Axis vs Mobotix

By John Honovich, Published Oct 21, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Axis and Mobotix are two of the biggest and oldest IP camera manufacturers yet their approaches are nearly mirror opposites. Based on an integrator member's request, in this note, we review the key structural differences of the two.

Open Standards vs Proprietary Packages

While Axis champions and markets around open standards, Mobotix emphasizes the power of packages built around all Mobotix solutions.

  • Codecs: Axis is one of the leading proponents of H.264. Mobotix does not even support H.264 for video, offering their own proprietary MxPEG codec instead. In terms of performance the two are somewhat close. However, MxPEG hurts third party VMS support for Mobotix whereas nearly everyone supports Axis.
  • Interoperability Standards: Axis is the main proponent of ONVIF, the most popular IP camera interoperability specification in the world with support from over 2000 products. Mobotix does not support ONVIF, making it even harder to use Mobotix with third parties.
  • Image Quality: Axis emphasizes its use of SMTPE standard HDTV while Mobotix main resolution is 3MP. We do not see much technical differentiation on this aspect.

Axis is ~6x larger than Mobotix (~$600 million vs ~$100 million annual revenue), having far greater use with third party recorders than Mobotix.

High End Features

Both companies offer many high end software features and are among the top in the industry. However, Mobotix offers even more (see our test/review of them), ranging from the minor (estimating scene illumination from the camera) to major (VoIP / SIP support).

However, Mobotix's biggest historical differentiator, decentralized recording, has recently been cut into with Axis's launch of a similar offering, Axis Camera Companion. Both aim to eliminate VMS servers and VMS license fees by recording directly to SD cards or NAS devices. Mobotix's decentralized approach is far more sophisticated than Axis's, which is limited to just 16 cameras and rudimentary VMS functionalities.

Product Lineups Contrasted

Axis has the industry's broadest camera lineup, with 5 to 10 times the amount of models than Mobotix has. Additionally, Axis has a broad line of encoders and PTZs while Mobotix has none. That noted, Mobotix cameras are especially well regarded for their durability and suitability for outdoor use.

Mobotix's biggest differentiator over the last few years has been their 360 cameras, the Q24 series. However, recently, Axis released their own 360 camera, the M3007.

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Mobotix has one offering that Axis has no equivalent whatsoever - the T24 door station [link no longer available]. However, door stations are a fairly niche application within surveillance.

Finally, both companies released smaller form factor cameras in the last half year; Mobotix, the S14 and Axis, the P12. The Axis offering is far less expensive and smaller form factor. However, the Mobotix has more advanced features including higher resolution, audio and multi camera support per encoder box.

Future Development

While Axis releases more new products than anyone, Mobotix has been one of the most disappointing over the last few years. The T24 door station was seemingly the only major advance over a one year period. Most recently, it has been the small form factor S14. These few releases show Mobotix is not keeping up.

Because of this, there is quite a lot of disatisfaction amongst Mobotix dealers (see a recent comment volunteered by one).

High End vs Low End

While both companies offer first rate cameras for high-end users, Mobotix does not offer a value line or budget offering. In the past few years, Axis has become extremely aggressive, releasing dozens of such models including low-cost minidomes and low-cost cube cameras.

Who to Choose

While Mobotix remains a respectable company with a number of high quality products, the small number of product options and the limited third party integration make Mobotix best used in an end to end Mobotix solution. By contrast, Axis's huge breadth of quality products and broad support makes them a far safer and typically more cost effective offering than Mobotix.

For those wanting or interested in a strong Mobotix pitch, we recommend MxInstaller [link no longer available], an unabashedly pro-Mobotix in-depth website.

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