Axis Giving Away $2,500 In VMS Licenses For Attending 2 Day Training

In a move that is unsettling some VMS manufacturers, Axis is giving ~$2,500 in their own ACS VMS licenses for attending a 2 day class.

Axis Camera Station has always had a difficult existence. A VMS offering from the biggest IP camera manufacturer who encourages and broadly works with many 3rd party VMS developers.

Over the years, Axis Camera Station has slowly improved, but clearly has been held back to reduce conflict with their VMS partners. For example, even though all Axis cameras support ONVIF, Axis Camera Station does not. Furthermore, the pricing has remained ~$100 per channel while open VMS platforms dropped their entry level pricing to the $50 - $75 range.

However, giving away that many licenses (28) undermines their VMS partners plus seeds the market for integrators to use more of ACS.

It's a good deal for integrators, though. Their 2 day Network Video Fundamentals course costs ~$600 and for that you get a high end ~$900 Axis Q1604 and ~$2,500 in ACC VMS licenses. In the past, we only recall them providing a camera or other hardware.

What do you think? Integrators? Manufacturers?

Note: This was first discussed / raised in True Open Platform VMS Alternatives To Milestone

Do you think that Axis is really trying to 'seed the market' with ACS? Do we have any idea what the sales numbers actually are for ACS?

It seems the main idea is just give a dealer free stuff and hope he will sell it sooner or later. And since that free stuff is best used with Axis cameras, it will increase hardware sales. Keep it 'broken' though so VMS partners don't get upset.

Do you think the internal cost of that camera is $600 or much less? Because I didn't see any limit to how many times you could take the class or if you have to pass or even if you have to show up, other than to grab the goodies. An integrator, it would seem, would be allowed to send ten people for ten cameras and 280 licences without a problem...

"It seems the main idea is just give a dealer free stuff and hope he will sell it sooner or later."

That's what seeding the market is.

I don't know if you're reference to 'keep it broken' is alluding to the Axis ACC discussions but ACS is a different platform.

I am not aware of limits of number of people who can be sent. As Ross indicated, he sends people motivated by the bonus of included cameras (which cuts into revenue Axis otherwise would receive).

The training is a big loss leader for them. You are talking about an employee traveling to a city (flight/hotel/meals), paying for training space / equipment, breakfast and lunch for all attendees plus then throwing in the free cameras and licenses. Even the hard cost is far higher than the $599 x 10 or 20 people they get per session.

It's probably still a good investment for them as increasing camera sales is their ultimate goal and this 'seeds' the market.

Wouldn't the licenses and camera from this class be not-for-resale (NFR)?

I realize that even if they are, dealers often end up selling NFR equipment, and I'm sure manufacturers realize this. Just asking the ethical question. I know when we got demo equipment from Axis in the past it was quite explicitly NFR and if they somehow found out about it the terms specified losing your Axis partnership. Whether they actually would do that is another question.

What's the point of giving 28 software licenses and not allowing them to be resold? :)

This isn't demo equipment, right? Technically, they paid for it.

My understanding of the Milestone class training approach was that you could definitely re-sell the licenses you got and that was a way of justifying their ~$3,000 price.

That's what seeding the market is.

But in this case the seed is apple (ACS), but the fruit is oranges (Cameras). Unless you believe that the comped licenses are mainly in an effort to sell just more ACS, but I think its aimed at hardware.

'Keep it broken' did indeed refer to ACS, but perhaps was too strong a description, maybe 'Keep it uncompetitive' (no onvif, etc) is better.

Imagine if dairies started giving away their own cookies to sell more milk. How would Nabisco feel? That's the situation here (Axis - dairies, 3rd party VMSes - Nabisco).

Why buy the cookies when you can get them for free?

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. - Sun Tzu

I know don't tell on me, "The Art of VAR" again, right? Its out of prints

Giving away one license per seminar attendee is causing you heartburn? Why? It doesn't scale. It's not like they are giving away licenses to end users. Unless you expect end users to take the class to get the software.

Giving away one license per seminar attendee is causing you heartburn?

No, you're right, I doubt one license would. On the other hand, wouldn't 28 licenses per attendee make you a little queasy?

Because unless I'm misreading John, that's what he is claiming here:

Their 2 day Network Video Fundamentals course costs ~$600 and for that you get a high end ~$900 Axis Q1604 and ~$2,500 in ACC VMS licenses.

Though I'll admit I can't find a document from Axis that says that on their public site. Perhaps its in the dealer only section or was in a partner email...

As an end user I take the class for the camera, but the licenses (and it is over 20) are an added bonus.

Here is similar offer in Canada from DW Spectrum/HD Witness

Admission Cost: $375
In addition to certification, all participants will also receive:
  • FREE MF21M4TIR IP Camera
  • Five DW Spectrum full, non demo licensees
  • Seven post-class days project discounts
  • Exclusive Projection Registration Discount
  • Direct Technical Support Line access

I received a copy of Axis Camera Station with 8 licenses and a P1311 box camera for attending one of their academy training sessions 5 years ago. The licenses were not for resale and I never used them as we didn't have any interest in the ACS platform, just their cameras.

I also received not for resale demo licenses from Genetec and Exacq for attending their training. It's pretty standard for manufacturers to do this. Not sure why this is a big deal. Slow news day?

IMO, ACS is not a very robust product and if using less than 8 cameras, you can download their camera companion product for free and avoid using it altogether.

I think the goal is to have their attendees be able to train with and later show their camera products without the expense of having to buy a demo VMS. 28 cameras seems a little excessive though but might make for a nice office demo.

In all the times I have met with Axis sales reps both as a gold an platinum partner, they never push the ACS product. They are aware of the relationship with VMS manufacturers and walk a tight line. Although the Canon/Milestone acquisition and Avigilon (who makes a VMS and their own line of cameras) probably requires them to keep ACS in their offering basket based on potential future market volatility.