Worst IP Camera Manufacturer 2014

By John Honovich, Published Feb 03, 2014, 12:00am EST

Can Arecont Vision defend its title? Or will an upstart dethrone them?

Our 2011 Worst IP camera manufacturer results created an uproar, with Arecont slamming us in response. No doubt, the criticisms were true, reflecting the systematic problems and errors punishing integrators internationally.

Now, just over 2 years later, we have conducted a new survey of 120+ integrators across 20+ countries to determine what manufacturers are causing the most problems today.

To make it tougher to repeat, this time, we asked the question:

"In the past year, what IP camera manufacturer have you had the worst experience with? What happened?"

This way, Arecont would not win simply on reputation alone. Respondents would have to focus on recent problems.

Of the 120 respondents, 6 manufacturers stood out. We dig through each one inside, sharing the specific feedback and problems encountered.

Arecont Repeats... But By A Lot Less

In 2014, Arecont remains the IP camera manufacturer most complained about by integrators. However, they received far fewer selections (15% this time vs a whopping 37% in 2011) plus had quite a number of integrators selecting them as their favorite camera manufacturer.

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So Arecont has moved from the 'stay the hell away' zone to 'be cautious with them.'

Specific negatives remained buggy firmware and poor support, such as:

  • "Cameras flipping upside down... locking up"
  • "Too many dead cameras out of the box and they are a pain to return, want a bench fee just to examine them. The company is horrible to deal with.”
  • "Installed AV8185DN about 24 of them and about half is technically having problem with the product, especially to the second batch..... Tried to resolve .... all of them are giving me 'abandon ship' sort of treatment."

ACTi Remains in Second Place

Just like in 2011, ACTi remains the second most complained about IP camera manufacturer, for similar reasons as before for quality and reliability problems.

Pelco - Strong #3 or Worse

Pelco did very badly. Not only did they come in third with a half dozen complaints, they had only one integrator select them as their favorite, which is especially concerning giving their prominent brand.

And the complaints repeated the same worrisome issue - reliability:

  • "Sarix series very unstable products (over heating problems, restart issues, low quality products)"
  • "HD Spectra. Lots of failures sometimes repeatedly"
  • "20 Pelco cameras refuse to stay online for more than 3-4 months in a row. They just stop responding on the network (ping, http, tcp). They're powered up when the tech goes out to look at them, but they're unreachable on the network."
  • "Unstable cameras, stopped working without known reasons"
  • "Its Pelco - they need to stick to bending aluminum housings."

We literally never hear any integrator recommending Pelco IP cameras. Obviously, Pelco does sell quite a lot but it appears driven more by historical brand, internal sales efforts and channel relationships than top tier product.

The Big 3

Arecont, ACTi and Pelco were the clear big 3 of integrator complaints. Everyone else had less than 5 and frequently just 1.

However, three other manufacturers stood out for support problems.

Sony and Samsung Support

The complaints about Sony and Samsung focused on their support.

For Sony, respondents were fairly short and direct, noting:

  • "Horrible tech support experiences across the board for anything other than a straight RMA/repair."
  • "lack of quick support... poor image quality and stability"
  • "Took them a month to get back to me about a defective camera (DH-160) That's not good support"

On Samsung, integrators had similar concerns:

  • "The Samsung support was totally lost and just fix this with an old firmware."
  • "Samsung: a partner call me to fix some PTZs installed in vehicles with a pneumatic mast, the cameras are going crazy without motive spinning with any type of command. The Samsung support was totally lost and just fix this with an old firmware."
  • "Mainly problems with quality and reliability. Had a few returns from the field (early failures). Also their marketing support was terrible (our sales rep wouldn't even answer our emails or take our phone calls)."
  • "Needed to get RMA - took way to long"

Axis - What Is Wrong With Their Support?

A month ago, an integrator started a discussion about Axis having the most useless technical support. A number of integrators publicly agreed there.

Interesting, our survey results reflected the same concerns from other integrators:

  • “Lots of bugs in software and untrained tech support."
  • "Failures on their M1034 series, their returns and customer service could be better."
  • "In one project we had to use Axis because of the consultant. Anyhow, no presales support what so ever from Axis."

Indeed, even one integrator who selected Axis as their favorite, noted "their RMA and tech support leave much to be desired."

Not surprisingly, Axis received a lot of favorite integrator votes so clearly they remain strong but the growing chorus of unhappy support experiences is a concern.

Next week - the 2014 Favorite IP Camera Manufacturers are revealed.

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