How Long Before Axis Releases A No Punches Pulled VMS?

Axis traditionally has downplayed the fact that they sell VMS software. They have intentionally made it uncompetitive, so as to not make their much needed VMS partners anxious. They reaped the rewards of their strategy thru the pervasive partner integration of their product line. All the majors VMSes would cover most Axis products.

Certainly this was a good strategy for a long time, and was one of the many reasons for their success.

But now that most of the major VMSes are married off to companies who have their own camera lines, who exactly are they worried about? Regardless of their openness, over time Milestone will feel the slow gravitational tug of their immense parent, pulling them into the fold, and further off Axis. Ditto Exacq and Tyco. Why should Axis be faithful to them any longer?

Furthermore, things have changed in terms of driver integration as well. As ONVIF has progressed from its helpless infancy to its awkward adolescence, it has reduced the need for numerous one-off driver support and the associated partner resource burden. Since major VMSes will likely continue their adoption of new ONVIF functionality, Axis cameras will have a way in with or without partner integration.

Finally, there is no doubt significant internal pressure to improve their ailing financial results. The possible benefits of being an end to end solution provider can not have escaped them. Think a kinder, gentler Avigilon. But Axis needs to consolidate its brand in the marketplace while it's still a leader.

All this makes me think that it's going to be sooner rather than later before Axis charges the VMS marketplace with a competitive no-punches pulled product.

Anybody agree?


I say about 2 years before the have a quality VMS of their own. It will probably come just a bit too late to really save them.

Axis might improve Axis Camera Station and make it an open / enterprise VMS but that's definitely risky.

There's a lot of work that needs to be done to make ACS competitive with the top VMSes. A lot of high end / enterprise features (to name a few - enterprise management, access control integration, video walls, redundancy, etc.) that would take many man years.

Because of that, improving / opening their own VMS would simultaneously burn their core partners, pushing them to fight against Genetec in large deals, while Axis lacks the VMS features to win on a pure product basis.

This is one of the reasons I think Axis is better off buying Genetec. Axis has a market cap of ~$2 billion USD, they could easily offer Genetec $300 million (or a robust ~3x revenue).

Axis also needs to be concerned about rivals buying Genetec. Hikvision has $1 billion in cash in the bank and is raising another billion. Could Hikvision make Genetec an offer they can't refuse?

There's a lot of work that needs to be done to make ACS competitive with the top VMSes. A lot of high end / enterprise features (to name a few - enterprise management, access control integration, video walls, redundancy, etc.) that would take many man years.

My point is that they have been intentionally releasing crippled versions for a long time. If I were Axis though I wouldn't be writing crippled versions. It would make sense to be thinking ahead; they certainly have had the time, the know how and the resources to do it. So I think there is good reason to believe that 'what you see' isn't necessarily 'what they got'.

Though I agree with you, acquiring Genetec adds instant world-class capability and removes the last major disgruntled partner at the same time. Either way they need to do something to capture the $ and the control that being the VMS provider provides, no?

A lot of high end / enterprise features (to name a few - enterprise management, access control integration, video walls, redundancy, etc.) that would take many man years.

I recently read this book that has some interesting thoughts on the idea of man hours. Highly recommended for any project manager or team leader, even though he wrote it with software engineering in mind, and even though the book dates back to the punchcard era.

TL;DR throwing more manpower at a problem doesn't always necessarily make a project progress faster, because adding more manpower introduces a layer of complexity to the project not found when attempting the same project with smaller teams, and coordinating work and distributing information is more difficult the more people you have.

Sorry to go off topic but it's a fascinating book that more people in our industry should read.

Someone should or will buy Genetec, given the partnering that has been going on for the last two years. They are ripe for the picking. The issue for most is, Genetec knows it and they will be seeking premium dollars. That would be a natural marriage. I have remarked many times here and elsewhere that the VMS market is extremely fractured. There is no break-away, open field runner that I as an integrator can count on. These acquistions are cleaning that up and making it easier to choose a partner. Axis has always been high-end. Genetec is high end. That would appear to me a natural marriage, and an interesting one. My gut and my information says otherwise.

I had a conversation with some at Axis that all but assured me they would develop their own robust VMS, that integrated their access control into it. They are more than aware that their revenue model has to change and as John puts it, sooner rather than later. I too would agree, within two years.

Hikvision claims to have thier own high-end version coming out soon, and they have always demonstrated a desire to go-it-alone.

Dahua and Genetec is my guess, and it is only a guess; based more out of wishful thinking than inside knowledge. That would be interesting to watch and provide a lot of good reading material.

As an fyi, Dahua does not have a lot of free cash (~$300 million at the end of 2013).

I can't imagine Genetec sells to a Chinese company for Chinese stock (unnecessarily risky, given their status). For example, even March Networks took straight cash in their deal.

That's why I think Hikvision has a chance of working, if simply because Hikvision could make it an all cash transaction.

Maybe Hikvision will go it alone but I am skeptical that Hikvision's high end VMS is going to be as strong as Genetec's. Also, Genetec is an established VMS brand in West mega-projects, Hikvision, regardless of how big it is, is not.

Not long now I'm guessing... :)

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