Axis Admits Access Control Expectations Low

By John Honovich, Published Oct 17, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Axis entrance into access control had been anticipated for years.

Last year, Axis access control launch was the biggest news of the season. What is going on now?

In this note, we examine Axis recent admission and what this means for their future in the access control market.

Low Expectations

Axis CEO admitted and emphasized the following in their Q3 2014 financial webcast (13:00 minute mark):

  • Slow ramp up of Axis access control sales with long sales cycles and fragmented market
  • Compared to video, access market is slower growth, more fragmented and much smaller (25% of video)
  • Expecting that this will take 'quite some time'
  • "Single digits, low percentage points even if successful" [this implies a business eventually, hopefully in the tens of millions USD]

Product Limitations As Well

Though Axis emphasized structural issues as the key barriers to access control expansion, the bigger problem is their product positioning. Though solid, is not radically better or disruptive compared to incumbents (see IPVM Axis access control test results).

Axis access control sales pitch centers around being IP and open. They claim it is a 'revolution at the door' but Mercury has been providing just this for many many years and is partnered / integrated with a broad range of large manufacturers. Axis is more accurately replicating and / or improving upon a long standing incumbent.

The three core differences between Mercury and Axis are:

  • Axis is 'wide' open, allowing essentially anyone to partner and integrate with their products while Mercury negotiates specific partnerships with specific manufacturers
  • Axis sells their controllers essentially to anyone (just like their cameras) while Mercury restricts sales through their partners.
  • Axis offers its own access control management software for free for smaller scale users (66 doors max).

In addition, HID offers a limited number of IP door controllers (see IPVM test of HID Edge Solo) which are integrated with many systems already and also available through distribution.

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Axis Channel Strength

Despite the product not being revolutionary, Axis has a very powerful brand, channel and customer base that dwarfs Mercury and almost every access control manufacturer.

The product will not have buyers jumping at this but Axis sales and marketing machine can, over time, build this into a relatively strong business for the access control market.

And with their increasing horizontal expansion (e.g., most recently Axis NVRs), their access control offering may one day be a key component of an end to end all Axis enterprise solution.

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