Technical ArticleProduct Details Matter - Quality & What the Eye Can See
It should be no surprise when most people consider investing in a surveillance system that they want quality products above all else. They may have a tight budget, but they'll still want quality. How do most people make this decision, considering that many end users have little to no contact with the complex world of video surveillance until forced into it by a pressing need or company directive?
Smart buyers approach any quote or product with a certain level of skepticism, even suspicion. When the price seems low (and a price that is too low should always set off red flags) a skeptical attitude can quickly turn problematic. If the buyer has been burnt before (purchased inferior products from places like Costco and BestBuy) get ready for questions, since everyone familiar with this technology knows the super cheap stuff in the big box stores is often a technological generation behind and rarely works "as advertised on TV". So in some cases skepticism and suspicion is understandable.
You can present spec sheets. You can talk technical details. End users will listen, nod and smile thoughtfully. They'll catch a buzz word or two and maybe ask some questions. But most end users - not all, but most - won't know why a mechanical IR filter is an advantage, or what back light compensation does, or when a PTZ camera offers substantial benefits (or not), but they do know what their eyes tell them. When you put the product in their hands they are going to make a judgement based on what they see. While you can hand pick demo cameras and demo parts so they all look great, but have little control over a product when it arrives at a clients doorstep, or when you pull one straight out of the box. At some point you'll leave the job site, and then the customer will swoop in and check out exactly what his money has bought.
Even the most inquisitive customer (usually) won't disassemble a product but they will look it over very closely. What they see can make the difference between buying your product again, calling a competitor, or even asking for a refund. The quality of the product will be judged in part by what they see (right or wrong).
The following figures show photos of brackets from a non-Cortex Security product. Note the callouts - "flashing debris" and "void".
Flashing debris forms when a mold has been used too many times, is poorly crafted, or the metal is the wrong temperature for the casting process. Using cheap aluminum alloys can also create problems during the casting process. Flashing can also form under other conditions. The flashing shown in the pictures is still attached to the body of the bracket, but can easily break loose and bounce around inside the bracket and the camera. The edges can also be quite sharp. Since this flashing occurs in a cable routing channel, you might realize another problem - when cables are drawn through these channels damage is likely to occur. Cut insulation and scratched or broken wires will likely effect product operation at some point, shortening the life of the product if nothing else.
Also note the center photo shows a "void" (close up view at right). This is a pocket created when the metal failed to flow properly during casting, leaving empty spots of random size and shape. This common defect in poorly manufactured parts can be cosmetic and harmless, or it can occur invisibly on a stress point and significantly weaken the part. If it's located at the right place it will offer a channel for water and foreign matter to enter the product. Like flashing, a void indicates poor manufacturing process and/or inferior materials.
Compare the photos of the non-Cortex Security brackets above with the photo below, which shows the inner surface of a typical Cortex Security brand bracket.
Inferior materials can also be subject to rust and corrosion, since the alloy may not contain the proper level of rust inhibiting material. Rust, you may know if you install and maintain many cameras, can create all kinds of problems beyond just looking bad from a cosmetic standpoint. It will flake off and foul moving parts, it can coat lenses, it can discolor the product and stain the mounting surface (wall). Rust is troublesome and ugly. Note the rust, visible as a brownish discoloration, in the following image.
Even if the interior is painted, as the bracket shown in the picture above, corrosion can occur due to inferior alloys. In this case the corrosion is at work UNDER the paint and the brown discoloration is due to chemical leaching through the paint itself. Eventually that paint will flake off and expose the corroded metal surface. Since this is a PTZ camera bracket, flaked off bits of paint and oxidized metal will likely fall into the PTZ gears and belts and effect operation.
The lesson here is clear. When the product is free of cosmetic flaws it will have a more dependable lifes span, and even the most suspicious end user will be less likely to complain. They'll be more likely to come back to you in the future for other projects. Being confident in the manufacturing process and material selection also means less maintenance and down time. Discerning end users are aware of all of this and it benefits you to invest in Cortex Security brand products, which will always bear an easy to see mark of quality manufacturing. Contact one of our sales representatives today for more information on our products. Your clients will thank you, and keep coming back.