Axis has entered the thermal camera market with potentially disruptive pricing and positioning. Axis's first thermal offering - the Q1910/-E (indoor and outdoor options available) is an IP camera with an MSRP of $2,999 for the indoor and $3,499 for the outdoor model. The camera supports H.264, PoE, ONVIF and will be compatible with the broad base of 3rd party VMS that integrate with Axis. These cameras also support the Axis Camera Application platform allowing video analytics to run on-board.
Compared to FLIR
FLIR is the 800 pound gorilla in the security thermal camera market with a very extensive product portfolio - fixed, PTZs, low resolution, high resolution, numerous lens options, analog, IP, cooled, uncooled, etc. However, FLIR's IP offerings have limited 3rd party VMS support and tend to be quite expensive.
Axis's thermal cameras have their own limitations -- a single lens option (17 degrees), a single low resolution (160 x 120) and a single form factor (fixed box). While Axis entry is inexpensive and benefits from its extensive VMS support, use of these cameras will be constrained by lack of product options. Axis plans to introduce new thermal cameras and may release 1 to 3 lens options in 2010.
Update Feb 2, 2010: FLIR has announced matching low priced thermal network cameras.
We think this move should be carefully watched. While thermal cameras are certainly a niche within video surveillance, Axis's entrance could provide meaningful options, expand the market and spur incumbent thermal manufacturers to accelerate product enhancements and lower pricing options.