Spec-manship vs. Reality

Specmanship should be called out by everyone involved. No manufacturer should get to skate free of products that don’t perform as needed.

There are many ships that are much better than having specmanship. For instance, there is seamanship which applies the skills and abilities to sail or navigate a ship. There is internship where a mentor teaches you the skills you need for a particular trade or business. There is ownership where you have the right to take possession of property under your name. In comparison, specmanship is a much worse more useless term.

According to Wikipedia, “Specsmanship is the often inappropriate use of specifications or measurement results to establish putative superiority of one entity over another, generally when no such superiority exists. It is commonly found in high fidelity audio equipment, automobiles and other apparatus where uneducated users[who?] identify some numerical value upon which to base their pride or derision, whether or not it is relevant to the actual use of the device. Specmanship has recently been quite active in the field of digital cameras and electronic display devices.”

In the world of security device manufacturers, IoT has become a prevalent term of use within these devices and the electronic security industry as a whole. However, one thing seems to remain the same over the course of its history, specmanship! Not only is it a distasteful word but it is useless as a whole to end users who fall prey to it and its masters. Engineers, consultants and many end users all use specmanship as a way of not calling out a specific brand. Moreover, they use it to get the solution they desire using this indirect method. Specmanship has crippled our industry for at least three decades by calling out for features that some devices say they have yet are difficult if not impossible to apply to the real problem. In reality, the problem hardly, if ever, exists!

For example, some camera manufacturers say that their camera can reproduce an image at .005 LUX while others brag that their camera can illuminate an image at 100 feet with built-in IR illumination. If there were to be a test what would most likely happen is that you’d find the processor in the camera can’t respond to real-world problems at night. Products like burglary intrusion, access control, surveillance, intercom, power supply product, and media conversion all use this technique. The fire alarm life safety products may be the only exception to specmanship today. Ultimately specmanship causes the security industry to fail to provide the proper level of education to the general public.

In summary, buyer beware! Until there are standards groups that can measure the necessary issues that cause electronics not to function properly, specmanship will always play a part in successfully undermining the requirements and goals of security initiatives.

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