ADI W Box Accelerates Race To the Bottom

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 22, 2015

ADI is aggressively ramping up promotion for its new white label brand "W Box Technologies", essentially delivering Alibaba pricing to local ADI branch shelves.

Inside this note, we examine W Box, its emerging IP / MP / NVR offerings, how it is being positioned it and how it will accelerate the race to the bottom.

[UPDATE: See ADI's W Box Test Results]

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Comments (7)

Integrators hate when distributors directly compete with them. I wonder how manufacturers feel?

It's not quite the same thing. Ultimately somebody other than ADI made these cameras, this is just a white-label scenario.

Any distributor already carriers competitive cameras, so some manufacturer is making money on this sale. In the case of selling direct NO integrators get money.

ADI might try to push their sales people to promote this stuff over more "reputable" products, but then again most manufacturers are not looking at the distributors as a legitmate lead source, just a fulfillment arm. If a customer/integrator calls up and really has no idea what they need/want or can be pursuaded to use this stuff, there is a high liklihood they'd be a hassle anyway.

If anything this is more of a concern to very basic/low-end manufacturers (eg: Speco), but I don't think it's a threat to "manufacturers" as an overall category.

"Most manufacturers are not looking at the distributors as a legitimate lead source, just a fulfillment arm."

I agree that many take this skeptical view, but some do hope that distributors recommend them business. Having a white label diminishes that as the profit pull for distributor sales people to push their own offering is greater.

"If anything this is more of a concern to very basic/low-end manufacturers (eg: Speco), but I don't think it's a threat to "manufacturers" as an overall category."

Agreed. The second tier manufacturers / those OEMing from China now are the likely to be hurt the most by this. But the more and more 'legitimate' sources endorsing / marketing $100 cameras, the harder it makes it for Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Panasonic, Sony et al to sell similar cameras at $300.

As an integrator, no product that a distributer sells competes with me.

They provide products, I choose the right product for the project. Ultimately, if a client only wants the cheapest products... that's not a client most integrators want.

From experience, ADI is currently pushing this line hard in the local stores.

As you would expect for the low price, you get a sub-par product compared to other brands... even other low cost brands. So while all the Big Box stores (I consider ADI a contractor Big Box just like Home Depot) race to the bottom with chinese crap, any good integrartor knows this is just one of many other options. It might fit for a home owner friend that has a zero budget but wants anything that will send a picture. So in that case why not. In a commercial install I think not. At least that's my opinion.

I've got a lot of experience here from the manufacturer's side as well as the distributor side working with ADI and others. At the end of the day, reputable integrators -- i.e. the one's who typically sell reputable products at higher prices like Axis, Exacq, etc. -- already know what they want when they go to distribution. The dealers that look to distribution houses like ADI for product recommendations are usually more the trunk-slammer type, which weren't ever really going for anything other than the cheaper solutions in the first place. This will hurt brands like Speco, HIK, Vivotek, and the like because they are the ones playing in the cheap price market. Tier 1 brands like Axis, Sony, Arecont and even Samsung now (I know, it's debatable) won't really be hurt by this at all. Alarm dealers and eletrical contractors who don't know product will gravitate toward this, while legitimate integrators will continue to work with the manufacturers that they maintain strategic partnerships with.

Update: ADI has removed the W-Box IP cameras and NVRs. Not clear why they removed it over the Holiday weekend since the Friday publication of this article.

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