I recently found myself in a bidding war to secure the business of a local municipality and their desire to upgrade their predominantly analog system to an IP-based surveillance system.
What was at stake were several large servers able to accommodate hundreds of IP cameras, both for initial processing of data as well as for redundant back up video storage. The plans and preparation for this project had devoured months on the part of the municipality due to the scalability and scope of the project. The long-anticipated day came when the bids were opened and the results were in. Our company (2MCCTV) eagerly awaited the announcement of the winner – finally, after all this time! The equipment would be procured through…
Another company? How? In addition to the existing long term business relationship with this municipality, pricing had been painstakingly calculated to earn the particularly large amount of business and beat out the competition for this project award. How could we have possibly lost the bid and therefore rights to the project? Not only had we failed to win (there is no silver medal for 2nd place in business) but it was by a HUGE difference. We’re talking nearly “I’ll pay you to take the equipment” difference! What happened? What caused a sure slam dunk to turn into a brick off the back of the rim and fizzle out so quickly? Just how could this have happened?
As we discovered the next day, the business that “won” the bid turned out to NOT be an Authorized Dealer of the quoted equipment. For a business to not be an Authorized Dealer should not be merely a red flag but a major concern to any informed consumer, as it was in the case of this municipality. The rest of this particular story is still being written as the alleged “winning bid” had to not only be discarded but the entire bidding process redone.
So what is the significance of an Authorized Dealer when it comes to the video and surveillance industry? Why should it matter who one buys from as long as the price shown on the Internet is the lowest price? Both good questions to which we will now turn our attention by first looking at what it means to be an Authorized Dealer and the benefits that go along with it.
Up-to-Date Product Information
An Authorized Dealer in the CCTV industry (as in many other industries) means the dealer or distributor of the equipment one intends to purchase has a legitimate business relationship with the manufacturer of said equipment. Many times the dealer must go through actual training with the manufacturer in order to offer not only the best possible solution to prospective clients but also after-the-sale technical support and assistance of that equipment. On occasion, periodical training as well as continued certification occurs that keeps the dealer informed and abreast to the latest manufacturers updates for both hardware and camera software. All of this is to insure that the consumer can get the most up to date product information and latest breakthroughs in technology and equipment.
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Technical Support AFTER the Sale
In addition, being an Authorized Dealer enables the dealer to assist after the sale in the form of technical support as technicians have been factory-trained and authorized by the issuing manufacturer. In the case where product may arrive defective or as they say in this industry DOA – dead on arrival – the Authorized Dealer has the relationship with the manufacturer to secure an RMA – Return Merchandise Authorization – in order to have the defective product repaired or replaced.
Visit our Technical Support Knowledge Base, where you’ll find Q&A’s, Videos, and our Tech Support Ticket form.
Manufacturer Warranty Liaison
This benefit of purchasing through an Authorized Dealer also carries over into the arena of warranty issues and resolution. No one purchases an item expecting it to prematurely fail or give out. However, all products are man-made and therefore don’t last forever. Even worse is the item that may go bad all of sudden without prior warning and yet be fairly new. In this scenario it is the Authorized Dealer that is in the best position to work as a liaison between the consumer and the manufacturer to resolve the issue
For an example of this in action, check out this License Plate Camera Case Study.
Bottom line – be careful where you buy security equipment. Most manufacturers have on their website either a list of Authorized Dealers or will direct you to the closest one if you call. Once a product fails or worse – doesn’t even arrive – it is too late. Finding and buying an item at the absolute cheapest face price does not always turn out to be the most economical or effective way to secure your business, family, or loved ones.