreciated to nothing no matter the brand.

I feel like you would have served the customer much better if you had of offered them a solution similar to Eagle Eye Networks rather than tossing the existing never used Axis cameras.

Serving the customer is one thing. But at some point, you have to sell them what they want. Again, these are not un-sophisticated buyers.

From your original comment it doesn't sound like the customer knew what they wanted. If it was solely ease of use there are probably 10 other options you could have steered them towards before ripping the existing cameras out and putting them into a locked in solution with arguably subpar cameras. You say they are not "un-sophisticated" buyers but they sure seem that way.

I don't have a chart. But we have run cost comparisons for customers and in the end, Verkada is price competitive. Most of these customer understand that 5 years down the road, the cameras are depreciated to nothing no matter the brand.

you are a strong advocate for the Verkada platform. and imo, so far your logic and reasoning is pretty sound.

but in your defense of adopting this platform you seem to stray into a lot of the Verkada sales drone sound bites (though with an elevated delivery vs most Verkadite sales people) that not a lot of physical security veterans agree with. Like:

5 year life of cameras

locking in customers

TCO fallacies

How can you not have a chart and still want anyone to believe that you've run cost comparisons?

I sell and support a lot of brands besides Verkada. I don't have a chart because I don't need one. Personally, I seldom sell on price. Instead, I sell the solution. I am not interested in selling cheap, low end solutions.

I have never had a customer ask for a comparison and I have sold over 1 million in Verkada equipment in the last 9 months. All of the larger sales where to companies or government agencies shopping multiple brands. They could have picked any brand they wanted. All the big boys where present and price was a major consideration. They choose Verkada.

Every single customers that choose Verkada already had traditional server based systems or NVR's. They already knew the cost of maintaining those systems. None ask for a comparison. They also know the headaches of when a server goes down and service plans. Verkada is selling into what people hate most about traditional VMS or NVR style systems and offers a compelling solution to that. It is also feature rich with zero maintenance costs. There support is the best I have every worked with in 20 years in the IT business.

I like selling it because customers love it. And it keeps getting better. Is it perfect? No, far from it. Is Verkada's sales tactics ideal? Definitely not. But Verkada is getting better all the time and the improvements cost the customer nothing. They wake up one day and find out they have a new suite of features that does not cost them one dime. They love that and no one else offers it.

again, a well reasoned response...

except you are defending points that I have not made:

"I am not interested in selling cheap, low end solutions."

I never mentioned this at all - and instead, my point was about 'sophisticated customers' - a term you overuse, imo.

All the sophisticated customers I've ever done business with in this industry over the last 15 years actually cared about TCO....

flippant dismissals of such concerns either shows the weakness in the platform or the average IQ of those that buy it.

which is it?

I have tried to explain to you why people are running away from your 15 years of experience to Verkada who has only been around for 3. Sophisticated customers know what they want and what they don't want. You will never impress them with a TCO presentation. They could care less. They already know the numbers.

You can put your head in the sand if you want, but it will not change anything. Verkada is making traction because a large portion of the people who try it, love it. And a TCO argument is not going to change that. You remind me of the guys who use to sell BetaMax.

Do you know what allows Verkada to so heavily promotes the free trials where they will send you up to 3 cameras for free? They know that once people use and compare Command (their Cloud based VMS) to what they have, a large portion will switch. And no TCO argument/presentation will bring them back.

Nobody knows where Verkada will end up, but right now it seems that they are soon to be a industry leader. If they could clean up the sales tactics, I think they can do it.

your argument is dismissive and fails to address any of my points - other than to just insinuate that you 'see' what I do not see. Any director of security who doesn't care about TCO is a moron. straight up.

I think you are wrong - and that your opinions are heavily influenced by the amount of money you've made from this platform in these early stages.

you will be proven wrong over time - and you will use your advanced understanding of what customers want to abandon this platform for the next thing that will make you money - probably ahead of all us other morons.

Do you know what allows Verkada to so heavily promotes the free trials where they will send you up to 3 cameras for free?

One major competitive differentiator is the full push for Verkada salespeople to pitch / close end-users directly. There's certainly some amount that traditional surveillance manufacturers do but Verkada is on a whole other level. From a selling perspective, Verkada has a better shot, everything else being equal, with their own reps pushing hard with end users than being as channel dependent as most traditional companies are. Agree/disagree?

Verkada's sales tactics definitely need to change. I have seen them drive customers away because of it. They put too much pressure on the sales people to meet quota and that is when you see the mistakes made and documented on this site.

I feel having your own team of sales reps is always a good thing. But Verkada needs to tone it down. They need the channel and they know that. You cannot sell large, expensive systems from a call center in San Mateo. Somebody has to get out and demo it, somebody has to look over the site and decide what is needed, put the proposal together, and somebody has to install it. That is where the channel comes it.

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Verkada Needs To Tone It Down. They Need The Channel And They Know That

Wow. That just shocks me. I can see the IT folks going for it no problem because that is the norm for them. Although maybe Security is not paying for it so they are happy to take whatever they can get?

I see the appeal of Verkada if it is not my budget because it would simplify things at remote sites. With the constant turn over of contract security the ease of use thing becomes about 75% of the equation.

When switching away from Verkada what happens to the video? If you have 200 camera do you need to get 200 more switch ports to plug your cameras in so you can access the video? That makes an unpleasant process even more painful.

That is simple. You can offload your video to the cloud or a sever. It's free.

You can export all the video from all the cameras on to a server easily? If you take over a server-based system you can leave the server online for a couple of months so the security team can access video till it expires say 60 or 120 days. You would need to keep all the Verkada cameras plugged in and be current on your yearly fees to access the video yes/no?

It is very easy to export to a server. You can even set it up to do it automatically or you can export to AWS. There is not charge for this. I have never had Verkada turn off a license. They give people ever opportunity in the world to renew. They have always extended customers for free until such time as they either renew or retrieve data.

What am I missing? Just tried to export a month of video.

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Under user settings, you can set the amount of time a user can archive at one time. You can set the length to anything you like but you must have admin rights to do it.

Long as it is less than 5 hours. So if you have 100 cameras with 120days of storage this is going to take a LONG time.

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You need to go into your Admin and change it to custom settings. Then you can make it as long as you like.

I am the admin.

Looks like 12 hours is the max.

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Looks like 12 hours is the max.

death by a thousand clips

As UI18 noted, that is a new default organization setting set to 5 minutes:

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Maximum length is 12 hours:

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wait. you can't just push a button?

however will sophisticated users cope with having to be trained on things that require more than that?

When switching away from Verkada what happens to the video?

fair question, but who really considers the cost of getting rid of something when they're buying something?

CSO: How easy is it if we decide to rip it out tomorrow?

Vendor: Super Easy. Nobody is easier. We could have a decommissioning team there in the morning. Just call me.

CSO: In that case, it would likely be the new CSO who would call you, heh, heh.

Vendor: Not a problem. Just let us know where you land.

fair question, but who really considers the cost of getting rid of something when they're buying something?

I think that's a good point. I also think the more experienced you are, the more you consider such risks.

For example, I am old enough to remember when:

  • Pelco was the giant
  • Intellex was cutting edge
  • Arecont was growing like gangbusters
  • BRS was raising $100+ million in VC funding
  • Having to explain to Hikvision the purpose of a reset button

For every company like Axis that makes it as long as they have as a major player, there is 5x or 10x the number of companies that fall off in a decade.

Chances are Verkada, like most companies, declines (competitively if not financially) significantly later in the 2020s and people will want a way out. Now, maybe, like #18 says, after a few years they will be happy to buy all new cameras anyway but that's not my experience as the norm in this industry.

For example, I am old enough to remember when...

then you'll have no problem answering the following:

Who "eliminated IP's greatest strength (openness) while keeping its biggest weakness (high cost). It is remarkable how long they have kept to this obviously failing strategy" ?

Hint: Not Verkada

[IPVM Note: The Fall of Dedicated Micros - 2014]

I'll tell you one group of people who think about that - public safety departments who are locked in to Axon and don't want to ever make that mistake again.

This is probably the biggest reason we didn't go with Verkada. If you are not happy and want to move on the cameras are bricks. If I am not happy with Eagle Eye I still have my Axis cameras and I can move to something else. Plus as long as Eagle Eye can make a driver for the camera I want to use I can use pretty much use anything I want. Unless Verkada opens up to other camera brands I wouldn't go near it with a ten foot pole.

$1600 for a proprietary and basic controller isn't exactly inexpensive. Especially if you purchase for multiple locations; even more so when the same "throw away" concern doesn't exist whatsoever with others.

Ability to use 3rd party readers is a step in the right direction for the organization but I don't foresee that leading to them "opening up" their video side in any way.

Nobody pays $1,600 for the controller. But I understand your point of view and the time a customer would have invested. My point was simply that after 5 years, if you did not want to renew, you would not have to change out the entire system. At that point, the cost of changing it (amortized over the five years) would not be cost prohibitive.

How many Verkada systems do you think will be access control only? Also how easy is it to export your cardholder data?

Hard to say. I don't think many because the value in the system and what it can do is in the integration with the cameras. I can tell you that it will help them sell camera because the way it all ties together is seamless and works very well.

Value?? I am not seeing the value of an expensive proprietary system. How easy is it to export the cardholder data in a CSV file?

I do not know how they could make it more simple to export the data. You literally push one button.

Cool.. Please post a link of the card holder data which you can export I would love to see it.

What data would you like to see? There is a CVS button under the user group manager to export your users, another for the cameras and all the associated info (MAC, IP, Config, etc. ) There are more for Door access, event logs, config, etc. The screens have a "Download to CVS" button on the upper right side. You click it, and you get your data downloaded. It is that simple.

Card holder data is what I want to to see. Have you done any access control takeovers?

In the access module, you go to reports and then click the Export button. It is that simple.

It is very easy to export to a server.

You also said that is easy to export the video which it clearly is not. So sorry if I question your info about exporting data from the access control part.

Exporting video is as simple as I said. If you cannot get it to work, just press the help button and they will walk you through it. How much simpler could it be?

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Exporting video is as simple as I said. If you cannot get it to work,

The point of contention is how long one can export. You originally said, "you can make it as long as you like." Sean and Michael show pictures from the UI that show a maximum time period of 12 hours. Is one of you mistaken or?

Are Sean and Mike the end all say all on Verkada? I doubt it. If you don't know how to do it, just press the help button. A real live person will walk you through it. Could it get any easier?

Could it get any easier?

You could make clear your position. Are you still saying "you can make it as long as you like"? That would presumably include exporting video for 15, 30, 60 days, etc. Yes?

You can make it as long as the camera as the storage on the camera.

From Verkada:

We can't set it to 30 days as the support archive creation is run as a one time thing. The max we can set it to is 24 hours.

The more likely situation is a Verkada customer having video and access control. One, they have been selling video for a few years, and, two, selling access control is harder than video (since systems are inherently more complicated) to sell.

If you are a customer using Verkada access and video, it's going to be expensive to switch, since you then have to ditch all the cameras and controllers. It's like using Axis and Mercury, but the opposite.

I agree. But then again, a strong business model is to get the customer to commit to you in multiple ways. It will be very difficult for them to switch away. To me, a very good business model is to do everything you can for your customer. That way, it is tough for them to switch even if they wanted to.

a strong business model is to get the customer to commit to you in multiple ways

I agree, the business model is strong, particularly from the point of view of the business.

To me, a very good business model is to do everything you can for your customer.

I agree there too. The issue here is if a customer wants to leave Verkada, it's going to be tough to switch because of Verkada's extremely atypical lock-in model.

People are paying $600, $800, $1,000 for these cameras and Verkada refuses to let them simply stream video without paying them a license every year? That's a good business model for Verkada but I don't see it as good for the consumer. Is this the future? My frig doesn't work unless I keep paying Maytag, my lawnmower shuts down unless I pay John Deere annually, etc.

True. But the customer is well aware of this when they purchase and buy anyway. At that point, they are making a decision knowing all the facts and they choose the license. I can only conclude that they see the value in it. Most people buying these systems are sophisticated and have bought systems before.

Most people buying these systems are sophisticated and have bought systems before.

I would disagree with you on that point. I think that the bulk of the people buying Verkada are not seasoned security folks. These are the IT teams, or the facilities folks that are looking for a shortcut.

I find it hard to believe that a seasoned professional would recommend the camera quality that Verkada offers. In a lot of ways they are cameras for people that don't know anything about cameras.

Well, I will agree the camera quality needs to improve. We have lost deals over that issue. I can only tell you about my customers and most all of them that do buy Verkada are doing so to replace a existing system.

For an integrator to rip out never used Axis cameras and replace with Verkada because the customer felt the "learning" curve was too high with Genetec to me seems like the customer got led down the garden path. There were many other options that could have been considered before ripping out all of the existing cameras. I wonder where the new never used Axis cameras ended up?

I find it hard to believe that a seasoned professional would recommend the camera quality that Verkada offers.

They wouldn't. Which is why I am very skeptical of this part of the thread.

Did they look at Open Eye?

Who are their users? I was the national training director at a security guard company and personally trained hundreds of security officers how to use the clients varied systems and I can attest that there are very hard to use platforms out there, especially so when the training needs to be geared to the lowest level of user capabilities and experience. having said that, platforms like Eagle Eye, Open Eye, and Vaion are far easier to use than any of the platforms that I had to train my security officers on. I find it very hard to believe that this "sophisticated buyer" that you are referring to had employees that would find any of those platforms too complicated. I'm trying to wrap my head around this so please help me out. I'm tempted to believe there was more financial incentive in it for you to influence their decision towards Verkada.

Personally, I don't believe that any platform that is the right platform for my customer today will necessarily be the right platform for them 5 years from now and I want to do everything that I can to future proof their investment out of my integrity as a trusted business partner to their business. The proprietary nature of Verkada is the exact opposite of that.

my lawnmower shuts down unless I pay John Deere annually

It's funny you mention John Deere, as they have been selling in the SaaS space for years, not even allowing their customers to repair their own farm equipment, etc. Lots of industry debate there, as you would imagine!It's not that far off from the entirely locked down setup that Verkada is offering.

John Deere does exactly that.

As Manufacturer #3 said, the buyers are the IT department. For years Cisco has been selling them hardware that turns into a brick when the license expires. They’ve already been “trained” by Cisco to accept that as normal. Verkada is capitalizing on this.

What Cisco hardware are you referring to? Cisco Meraki or something else?

To me, a very good business model is to do everything you can for your customer. That way, it is tough for them to switch even if they wanted to.

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Line of the Month (LotM) Entry:

"It's like using Axis and Mercury, but the opposite."

Without a controller and management software, you just have a bunch of parts hanging on the door and cards in user lanyards.

I'm not disputing the technicality of what you're saying, but emphasizing that the integration, configuration, and management of the system is a significant sunk cost.

I've sat thru the demo and I drink from my Yeti every day. That being said - selling a completely proprietary surveillance solution that doesn't work with any standard out there is embracing the world of IoT. It is embracing those that find something, pick their narrow target market and make their millions without understanding or caring what that does. Most people sell some type of semi-propritary access control solution where at least some parts can work with other systems if the client dumps that system down the road. In the case of this solution, if their investors are tired of feeding the beast and cut them off down the road - the clients are left with cameras and access control (haven't looked at the access solution yet - maybe you can reuse the readers?) that must be fully ripped and replaced, no audit trail, no video backup. At least if the VMS company goes out of business you can buy the VMS of your choice that works with standards based cameras and get back going. On top of that you could take the old servers and put them on the shelf to save data if you need to... Startups are an important part of innovation and we need that. But, as industry professionals we owe it to ourselves and our clients to make sure we are providing a solid solution that provides a true security solution and is not just lining peoples pockets for the short gain while possible leaving our clients hanging. I may be wrong. Verkada may take over the world and become the next Microsoft or Apple or Google. But - at least for me - I'm gonna drink from my free Yeti, watch a webinar or 2 to keep up on the new stuff to make sure I stay ahead of the curve and sell the tried and true stuff. Just my 2 cents.

Verkada sells a lower-cost, acceptable quality camera with an onboard storage device and a convenient cloud-routed connection strategy for reviewing the remote storage at the device.

They don't support ONVIF, so you have to use their platform to use your cameras. You pay a relatively significant fee per-camera, per year, to use this platform.

After your reach scale, it becomes difficult and expensive to change. With essentially any other party, if you wanted to change your VMS, you buy new licenses and spin up new servers. With Verkada, you have to also rip and replace your cameras, which will be prohibitive to most SMBs.

Verkada is the new lock-in alarms provider, trying to use their venture capital to tip the industry away from open standards, which is going to be frustrating, expensive, and will ultimately reduce innovation.

My main thing - their technology is great. People are lying if they dispute that. Verkada's platform is modern, fluid, and capable. I really want to like and respect them in general as a peer in the industry. The vendor lock-in thing is a bit insane, but that's a business decision they made and they don't lie about it. Sure - they will sell against it being a big deal, but fine - there is no deception here.

Unfortunately, the marketing is always dishonest (at best). Why lean on dishonest marketing if you have solid tech? There is no reason for it. This comes back to a leadership problem at its core. Verkada has been in the game long enough to have overcome these hurdles by now.

My recommendation to leadership and venture capital:

Fix the brand. The image is critical and Verkada must get control over who has access to social media accounts, is allowed to respond to the press, etc. Focus on improving honesty through-out the sales and marketing teams. Invest in training so that sales reps and marketing professionals are being truthful in the messages delivered. Force your product management team to learn the industry so that releases don't flub on things like OSDP and the messaging around this stuff.

If they can't get control over these things, Sequoia needs to make some heads roll from the top down.

This is a fantastic post, Jacob -- very well said.

I completely agree with you that the core technology of Verkada is solid and downright impressive in some respects, and it's crazy to argue that. There are some huge drawbacks to the platform -- i.e. vendor lock-in, lack of compatibility with third-party cameras, lack of integrations options, etc -- but the base video technology is very good.

What you didn't come out and say is something that I will say outright -- based upon my experiences with them, I consider them to be not only largely misinformed and misinformers about the industry as a whole, I simply find them to be complete slimeballs. They may be good with the fact that they don't understand the "traditional" industry, but that doesn't mean that you can just lie and make things up because it fits your narrative. I've seen that happen on multiple occasions.

Additionally, their entrance into the access control market is an absolute joke. The lack of OSDP support is a significant piece, but is hardly the full missing piece of the puzzle. I'm not going to go into detail on some of the other issues that exist in their products by default, but they'll be discovered and discussed soon enough here I'm sure.

I expect that one of these days, Verkada will "grow up" and develop into a decent, reputable company with a suite of products that make them competitive across the board in the marketplace. But that day is not today, and I don't expect that it will be for another 4-5 years at least. Their products need to mature, and their company needs to mature A LOT before they'll be a serious player for anyone other than small companies with IT guys running "security".

My sentiments exactly. The actual product could be good (though I haven't tested it), but the shady marketing just keeps overshadowing that--to the people who pay attention to the industry, at least.

I think this hyper-aggressive approach will only get them short-term wins. You can only get so far by lying and insulting. Eventually the bad reputation you accrue won't be limited to just people in the know. It will leak into popular opinion and then you'll have to spend a lot on PR to fix it.

For the first few years, Verkada has seemed to be perfectly okay with this strategy. Hopefully they'll change soon.

From a Capital prospective (having worked in the VC business for more than 10 years) they are with their back against the wall. They raised $40M at $500M pre-money valuation which was 25x of revenue (already insane valuation) burned through this money in less than 9 month just to raise $80M at $1.5B valuation (est. $60M revenue at best). For what? A little bit of software - no real IP?

1st this is a Texas HoldEm style game "ALL IN"

2nd Let's put perspective, let's take a highly successful security company such as Arcsight which after 12 years and at $350M in sales (hard, hard work) with a direct sales force, SEs, presales, sold for $1.5B (4.28 x sales which by the way is a reasonable number and in the VC industry you get up to 10x before a company is fully established - Series A or B).

What is the conclusion of this?

a. I can't see an easy exit, because last money in wants to see profit which means we are looking at an M&A price north of $2B which conventionally means at the minimum $400M in sales

b. What happens if they burn through this money again - closure? Especially in the current financial markets it is not easy to raise another $80M and get a severe down round if investors believe in the fundamental technology.

So the entire marketing and pasturing sounds to me like a Hail Mary

#14, thanks for your first comment, interesting analysis.

A couple of points of fact:

burned through this money in less than 9 month

According to this round's lead investor, they had not burned through that money. I tend to believe them. How much money was in the bank when the $80 million came in is an important question and I don't know that.

What happens if they burn through this money again - closure?

Verkada's CEO recently said they were scaling back their expansion plans for 2020, still aggressive by any normal measure, saying:

Verkada's workforce has grown from 300 employees in January to 380 today. The plan was to grow that to around 800 by year's end but the goal now is to be at between 500 and 600 employees.

Here is where I disagree:

A little bit of software - no real IP?

The financial value is not the IP, specifically unique technology but how they have put it together to lock buyers in. Their access control, on technology terms is shrug, but you get a school district to buy video surveillance and access control from Verkada and that account is as good as locked until 2040. Calculate the free cash flow from that considering it's $200 per camera, $250 per door, annually over and over at ridiculously high margins. I think a financial investor would happily buy that.

The bigger question I don't know is for how long do they grow at 100%+. Remember, a decade ago, when DHH laughed at Facebook's then $33 billion valuation? Now, it's worth 20x that amount. To be clear, I am not saying Verkada is or will be a Facebook type success but if Verkada doubles every year for a few years, I am sure investors will be happy to be $2 billion or more for that locked-in cash flow. Yes/no?

With the future financial hardships of school districts in the near future due to COVID, how are they going to pay that $200-$250 per device? I'm guessing a lot will let their subscription go and live off the fake camera model until they get caught with an incident.

90% not very....LOL

do Glengarry Glen Ross/Boiler Room/Wolf of Wall Street style companies ever 'mature' into anything else?

I don't think this blitzkrieg sales method is designed to mature.

Some could argue Avigilon. My opinion of them when they first gained notoriety was very market department led (Or sales I guess you could argue). Their classic replace 28 cameras with one Avigilon camera sort of nonsense. Heavily pushing their own codec.

They seem to have matured quite a bit, now being apart of Motorola.

ok, you got me Daniel... ;)

I railed against that too, back in the day, and you are right about how they did actually mature.

But what caused that maturation? Fernandes leaving? Bouncing Schmode? Motorola buying them?

Does the Verkada exit plan include being bought by a mega-sized player in the security industry?

my understanding of their history was when they wanted to take the company public they knew they had to open their platform in order to make it

Their classic replace 28 cameras with one Avigilon camera sort of nonsense

95...

Is Avigilon 95 Camera Claim Violating FTC Guidelines?

Companies can change and once Verkada gets their big payday acquisition, it's likely a larger mature company will run them more carefully.

Then it won’t be half as much fun.

In fairness, it's refreshing to know that it's not just the Chinese cornering the market in shady marketing...

Next time someone accuses IPVM of being anti-China and pro-America...

Which of the two are the larger role? Anti or Pro?

Neither. We want fairness and fair play.

Hikvision being fronted by the China Communist Party is not fair play. Verkada using a Silicon Valley war chest and ongoing false claims to lock people into systems is not fair play.

So someone please explain to me why this isn't just Eagle Eye for snowflakes?

I really don't get the Verkada hype for installers but I see how clients get interested based on the BS their sales team pitches. Pretty much every current manufacture has a broader camera line with better low light and WDR. Not to mention Veraka compresses the video more. Yes, the interface looks "cool" but it's missing lots of features of other VMS's have had for a while.

I glanced at their website.

Now my LinkedIn feed is getting smashed with ads for them.

I wish some investment banker bros would give me that kind of marketing budget.

As a potential customer, Verkada, Meraki, & Rhombus are appealing offerings. The lock-in is not a problem for some. I actually prefer it.

For us, buying a system that will require minimal maintenance, patching, or patch-working of vendors is a big draw. I'd prefer not manage the lifecycle & security of: cameras, storage, compute, VMS software, network access, etc. Having all of these essentially "managed" is really an attractive quality for some.

I'm willing to spend more money to have the freedom from not running firmware updates on cameras, or replacing HDDs in an NVR, or upgrade to the latest VMS (or the underlying OS, or firmware for that server, or the storage system, etc).

Some of us don't live security cameras- it may not be our core business, and the three vendors above allow us customers to have cameras, but to worry much less about them.

But at what cost:As for cost, yes, it's likely Verkada is highest priced of these three vendors and may even cost more than virtually any other system over the long haul. How much more? I wish I knew, and sometimes, I just don't care. If it's in the budget, and the product fits the requirements, then shouldn't I be focused on the 98% of my other duties and not worry about it so much?

If we buy one of the above three, and pay for cameras, installation, and licensing upfront for the expected, warrantied & deployed life of the cameras, what costs are we missing? Self patching (check) new features that continually get added (check) vendor that has recurring revenue to develop a product & add features, and shouldn't have trouble staying afloat (check) Support when we need it (Check).

This model has worked well for Meraki with network equipment, so why not for cameras? Ring Central - they are killing off the "Dinosaurs" of legacy PBX companies left and right, and it seems to be working just fine. Sure, you probably give up some features from a 15-year old Legacy PBX, but did you really need or use all them? Not every customer does. You also get something managed, updated, fresh, and financially sustainable.

My point here is - it's really easy to pick on these three vendors (Especially Verkada for how ruthless their sales team is), but is it possible they are all valid, suitable, preferred solutions for some customers?

If the solution meets a customer requirements, I don't see a problem with this model I guess. I think part of the problem is, many people view buying cameras as a lifetime investment, or a monthly/annual cost - I don't. For me, it's a one-time cost for a fixed term (5-10 years) and then I refresh. I mean, when you buy a copier for your work, do you think "but what will this be like 30 years from now?", I sure don't - we refresh copiers every 5 years like clockwork when a lease runs out.

How long should one really keep all their cameras in service? For me, that number is probably ~10 years, at which point, our needs may have changed. Our buildings will be renovated. Our requirements will change. The tech for sure will have changed (we'll have 64K cameras or something ridiculous like that). Sure, we have some locations that could probably get by with older camera tech just fine, but if we can afford it, why not upgrade everything on a set lifecycle?

Verkada: A ton of marketing money. Relentless sales team of good looking silicon valley duchetard mimbos. Some solid features (person & face detection work quite well). More features like license plate reading coming. Lots of bugs. Lots of buffering is a pain for sure. Image quality not anything to write home about. Somewhat clunky web interface, but some areas make it very fast to focus on what matters (i.e finding a person entering a building). Few controls a user can adjust like WDR (but support can and will adjust for you). Good financial health, they'll be here tomorrow, I'd take that bet anytime.

Meraki: Meraki won't go anywhere - but who knows, they may drop video (they did it with phones, so it's not unheard of). Meraki's approach to not building new camera features, and instead focusing on APIs to let 3rd parties innovate for them (i.e. face detection, license plate reading, etc), leaves the customer holding the bag to tie 3rd party systems together in a clunky way, at their own expense. Fold in a mobile app that has not been updated in 2+ years, and totally blows to begin with, and it's hard to get jazzed up about Meraki. Sure, their dewarp functionality is slick, and yes, they have a beta mobile app, so I guess there is hope? But to let their product fall so far behind doesn't inspire confidence in the future. RTSP support is nice, and the others should add this. Backed by Cisco's focus on network security is a bonus. A single pane of glass for network & cameras is nice, but do we really care, nope. I feel like if Verkada didn't exist, Meraki wouldn't innovate their cameras at all -so if anything, thank Verkada for that I guess?

Rhombus: If they got acquired or went bust in a few years, I wouldn't be surprised. If you've been on a demo and seen their sad, sad office, you know what I mean. They clearly are not as well funded as the other two, and yet, their product is pretty alright. A lot of features, a nicely designed interface that all works fairly well. Cheaper than the other two guys by far. Their face detection blows compared to Verkada, and the concept of "licensing" every feature (even though it's allegedly included for free) is bonkers. I have a feeling every time a customer licenses a feature, they have to pay some 3rd party for API calls or something, so they are trying to limit utilization to save money and stay in business? They seem like a great option, but I wouldn't want to be locked into them if their financial health wasn't proven stable.

So with all that in mind, out of the three, which would you pick & why?

#12, thanks, that's very insightful!

But btw:

Relentless sales team of good looking silicon valley duchetard mimbos

Sigh, and this is coming from someone who is on net, pro-Verkada. Hans, take note.

So with all that in mind, out of the three, which would you pick & why?

Good question, tough question! I can help with feedback on financial health. I don't think that Rhombus has much of a chance of going out of business and while Verkada will certainly 'be here tomorrow', the tougher and more appropriate question is in what form these companies will be in.

Take Verkada -

The best-case scenario for the company is that they continue to grow revenue quickly allowing them to develop features both broadly and deeply, meaning their customers get a wide array of functionalities. As such, despite the lock-in, Verkada is so 'good' that most are happy to be locked in.

The worst-case scenario is that growth decelerates, investors become frustrated, the company constrains R&D investment, and while the company is alive, the offering's growth in features and capabilities is poor. Customers grow increasingly frustrated by being locked into this

As in most cases in life, the reality is typically somewhere in between and it's hard to project the future.

it's a one-time cost for a fixed term (5-10 years) and then I refresh. I mean, when you buy a copier for your work, do you think "but what will this be like 30 years from now?", I sure don't - we refresh copiers every 5 years like clockwork when a lease runs out.

Maybe you use video surveillance systems like you do copiers and, if that is the case, the future does not really much mater as long as the company goes out of business.

I think most video surveillance buyers do (or at least will need) to have their video surveillance systems evolve over time. One fundamental element is the sheer number and types of devices (from PTZs to fisheyes to multi-imager to covert to anti-ligature etc.). Another is the variety of software functions one may want and the benefits of integrating various types of security systems. Open systems are critical to being able to deal with that, most buyers soon or later are going to realize that being locked in is a real problem.

I do get it's the easy button today but I am quite confident that down the line (and it may ironically fall to the buyer's successors 3 or 5 years from now) that the customer will be frustrated by the problems with lock-in.

Fair points John,

Perhaps it would be fairer to them to critique their CCTV and access control offerings separately as the seem to have a better handle on the CCTV side of things. I think for certain customer segments, their CCTV offering has appeal. I did have a quick dig around their privacy and trust statements which raised a few queries. They are buzzwording around AES and TLS 1.2 but they are light on specific details and the devil is always in the details! Their argument about port forwarding being insecure seems nonsense as the security of the forwarded port is primarily dependent on the target box behind the firewall/router. Certainly, organising port forwarding with the client IT people can be a pain, so running back on 443 could help. In larger scale infrastructures, having appliances showing up on 443 on their primary infrastructure would set off many company's alerts, so I'm not sure how well it is suited to scale.

The access control seems very entry level and perhaps illuminates their actual target market for both the CCTV and access control offerings which is small disparate installations of a few cameras and doors. Maybe their offering has value to that target and we should adjust our offerings to imitate the value in whatever way we all can.

then shouldn't I be focused on the 98% of my other duties and not worry about it so much?

Btw, this is a really insightful point too. I do agree if video surveillance is an afterthought, I totally see the logic of getting the easiest thing so you can move on.

On the other hand, I am still confident that most users will realize over time getting locked in will cause more problems. But we will see!

A correlation between vendor lock-in and auto patching/maintenance is a total myth. RingCentral for example does not make phones. RingCentral prides themselves on being open.

The same is certainly true in the surveillance industry. Very easy to get a modern cloud platform that auto-patches Axis camera firmware for example and then there is no fear with the lock-in. The two are not synonymous. I know that both Arcules and our platform both handle full lifecycle maintenance on Axis cameras for example. I'm sure there are others.

Fire us or Arcules and that massive hardware investment is still safe.

As for cost, yes, it's likely Verkada is highest priced of these three vendors and may even cost more than virtually any other system over the long haul. How much more? I wish I knew, and sometimes, I just don't care.

does anyone in the company "care" about the value proposition? or is the difference in cost just a drop in the bucket for your firm?

Not a part of the other company but for us it is just a drop in the bucket. The difference here is we manage the security cameras, and operational cameras to increase the ROI for the business on "security hardware." Providing analytics on usage, tracking proper POE usage, remote monitoring of locations so staff only drive out to the location when needed instead of daily, etc. All of this is stuff not doable with Verkada to my knowledge. However, if you are not looking to innovate or provide new operational uses for cameras then I for one agree with not having to update firmware or support all of the backend for devices that just sit their relatively unused by 99% of the workforce.

The above makes a lot of sense in relation to SMBs and low-risk organisations which won't be needing to review their systems all that much. And there's a massive market for buy-it-and-forget-it security that makes it really simple to go look at a couple cameras a few times a month if you really need to.

Businesses in a growth phase that goes from tens of cameras to hundreds or thousands of cameras deployed, especially once they build up some sort of security center which has to regularly be in their cameras, will start missing a lot of the more detailed and powerful automation a dedicated VMS or 3rd party systems enable. It'll be too bad at that point when they're looking at a very big spend to replace lots of hardware.

option #4 = none of the above. It is a fallacy to be limited in choice to only those 3. If you want to 1 - not have on premise servers, 2 - not have thick clients, and 3, have continuous updates pushed automatically = then there are options through companies like Vaion, Open Eye, Eagle Eye and coming soon - Qumulex where you can accomplish all of the above with non-proprietary cameras with on-board storage. The bridge would be the only piece of equipment that would be worthless if you switched platforms. I'm all for your proposal of a 5 year life cycle and have any customers who don't have a piece of equipment on site older than 5 years, and some even 3 years. However, what happens when next year you need to switch to a platform that meets a business need and now you have to do a 100% forklift of existing equipment in order to make the switch. There are many reasons that we don't even know about that could make this a reality - ie - Covid-19 response. I'm not your CFO nor am I accountable to those with financial interest in your company but in my opinion, the decision to go down that road is fiscally irresponsible when there are other platforms that exist that do more for less money and don't lock you in.

Is there a chance that such a "bad marketing" is actually an intentional one? Could it happen some companies have embraced and adopted it as their viable marketing strategy being fully aware and comfortable with consequences?

I'm just thinking out loud, of course. It definitely brings PR and brand awareness (might be negative but still...), and these are not the KSPs to be ignored. Could it be perceived as an easier task for a sales rep to just counter all negative buzz around the "bad marketing" as a BS being face to face with a prospect? It works for Verkada and some others so far...

i think you are exactly right that they chose their GTM strategy using this Boiler Room sales method for specific reasons... i.e. to spawn immediate and spiking growth.

this adds value for the investors - at least on paper.

as long as they can continue the ramp-up in new customers, they continue to grow in 'value'. once that growth spike ends, expect to see hundreds of former sales people looking for new opportunities.

expect to see hundreds of former sales people looking for new opportunities.

I think most Verkada salespeople understand that dynamic. They are not trying to work at GE until they retire at 65. They will do a few years at Verkada, hopefully make a few million and then move on to whatever the next big thing is in 2022 or 2025, etc.

Related: Make A Million In 2020, Become A Verkada Salesperson

This is the millennial version:

This is the millennial version:

updated boomer guidance: BMW out, Ferrari in

Except it's the Gen X version... Boiler Room is from 2000, so the guys portrayed in this scene are all born in the 70s. :)

I watched this last Friday—great stuff.

Couldn't agree more. Our Verkada contacts appear to be living the typical Silicon Valley lifestyle, bouncing between Facebook, SalesForce, Google, Uber, etc. Only staying at each company for 1-3 years at most. That just comes with the territory I suppose.

I see lots of bad, and some good with this model. Fresh blood, fresh ideas & perspectives is always welcome, but mature experienced, cohesive product development & support is also very valuable.

The current trend in recruitment is to only look at your last two years on your CV. If you're not on an upwards trajectory then you're no longer worth considering.

It is quite interesting to see the clash of cultures with the Unicorn corporate mentality butting heads with the staid world of security hardware. If nothing else, the amount of interest in this thread shows how hot a topic this is becoming, so we should all be looking at VSaaS options and see how they work for our markets

Never came across to them in Germany... Anyway, there is a simpe rule: If a manufacturer complains about IPVM, avoid them. There is a reason for it.

I am looking forward to Vaion's cloud cameras. If they market things correctly they will give Verkada a run for their money. Want cloud only cameras? Vaion will be able to do it. Have a large site with current cameras? Drop in a Vaion server and record the current cameras. Have many sites and need a mix of servers and cloud cameras? You can mix and match server and cloud cameras and mange everything in the same interface. Best of both worlds.

Is Vaion selling / developing cameras with onboard storage, or is it just NVR & cloud options?

Yes they are selling cameras which will have SD cards for local storage and will connect to the cloud like Verkada. Right now they connect to Vaion's servers but soon they will be cloud cameras too.

Yep this is the answer. The solution that ticks all of these boxes is going to be the way forward.

if OSDP, why not ONVIF?

Related: Verkada Attacks ONVIF and The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada

For others, Verkada has been steadfastly opposed to opening up their cameras. Oh, and Meraki is now supporting RTSP, we tested that last week and will be releasing results of that soon.

Question for Verkada.... If not Ipvm, who should you go to your news and testing, etc.?

The trade mags are.... Trade mags.

You can learn a 2 minute snippet or learn about one manufacturers approach to something, but consumer reports doesn't handle our industry.

There are no peer reviewed journals for our industry... There are no independent magazines. Name one other source that isn't dedicated to consumer cams or resi trunk slamers usin grey market products and 3rd tier generic cams..

Everything I've seen from Verkada gives me the feeling that they don't have a single person in the company who has done an access control install. They assume AC is as easy as swapping some IP cameras. They are dead wrong about that and it'll be there down fall. Who is going to do their installs? Are they selling direct, or trying to attract dealers? Does anyone know anything about their go-to-market other than sending free Yetis out?

Yes, they have a training program for door access. You must take the training and pass 3 different tests before you are allowed to sell the product. Total time to get through training is about 8 hours.

what's all this training about?

I thought sophisticated buyers wanted ease of use

They do. Training is for the installer.

"Training is for the installer."

So is the primary VMS certification training.

Operator (customer) training on most any VMS takes maybe ~half a day (it's the administration portion of the VMS training that lasts 2-3 days).

If your operators can't learn to use a Genetec or Milestone (or any other VMS) Client application in 4 hours then they aren't even trying.

As a new reseller of Verkada, the access control training, minus the test (which is relatively short), takes a total of 3.5 hours. As for why we became a reseller - we had a sizeable end user who just launch the product and they needed an integrator. Since we served them in another capacity, we chose to support them in this endeavor.

So I always thought the appeal of Verkada was easy set up, and a less traditional relationship with installers. You pay a monthly/yearly fee for the camera, and all you really need to do is provide an internet connection to the camera. I can see how some businesses would like this.

So what level of support do you provide to customers? Pulling and terminating network cables? Or just as if it was a regular camera system, but without the programming?

The easy setup is true. Not sure about the "less traditional relationship" part. When a customer is looking at 10 or more cameras, they generally want someone who knows Verkada to set it up, help them pick the proper camera locations, and models of cameras they need. We also pre-program Command for them (enter serial numbers, setup users, point cameras, configure cameras, etc). While a customer could do this work themselves, most want it done for them along with some basic training. On bigger installs, most customers just don't have the man power to do it themselves or the time. Again, Verkada only sells through partners. They no longer sell direct (unless there is no partner in the area).

To answer your question - Verkada sales reps hammer direct end-users and then "toss the deal" over the fence to a partner. They get the deal all but sold and use it to try and "steal integrators" (this is in quotes for a reason). We have had some very loyal integrators tell us flat out - "your product is way better, but I'm not going to tell Verkada no when they hand us a signed deal".

I have seen this done with CDW quite a bit from Verkada as well. They have dedicated sales reps for the CDW account and they will go out and sell a deal and throw it to CDW to run through the web store. They do a nice chunk of revenue there.

seems that a lot of credible people are paying for, and feeling pretty comfortable with their "not good look".

I trust their Yetti...

Yeti is old, new for Verkada is $40 Uber Eats gift cards:

IPVM Image

In fairness, the Verkada $25 Uber Eats giveaway is more common, including at the broken Verkada Fortify conference last week.

It is interesting to see where Verkada is setting the bar at giveaways.

IPVM has a proven track record of being accurate, well written and fair. Thank-you for the suggestion Verkada, but I will pass.

In my lone dealing with Verkada the sales person misrepresented her relationship with the end-user which i found odd as the end-user had asked us to test their cameras. During the testing process I discovered that their sales team had an elementary understanding of video and were unprepared to answer simple questions. During the actual testing, Verkada performed poorly, ultimately leading their engineers to admit to several faults within the image.

Weeks later, IPVM released test results validating our findings.

I work for a major manufacturer. If IPVM calls us out on a product or marketing mistake we will listen and learn. (We know sometimes we F up) If we disagree with the assessment we will data to back up our disagreement but telling people to not listen because you don't like the message is a bad policy to have.

The claim that they have extensive backgrounds in cybersecurity and claim there are no real problems with weigand in the same sentence is a huge discredit to the company.

Like a computer systems engineer starting an electrical engineering company on the basis of "I'm an engineer, too."

Honestly, these sort of companies terrifies me, considering the latest twitter "hacks" (there's been a fair few "cloud" hacks in recent years, all it takes is one support person to be compromised and they have unfettered access to the whole system.

At least on-prem you control, at least to some degree your own fate:)

While I kind of agree with you, I think you're oversimplifying the situation a little.

The Twitter hack was bad, yes. But the majority of the cloud "hacks" I've been seeing in the news were different. Most of it has been companies leaving unprotected databases exposed to the Internet. Don't get me wrong - that's still pretty bad - but it's a different type of threat. Thanks to the Meow attacks, I expect this to happen less frequently in the future (could be wrong though). Hopefully, developers will learn security 101 if they can't leave a database online for more than a few hours before it gets wiped.

Now, you mention cloud attacks, but what about attacks against the end-users? Every week it seems like there's another company or organization that winds up with ransomware and has to fork over a few hundred thousand or a million dollars. Unlike the cloud database situation, I expect ransomware to continue to be a threat and possibly get worse. Leaving unprotected databases online is a simple no-brainer don't-do-this thing. Ransomware is an intelligent threat run by criminals who adapt every time we find a way to stop them.

The upshot is that once you ignore the unprotected databases, the cloud may be (or become) safer than on-prem solutions.

Think about budgets. When you work in the small-to-medium business world, you probably don't have much budget for cybersecurity training. Cybersecurity has a visible cost but hidden benefit. But for cloud companies who know they're going to be attacked, well, it may be easier to get the budget approved.

That said, as an IT director, I'm still a little suspicious. Even though I know I'm not the best, I'm extremely uncomfortable delegating responsibility outside of my organization unless it's a company I really trust. Rogue admins, irresponsible admins - they really are a threat, even thought it may not happen often. (Kind of like lightning strike or shark attack fatalities - it's real and you can be scared, but it doesn't happen that often.)

For the moment, cloud is kind of new. You have lots of startups still learning their lessons the hard way. Would I trust a company like Verkada? Well, considering that half of their headcount is sales, it makes me question what their priorities are.

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