Axis Encoder Marketing Claims Examined

Published Mar 05, 2012 00:00 AM
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In the past few months, Axis has accelerated promotion of encoders, with a flurry of marketing moves including videos, articles, brochures, etc. (e.g., announcements of encoder kits bundled with software, a new ruggedized encoder model, multiple whitepapers, and the latest, a Youtube video detailing how Axis video encoders open "a new world of possibilities"). Two questions are raised from this push:

  • Why is Axis marketing encoders so heavily?
  • Is this the right way to go about it?

In this update, we will answer these questions, look at the marketing claims made in this video, and factors which are truly compelling about video encoders. 

The YouTube encoder promotional video is embedded below:

Why Market Encoders So Heavily?

Axis has sold encoders for a long long time so it is interesting that they start aggressively promoting a boring technology with little innovation for years. The most proximate driver is the mid 2011 release of Axis's M and P series encoders. Until then, while Axis encoders were well regarded for quality, the cost was quite high. Now, with the M and P series, Axis has some of the lowest cost encoders on the market with only Avigilon even less expensive.

Is This The Right Way?

However, the marketing claims made in the video are questionable. They focus on generic benefits of any surveillance system rather than the specific benefits of encoders. Many claims in the video, such as remote access, video analytics, people counting, motion detection, and camera tampering, are all features available in analog DVRs.

Axis mentions HD resolution and scalability in this video, both of which further muddle the marketing message. These are real benefits, but of IP cameras, not encoders. Multi-channel encoders are generally sold in increments of four channels, meaning they suffer from the same scalability issues as analog DVRs. HD resolution requires complete replacement of cameras. These points may further confuse and mislead users.

Focusing on Encoder Progress

We believe Axis is better off focusing on the low level improvements that have been made in encoders. While it might be sexier to munge surveillance benefits in general with encoders, its confusing at least and potentially manipulative to the naive. Axis does not like to emphasize that its products have become 'cheaper' or less expensive. However, in this case, that is really all that is new or different. There has been no major technological break through in encoders for years. Nonetheless, dropping prices does address a real need. We suspect many industry people are not aware of this and would most benefit from such knowledge.

For more on selecting encoders and comparing to Hybrid DVRs, review our Encoder vs Hybrid DVR analysis.