[UPDATE 2013: Axis has officially entered the access control market.]
The most powerful company in IP video surveillance, Axis, has its sights firmly set on entering the access control market. Multiple sources have confirmed that Axis is preparing to release at least one model of IP-based controller and potentially a line of controllers/IP edge readers. This has the potential to be a major strategic shift in the market as surging IP video companies look to overtake access control providers.
Access Control Product Overview
Our sources indicate that the Axis IP controllers will most likely resemble products such as HID's Edge and Mercury's EP1501, which are PoE-powered controllers containing all the inputs and outputs needed to control a single door. At least one source has mentioned that more than one controller model is planned, which also seems likely. A controller model with two reader inputs, followed by a four-input model would be the next logical steps.
From what our sources have shared, the controllers will integrate to access management systems via an extension of Axis's existing VAPIX API. Theoretically, the inputs and outputs of the controller will be integrated the same way camera inputs and relays are integrated today, making it easier for providers familiar with the Axis API, such as VMS manufacturers, to integrate this line of controllers and expand into access control.
We asked Axis for comment on this matter. While they declined to comment on specific products, pricing nor availability, they did acknowledge: "Axis continuously explores the market for the use of network-based products. We see Physical Access Control products as an interesting area and a natural complement to our existing network video product portfolio. We continue to explore the possibilities in this market." As we have heard details about Axis's access control offering from so many credible industry insiders, we believe that a release is likely in the next half year.
Compared to the fast moving IP video market, access control is a sleepy country town. Axis's impending entrance will make an impact. What no one knows yet is whether they will ultimately leave with their tail between their legs or whether they can genuinely shake things up.
We see a number of potential concerns and key issues:
- How hard is it to compete in access control and who will Axis be competing against?
- How does the Axis business model fit or conflict with the traditional access control channel model?
- How will Axis likely market itself and how might that match up with powerful incumbents?
- What impact or leverage exists from Axis's core strength in video/VMS partnerships?
- What potential for expansion into hosted access does Axis have?
Inside we dig into each of these questions and provide recommendations.
UPDATE - Inside, new detailed feedback from 7 large scale integrators on Axis's access control potential. Integrators express a number of concerns about the impending entry.