Why Megapixel Mis-Marketing Works

By John Honovich, Published Jun 08, 2013, 12:00am EDT

Both megapixel and video analytic manufacturers routinely mis-market their products, vastly overstating their capabilities. One market, analytics, has suffered greatly while the other one, megapixel, has thrived and, perhaps even, gained from the misleading marketing. Both can be outrageous. Indeed, megapixel can be even be worse, with claims of replacing dozens of cameras. Why has one created such ill will for vendors and the other has not?

The key difference is the frame of reference.

Analytics Reference

Users compare video analytic performance to their guards or their intrusion detection system. Because of this, they have pretty high standards for what is falsely detected. Neither tend to go bezerk with false alarms because of shadows, headlights, rain, etc. Unfortunately, most video analytics do. The user looks at the alarms and is stunned and horrified to see how 'stupid' the analytics are. They understandably ask themselves, "How can this 'intelligent' video' not realize that this shadow is not a person?"

Analytics frequently make things worse than what they had before buying them, which makes it incredibly difficult to justify.

Megapixel Reference

By contrast, users typically compare their megapixel cameras to what they currently have - analog - which is often recording at CIF with old, dirty, degraded, cameras. Even if the megapixel camera does not 'replace' or 'equal' a dozen of their existing cameras, they can easily see that the new cameras are significantly better than their old cameras.

While they may be somewhat disappointed that it does not deliver everything the vendor initially claimed, megapixel typically makes things better that when they had before, which makes it easy to justify / accept.

Winners and Losers of Megapixel Mis-Marketing

For megapixel manufacturers, then, it clearly pays to exaggerate the performance of their products. Though there is a risk to their reputation, the overall sales benefit is positive. Ultimately, who loses is the manufacturers who are too responsible or conservative to use these tactics.

This note is a follow up to an integrator's comment about false marketing and taking vendors seriously. Sometimes false marketing cripples but other times it empowers vendors.

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