I'm in Chicago at the Midwestern ITE district meeting. Yesterday I sat in on a set of vendor presentations and got to hear Andrew Wilgar (who's a real nice guy) talk about Miovision's new On Demand Service. Basically – you log into their system, place your order for traffic counts at their uniform pricing, they coordinate one of their "partners" to go out and get the video, and you get data back in about a week. Here's my take on this service:
- Uniform pricing around the United States
- Consistent quality
- Ease of ordering traffic counts
- Not necessarily good pricing
- Offshoring out of the United States
- Lag in getting data back
- Locked into the Miovision system
- Moves towards a Miovision monopoly
This may be a useful service for the big transportation consulting firms, but I think it is a scary move for the industry. Miovision is a closed/proprietary system and they are moving towards having a few "partners" who act as their field technicians to deploy their camera systems. Not sure where they are going with this, but the Traffic Data Inc type firms who don't use Miovision should be spooked. It is quite likely Miovision is posturing to be the biggest data collection company in the world. I'd also be leery of being one of the "partner" companies. More and more Miovision has all of the power in the relationship. The profits at these partner firms could end up getting squeezed.
So why did I reference Walmart in the title? Walmart is wildly successful and does a good job for its customers. But it is true a lot of small businesses were put out of business by Walmart and they are also tough negotiators with their partner suppliers. Miovision could be changing traffic counting in similar ways.
Over at CountingCars.com, I believe our video system is a reasonable second option that will hopefully allow the industry to not get dependent on one supplier. And as I've said all along, some day there will be a system for sale that counts from video right on your own PC. That system will provide tough competition for Miovision's business model.