I Lost My Axis Silver Partner Status Today

Disclaimer - To the die hard Axis guys (I used to be too), this is just my opinion. Their products are solid, but their dissociation with today's video surveillance market has me wondering if anyone else feels the same.

A year ago, I would probably have been upset. When I received this email stating I was getting demoted to "Authorized Status", I didn't even bat an eye. Up until 1-1.5 years ago, I was an Axis fanatic. That's all I quoted, installed, and I rarely looked at other manufacturers. When Axis brought in their M series I was excited because I could compete in a lower market. I review that exact thought today and laugh at myself. When you compare Axis' M series to many of the other manufacturer value series today, at their current price point, that line of products doesn't even make sense in the market.

Overall, I still use and enjoy working with Axis products today, it's just on a much smaller, niche application basis (where I think they do well). Other than that, my camera manufacturer offerings have diversified ten fold. I never suggest Axis for anything, but those niche applications because I find there are less expensive options that are comparable or better than many of the current Axis lines out there today.

With that, has anyone gone through the same transition lately? I'm curious if my need to stay competative has skewed my viewpoint or if Axis is really just out of touch with the market.


I also was "demoted" in the last year. Nothing I could do about it. I couldn't agree more that Axis' product lines don't make sense, and certainly not in the commercial / SMB space I work in. After quoting 5-6 projects about a year ago for customers making the switch from analog to IP and loosing I started to wonder why. these were customers that I had previous relationships with and so asked to see the competitve quotes. They were all hik/dahua, either name brand or OEM. I went through the whole "its a better product" discussion with them and even did a shoot out with a competitive product for one customer and actually lost. The reason: the comparable Axis model was twice the cost of the competitors. In the SMB, light commercial space they just can't be sold anymore...

This is an interesting topic. Thanks to both who have chimed in so far.

1 and 2, thanks for sharing.

It's not surprising. This is the flip side of Is It Time For Me To Start Selling Hikvision?

Thoughts on a few of the specific points raised:

"When Axis brought in their M series I was excited because I could compete in a lower market. I review that exact thought today and laugh at myself. When you compare Axis' M series to many of the other manufacturer value series today, at their current price point, that line of products doesn't even make sense in the market."

Yes, excellent observation. 3+ years ago, when the M series started, it was indeed very competitive. The problem is that Axis has stagnated at the entry level. Though they have brought in more mid-tier offerings, the pure entry level remains very dated, with the M3004 and M3005, even after price cuts, still not close to the price or performance of Hikvision / Dahua.

"I never suggest Axis for anything but those niche applications because I find there are less expensive options that are comparable or better than many of the current Axis lines out there today."

Agreed. Nobody does niche like Axis. If you near to add a multi-imager to a PTZ, Axis. If you need an IP horn, Axis. If you need an anti-suicide camera, Axis. If you need a regular dome, bullet, box, harder to justify Axis.

"The reason: the comparable Axis model was twice the cost of the competitors. In the SMB, light commercial space they just can't be sold anymore..."

Agreed. It's tough. Axis surely can demand a premium over Chinese products, but the premium is way, way too big for most basic users to justify.

And their financials reflect the problems Axis is having.

Axis has to know this. They are a smart company. Every new trade show season I think, "Ok, this is it. Axis is going to do something about getting beat up in the low end by Hikvision / Dahua," and then they don't. It's ~3 weeks to their major fall announcements so we will know then if they are going to do anything this year. Not sure.

Axis is going to do something about getting beat up in the low end by Hikvision / Dahua," and then they don't. It's ~3 weeks to their major fall announcements so we will know then if they are going to do anything this year.

In hindsight, I think they should have not declared the mega-pixel race over. People love pixels, it's a known fact. :)

Tell a prospect about how Axis pioneered the field and have a proven track record and blah, blah, blah, and they go to sleep. Tell them about 8, 12, and 20 megapixel cameras and you'll get their attention. People will pay for pixels. Rightly or wrongly.

Yet they ceded the low end to China and the high end to Canada. What did they expect?

At this point, I am not sure what could turn it around...

Here's a thought:

Have ONVIF turn gestapo and declare as non-compliant any product found to be out of spec. Which, if reports are correct would be a sizable number.

Push their own conformance and peace of mind guarantee because they were the creator of the standard. Whatever works at this point.

Then get back to innovating in flat-out performance, not in specialty niche feature sets.

I have never thought that Axis would push out competitve products to the likes of Hik/Dahua because it would cannibalise sales of their existing product lines. For example, if Axis pushed out a 3mp dome, with integrated IR, true WDR and a varifocal lens for ~300 to compete why would anyone buy anything else in the SMB, light commercial, residential, other cost sensitive spaces? With the exception of niche applications (as you stated above) everyone would flock to the bew low cost line. I'm not certain that the additional sales volume would compensate for the thinner margins and cannibalised product lines (M series).

2, those are good points.

The challenge is that Axis is in a Catch-22. If they match with lower cost products, their gross margins likely fall and even if they sell more units, it may not mean that significant an increase in total revenue (given the lower unit prices).

However, if they don't match, their revenue will definitely fall (it already is) and it might start falling precipitously. Perhaps Axis is hoping that Hikvision raises their prices or falls apart. It's certainly possible but, if things continue as they are, and Axis does not match, they are going to have financial problems. The best outcome then is that Axis shrinks into a premium / boutique provider.

...if things continue as they are, and Axis does not match, they are going to have financial problems. The best outcome then is that Axis shrinks into a premium / boutique provider.

Remember Hayes modems?

We still use these.....I should be ashamed, but I'm not.

Likewise Axis products will endure for some time to come...

"I have never thought that Axis would push out competitve products to the likes of Hik/Dahua because it would cannibalise sales of their existing product lines."

If you don't cannibalize your own products, someone else will be more than happy to do so.

Axis still has solid product, but they are either blind to the changing market conditions or extremely slow to adapt. I cannot tell if it is by choice or by circumstance. To Avigilons credit in our discussions with the RSM he immediately mentioned both Hikvision and Dahua by acknowledging they are a threat. On the flip side, our Axis RSMs are burying their heads in the sand. I think this overseas incursion really took them by surprise.

I think this overseas incursion really took them by surprise...

Some would argue that they hastened the process - Was Creating ONVIF A Wise Decision For Axis?

"To Avigilons credit in our discussions with the RSM he immediately mentioned both Hikvision and Dahua by acknowledging they are a threat."

That person is not following the party line! :)

To Avigilon's credit, every Western IP camera manufacturer is being hurt by Hikvision and Dahua. The only distinction / debate is how much.

To Avigilon's credit, every Western IP camera manufacturer is being hurt by Hikvision and Dahua.

Is there such a thing as a Western IP camera manufacturer? I am asking because I do not know.

Arecont, Avigilon, Axis. Those are just western IP camera manufacturers that start with the letter A.

Out if that list Avigilon is the only one that manufactures the cameras in the West.

Is Glendale, CA not in the West? Love or hate Arecont, they do manufacturer in the US.

Anyway, this is off topic.

Anybody here remember the history of American TV manufacturers? Killed by Japanese.
The same is happening in CCTV, in my opinion

And in turn the Japanese then lost that market to the Koreans; now Samsung and LG hold 48% of the flat screen TV market globally. Same reasons apply, good enough product at the lowest price wins.

I think Axis is evolving into the Bang and Olufsen of physical security cameras (good stuff, Nordic, expensive, increasingly quirky designs, only half-connected to western marketing style, weird but less scary than Vikings to those of us of English descent.)

Ah, you took the red pill. It's the 21st century. You should be selling multiple brands. Your trading partner should have be adults about that fact of life. Selling territories were charming when my father was a travelling salesman in the 1940's.

It sounds like you are trying to remember to take care of your customers. Good for you.

So sad but this is where we are heading.

Same scenerio on my team. Recently went to training, where there were only 3 in class. Financially this does not make sense, wont pay the overhead cost

Great products, just only in the high end marketplace. Problem with low end markets, you cannot make soft changes in programming to make corrections. Just plug and play

I like the cameras adjustment s I can make in the field. HV, Acti make great plug & Play but not for customization like axis, arecont, panasonic, vicon

"Recently went to training, where there were only 3 in class."

Is this an Axis class or?

The one thing Axis still has going for them is in big bid scenarios, they are still hard spec'd and most engineering firms (in our area), don't allow alternates. These firms still havent caught up to today's industry and realistically, as one engineer stated to me when addressing access control, they spec what they have product knowledge on. Axis reps are always knocking on their door so that's what goes to spec. If I want something else, I have to reach out and do a presentation or lunch and learn. It might not be perfect, but I see where they're coming from even if I disagree.

"The one thing Axis still has going for them is in big bid scenarios, they are still hard spec'd"

Agreed. And as you say, those things change slowly because A&Es tend to be conservative (and there are good reasons to be so with larger projects). So that will help them not lose ground at the high end but it will not doing anything in the SMB market.

I was called by a head hunter a few weeks ago pitching a job at Hik as the dedicated A&E guy. Looks like they're wising up to this.

Does it bother anyone that these are Chinese companies? I have no issues with them cornering the market on plastic toys, but I do care about the effect they have on this industry. Forget about being the world #1 in CCTV sales. What if their business strategy is to drive Western companies out of the surveillance business by dropping the bottom out of the market (drywall, steel, precious metal ores, etc). What happens when the Western companies stop making surveillance cameras and our national security is dependent upon sourcing product from a Communist country? What happened to doing business with companies who share a common business ethic and humanitarian vision? Why are all of these posts about speeds, feeds and price?

I won't sell Chinese cameras because I think their business ethics are detrimental to our National security and I won't be part of it. If my customer wants to save 20% on the hardware acquisition cost, then they can buy them from one of you guys.

"Why are all of these posts about speeds, feeds and price?"

Andrew, because that is what American users / consumers / buyers most often care about it, not all of course and less so on the high end, but on the low to mid-market if you are 50% higher price, appeals to patriotism are bound to work poorly. True? False?

Look up the Lenovo Laptop scandal with the DOD. It's important to know who you're working with.

Fair Trade foods and products are a thing because mant people don't like the idea of supporting slave labor. I would pay a premium to know that my cameras we're made by 12 year olds in a sweat shop. I'd also pay for UL listing, which most of the Chinese dudes don't do.

What happens when the Western companies stop making surveillance cameras and our national security is dependent upon sourcing product from a Communist country?

We Europeans were never so much against Communism as Americans were, and I can't say I really give much about that fact. Specially in this day and age.

What happened to doing business with companies who share a common business ethic and humanitarian vision? Why are all of these posts about speeds, feeds and price?

You mean companies such as Apple who use businesses where the employees rather jump of roofs cause they love their work so much ? There aren't many 'clean' companies around anymore.

I won't sell Chinese cameras because I think their business ethics are detrimental to our National security and I won't be part of it.

By that logic I shouldn't be buying anything American either with all the info revealed about the NSA. As a European I feel the threat from the NSA is bigger then that of China. The truth is, everyone spies on everyone.

Rogier - I appreciate the feedback. I often forget that there are many IPVM members throuout the world and that everyone has a different perspective. With that said, my "Communist" argument is politial jargon. The truth is that China's government is considered hostile by our government and that is the bottom line. It seems like you are confusing "spying" with "cyber-terrorism", but that is not why I responded to the original post.

The reason for my response is that my company does business with people (and companies) that we trust, and I don't trust China. These may be legitimate business enterprises, but how much of these companies are owned and controlled by the government? If a new startup in Iran, or Syria for that matter, began making a better (and cheaper) camera than HIKVision, it still wouldn't matter to me.

Integrators and End Users need to pay more attention to who they are buying from, not what they are buying. There are plenty of American and European companies in our industry that I don't trust and don't buy from, and those reasons have nothing to do with political affiliation. If you don't agree with me, then keep buying. But companies like mine will be the ones that will hopefully be able to sustain the viability of their higher cost competitors.

Andrew, I'm not sure which of us has the minority opinion, but just know that not all Americans share your view of the world. I don't see China as such an enemy as you do. I guess I don't care much for politics in general, so that part of the equation is missing for me.

If my client wants products made in the USA, he will gladly pay the premium. However, I don't want to come in the door with only a high price in hand (Avigilon, Arecont). I want my first option to be a great value and go from there.

On a side note, when do we reclassify Axis as an Asian brand? I don't see it as fitting to call them a western brand anymore. They are owned by Japanese and have been made in China for years, right?

On a side note, when do we reclassify Axis as an Asian brand?

As if things aren't bad enough already, you want to take away one of their last selling points.

You are one cruel bastard, my friend. Cruel, but fair...:)

Jon D.,

I'm sure someone from Axis will correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe that Axis has EVER built cameras in China and doesn't intend to. Their new Asian parent company is actually planning to build a new, much larger, facility in Sweden to consolidate their operations so I don't think it would be fair to cast them as an Asian company just yet.

From my perspective, Axis continues to innovate and develop whereas the Chinese companies tend to copy and play catch-up (while dropping the bottom out of the market). I don't plan to support that business model nor am I willing to present that product as an alternative. If cost is the primary/only consideration for the project, I'm not going to win it anyway.

From my perspective, Axis continues to innovate and develop whereas the Chinese companies tend to copy and play catch-up, (while dropping the bottom out of the market). I don't plan to support that business model nor am I willing to present that product as an alternative.

What if they have caught-up and even taken the lead (in certain cases), but continue to insist on charging you 1/2 as much?

Maybe not built in China, but built in Mexico and Thailand for sure. They switched the "Made in Sweden" years ago to "Engineered in Sweden".

I am still an AXIS guy but that is due more to their footprint within VMS' ("everyone works with AXIS"), the product selection and that AXIS is our corporate standard. Having to retrain my staff on another camera line or worse,multiple camera lines, is a no go.

Very interesting article. Now I am an end user, and I am not in the small business. But I can say that when we began our transition from analog to IP in 2012, we asked around. At that time we had two integrators. One large national one and a small regional one. Both said they would sell us whatever we wanted, however they gave us the info mentioned here and still widely known.

Axis started the IP revolution. They are the leader and they make very good products and have a wide array of options.

We also talked to several of our colleagues and they all seemed to use a wide array of manufactures. One in particular beat us to the IP transition by two years. His issue was he tried out three or four different manufactures till he settled on one. His advice was find one you like and stick with it. He hated the fact he had several different brands. It was way too much to manage and learn.

Being a creature of habit I am the same way. I truly believe if it isn’t broken don’t try and fix it.

At that time we knew a guy who was a regional sales manager for Axis. We had known him for years from his time as a business development manager at a large national integrator. During those years he was continually solicit ting our business and never could make the sale because we were happy with the integrators we had.

Anyway, we invited him and Axis over for a discussion and demo. At the time we liked their product line and their willingness to answer our questions and educate us on the products and on IP camera technology.

Over the last three years I can say we have developed a great relationship with Axis. We partnered with them to develop their product line to include cameras they simply did not have within their product line at the time. When they have new products up and coming they come out and demo them for me and they have on more than one occasion allowed me to test cameras and provide feedback to them on our use and or deployment.

They have even worked with us to develop a portfolio of unique camera mounting brackets for some products specific to my industry that simple were not readily available on the market.

When I have new projects coming up that have unique problems to resolve they have been willing to come out and help find the best solution to fit my specific need at the time.

One at least one occasion I had a criminal act occurring that was specific to my industry and my C-suite wanted us to think outside the box and find any and all solutions that could be reviewed to determine what lese we could do to try and resolve. Again I reached to Axis. They came to the table not only with their own products but they brought to the table two of their integration partners and gave us solutions that were exactly what we were looking for. In the end we ended up going another route however the point being is they brought a viable option.

I have to say I am sure there are cheaper cameras on the market however from my perspective, the ROI for me is invaluable from the ability with one phone call get their regional sales guy on phone and have him tell me sure I can be there next week and I will bring another guy and we will show you what we have and what we can do. Even going to the point for me to say we can use this camera, but in order to deploy we will need a custom bracket and they go out and do it.

This is huge for me. I don’t want a local tech doing some custom in the field bracket that tomorrow when and if I need a second and the first guy is no longer employed here is no longer around and the new guy has no knowledge of what was done or how to do it.

Damon, that's great feedback. Thanks for sharing!

It's an excellent 'case study' of where and how Axis can succeed.

Axis has tried to differentiate recently on their 'quality' but that alone is tough to differentiate on since Hikvision's quality is fairly solid (not saying it as good as Axis but it generally close enough not to make a huge difference). However, if Axis can do what they are doing for Damon with more enterprise buyers, that level of 'partnership' could easily justify Axis premium pricing.

Well said Damon. I agree 100% and I am thinking that the majority of end users would echo the same points. Well those with more than a few dozen cameras at least would.

My Axis P1344 was made in Thailand. Not exactly China, but still Asian if my Google Earth app is correct.

Mine is Proudly Made in HUNGARY.

Jon, I may be wrong but I think you may have a winner underneath your sticker. Peel to reveal original country of manufacturer.

Hungary isn't Sweden either. My greater point is they don't actually manufacture their products (just like Apple), so where they are from really matters less. Most things are made by outsourced manufacturing firms, and these firms are the ones who we should know more about.

UD9 - They are owned by a Japanese company now, so yes they are Asian in that sense.

If a product is designed, engineered and tested in Sweden; firmware written in Sweden; the corporate brain trust in Sweden... can it be considered an Asian company? Lots of companies assemble their products in other countries (just look at US automakers). That doesn't change their corporate identity. Thailand may be on the same continent as China but they aren't even close to the same politically, socially or otherwise, so don't fool yourself. Thailand is no more like China than Mexico is like the US, despite the fact that we're both in North America.

Lots of companies assemble their products in other countries (just look at US automakers). That doesn't change their corporate identity.

If so why would you think that they had not EVER manufacturered in China? Or have any plans to?

China represents a significant business risk for anyone. If you had an option of dealing with a political ally or a political enemy to do business with, which would you choose? Just read the papers and watch the news - the government of China is a sponsor of cyber-terrorism, and is implicated in who knows how many attacks on US networks - government and private. I wouldn't do business there if I had reasonable alternatives (like Thailand, Hungary or anywhere else).

Regarding the outsource of assembly/manufacturing, I don't think that's the "secret sauce" of any business. If I'm designing and installing a complex, integrated, CCTV and Access control system for a customer, do you think they care more about the sub I hired to pull the cable or the guys performing the system design, programming, configuration and support of the project? I don't think it matters where the product is assembled as long as they do a good job and the product meets the quality control requirements.

This is going way off topic now, but I doubt the U.S. isn't involved with similar cyber attacks. Why is it that to be patriotic, you also have to be myopic.

Jon - I think you misunderstand the definition of myopic. That term is commonly used to describe someone as shortsighted. My argument that buying from anyone who makes a decent product at the lowest cost without considering WHO you are buying from is shortsighted. It's not about being patriotic as much as it is about doing business with people you trust. I don't trust China so I wouldn't buy from a company in which the Chinese government has ownership interest and I hope that my city, county, state and other government clients understand and share that concern.

We don't share the same perspective, that much is obvious. My myopic comment was referring to the fact that in order to be considered patriotic these days, you have to wear blinders in respect to what actions the U.S. government and military conduct around the world.

I find this amusing. You are being demoted because a manufacturer feels you are not selling their product, yet they are the ones not adapting to the market.

I think that it IS possible for one company to succeed long-term with a high-end, quality based market strategy and premium pricing. And maintain decent mind/market share.

But maybe only one company.

And there are at least five Axis, Bosch, Panasonic, Sony, Avigilon...

Extremely interesting thread..

A few things:

let's dropthe "Good Enough" condescension. Hik and Dah are often on a par with the best out there and regularly at alesser price. Even their entry level regularly match the output of clebrated brands mid to high tier products and to repeat: At a much lesser price. More over Reliability is less and less an issue .. So from the consumer or , especially, the integrator, What to not LIKE? I understand the flag-waving although I do not subscribe to it: We are living in a Golbal market and those ideas as passe as the Hayes Modem.

I am not sure what we integrators should make of this. We will not make money on the cameras anymore of that I am certain. I also believe the days of >$300 VMSlicenses are not far from over... SO where do we make money: Services? Install? integration? The future is as too often murky...

It’s downright laughable to say that ”…Hik and Dah are often on a par with the best out there…”. I’m not certain how you are qualifying such remarks but you might want to take some time to read through the test results above, such as the 2015 WDR shootout.

As Hik was recently involved in the largest security breach / vulnerability issue in the history of IP Surveillance, I’ve got a hard time placing any faith in them as a manufacturer. Revenue is important, but so is maintaining our reputation.

Just my 2 cents.

...but you might want to take some time to read through the test results above, such as the 2015 WDR shootout.

Thanks for giving me the motivation to catchup on my tests! It looks like the Hik model came in somewhere in the lower of the field. :(

And although Axis may have done better (omitting the low-light scenes where they didn't have IIR), they were not the top camera either.

This is what I found regarding the 2015 WDR shootout:

Excellent WDR performance, best among all cameras in this test, especially in dark areas of the scene, where the IPC542E-DU produced more details of the subject, chart, and surroundings than other cameras.

The IPC542E-DU is made by the #3 manufacturer in China, Uniview.

Price of the Axis Q1615 $1300, Price of Uniview $500

12, I agree with you that the security breach / vulnerability is a concern, an especially large one for higher end and government customers (background - The Hikvision Hacking Scandal and Hikvision Anti Hacking Firmware Tested).

I do not agree about Hikvision being lower quality. If we are going through IPVM tests, how about this? - Hikvision Darkfighter Camera Tested where Hikvision has set a new best in ultra low light performance.

So there's definitely reasons to not sell Hikvision, but image quality is generally on par and increasingly superior to Axis, even at lower prices.

If you are only concerned about image quality and price, then there is nothing wrong with these options. If you are comparing the capabilities of the camera as a whole, then JH would need to do some destructive testing to ensure that the cameras also hold up to the Ingress Protection standards as well as the impact testing for vandal resisitance. That could be a costly endeavor, but I bet the less costly options do not truly meet the standards. So, when your $500 outdoor camera fills up with water, good luck getting it replaced as a warranty item.

"ensure that the cameras also hold up to the Ingress Protection standards as well as the impact testing for vandal resisitance. That could be a costly endeavor, but I bet the less costly options do not truly meet the standards."

Andrew, you are accusing Hikvision of rigging or falsifying tests for the IP and IK ratings on their cameras that they explicitly rate as IP66 and IK10. Do you have any evidence of that assertion? It's a pretty serious charge.

There are more Hikvision cameras being deployed now in North America than Axis - fact. Where are the horror stories? If this is the case, why are integrators not crying foul and protesting Hikvision as they did and still do about Arecont?

If you do not want to sell Hikvision because you do not want to support China or are concerned about information security risks or have customers that do not trust those products, that is perfectly understandable. But I don't understand how you can lay down a serious charge of Hikvision defrauding their customers on IP and IK ratings without some proof or even some trail of anecdotical problems to support this?

That said, if there are more nuanced differences in build quality and outdoor reliability between Axis and Hikvision that make a meaningful difference, I'd be interested in learning more. And I would encourage Axis to point these out more specifically rather than generic marketing campaigns and silly video games.

John - I was not accusing any manufacturer of falsifying anything. I did not name any manufacturers nor did I cite any examples.

"I don't understand how you can lay down a serious charge of Hikvision defrauding their customers on IP and IK ratings without some proof or even some trail of anecdotical problems to support this?"

I appreciate your need to sensationalize the commentary that we so willingly post to your forum, but my comment was not intended to be an accusation, nor is it based on fact. There was no need to "fill in the blanks" with my post. I enjoy reading your inflamatory replies to other people's posts, but I guess not when I am the target.

The net bottom line is: Your team has been more than competent in pointing out other deficiencies with camera performance specifications. So, are you ready to proof-test the other specifications that also ? Proof test them all... Sweedish, Chinese, Korean, American, German, who cares? The point is, all of us have experienced water rings in the dome bubbles of cameras that were supposedly IP66 or IP67. This is another opportunity for your team to de-bunk the marketing that is inherent in the camera datasheets.

Andrew Bowman: "I won't sell Chinese cameras because I think their business ethics are detrimental to our National security and I won't be part of it."

I think your earlier comments reveal your bias, and make your protestation hollow.

Andrew, I can’t speak for Hikvisions IK ratings as we have not tested them. But we have installed hundreds of Hikvision cameras outdoors in New England since we started working with Hikvision three years ago. We have replaced many “higher end" cameras that had problems with water leaking into the housing. I am interested to see a test for IK ratings, unfortunately this would cost big $$$ when you start comparing against Axis, Bosch…etc.

Last winter was one of the worst we had in CT in years, I was concerned that we would see problems. To my surprise, we saw none.

Andrew, here is a key part of my statement you might not have analyzed:

"There are more Hikvision cameras being deployed now in North America than Axis - fact. Where are the horror stories? If this is the case, why are integrators not crying foul and protesting Hikvision as they did and still do about Arecont?"

I am serious about this. As an example, I recently talked to a very large company selling lots of Hikvision who says that their RMA rates are as low for Hikvision as they are for top Western manufacturers.

Since so many people use Hikvision and so few complain about its product quality in the field, what would we test? And even if we did, what would that show relative to what your peers are already experiencing with Hikvision's quality?

John - Again, I wasn't singling out a particular manufacturer. Based on the feedback in the forum, I would be more inclined to sell Hikvision than Pelco, but I don't lead with either and the reasons are completely unrelated.

I don't have any useful suggestions on how to decide which manufacturer(s) to perform destructive testing on (or even if it would be cost effective to do so). All I'm suggesting is that we would like to know if there are any physical or environmental performance deficiencies with a particular camera line before we decide to deploy something new with a valued customer. We use your performance tests and surveys ("Worst IP Camera Manufacturer 2014") to validate our experiences and assumptions before making hasty decisions, but other people's experiences are not always a true gauge of the quality. An inproperly installed cable grommet (installer error) could easily explain a failed camera, but that is difficult to determine in a survey response. That may have more to do with whether or not the camera is "installer friendly" than is it manuctured according to the proper standard. Again, useful information that contributes to the over all cost of deployment.

If you want to draw conclusions, assume that I was referring to the #2 most hated camera on the 2014 report.

I think many integrators find it difficult to understand IP cameras (and video management) is commoditizing much faster than anticipated. As it transitions, prices will fall and a new pricing structure takes effect. While quality image in a camera 2-3 years ago may have cost $1,000, the same is not true today. The old "price equals quality" is true to a point, but our industry as a whole is changing at a rapid pace and with it, the pricing structure.

Analog video was different. It was the standard for many years and while there were changes to VMS platforms, the basis of technology was for the most part, static. This is why Pelco could charge $3,000 for a PTZ camera for 10+ years. Pricing in the analog world didn't really begin to morph until the introduction of IP video.

To provide a little more understanding in a different technology, the first iPod launched in 2001, included a 5GB harddrive, black and white screen, physical buttons for menu navigation, and sold for $400. Today, that device doesn't have a place in the market, but something close to it typically sells for $10-$20. Why? Well, because I can do all those things and much, much more from my phone for the same price. Companies innovated and prices for the base technology decreased.

This is where I think Axis has lacked the last couple years. They gave us an IP horn, a door phone, and VMS hardware I (and many integrators) don't want or need. They let other companies play catch up and it's showing now in their lack of sales. They still feel their cameras deserve premium pricing, but the market has dictated otherwise. Innovation in core camera technology products will boost their sales, not niche accessories.

Analog video was different. It was the standard for many years and while there were changes to VMS platforms, the basis of technology was for the most part, static. This is why Pelco could charge $3,000 for a PTZ camera for 10+ years

I would challenge the assumption that unchanging technology is the reason that Pelco was able to make large margins. In the absence of patents which exclude others from making the same product, what is this basis for your statement?

Good point, I should not have stated an absolute rather my opinion that the unchanging technology was a factor coupled with others like you stated above.

I haven't sold a Bosch camera in years either. They have outstanding picture quality, efficient bandwidth management and a 3-year warranty. I guess by that logic, I'm politically biased toward Germany? I don't sell Avigilon either, but those reasons have nothing to do with what Country their in.

We all have to pick and choose what we sell, install and support. I buy from trusted partners, not from datasheets and catalogs.

Larger Companys should not get so complacent with thier position.

HV has done a great job at putting forth a great product at a low cost.

When I can buy 3mpxl cameras at $100.00 compared to a $1000.00 Name Brand , who do you think I am going to choose.

I will 80% of the time forgo the name, bells, whistles, and use the other products.

Walmart has proven this concept. and the CCTV market place should take note before thier overhead puts them in the poorhouse.

You have to sell product or you cannot sustain overhead.

"You have to sell product or you cannot sustain overhead"

If that is your winning business model, I hope you are prepared to compete against WalMart and Amazon for your customers. If your customers share your same mentality, they won't be buying from you...

Now show them the image quality of the camera you've displayed and another camera you install with like properties. Then explain the differences and why they should choose the later at 3-4x the cost.

You're arguing points most end users either don't care about or don't see the value in. Unless you're supplying a 3 year warranty on labor, I can install the same camera 2-3 times before I'm at the cost of one of your preferred partners. I have yet to run into any issues though and I've been installing HK dome models for a while now.

"You're arguing points most end users either don't care about or don't see the value in."

Actually, what I'm arguing is that your business model is flawed. When your customer figures out they can get the camera cheaper on Amazon or Walmart direct, they'll "1-click order" and have them on thier doorstep in 2 days. Then they'll hand a few boxes of cameras to the electrician or network cabling contractor and have them install them. Why will they need you?

Yes you've hit on another point I've stated in an earlier post. These products/systems are becoming a commodity and you will start to see self-installs more frequently. What has the greater opportunity for a sale though, quoting them a system with a moderate markup and install labor or a like product with the same camera offerings at 3x the cost with install labor?

I would find it more appealing/understand better as the end user that while I could go do it myself, having the system professionally installed and programmed (not to mention I don't have to do the work) is worth it. I think I'd have a lot more customers shopping around if I made claims that these other cameras (like Axis) were worth the extra cost.

In this market, I think it is more important to sell on value to the customer and I don't see it in the products or the arguments you've presented.

"When your customer figures out they can get the camera cheaper on Amazon or Walmart direct, they'll "1-click order" and have them on thier doorstep in 2 days."

Andrew, wait, now you're arguing against Axis? :)

In all seriousness, it's not like there are monster margins to be made off Axis either.

I could understand you saying something strongly protected like Avigilon but Axis margin protection is similar to Hikvision, no?

I don't disagree. My argument was simply pointing out that an Integrators' long term success should be on something other than selling cameras. As #7 pointed out, Walmart has the product fulfillment model figured out.

I don't have any idea what other Integrators get for margins on product. We have learned to live with the margin that is available to us by reselling Axis because it is consistent, predictable and simple. I can beat the typical Internet advertised pricing with my partner discount, and that doesn't require registering the deal and begging for more margin. That only happens because Axis has a solid MAP (minimum advertised pricing) policy and is the best in the industry at enforcing that. Virtually every other line we carry has been compromised by Internet pricing and there is no margin left for us.

So, just because you can find Axis all of the internet, doesn't mean there is no money to be made. I'm not looking for internet sales; I just don't want my hard-earned customers to shop elsewhere, and Axis helps me sustain those relationships. Axis is my partner, not my supplier. I don't know how to quantify that for your readers, but I'll gladly pay the premium to sustain that peace of mind.

I guess it all comes down to how your prospects determine value. If it’s price point alone, that’s a different customer than one who perhaps looks at TCO. It's a big market and there is no single answer.

If it’s price point alone, that’s a different customer than one who perhaps looks at TCO.

The argument here is that Hik has a lower price point AND lower TCO than Axis.

Do you think Axis has a lower TCO (in mainstream applications) than Hik?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Does Axis Have A Lower TCO Than Hikvision?