Why your $800 lead will spend $3000 with me

The sales fight to the lowest price is a common occurrence in the video surveillance industry and I won’t participate in it.

In fact I would rather walk away from the sale than enter this market.

Why would I turn down a sale?

Because I know in most applications, the $800 system just won’t work!
I would rather not have the client if I have to provide a system that will not be of any use to them.

The reality is most people want a camera system to deter theft or vandalism and if it does occur, to be able to identify the offender. Yes a few CCTV cameras will provide a visual deterrent but so will some $10 dummy cameras.
Most budget CCTV systems will only provide enough detail to observe behaviour but not identify a person. 

So if you are going to waste their money on a system that does not fit the requirement, you might as well sell them the dummy camera and at least you won’t risk a warranty claim.

Where will an $800 system work?

There are applications for budget CCTV systems such as seeing if someone is at the counter needing service.
You can get ID quality if the camera is close enough to the person and the lighting is consistent as detailed here.

How to get the client to invest more

Think about this – every day you are bombarded with information that tells you “this shiny thing will improve your life” – We are lead to believe that the person who spends the most on advertising has the best product.
Now think about which adverts you see for CCTV cameras.

Let me show you.
Directly below is an advert, which will show each of you something different based on your interests and recent searches. If it is not an advert for a CCTV camera, check back tomorrow and I bet it is a budget supplier such as Swan CCTV.

People actively researching CCTV products will get bombarded with adverts from retailers and manufactures saying my product is the best.
The way to overcome their belief that these cheap low quality systems will work is through education.

Explain to your client why that $800 camera system will not work through articles or even better through a real world example. Get your hands on two cameras – a real on and a budget one and power them up on site to show the difference in resolution, scene angle and mounting height.

The budget camera will have a fixed lens of about 60 degrees wide, be designed for ceiling mount only and have a poor quality video compression.
Because I can’t always be in front of the client to do a real world demo, I tend to 3D model my projects using the IP Video Design Tool, showing the differences in coverage from different camera heights, lens angles and resolutions.

Here is an example

The typical shop owner will want this – a budget (4mm analogue) camera installed at 2.4 metres to watch the counter and shop, with the expectation that they will be able to identify a suspect. What they don’t see is the result after it is recorded and zoomed in to for a facial image, it is useless.

2CIF camera 3mm lens 2.4m overview Zoomed

To overcome this, you show them what a second camera will give them covering the entry door from the ceiling above (2.4m). The zone visualisation map shows that it will not identify a person until they are within half a metre of the camera but at that point the downward angle means you can’t clearly see the face.

2CIF camera 4mm lens 2.4m face2CIF camera 4mm lens 2CIF

Lowering the budget camera mounted at 1.8 metres will give you the ID shot you need and in conjunction with the overview camera will give us what the customer wants – coverage and what they need – identification. In the image below, it is a 720p resolution.

2CIF camera 4mm lens 1.8m face


By explaining the reasoning for this, the client will have confidence in your professionalism and is far more likely to spend their money on your recommendations rather than wasting it on a lesser system and you can then explain the benefits of upgrading to a HD camera to increase the scene width and image resolution (720p resolution shown below)

720p camera 3mm lens 2.4m overview720p Zoomed

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