Favorite Large System Cameras

By Brian Rhodes, Published Aug 03, 2015, 12:00am EDT

For large systems, with over 100 cameras, we identified the most preferred camera manufacturers selected from IPVM integrator survey results.

Here are the key patterns found, contrary to the SMB side:

  • Multiple manufacturers commonly selected unlike the SMB side
  • Premium brands 
  • More competition

Multiple Choices Common

Unlike the SMB where the typical respondent only had a single manufacturer favorite, the majority of respondents for large systems offered multiple. Indeed, many integrators cited 3 favorites, such as:

  • "Axis, Sony, Panasonic...name brands.....lower end systems will use lower end cameras that are less expensive and don't offer as many features"
  • "Bosch, Pelco and Axis. Due to integration with VMS and other analytic requirements."
  • "Axis, Samsung Techwin, Bosch because of reliability."
  • "Axis, Panasonic, and Hikvision, this differ because we followed by this companies registering the Project and getting a good support (pre and post sale)."
  • "Axis, Panasonic, and Samsung would be considered. These guys will come to the table for big project discounts. Axis probably has the best features for this environment, but they leave no margin for integrator."
  • "For large systems: Pelco, Axis, Bosch and Indigovision - usually dependant on the VMS being used. On large systems we try to use cameras from the same brand throughout the system as this has proven more reliable (and in some cases was the only option.) Most of our large system customers dictate brand (either directly or indirectly through VMS requirement) in their design packages."

Rationale for Multiple Choices

We believe there are 2 main drivers for multiple choices:

  • Buyers are more sophisticated and less price conscious, on average, for larger systems. This means they are more likely to have their own preference on brand, making it harder to simply push the integrator's lead offering.
  • The needs are more complex for large systems, meaning that certain manufacturers might be better fits for certain applications or feature set combinations required for specific locations.

Premium Brands Dominate

On the SMB side, Hikvision and Dahua nearly had half the selections. By contrast, here on large systems, they barely had 10%.

Premium / legacy brands had 75%+ of the large system selections. Indeed, companies like Bosch and Pelco who are uncommon choices in the SMB market were among the most frequently chosen here on the large side.

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More Competition

Again, unlike the SMB side, where a few vendors dominated primarily based on price, for larger systems, 8 manufacturers received notable selection levels. Though Axis did well, it did not dominate, as 7 other rivals received substantial support. And those 7 had very similar integrator selection levels.

Hikvision

Unlike SMB where Hikvision was the top selection, for large systems, Hikvision was just in the middle of the pack. Few 'led' with Hikvision, as integrators most frequently mentioned them as one of 2 or 3 options they provided. However, a number of the selections indicated that Hikvision was moving up as an option for even large scale systems.

Avigilon

Even for Avigilon, almost all Avigilon dealers responding actually offered / favored other cameras along with Avigilon for large systems. For example:

  • "Avigilon, Indigovision, Sony, Axis. for smaller project, we do offer the Korean or Chinese brands which are much more cheaper."
  • "Axis and Avigilon. Same on smaller projects."
  • "Large - Avigilon, Axis, Samsung"
  • "Samsung with a combination of WiseNetIII (outdoor) and WiseNet Lite (indoor), Axis (usually outdoor), Avigilon (for Avigilon customer's)"
  • "Vivotek, Avigilon, CBC America, Axis, Samsung."

This is unlike the SMB side, where Avigilon dealers tended to favor Avigilon only. 

Bosch

On the SMB side, Bosch did quite poorly, pointing to low adoption of their 'value line' Advantage offering.

However, on the large system side, Bosch did very well, right along with Sony and just behind Axis. Many integrators highlighted Bosch as one of their two or three favorite offerings, including specific mentions about their low light performance and low bandwidth consumption.

Bosch has done consistently very well in IPVM testing over the last few years. In particular, the 5MP low light camera and the 4K camera both excelled comparatively. Moreover, Bosch high-end cameras are generally among the lowest bandwidth consuming cameras on the market (controlled for resolution, fps, compression, etc., see: IP Camera Bandwidth / Storage Shootout).

Axis

Not surprising to most in the industry, Axis was the most frequently selected. Comments included:

  • "Axis - More reliable than the cheaper brands and provide quality. They also have the software tools to manage large installations."
  • "Axis is our current proffered choice because they are readily available, and their mounting options are spelled out exactly as one would need to see them in order to select the correct style. They also offer us advanced replacement with cross ship after a simple online rma request."
  • "Its always been Axis. Sometimes we offer a secondary like Samsung but our customers seem to prefer the higher end equipment. "
  • "I try to push Axis P series for all Fixed cameras and Q series for any PTZ's. The only time this would not be the case is if a budget would not permit these higher quality cameras. In those cases, I prefer to push Axis M series as a last resort."
  • "Axis, Q series, mostly because have the most features, smaller projects require "cheaper" cameras since their budget is smaller and they not care on how long they will work"
  • "90% of our projects use Axis cameras regardless of size. There is a consistency in quality and features that eliminates the erosion of profit margin associated with system troubleshooting. The higher cost of acquisition is more than offset by the lower cost of deployment and commissioning."

Looking at the competition here, only 2 of the next 8 competitors (Hikvision and Samsung) offer similar feature set products at significantly lower pricing. All the others tend to be in the same price range. Given Axis quality, track record, advanced feature sets, etc., it makes sense why they are so frequently selected.

Moreover, Axis continues to release many devices / cameras targeted for larger scale systems (e.g., the IP Horna Video IntercomMulti-Imager Panoramic / PTZ combination, etc.). 

2 reports cite this report:

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