A debate is emerging on what the 'true' market share for IP cameras. The generally accepted statistic is approximately 20% of cameras sold annually are IP cameras. These numbers are fairly consistent across the market sizing providers.
However, 3 key criticisms are being presented of these statistics:
- The numbers under-report sales in non-Western countries
- Non-western sales are increasing much faster than Western
- A large portion of IP camera sales are for non-security purposes
Could this be?
I do not know but I remain generally suspicious of market size numbers. In relation to this debate:
- Western manufacturers tell me they routinely make up numbers (hard to verify since almost all are private or part of large publicly traded companies that do not disclose audited segment numbers).
- Asian manufacturers, even those who are quite large, routinely tell me they are not surveyed. In addition, chip manufacturers routinely complain to me that, from their sales, they cannot see how IP camera market share is as high as the statistics claim.
- A lot of IP camera on-line sellers and manufacturers note the significance of non-surveillance sales. By contrast, almost all analog CCTV cameras are used in surveillance.
Does this matter?
I do not recommend focusing on market statistics. Whatever the statistics say, the most important thing is how well the technology can solve real problems in a cost effective manner. At best, statistics and projections reflect that ability. At worse, these mislead and confuse (what they have done in the last 5 years to video analytics
On the other hand, this debate matter because it confronts two important issues:
- Are IP cameras mainly for rich countries?
- Is the use of IP cameras outside of surveillance tricking us into thinking the move to IP is faster than it really is?
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