What does the demise of Dedicated Micros teach us?

The news that Dedicated Micros’ UK business has entered administration won’t come as a surprise to many involved in the video surveillance sector. A new company – NV Ltd – has been launched to acquire the remaining business elements of AD Networks. The new company is co-owned by the former CEO of AD Networks, Mike Newton, and financier Maghsoud Einollahi, who hit the headlines following his involvement in the collapse of MG Rover. For many, the writing has been on the wall for some time.

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edicated Micros was once the company that most video surveillance security installers looked to for innovation. The company produced products that changed the CCTV sector, and just as other manufacturers managed to catch up, the company would have once more taken strides forwards.

At that time, testing products and systems from Dedicated Micros was always something of an event. The installers and integrators that made up the test team always managed to find time to be involved if a new Dedicated Micros product was included.

The company’s products weren’t always perfect. Pushing into new technologies inevitably meant there were issues, but the technical team at DM were willing to work to put issues right. If Benchmark reported issues, they were always considered and usually addressed quickly, as were any other problems identified by the market. In truth, it became easy to forgive DM its occasional foibles because the products delivered benefits in spades.

Dedicated Micros products were popular with both installers and end users. They allowed the traditional benefits of CCTV, such as interoperability, to be enjoyed in digital systems. For the customer, they delivered a security package that exploited the latest technologies whilst retaining an ease of operation that set them apart.

During the advent of networked video, Dedicated Micros was again something of an innovator. For those who were early adopters of the technology, the company offered products that made sense. The installers and integrators who had yet to take the step into the world of IP were still served by a wide variety of digital video management and storage products.

Throughout many Benchmark tests, Dedicated Micros’ products had an inevitability. They worked well, and if there was an issue then it was inevitably minor. When the company moved towards its NetVu Connected technology, and then to Closed IP, something began to change.

The products still boasted innovations and interesting features, but increasingly these couldn’t be accessed unless you purchased cameras or other devices from Dedicated Micros too. Slowly the platforms began to take on a proprietary feel, and the ratings – given by security installers and system integrators – showed this was not a popular move.

At that time, the industry wasn’t a fan of proprietary systems. In the past, there had been a backlash against proprietary telemetry protocols.

However, it wasn’t just the proprietary element of NetVu Connected and Closed IP that put installers off. The peripheral devices from Dedicated Micros often weren’t competitive in terms of performance.

Across the board, during the past 20-odd years, proprietary systems have never been the darling of the security installation and system integration markets. The skills that define good engineers are the ability to bring together the best products for any given application, and fuse them into solutions that meet end users’ needs.

As Dedicated Micros increased its proprietary approach – an approach Mike Newton has stated will be retained by NV Ltd – so its appeal with many installers fell. In todays increasingly open market, why should anyone accept a closed approach?

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