Axis ACC v3 + SanDisk OEM

By John Honovich, Published Apr 09, 2015, 12:00am EDT

The most talked about new release in 2012 was Axis Camera Companion, aiming to eliminate traditional recorders and expand Axis into the low end of the market.

Unfortunately, significant reliability problems, handicapped remote access and new competition has made Axis Camera Companion a dissapointment.

Now, Axis' new Version 3 aims to solve their key limitations.

In this note, we examine what is new in Version 3, how it solves those problems and how this changes Camera Companion's competitive positioning.

The Problems

Axis users experienced many problems with SD card storage. Though Axis was not the only manufacturer with such issues, their size combined with the fact that they were promoting Camera Companion, which was built on using SD cards for storage, made it a very public issue.

This year, SanDisk released a new card dedicated to video surveillance. However, SanDisk only includes a one year warranty and a strange 10,000 hour duration (equivalent to ~13 months).

A secondary problem for Camera Companion was limitations in remote / mobile access. In their 2nd version, Axis added UPnP but despite its name, UPnP does not 'universally' work. For the target market of SMB, this made it difficult. Also, frustrating since Axis long has had the technology (e.g., One Click) to make 'cloud access' reliable and simple.

Verion 3 Key New Features

Axis is offering an OEM version of the SanDisk surveillance card. The key benefit is that Axis is offering a 3 year warranty for it, regardless of hours used (contrast to the SanDisk version - just 1 year and 10,000 hours). Axis will also replace failed cards directly through its standard support / service structure.

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Axis is offering the 64GB card for $89 MSRP, which is higher than the ~$50 street of the SanDisk version. Axis is not offering a 32GB card version.

Also, Axis is introducing "Axis Secure Remote Access, which removes the need of manual port forwarding and router configuration, thus enabling an easy to setup, encrypted communication between cameras and smartphone or PC clients." Axis says this is not One Click but that it provides similar reliability / ability to access the cloud.

Upside

These two improvements, plus potential storage savings from Zipstream, should provide easy mobile access and reliable longer term on-board storage, making Camera Companion an attractive and mature solution for SMB. 

Competitive Challenges For Low End

HD Analog has and will continue to hurt Axis Camera Companion. Both are targeted at the low end of the market, both deliver HD, but HD analog is simply much less expensive. With Axis' higher IP camera pricing (~$200 at the lowest) plus an $89 SD card or NAS, it is 'cheap' compared to buying a VMS server. However, with HD analog cameras pricing routinely less than $100 plus HD DVRs at less than $200, unless you are doing 1 camera, it's almost always significantly less expensive to go HD analog.

On the other hand, Axis cameras offer far more form factor options (e.g., fisheye cameras), more polished software (than Chinese DVRs), and their support. For those looking for 'premium' SMB solutions where price is not as important, Axis Camera Companion is likely to be appealing.

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