Axis Camera Companion VMS V3 Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 27, 2015

Axis is focusing more on their own 'end to end solutions'.

Camera Companion is Axis' 'VMS killer', which is free and eliminates using traditional VMS software. It jumped off to a great start, then got hammered with SD card problems and constrained by limited cloud and VMS functionality.

Now, Axis has released the third version of the Camera Companion, which aims to fix these problems.

IPVM has tested the new version to determine how well it works and how it changes Axis competitive positioning.

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Technical *** ********

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Positioning ******

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SD **** ***********

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Remote ******

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Account/Site ***** 

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Comments (15)

This is not good news for those left selling Axis AVHS hosted video, as Axis has now stripped AVHS of its biggest competitive advantage, easy cloud access which is now equally available for free with Axis Camera Companion.

Isn't the advantage of AVHS that the video is stored in the cloud, as opposed to SD cards? So therefore possibly better functionality, performance and reliability?

Did people buy AVHS because port forwarding was too hard?

The most compelling buying point we have seen is easy cloud setup / access. Same reason why Dropcam did well, especially considering 60% of the people who buy them do not buy any storage.

So yes, 'port forwarding was too hard'. However, your question is a little like a carpenter asking "Why would anyone buy a bookshelf at Ikea?"

I thought people who bought AVHS were people who wanted/needed hosted (off-site) video, not people who just wanted to get to their own cameras thru the Internet. Admittedly this was an assumption made because that's the main value I saw in the offering.

Do you expect a significant number of AVHS subscribers to drop the service now that they have an easier way to phone home?

AVHS is sold through partnerships, so the key question is what will they do. The reality is AVHS has been on a slow boat to nowhere for years, so it's not as if things were awesome until this (the most famous one being EMC Dumps Axis VSaaS). However, this hurts AVHS because at least Axis could tell the remaining AVHS partners that at least AVHS was the only offering that provided cloud access. Now that's gone.

Even when Camera Companion first came out, AVHS partners were nervous then. Whoever is left should not be happy about Camera Companion significantly cutting the gap.

Axis more recently emphasized AVHS positioning towards multi-site users, which Camera Companion still does not work for. Of course, there are lots of strong competitive products in that market. Lastly, unless Axis is keeping AVHS developments real quiet, it does not seem like the product / service has gotten much better in the past few years.

All of this is really not very important, in the big picture. Axis still needs something that is a legitimate competitor to Chinese low-cost offerings. These improvements make Camera Companion better, but the high price of Axis camera and the ~$90 price tag for SD cards, makes that cost gap still steep.

I would be nice to see a comparsion between Axis Camera Companion and Hikvision's EZVIZ

Ok, we will queue that up.

Btw, crazy website photo:

Do the cameras connected within camera companion have to be on the same subnet? I would like to install this on a PC in our server room so the tech on site could view (not playback, just view) numerous network closets and critical doors at once.

No, they don't. I have a couple of cameras on a different subnet added and it works fine. Network storage may be a bit of an issue, as my standard network shares wouldn't connect across subnets, but local storage works fine, as does live viewing.

Hi I want to add my two cents.

1) First, as mentioned you need first a computer to setup the "site" for the first time, so you need to have a computer. no big deal, but to be clear. It is not possible just using your cellphone's application.

2) In case your customer doesn't have internet, you will NOT able to create/configure the "site". Since its requiere that you logging with a email account, wich will requiere also you to have a email for/from your customer, eather using your customer personal/bussines email to creat an account on Axis.com or you will need to create a separate email in order to create one account at Axis.com for that particular customer.

Even after creating the site, if you want to add another PC or Mobile device to access the cameras, you need internet connection again since the Companion software ask for your email and password to logging the first time. or you could export the site configuration to a .accs file then import in the new pc want to add.

Still is a easy sytem to configure, well designed and good look and feel application and allow outside network access wich this days is a must. and is Free.

We have found that the program automatically reaches out and attempts to upgrade the firmware of all the cameras that it touches. Is there a way to prevent this?

Ross, it updates firmware when you first connect, but it doesn't try to automatically push updates once things are running, correct? This is off the top of my head.

I don't know of a way to stop that, but I'll ask Axis for comment.

Thanks Ethan. Our concern is that if it forces firmware updates it could be an issue with our normal OnGuard VMS. We would like some of our smaller plants/showrooms/stores/etc. to use camera companion and we could log in to each from here in our Ops center. I just don't want to put the program on our Ops center PC's if every time an operator logs in to view something it tries to update firmware on our local cameras that are in OnGuard. Hopefully that makes sense!

Did you ever hear anything back on this Ethan?

About remote access:

"2. Axis solution to remote access Axis Secure Remote Access makes it possible for a smartphone or PC client to access Axis network cameras when the client and the cameras are located on different local networks. Using external mediator servers1 , the client and the camera can find each other and establish a secure peer-to-peer connection. As a fallback the communication is automatically relayed through the mediator servers, when direct communication cannot be established."

From: http://www.axis.com/files/whitepaper/wp_remote_access_63636_en_1504_hi.pdf

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