Axis vs RMR

By John Honovich, Published May 06, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

We worship RMR. At least, we are supposed to. Security companies strive for new recurring monthly revenue streams. And while video is a big opportunity, squeezing RMR out of it has not been easy. As the American alarm show, ESX, gears up next month, Axis is readying its pitch for the RMR hungry alarm dealer. Unfortunately, this reveals a fundamental weakness.

In a promotion for ESX, Axis leads with their Camera Companion, a sensible approach in selling to dealers specializing in smaller camera count applications. Pretty uneventful all in all until ....

The ESX marketing person, well indoctrinated in RMR, innocently follows up on Axis's Camera Companion pitch, asking: "How do you think this is going to transfer into RMR?" Oh, that's awkward.

A very simple and direct answer exists to this: There's zero RMR for Axis Camera Companion and isn't that even better for customers because it's free and they don't have to pay any monthly fees? On the other hand, that does not play well with the RMR crowd.

So how does Axis respond? Check it out:

It's a clever answer akin to:

Wife: "Where did you go last night?"

Husband: "Honey, you look so beautiful."

Switching the topic to Axis's VSaaS, AVHS, shifts the conversation away from an important strategic problem. Now let's examine it.

ACC Hurts AVHS

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The rise of ACC will come at the expense of AVHS and so be it. ACC is a better value than AVHS (see our recent cost comparison). Because of that, for most use cases, ACC makes the business case for the already weak AVHS market even weaker.

The Knockout Blow for Video RMR

One final strike will effectively kill hope for general video RMR. Axis has not done it and may not ever do it ... but it is an easy one to do, if they have the guts to pull the trigger.

Now that Axis has embedded the recorder inside the camera, cloud side access for recorded video is cheap and simple. They already have all the 'plumbing' to connect to the cloud built inside every camera. They could easily hook up ACC to their cloud interface (to simplify remote viewing) or throw ACC away and connect the cameras directly to the cloud. Indeed, they can and should give it away. Technically speaking, doing this is a piece of cake for Axis. The only question is how badly they fear this will burn AVHS partners.

The reality though is that if Axis does not do it, any number of their competitors will. Just like camera manufacturers give away VMS software for free, giving away cloud access to live video and video recorded inside of cameras will be a no brainer. How this plays out and how long it takes, I do not know but it is obviously inevitable.

Bottom line - no RMR for you, at least for recording video in the cloud.

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