Favorite IP Camera Manufacturers 2014

By John Honovich, Published Feb 10, 2014, 12:00am EST

With the worst manufacturers identified, we now turn to the favorite IP camera manufacturers of our 2014 integrator survey.

120 integrators from 20 countries answered the following open ended question:

24 manufacturers received votes with 10 standing out.

A few important themes emerged in the integrator's explanations (in no particular order):

  • Image / Video Quality
  • Stability / Reliability
  • Product Line Breadth
  • Low Cost for Solid Quality

Axis Repeats in Dominating Form

Like in 2011, Axis repeated, and by the same landslide level, receiving 5x the amount of favorites as any other manufacturer and roughly 50% of all selections.

The core reasons remained the same - high reliability and broad lineups, with comment such as:

  • "Very stable", "low failure rate, they just work", "extremely low failure rate; <0.5% DOA, 1% @ 12 months, 2-3% @ 24 months, <5% @ 36 months"
  • "wide variety of cameras for almost any application", Plethora of offerings", "amazing depth of offering", "product folio has increased to cover the needs of the markets"

Moreover, integrators praised Axis's image quality far more than they did in 2011, with comments such as:

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  • "Picture quality has taken giant leaps", "quality of Lightfinder night light images", "low light cameras work so well", "image quality in side by side comparisons" and "best quality picture."

Back in 2011, Axis image quality, in our testing, was just average. In 2012, quality surged with Lightfinder and true WDR releases. However, in the last year, many rivals have caught up on image quality.

Axis Cost Increasing Concern

Many integrators, even choosing Axis as a favorite, noted cost as a concern, much more so than 2011. For example:

  • "My only grip is the cost of the cameras", "We cannot always use Axis because price matters" and "If the prices don't come way down this year, I expect they will lose significant market share. Everybody is catching up..fast."

High Price / Low Price Combinations

"Second" place would go to an increasing trend of integrators favoriting two lines, one 'premium', like Axis, and another value / budget line. This was far more common in integrator responses this time, reflecting how much strong the lower end brands have gotten. Comments included:

  • "Axis: Quality; Vivotek: Quality and Price", Axis plus "Vivotek and Hikvision: cameras good enough, medium price, medium support", "We cannot always use Axis because price matters too much here, so we also use ACTi, Hikvision (newer economical cameras really works for that price)"
  • "The favorite as far as video quality is still Sony although the price is usually out of our customer's budget so we do not sell many. Favorite as far as price is Hikvision and their video quality is decent or better compared to other brands."
  • "I would say Sony since that is what we have used the most. Once you get familiar with one product and it works well for you, you are more apt to stay with it. We have used some lower cost recently like Hikvision and Acti and have been happy."

Avigilon Gains

Avigilon gained, passing Mobotix, Panasonic and Sony, three companies that were tied or ahead of them last time. Avigilon integrators were the most likely to only mention them and no other manufacturers. Comments included:

  • "Relatively cheaper compared to high end brands and easy to setup with good quality video."
  • "Affordable and high quality. Very easy to configure and extremely network friendly."
  • "Ease of use, autofocus, and picture quality."

Interestingly, half of the comments about their favorite IP camera mentioned Avigilon's VMS as being a key factor, including comments including "Very user friendly vms," "Very smooth user interface regardless of how many cameras you put on the screen its smooth and fast", and "compatible with their own software."

Sony Still There

While Sony was down moderately from the last survey, they still had notable support among integrators with the most common refrain about their image quality:

  • "The favorite as far as video quality"
  • "Great picture quality/support"
  • "Best WDR and handling of light"

On the other hand, competitor image quality has improved across the board so maintaining this will be difficult for Sony unless it plans another major release very soon. Equally concerning is how expensive Sony is now compared to the surge of lower cost entrants with improving quality.

Vivotek and Hikvision Surge

Neither company had much support in 2011, but now came in just after Avigilon and Sony. The themes were fairly similar, attractive pricing for quality products.

None of the integrators choosing them 'raved' about these products but they consistently accepted the overall value, saying things like "Cost effective products that work", "economical cameras really works for that price", "Favorite as far as price" and "cameras good enough, medium price."

Of course, on the other hand, this goes against Hikvision's boasting of being "excellent" and the #1 video surveillance company in the world. Still, both companies, Vivotek and Hikvision showed that they were moving up.

Arecont Improves

While still ringing in the most votes for worst experience, Arecont this time had a handful of selections as integrator's favorite, with comments including:

  • "Customers ask for their 180 cameras" and "their 180 degree offerings and recent WDR features are crucial solutions for many applications."
  • "Low cost and "usually" work well" and "Price vs features"
  • "They have some practical form factors for cameras; broad range of resolution options; we have had no reliability issues"

Panasonic and Mobotix Fall

While both companies had a few selections this year, they were notably down from 2011.

Mobotix has always been a niche / 'different' company so this is not likely surprising.

Panasonic might be unexpected to some, given its large brand and historic sales ranking. However, this voting is consistent with the level of interest we have seen for the company in the last few years as well as its lackluster performance in IPVM testing and relatively high pricing. Even the few choosing Panasonic noted that "their cameras not the best but they are very good" and another that "Both Axis and Arecont have a wider array of cameras in both resolution and form factor."

Bosch and ACTi - Just A Few

Both Bosch and ACTi had a few selections but not enough to show a major trend. Compared to ACTi's high volume of worst experience choices, this was a negative outcome for ACTi.

Pelco - Ugh

The good news was that Pelco did not get shut out entirely. The bad news is that it was close to it, with only one unequivocal selection ("good balance of price with performance"). Another integrator selected Pelco but he admitted that his rationale was "because we own it", referring to being from Schneider Electric (the integration side).

Combine this with Pelco's alarming high selections for worst experience and this speaks quite poorly for Pelco.

The Rest of the Field

Quite a number of companies were mentioned once or as a secondary choice in an integrator comment, though none of those were enough to warrant highlighting or a trend.

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