Can Everfocus Make Megapixel Simple and Inexpensive?Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 28, 2009
Two key problems for megapixel cameras are (1) their substantially increased cost relative to analog cameras and (2) the complexity of using IP.
For the high end, this is not a problem. Indeed, the use of IP can be a benefit for larger corporations.
However, for the lower end, the 'budget' segment, cost and complexity are a significant barrier (even inexpensive 1080p cameras like the Vivotek IP7161 are twice the cost of an analog camera). Indeed, the traditional strength of Everfocus is providing inexpensive basic products like $1,000 USD 16 channel DVRs for this part of the market.
With the recent launch of the HDcctv Alliance and Everfocus' key role, Everfocus is positioning itself to be at the forefront of simple and inexpensive megapixel solutions.
At the lower end of market, I believe that Everfocus has a strong chance to accomplish this and dent the expansion of IP into this portion of the market.
Company Overview of Everfocus
Everfocus is a fairly large company. According to the 2008 ASMAG Security 50, Everfocus ranks 19th among security manufacturers with over $100 M USD revenue. This is ahead of companies like March Networks, Vicon, Vivotek and Mobotix.
According to Everfocus, approximately 2/3rd of the companies revenue is from branded business while 1/3rd is from OEM/ODM partnerships.
Everfocus is a publicly traded company on the Taipei stock exchange. Financial reports are available (though only in Chinese). According to their most recent report (their Q1 2009 statement), revenue dropped about 10% compared to Q1 2008 (from $614M NTD to $555M NTD).
Everfocus is one of the 4 founding members of the HDcctv Alliance. Additionally, the Chairman of the HDcctv Alliance was until a few months ago, an Everfocus executive.
HDcctv Everfocus Product Overview
According to Everfocus, their HDcctv product offering is likely to consist of two major components:
- Expansion of their branded line for value/entry level markets: Everfocus offers a number of DVR series - all quite inexpensive (usually $2,000 or less per DVR), none providing enterprise management nor extensive 3rd party integration. They will offer HD versions/models of their DVR lines that add in a fixed number of HDcctv inputs. While exact inputs have not been publicly released, combinations of HD and analog inputs will be provided such as 2 HD and 6 analog or 4HD and 12 analog, etc. Recording will likely go up to 1080p with low frame rates (7.5 fps or less). Cost is only projected to be slightly more than current analog versions. A similar approach is planned for HD cameras with resolutions up to 1080p and cost moderately more than analog cameras (but far less than IP).
- Tribrid DVRs will be introduced but primarily offered through their ODM/OEM partners. These units will support analog, HDcctv and IP cameras. Some of these units may offer modular card inputs that allow users to add HD inputs over time as they expand their use of HDcctv cameras.
Competitive Comparison to IP Megapixel Offerings
Analog CCTV is especially strong in the low end of the market where small camera counts, installation simplicity and low cost are key. Today, you can buy a 16 channel DVR for $1,000 to $2,000 USD, cameras at $200 USD each (or less). A low level technician with minimal IT skills can wire and set up an 8 channel system in a day (depending on the length/complexity of the cable runs, etc.).
The strongest alternative from the IP side are the budget offerings that companies like ACTi, Vivotek and DLink offer. The key elements of these offerings are:
- Using a PC as the DVR, eliminating the cost of buying a dedicated/specialized DVR.
- Providing free IP video surveillance software for use with the vendor's own IP cameras. This essentially means the material cost of the IP 'DVR' is simply the price of the PC.
- Providing lower cost IP megapixel cameras. 1.3 MP cube cameras routinely run in the $200 - $275 USD price range. 1.3 MP Box cameras that allow for varifocal lenses are usually in the $300 - $400 USD price range. Finally, 2MP / 1080p box cameras are starting to come into the market at just under $500 USD. These are fairly inexpensive, often 50% of the price of the premium IP camera vendors such as Axis, Panasonic and Sony.
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