Axis Weak Banking Ads

By John Honovich, Published May 29, 2013, 12:00am EDT

Banking has been an IP camera laggard. Now, IP camera giant, Axis has released a series of video advertisements touting the benefits of IP over analog. Unfortunately, the claims made are quite weak and misleading. In this note, we break down the ads frame by frame.

First of all, there is something clearly wrong with the analog camera they are portraying. That level of fuzziness seems to be a lensing or sensor issue, and not just less pixels.

Axis makes the case that, at that exact point, the Axis camera delivers a much more detailed image of the person. However, this is pointless as even the evidently broken analog camera will get a good image as the person inevitably moves further down the hall.

Also, Axis makes two specific weak performance claims for IP over analog:

In banks, top speed is literally 1 mile per hour and, on average, people are standing still, whether they are waiting on line or being helped by a teller. Moving objects is not a real concern and interlace analog issues are overblown anyway.

As for handling different lighting conditions, lots of analog cameras support WDR. And Axis only supports true WDR on its ~$1000 cameras anyway. Beyond that, true megapixel WDR is certainly better primarily because it does so over wider FoVs

Bank Branches Are Small

The biggest issue for MP is that bank branches are small and the areas of interest are smaller still. Axis acknowledges this in its own sample images such as:

In the 5 to 7 foot wide FoVs common in banks, even a VGA analog camera is going to deliver a whopping ~100 ppf. At a certain point, more pixels are just wasted.

Here are the three Axis video ads: vault, lobby and teller.

What Is the Real Driver for MP in Banks?

Overall, selling MP to banks is hard. The design of bank branches (small) and how people (slowly) move through them does not fit well with obvious MP benefits. The two areas that have the most promise are:

  • Overview shot: A single megapixel panoramic cameras (fisheye or multi-imager) could provide an overview of the entire public side of a bank branch which could prove useful.
  • Teller camera consolidation: Most bank branches have a separate teller camera every few feet. Higher resolution cameras could cut that number down. However, this can result in obtuse angles and side shots of people on stations on the far left or right of these cameras. Also, this creates problems with some VMSes when integrating with the transaction system.

By the way, IP or analog, SD or HD, a crucial problem still remains - dealing with people wearing hats and sunglasses.

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