Thursday, August 14, 2008

Buying Packages or Solutions a Danger? Nay, says I!!

A recent article was written on one of my favorite sites to monitor, www.ipvideomarket.info. Click here for the article. In it, the 'ipvideomarket' community was discussing the inherent "dangers" of providing a Packaged Solution for video surveillance for the end user. I read through the article, and was surprised, initially, with the number of people agreeing with the arguments.

Here are the basic arguments. It is "dangerous" to package together cameras, encoders, and video management platforms to sell the end user an end to end solution. Why? Three reasons:

1. Packages are too general.
2. End user is out of luck if they choose a market lagging package.
3. End user is controlled if they choose a market leading platform.

Although I respect the 'ipvideomarket' team's comments, and do understand some of the basic thought, they are generalizing too much in the article.

There are too many end users out there who simply don't know what they want, and they don't have the time to do a huge investigation into all the possible technologies. What they do know is they often have existing analog cameras (and possibly DVRs) and they want to move into the IP Video world without too much headache and cost. They also may not have the expertise on staff to support the complex environment often occurring when dealing with a fully networked, IP Video System. Packages (like Nextiva EZ36 or Basic 64 from Verint), although often very general, are a perfect solution for this type of application. It provides an entry point into the IP video market with a complete kit (video platform, servers, storage, encoders, network switch and cables). This is simple to install for the Integrator (comes pre-configured), and simple to use for the End User (a 2 hour webinar gets them where they need to be). There's also only one phone number to call if there's a problem.

So, let's say an end user starts with one of these packages and the customer, in the near future, wants to add 30 more, brand new, IP cameras, from Verint (or Axis, or Sony, or Arecont, or IQ Invision). Can they do this? Of course! Or what if they want to add 10 more IP Cameras with Analytics (like Object Video, or Agent VI). Can they do this? Certainly! Need to add storage, or another remotely located recorder server? No problem!

I'm finding it hard to understand the danger here. Yes, of course, the vendor, Verint in this case, sees a benefit, but so might Axis, or Sony, or Object Video, or Agent VI. Hmmm. Not really a problem.

Finally, what happens if the Customer Service Support structure falls on its face with that Vendor, and the end user says "I hate this product, get rid of it!" Do they really have to "get rid" of it? Nope. They keep what's worth something tangible - Servers, Storage, Encoders (as long as those encoders work with other platforms), Switches, and install a new software platform on those servers.

I'm finding it hard to see the "dangers". What about you?

Just food for thought...

Strategies to Optimize Every Customer Interaction

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