I can sorta accept, if not understand, a private company doing this. But it almost feels like misconduct to spend a million dollars from the public purse on not just a closed system, but a system that gets bricked without continuous license fees. And none of the cameras (which you already paid for) can be reused if you decide to move away from their platform? TCO, ROI, wtf?
My dinosaur brain wonders if the Verkada business model would be viable without Silicon Valley money and influence...
My guess is that either someone on city council has some sort of link to Verkada (friend of a friend of a friend who sells cameras), plus the HIK fear and therefore Verkada got a chance to "sell" them on it and they didn't do any further research before making the decision.
NOTE: we've added the following information to the story above:
City of Memphis General Services Director Antonio Adams confirmed the original RFQ had to be canceled because there was no term specified for the licenses.
Adams told IPVM that the new Verkada system would not replace or directly supplement the existing Hikvision surveillance system that is monitored by the Memphis PD in the RTCC:
We wanted to have an enterprise-wide solution for the city, but one which wouldn’t tax the PD. The existing system is sent to the RTCC. The new system is only for the security of patrons in and around city facilities. It’s more or less just to record activity, fact find if there is an incident and accurately determine what happened. The facility managers will be responsible for the monitoring of the new system. When there’s a notification—once we teach the system what we’re looking for, for example, an unauthorized entry—then it will give notice to the RTCC. It’s not meant for them to monitor on a regular basis.
Adams also confirmed that the Neighborhood Sentinel Program mentioned in the City Council agenda was not a precursor to the Verkada system.
UM#4, Verkada was specified in this project, so bidders were expected to quote Verkada. All bids were due yesterday May 1, 2019, at noon. There is no information on the website yet as to who won the contract.
Thank you, UM #5. I checked on the site and found the PO.
NOTE: We've added the following information to the story above:
Though we estimated based on historical pricing from other municipal projects, Verkada's pricing was much lower and the total for the whole project is $783,760.78
In what is certainly an atypical move, the city split the RFQ between two vendors. Thomas Consultants who won the purchase order for the 383 D40s mentioned in RFQ 39411 at a price of $466.48 each, which is ~ 42% below Verkada's old MSRP of $799. Systems Technologies, LLC was awarded the PO for the 579 D50s at $579.86 each, which is ~36% below Verkada's old MSRP of $899. Systems Technologies also won the 5-yr licenses at $280 each, which is ~47% off Verkada's old MSRP of $599.