How DVRs do in Russia: report from the AdvoCam plant in the Vladimir region

We have repeatedly talked about the registrars of the domestic brand AdvoCam. Not everyone knows that this brand belongs to the Russian company Videomax, which has 17 years of experience in the market of professional video surveillance systems and is part of the Mettem group of companies, the manufacturer of household water filters BARRIER. Videomax owns its own production in the city of Alexandrov (Vladimir Region). There, both the development of AdvoCam registrars is conducted, as well as the final quality control - a full-fledged OEM-scheme in action. That is, when most brands of DVRs are limited to buying ready-made devices in China with minimal localization and installing a nameplate, AdvoCam only trusts Asian partners to build a contract.

Development, as already mentioned, is carried out exclusively in Russia. Many of the world's largest electronics manufacturers — Apple, Sony, and others — work the same way. "The brains are ours, the hands on the assembly are Chinese." But for Russia, the use of such a scheme is very rare, and on the DVR market, except AdvoCam, it seems, no one does it at all.



It sounds beautiful, but how is it really? We accepted the invitation to personally visit the production and make sure that the “Russian AdvoCam registrars” are not fiction.

Let's hit the road


Two hours on the road, taking into account traffic jams - and here we have the factory building. The fleet of vehicles indicates that local workers prefer the domestic auto industry. However, due to the small size of the city, some prefer extremely environmentally friendly transport.







In one of the cars, we noticed two AdvoCam recorders at once - apparently, someone tested the manufactured products personally.



Customers' products are stored in a patriotically decorated in tricolor colors warehouse. The fact is that the plant on a contractual basis produces video systems and other products for different companies - the capacities allow you to go beyond just testing AdvoCam household video recorders. It is here, in Aleksandrov, that the full production cycle of many professional registrars used in urban public transport, special services vehicles, etc. is carried out. The plant carries out assembly, painting, production of case details, soldering boards - a full production cycle of professional video surveillance systems.





First, we are introduced to the research and development center. It is thanks to the work of this department that AdvoCam writes “Conceived in Russia. Made in China. ” On many tables there is a “working mess” of components and all kinds of test devices. One of our employees carried out measurements of the operating parameters of the prototype, constantly checking the engineering scheme of the video processor of the American company Ambarella.







Given the global trend of public interest in 3D printers, we could not help but pay attention to Flashforge Creator standing on one of the tables. This printer attracts even outwardly - the lightweight body is made of wood. The presence of this device significantly helps developers, allowing them to quickly and literally print out certain test cases of cases. For example, with us, Flashforge Creator printed a part of an arm in about twenty minutes. For comparison: the printer itself costs about 45,000 rubles, while preparing a mold for mass production of a single part can cost 100-200 thousand rubles.





At the same time, we saw a <vibration stand, on which products are tested for resistance to the strongest shaking. This is an important test for Russia, where the quality of the road surface (where the surface is generally present) often leaves much to be desired.

In the same room, we were shown equipment for testing ready-made AdvoCam recorders for resistance to various temperature conditions. Three samples were kept in a special chamber for almost an hour at a temperature of -35 degrees Celsius. The Chinese did not even dream of such frosts that happen in Russia every winter (and in the spring and autumn in the northern regions). In addition to the frost on the case, there were no consequences of hypothermia for the lawyers - the devices turned on without problems and started shooting. So in Russia you can not be afraid of the performance of AdvoCam models. It is frost resistance and problems associated with long-term operation at temperatures below zero - the main causes of problems in Chinese-made automotive portable electronics. They often complain about the “frost resistance” of most budget models of Chinese-made DVRs: they either refuse to turn on at a low temperature, they are cut down at the right time, or the plastic lenses are cracking from a constant temperature drop. This does not happen with AdvoCam - all models are tested in practice before launching large-scale production in China. And in lenses, only glass optics are used, which does not deform under temperature extremes and always forms a clear image. This does not happen with AdvoCam - all models are tested in practice before launching large-scale production in China. And in lenses, only glass optics are used, which does not deform under temperature extremes and always forms a clear image. This does not happen with AdvoCam - all models are tested in practice before launching large-scale production in China. And in lenses, only glass optics are used, which does not deform under temperature extremes and always forms a clear image.

As mentioned above, as many as three registrars visited the “refrigerator” with us. One of them is the flagship AdvoCam-FD8 Profi-GPS RED, in which shooting is carried out in the maximum resolution (Super for Home HD) for today (for household portable models), an LDWS system for warning about leaving the current band and even informing about speed control radar systems ( including Strelka-ST). This is the flagship model of the brand. The case with a characteristic red insert can be seen in the pictures below. It is noteworthy that until last 2013, the lane control system (LDWS) was found only as an embedded function in a premium car. AdvoCam is one of the first manufacturers of portable electronics to offer this feature in a conventional DVR with a price tag of only 7,000 rubles (~ $ 200). Model Detailswe already told (and even sorted it out) here .

An interesting fact: according to market.yandex.ru , this particular AdvoCam model is by far the most “desired” among users of this most popular product selection service on the Russian Internet.



Perhaps we also mention the AdvoCam-FD8 SE, which in functionality copies “Red”, but has a wider viewing angle diagonally (170 degrees versus 120) and a curious oval-shaped case. But it costs 400 rubles (~ $ 10) more.













But back to production. Without camera calibration tables - nowhere, focus settings, color reproduction and other optical parameters are made with a professional approach.





On the way to the workshops we observe "reserve" areas. As we were explained, free space is used to the full during periods of particularly high workload and large orders. At the same time, our guide noted that the “small” orders that do not require additional premises are lots of video surveillance complexes of 10 thousand each. It should be assumed that the productivity and loading of workers in the factory are in full order.



In one of the main assembly shops, work is in full swing, which is typical, absolutely all the personnel on the assembly line are women. They are engaged in monotonous, but laborious work that requires a lot of concentration, the male part of the team we met mainly with machine tools and in the development departments.







This department is located on the second floor, and on the first floor there is a workshop that is no less spacious and “immersed in work”.





Earlier, we noted that only assembly of devices is ordered in China. However, trial batches of devices of several thousand pieces are assembled precisely in Alexandrov. Thus, developers fully control and evaluate the new registrars before launching in large-scale production. Such a “run-in” allows even before launching into mass production the identification and elimination of “childhood diseases” of new models, various minor defects of devices and their assembly schemes. As a result, a decrease in the percentage of defects in large-scale contract manufacturing in China.





AdvoCam-FD7 Profi-GPS recorder during assembly.



Nearby, professional registrars are being assembled - pay attention to large photosensitive arrays and impressive (by the standards of "household" registrars) metal "holders" - mounts for the lens and circuit board in the matrix.





In the event of a minor defect, it is possible to fix it immediately. In particular, we saw devices for desoldering and removing matrices, if unevenly installed. Such work requires surgical accuracy, it is necessary to heat and disconnect all the legs of the matrix at the same time. If you do this inaccurately, the module will be removed with damage, it will be practically impossible to use in the future - the matrix will be installed only with a skew. There are cases when, at the stage of preparing the cameras, it turns out that the matrix installed on the board does not fit the selected case in size, here you can also do without soldering. Then the legs of the matrix are trimmed to the desired size, then the module is soldered back.



To better argue the work, the management does not object to the musical accompaniment, the employee is not averse to listening to the radio on a rare cassette recorder.



The mood of the staff is excellent, which is not surprising - it is a sunny day outside the window.



And even the characteristic surroundings of the provincial industrial zone did not affect the sincere smiles of women, who were clearly a little embarrassed by the presence of journalists.



And here is one of the stages of preparing a professional video surveillance system - video cameras of the MVK-09 series, byt BygErg ​​company, which is also part of the Mettem group of companies - the wires are ready for heat shrink.



Next to the table we see the instrument of the Japanese company CT-Brand, one of the leading manufacturers of equipment for radio installation work. Note that the anti-vandal cameras of the BaytErg company MVK-09 model are installed in ordinary city buses. For example, 15,000 Moscow buses and trolleybuses are equipped with them.



Final stage - a registration number is put on the product, products are checked and packaged.





In the same room along the way we get acquainted with various cameras. For example, this model is designed for street surveillance. It has a durable shock-resistant housing, at the same time, the controls did not completely hide inside. On the upper side, focus adjustment wheels are installed in the range of 2.8-12 mm, which allows you to more flexibly configure the camera depending on the characteristics of the shooting area. A similar option is not always available in cameras, for example, in the aforementioned MVK-09, from the manufacturer Byte Erg, the focus is set in advance and cannot be changed during operation.



Immediately we find the “trace of China”, the box straight from the Middle Kingdom. In this case, we have before us the accessories of Shenzhen Sonice Electronics CO., A major supplier of automotive security systems and displays.



One just has to look around and we are convinced of how serious the positions in the professional video surveillance market are at BightErg: there are many large state and industry customers among the customers.

In a separate room we get acquainted with the American, in the literal sense of the word, WINON PAD PRINTER printing press. Apparently, this is the model Winon WN 123A, a machine for printing on tampon technology. Simply put, it is here that “nameplates are glued” - an operation that limits the contribution of almost all Russian brands to the development of products they sell. As you can see, AdvoCam in no way belongs to such “innovators”.





Considering the large volume of work on the manufacture of metal parts, significant residues of chips are formed. Waste-free production in action - all “recyclable materials” are carefully collected in the yard and delivered for recycling.



The culprits of such a volume of chips are dozens of machines of varying degrees of complexity. By the way, the equipment of the plant with modern machines is far from cheap. For example, the Winon WN 123A mentioned above alone is estimated at almost $ 7,500, then in the photo you see a complex machine with an HAAS Servo Bar 300 automatic bar feeder - the total cost of the units used at the plant is about $ 70,000.











The plant not only directly produces parts, but also carries out their “powder painting”. Below is a photo of the process, as well as a comparison of the two elements “before” and “after”. And - yes, in the pictures you see another type of plant products - intercom systems that we encounter every day in the entrances of our homes.







As our guide noted, if there was a problem for the organization of casting parts, and with its solution there would be no questions. However, casting is a very costly thing from the point of view of the production process, therefore management does not see any reason to expand the current specialization of the plant. Therefore, the details of the intercoms are cast on the side, and in this production only the housings undergo metalworking and they are painted in a color corresponding to the wishes of a particular client.

After painting, the product must be burned, for which special furnaces are used. For each paint, a certain temperature (on average from 40 to 200 degrees Celsius) and the duration of "sintering" (at least 20 minutes) should be maintained.





Our tour was held with the direct participation of the general director of Videomax LLC (AdvoCam brand owner company) Dmitry Valentinovich Savenkov, whom we would like to separately thank for organizing the tour and useful information about modern technologies for creating video recorders.



Savenkov holds two registrars from the current AdvoCam line in his hands. We already mentioned above the flagship AdvoCam-FD8 Profi-GPS RED (left), next to it is the most budgetary AdvoCam-FD Black-GPS. The device costs 4,600 rubles / ~ $ 130 or 3,600 rubles / ~ $ 100 in the case of a version that is not equipped with GPS and a G-sensor. At the same time, the “budget AdvoCam” is practically not inferior to the more expensive models of the brand in terms of the quality of shooting. The savings were expressed in the absence of IR illumination, a complete memory card, as well as a cheaper Novatek 96650 processor. The latter costs about 20-25% cheaper than the counterparts from the popular and popular American Ambarella, but it is comparable with them in video quality.



As we were able to make sure, AdvoCam really does a great job to ensure the highest possible quality of its products. These devices are indeed being developed in Russia, and here, finished batches of products undergo testing and control. Thus, the “Conceived in Russia” indicated on the packaging of the AdvoCam registrars is 100% true. Moreover, one could also add “Quality and compliance with Russian conditions in Russia”.



PS To the credit of AdvoCam, the brand also cares about the legal literacy of motorists. Indeed, most often drivers are poorly aware of what should be done with the video in a real accident. AdvoCam collaborates with Viktor Travin, a well-known TV and radio presenter and president of the College of Legal Protection for Car Owners.



Included with each brand registrar is a brochure in which Travin briefly and intelligibly explains the procedure for giving the video recording legal status. Moreover, AdvoCam is not "greedy": the expanded version of the brochure is available for free review on the brand website (http://www.advocam.ru/videoregastrator-solominka.html).

For information


Domestic development, production and quality control - all this, of course, is interesting and extremely rare among the brands of the Russian market of DVRs. However, does such a resource-consuming and costly path bear fruit? Maybe it’s easier and more profitable to follow the strategies of most competitors and choose ready-made models from catalogs of Chinese noname factories?
As an answer to this question, we were provided with sufficient evidence of the correctness of the chosen AdvoCam scheme of work. Nevertheless, no matter how economical the Russian consumer seems, more and more often the choice is made in favor of a quality product, rather than consumer goods.

Last year, registrar sales in Russia grew by 30%, to almost 2.14 million devices, according to a report from SmartMarketing analysts (http://www.smartmarketing.ru/avr_2013). In the TOP 10 leaders in terms of registrar sales in the Russian market, AdvoCam, which is known for its specialization in this type of device, took sixth place. Unlike umbrella brands, under which many different types of gadgets are sold, AdvoCam specializes in registrars, and does not "fall apart" into dozens of product categories from MP3 players to cell phones. In addition, AdvoCam is not exchanged for cheap low-quality devices, releasing only models of the middle and upper price class.



Of the TOP 10 most popular brands of registrars in Russia, AdvoCam is the only brand that does not produce low-price models at all. In the lines of other leading brands of the rating, cheap devices make up 50% of the total sales volume and more.

The banal, but clear statistics of Yandex search queries shows - although interest in DVRs is generally declining, specifically, AdvoCam devices are causing increasing interest among users.



Having shown rapid growth from 2012 to 2013, the popularity of the “DVR” query began to decline. If last year almost 1.5 million users of the most popular search engine in Russia were interested in “DVRs,” by 2014 the number of search queries “DVR” in Yandex had dropped to a million.

At the same time, AdvoCam has shown steady growth over the entire period 2012-2014: from 6.3 thousand requests in May 2012, the popularity of AdvoCam among Yandex users has grown approximately threefold - up to ~ 25 000 requests in 2014. According to the representatives of the brand, sales of AdvoCam over the past year increased 3 times.

Another interesting fact regarding the real popularity of AdvoCam registrars: current brand models are often “faked” by other manufacturers, producing more affordable, but also lower-quality devices. Cheaper devices regularly appear on sale with cases that look almost identical to the current models of this Russian brand, but with completely different contents. Cheaper and, as a rule, outdated components provide budget “analogs” with noticeably lower video quality than the original AdvoCam. A detailed analysis of one such imitative device and its comparison with the "prototype" can be seen here: habrahabr.ru/company/smartgadget/blog/184198 .

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