IP Cameras for the Mass Market

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 14, 2008

While Axis brought IP cameras to the enterprise, ACTi could be fostering IP cameras to the masses. With a broad camera line and extensive NVR support, ACTi offers reduced pricing for simpler features. I believe ACTi is and will increasingly become very attractive to the mass market of traditional security buyers who have resisted or not been able to justify the use of IP cameras.

Comparing the strategy of Axis and ACTi, Axis looks like the Mercedes of IP cameras while ACTi seems to be the Honda. Similar to the car companies, both are strong, well respected providers, serving different customers needs. If ACTi does emerge as the Honda of IP cameras, this could have a major impact on customers adopting IP cameras.

[UPDATE 2012: In the past few years, ACTi has stumbled while local rival Vivotek has surged and Axis aggressively moved downmarket. See our review of ACTI's financial performance/market position.]

State of the Market

The legacy analog players seem to offer few IP cameras and the newer IP players generally offer premium products. By now, Pelco, Panasonic and Bosch all offer a few IP cameras. The lines are not very extensive. By contrast, the newer IP players like Axis, IQinvision, Mobotix, Arecont Vision and Lumenera generally offer a full line of IP cameras including a variety of megapixel cameras. The challenge is that the pricing of this latter group is far higher than traditional analog cameras, making it difficult for many to justify IP cameras.

Current product offerings and recent announcements demonstrate that Axis is focused on making better, more sophisticated cameras, not cheaper ones that close the gap with analog. Axis is a great company and their introduction of H.264 and support for more video analytics should be well received at the enterprise level. Nonetheless, these advances may overshoot the needs of customers who need more basic, more affordable solutions.

Overview of ACTi

ACTi offers a full line of IP and megapixel cameras at pricing that is very comparable to analog cameras. They have bullet cameras, dome cameras, fixed body cameras, day/night cameras, etc. ACTi offers both standard definition and 1.3 megapixel camera lines. ACTi's cameras are widely supported by two dozen NVRs including Milestone, Genetec and Exacq.

The pricing is significantly less expensive than Axis. Take the ACTi 5601, a 1.3 megapixel camera that is an alternative to the Axis 211m. At an MSRP of $355, the ACTi 5601 is nearly half the cost of the Axis 211m and not much more expensive than a traditional analog camera.

From discussions I had with multiple NVR providers and CCTVForum.com reviews [link no longer available], ACTi received high marks for reliability, support and image quality. So much like a Honda, it's not flashy but it seems to get the job done.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

This does not mean that ACTi cameras are as full featured as Axis or IQinvision cameras. For instance, ACTi does not support dual streaming, analytics, QoS or encryption and the resolution today maxes out at 1.3 MP. The presence of such features are quite important to certain customer segments but a lot of mainstream users will be happy with the basics that ACTi offers.

Killer IP Camera Application

ACTi's megapixel line can be used for a killer application that brings IP cameras to the mass market. Most everyone agrees that higher resolution is a significant benefit of IP cameras vs. analog. The problem is standard definition IP cameras quality really is not different enough and most megapixel cameras are too expensive. ACTi's megapixel cameras are just slightly more than analog cameras and use MPEG-4 encoding. Plus ACTi provides a free NVR software solution for up to 16 cameras.

With ACTi, a 16 camera system with megapixel cameras and a complete NVR can now be sold for $8,000 - $9,000. This is about the same price as buying a DVR plus 16 analog cameras. For a lot of users, getting megapixel resolution at this price level would be a huge deal and very attractive. Small businesses, offices, restaurants are just a few ideal uses for this solution. If I were an integrator, I would promote this hard because it provides a very clear source of differentiation.

Now using a full ACTi solution is a niche. For instance, the ACTi NVR software only supports ACTi cameras. Bigger businesses will clearly want more flexibility. And certain applications with need even higher resolution cameras or analytics built in. You may want to use ACTi cameras and Gentec or deploy a mixture of ACTi, Axis and Iqinvision for a Mileston deployment, etc.

My point is that ACTi opens up the market to an under served segment which is a good thing for customers and the growth of the industry.

Concluding Thoughts

5 reports cite this report:

11 Facial Recognition Providers Review (Secutech) on May 09, 2019
Adding to our 19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled report from ISC West, IPVM focused on facial recognition technology for our Day 2 coverage...
ACTi Refuses Race To The Bottom, Shifts To Solutions on Sep 23, 2016
The original low cost IP camera disruptor was ACTi. Back in the 2008 - 2010 time frame, Taiwanese manufacturer ACTi challenged the Western and...
Surveillance Camera Demo Directory (IP, MP, CCTV) on Mar 21, 2009
This directory collects and presents webcasts from leading IP and Megapixel surveillance cameras. The goal is to help professionals to more easily...
How Good is ACTi's Video Quality? on Mar 10, 2009
An increasing number of budget priced IP cameras are coming onto the market. The key question, though, is how good are the cameras? We all know...
Is Axis IP camera dominance coming to an end? on Oct 05, 2008
IP video is becoming mainstream but Axis' IP cameras may lose their dominance in the process. Six critical issues may undermine Axis position and...

Related Reports

HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to an emerging AI cloud era. The goal of this history is to...
Sony Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 06, 2019
Sony Favorability amongst integrators improved moderately compared to their 2017 favorability results, with a modest net positive...
Hikvision HDTVI Power Over Coax Tested on Feb 05, 2019
After years of delay, Hikvision's Power Over Coax (PoC) HDTVI models are finally shipping, aiming to make HD analog installs as simple as PoE, with...
Axis Supports HD Analog on Apr 15, 2019
In 2017, Axis declared 'Everything is IP': Now, in 2019, Axis has released support for HD analog, with their new encoders.  Why the change?...
Bosch Integrating Sony Video Security Sales And Marketing Team on Jul 03, 2019
What is the future of Sony in video surveillance? In 2016, Bosch and Sony announced an atypical 'partnership'. Now, Bosch tells IPVM that they...
Fujifilm Expanding Into Video Surveillance on Jul 26, 2019
While Sony continues to fade out of the video surveillance market and Canon continues to make huge investments into acquiring video surveillance...
Online Video Surveillance Sales Comparison - Amazon, B&H, CDW, LTS, Super Circuits, More on Jul 31, 2019
IPVM has uncovered the key trends and top options being offered across commonly used surveillance sellers. How has the market shifted since we...
Hanwha Announces 32MP Camera + AI Line on Sep 10, 2019
In the first rise in maximum megapixel resolution in 5 years, Hanwha has announced a 32MP / 8K camera directly competing with Avigilon's H4 30MP /...
Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...

Most Recent Industry Reports

"Hikvision Football Arena" Lithuania Causes Controversy on Jan 24, 2020
Controversy has arisen in Lithuania over Hikvision becoming a soccer team's top sponsor and gaining naming rights to their arena, with one local MP...
Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019. The...
Multipoint Door Lock Tutorial on Jan 23, 2020
Despite widespread use, locked doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and thousands can be misspent on locks that leave doors quite...
Avigilon Shifts Cloud Strategy - Merges Blue and ACC on Jan 23, 2020
Avigilon is shifting its cloud strategy, phasing out its Blue web-managed surveillance platform as a stand-alone brand and merging it with its ACC...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...