Axis Low Cost HD Cameras

By Ethan Ace, Published Apr 24, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

A critical weakness of Axis' recently announced Camera Companion was the lack of low-cost cameras with on-board storage support. Even if the 'DVR' is free, expensive cameras can eliminate any overall financial benefit. Now, Axis has announced two new models with MicroSD card support, including their lowest-priced HD camera to date, which aim to make ACC more competitive. In this note, we overview these new models comparing to low-cost VMSes, analog DVRs and VSaaS to determine if the competitive positioning really does change.

Overview

The M1013 and M1014 are most similar in featureset to the existing M1011 cube camera, with some additions:

  • Increased resolution - SVGA and 720p, vs. VGA for the M1011
  • MicroSDHC slot on board vs none before
  • H.264 Main profile encoding (previous models were Baseline profile only), which may provide modest bandwidth savings.

At release, the M1013 and M1014 will not support third-party Axis Camera Application Platform plugins. Axis plans to add support for these in a future firmware update.

The M1013 and M1014 will be available in Q2 2012, with MSRPs of $179 and $229 USD, respectively. Based on available Axis products, we expect street pricing of approximately $165 for the M1013 and $210 for the M1014.

Comparison to Existing Models

These prices set new low points among Axis's line for the offered feature sets. The M1013 has the same pricing as the existing M1011, though increases resolution to SVGA. The M1014, on the other hand, is priced well under the 720p M1054 ($399 MSRP/$375 online), previously the least expensive HD model. 

However, compared to Axis's existing HD cube camera, the M1054, important limitations exist. The M1054 supports a number of more advanced features including PoE, audio, I/O, and contains a PIR and white light illuminator. None of these are available in the new models. Most important for day to day use is the lack of PoE.

ACC Comparisons

Previously, the least expensive HD Axis Camera Companion system used M1054s with a NAS, totaling about $1,700 ($375 per camera, $200 for NAS). Now, using M1014s, this pricing is significantly lower - ~$960 ($210 per each camera, plus $30 for 32GB SDHC card). [Contrast to our original ACC price comparisons in our Axis Camera Companion Overview.] This reduction in pricing dramatically alters comparisons to competitive technologies, as well.

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Comparison to Milestone and Exacq

Previously, pricing was essentially the same between a four-camera ACC system and a low-cost VMS platform with budget cameras, around $1,700. However, with the M1014's lower pricing, ACC becomes more attractive, pricing out significantly less while eliminating the need for a recording PC, further reducing costs and complexity.

ACC vs. Four-Camera VMS System

  • 4 x VMS licenses, $50 each: $200
  • Recording PC: $800
  • 4 x Low Cost HD camera - Vivotek IP8132, ~$185 each online: $740
  • Total: ~$1,740 for 3rd Party VMS vs. ~$960 for ACC System with M1014s

The gap narrows somewhat as camera counts increase, due to the lower cost of the Vivotek cameras in this case, however ACC still prices out substantially lower than using a VMS, at sixteen cameras:

ACC vs. Sixteen-Camera VMS System

  • 16 x VMS licenses, $50 each: $800
  • Recording PC: $1.200
  • 16 x Low Cost HD camera - Vivotek IP8132, ~$185 each online: $2,960
  • Total: ~$4,960 for 3rd Party VMS vs. ~$3840 for ACC System with M1014s

Comparison to Analog DVR

Previously, ACC using M1054s was substantially more expensive than using analog cameras and a DVR, regardless of camera count. However, due to the M1014's much lower pricing, Axis becomes more attractive in four-camera systems, within a few hundred dollars. We suspect that many users will find this a small price to pay for the increase to 720p resolution.

ACC vs. Four-Channel Analog DVR

  • 4-Channel DVR, 1TB HDD: ~$400 online
  • 4 x Analog cameras, ~$75 each online: $300
  • Total: ~$700 vs. ~$960 for ACC Systems with M1014s

At sixteen cameras, analog remains much less expensive than using M1014s with ACC, though the gap is narrowed significantly ($3,840 vs. $6,385 previously):

ACC vs. Sixteen-Channel Analog DVR

  • 16-Channel DVR, 2TB HDD: ~$800 online
  • 16 x Analog cameras, ~$75 each online: $1,200
  • Total: ~$2,000 vs. ~$3,840 for ACC System with M1014s

VSaaS

While ACC already hurt VSaaS, the introduction of these new cameras makes this fair more painful. Now, ACC deployments do not need a NAS and provide a no recurring cost solution with a straightforward install of cameras only.

Other HD Cube Cameras

All this stated, without ACC, this camera release is not big news nor novel for the market. Many IP camera vendors already offer HD cube camera for less than $200. For instance, Axis's new HD cube camera is 40% more expensive than Panasonic's new HD cube camera. To that end, the cameras themselves are more catch up for Axis than innovation (again save for ACC integration).

Conclusion

The combination of lower cost HD cameras and ACC makes the overall ACC solution much more disruptive - clearly against VSaaS and VMS solutions and increasingly against analog.

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