Axis Open VMS (Axis Camera Station 5) Tested

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Mar 14, 2016

Axis has launched an open VMS, with its new ACS5. What has historically been an Axis only offering is now suddenly a potential competitor to the many open VMSes in the market, including its corporate sibling Milestone.

But how well does it work? We downloaded ACS5 and the free trial license to try it out.

Here is a quick peek showing 4 manufacturers running inside ACS5:

Inside, we examine the 3 key strengths and 5 key weaknesses of ACS5.

Key ********

*** *** ********* ********:

  • ***** ***** ****** *********** was ***** ** *** tests *** *** ****** compatibility ****, ****** **** some ***************, ******.
  • ********** ** **** ******* was ****** *** ****, allowing ******** ******* *** integration
  • ****** ******* **********, ******** in ****, *** ****** and ******.

*** *** ********** ********:

  • ** *** ******* *** third ***** *******, ********** recording ****. **** **** adding ***** ***** *** support ** * **** priority *** **** *******.
  • *** *** ********* ******* works ****, *** ** not ***** *** ******* up **** **** ******** VMSes.
  • ********** **** / ****** management ** *********. ****** Axis ******** ********** ***** from ******** *******, ******** that ** ***********.
  • ********* ******* ** *********. Though ******** ******* *** be ******** **************, ********* they ****** ** ****** back *************.
  • ** ***** ****** ******. While **** ***** ** not ******* ****, ****' own****** ********* **** *** does **** ****. **** **** ****** this ** * **** priority *** **** *******.

Pricing **** ** ***** *****

*** *** *** * types ** *********. ***** is ********* **** ******* ******** **** *** (ACS5)******:

  • **** ******** *** *** Axis ******* *** **** up ** ** *******. MSRP ** $** *** per ******.
  • ********* ******** *** *** any *** **** ****** and *** *** ******* over ** *******. **** is $*** *** *** device.
  • ****** ***** ** ***** on ***** ******* ** a ******, *.*., ** you **** *** **** cameras ****** ** ******* connected ** * ****** client, **** ***** ******* 32 **** *** *** higher ****** ********* ********.
  • ** ********* / ****** / *********** ****, ** before, *** ****** ******** (ACS6, ***.) *** ******* an ******* ***.

Competitive ******

***** ***, **** ** 3rd ***** *** *******, ACS5 **** ********* ** for ***** *** **** all **** *** **** need ** *** ** a *** *** ***** cameras. *******, **** **** adds **** *** ***** remote ******, ** ******* that **** **** ** a ********, *** ************ competitor, ** **** ***** like ***** *** *********.

Solid ***** ***** ****** ***** ***********

*** ***** ***** ******* attempted (* ****** **** 5 *************) ****** ******* issues ** *** *, with ************* ** ********* and ********** *********** ********, and ***** ************ ********.

No ***** ***** ***

*** * **** *** support ***** ****** ********* on ***** ***** *******. Camera **** *** ** supported ** **** ******* only.

**** ***** **** ***-**** models *** ******* ** continuous ********* ****, * significant **********, ** **** VMSes ******* **** **** of ****** ********* (****** or ****** ****) *** many/most ***** ***** *******.

Device ************* **** ******

**** ****** ************* ********** ************* **** ****. Users ***** *** ******'* IP ******* *** ***********, and ***** ************* ***** are ***, *********** ********** of *.*** *** ***** streaming, *****, *** ***** configuration (***/**********). **** ********* that ******* **** ** ONVIF ******* * **********, but *** ****** ** not, *** **** *** use *** **** ******* S **** *** ***** party ************, ****** **** basic ****** *** *********.

************ *******

******* ********, *****, ****/*****, Hikvision, *** ****, ******* were ************, **** **** cameras ******* *** **** failing, *** ******* ******** upon ******, ******* ******** any ***** ********.

*** *******, ** ****** the ******** *.**-**-**, ***** fully ****** *** *****, shown ** **********. *******, running *** **** * second ****, *** ****** failed ***** *****. ******* a ***** ****, ** passed **** *****.

***** *** *** **** common *******, * ********** minor ******* ***** *** rarity ** ***** *********/*********. Only * ****** ******, the ********* **-*********-* ****** video ********* ***** (*****). However, **** ****** ****** fine ** *** **** added.

Strong **** ****** **********

*** ****** ****** ********** for *** ** *** Axis *******, **** *** Axis ****** ********** ********* integrated ******** **** *** client. **** ****** ***** to ******* ********, ******* ACAP ************, *** ********* cameras ** **** ******** from *** ******. ***** functions *** *** ********* in ***** ***** *******. Note **** ************* **** the **** *********** ***********, instead ** ****** ********, which *** ** ********* for ****** *****.

******* ** *** ********** interface, ***** ************* ******* are *********, **** ** brightness, ********, ***, ***., in ******** ** ***/**********/*********** available *** *** *******.

** ****** ***** ******** in **** *****:

Improved ****** ********* **********

*** * **** * licensing ****** ******* ***** users *** ****** ***** systems' ********, *** ******, and *** ********** ****** channels ******* ******* ** visit *** **** ** access *** ****** ********. Licenses *** ********* *** automatically ****** ** *** server *** *** ********. For ***** ******* ******** access, ***** *** ******** a ******* **** ***** can ** ******** ** the ******.

** **** **** ****** in *** ***** *****:

New ********* ** ****** ******* ** ***********

****' *** ********* ******* allows ***** ** ****** click *** **** ******* archived *****, ******* ** requiring **** ** **** back/forward ** ******* ****** or ***** ** ******** points ** *** ********. This ** *** ** ACS, *** ****** ** most ***** *****.

Export ******* *********

*** * ******* ***** in **** .*** ****** only, ******* * *********** player. ******** ******* *** be ******** ** *** time, *** ******* * proprietary/multi-camera ******. * ******** is ******* ********** *** clips ********, *** **** are ****** **** ************, not **************.

Enterprise **** / ****** ********** *********

******** *** * ********* may ** ****** *** configured **** *** ****** instance, *** **** ******** are *** ****** *********. In ***** ** *** up ******** *******, ***** export * ************* **** from * ********** ******, and ****** ** ** the ****. ******** ** not ****** ****** *** user ***** ***** ** a ******* ********.

No ***** *********

****** *** ***** ********** found ** *********** **** ****** ********* release, *** * ******** manual **** ********** ** remotely *******, ****** *** client ** ****** *** (new **** *** *). Users **** ******** ***** the ** ******* ** host **** ** **** server **** **** ** connect **. ** ********,**** ****** ********* ******* *** ***** ** a ****'* **** *******, allowing **** ** *** in ******** ******* ****** setup.

Server ****/*** *****

*** ***** ** *** Axis ****** ******* ******* itself *** ***, ~*-*% on ** ** *.* GHz, **** *** ** and * ***** ******* in ***. **** ***** remained ****** ********** ********** of *******/********** ** ***.

**** ****** ******** ******** decoding ** *** *, but ** *** *****, we *** ** ********** with *** ******** ** or ***. ** **** reached *** ** **** for *******.

Comments (13)

Why even bother releasing without third party VMD now? Either wait until VMD works, or release as is but make the announcement at ISC West. If they would have waited, it probably would have been the big announcement at ISC.

"Why even bother releasing without third party VMD now?"

Getting ONVIF based VMD to work consistently is a minefield (see ONVIF test results) so that could have been a factor.

No, I get that, I'm asking why they didn't wait to launch or announce it as ISC, in just a few weeks.

IMO, if you're going to wait for ISC West to drop a product announcement it should be HUGE.

This is really incremental to something Axis has had for a while. It's noteworthy, but it's not enough to drown out the rest of the noise at ISC West. As Itamar noted, the price itself isn't really fantastic for the feature set you get.

Many people go to ISC West with a game plan of what they want to see. As a manufacturer you're better off (IMO) getting releases like this out earlier. Give people time to digest it, give people time to think about it relative to other options, and then at the show you can have a more in-depth conversation with an informed person.

For Axis, an ISC West level announcement would be them doing a 32MP camera to rival Avigilon's 30MP. You know Avigilon is going to have a lot of their messaging at ISC West revolving around the 7K camera, so Axis could throw their competitor off their game by making an announcement like that AT the show.

For Axis, an ISC West level announcement would be them doing a 32MP camera

That would ship 32M later...

I'm not sure what the strategy is. It feels like with 80$ per device is too expensive for what you get.

I'm guessing that things will improve over time but the price is too close to milestone essential license.

I understand that both MS and AX want to keep the appearance of an independent companies but I think the better strategy is keep being open but base your products on milestone at this stage.

"It feels like with 80$ per device is too expensive for what you get."

My guess is that the price is a 'feature', not a 'bug'. In other words, Axis may have set that price to limit the competitive threat of ACS to third parties. Imagine if they gave away ACS for Axis cameras? That would be highly disruptive to their partner relationships.

Imagine if they gave away ACS for Axis cameras?

Imagine if Milestone gave away a camera with every license. :)

Ask the customer what features they feel are most needed that they are willing to pay for. Then compare those comments with one of the no license fee manufacturers. I bet most do not give a hoot about half the stuff and if they knew they could RECORD, PUSH to the CLOUD, and VIEW LIVE for free they would do it for FREE.

Was there an example video of the user basics I might have missed? Here is how what the start interface looks like... Here is how to bring up and change cameras... Here is how to change or choose your layout... Here is how to playback/rewind/jump to previous date and time in video ... Here is how to get to the Event List (if any)...

As for the software, it seems very behind established players in similar price ranges like DW Spectrum/NXWitness, Exacq Start and Pro, MS Essential (alreayd mentioned), etc. I guess their long term play is for people who want all Axis at the small to mid level installations...?

What specifically makes you think it is 'very behind established players in similar price ranges'?

We did not record basic videos as we focused on what's new as the basics remain the same from previous versions of ACS.

I think the lack of camera side motion detection, the lack of multiview export, and the other players just seem to have more established 3rd party camera support. I'm not saying they can't catch up quickly if they want to. But my jaded view is while many manufacturers say they'll do this or that soon, it usually takes a long time.

We reviewed the last few year's releases of Axis Camera Station, a client UX refresh and Manual Video Redaction being the primary significant changes, while overall the majority of new features have been incremental configuration changes (e.g. camera password management updates), minor UX updates (e.g. Touchscreen actions enabled, 3rd party fisheye dewarp) and bug fixes.

We have decided not to test currently but might in the future if Axis substantially improves ACS.

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