Testing and Analysis - Free Premium Preview

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 12, 2010

This preview shows examples of the original, unique research that we provide for members of our video surveillance professional service. We designed this service for users and integrators. We charge low subscription fees to access hundreds of reports and refuse ads, sponsorships and consulting from manufacturers to maintain our independence (unlike trade magazines and most industry media/analysts).

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Test Screencasts and Videos

Perhaps the most novel aspect of our service are the screencasts and videos of products we provide. In these screencasts, we critique and explain how various products work, including the potential problems you might face using them.

Below is the usability video from our test result of OnSSI's NetDVMS and Ocularis Client Lite.

In the same way, we provide screencasts for our IP camera test results. In the screencast below, we analyze the image quality of Panasonic's megapixel camera. Additionally, we provide the actual video samples taken. Download the 9 sample videos from the Panasonic megapixel camera (total - 110 MBs) so you can see for yourself.

Technology Analysis

Every week, we examine new technologies based on original research and inside information on products. Below is an example of how we tracked and compared new low cost thermal cameras from FLIR and Axis:

"Let's examine key elements and how FLIR and Axis match up:

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  • Price: No advantage. Both companies are offering entry level products at the same price.
  • Form Factor Options: FLIR. FLIR has dozens of models across 5 series of network thermal cameras. Axis only supports one form factor.
  • Lens Options: While Axis plans to add 1-3 lens options for their fixed camera, FLIR has 4-5 lens options already for each of its series.
  • Resolution Support: FLIR. Axis only supports 160 x 120. FLIR supports that as well as 320 x 240 and 640 x 480.
  • PoE Support: Axis. Axis supports PoE. FLIR does not. This can provide important installation and cost benefits for outdoor installations.
  • Third Party VMS Support: Axis. While FLIR should make progress in 2010, Axis is the most broadly supported
  • Video Analytics Support: Axis. Analytics can be run inside the Axis thermal camera (though with noted processor limitations). Plus, with Axis's video broad 3rd party support, it will be easy for centralized analytic systems to analyze Axis's feeds.
  • Camera Upgrade: FLIR's fixed F series cameras can be upgraded by simply switching the camera cartridge. If a different size lens or different resolution is needed, the F series supports in-field switch out without changing the whole unit. Axis does not.

Competitive Strength and Weaknesses

The table below summarizes the key competitive strengths and weakness in comparing FLIR and Axis.

Feature Axis FLIR
Pricing Equal Equal
Form Factor FLIR Significant Advantage
Lens Options FLIR Significant Advantage
Resolution Options FLIR Significant Advantage
PoE Support Yes No
VMS Support Axis Advantage Weak
Video Analytics Support Axis Significant Advantage
Camera Upgrade No Yes

Market Statistics Analysis

We constantly find and analyze new market statistics being released. Most importantly, we put these announcements into perspective, providing a critical look at the meaning and the validity of the numbers being put forward.

"An extremely bullish but wildly misleading projection for the video analytics market has been made. V/B Research claims that video analytics will generate more than $1 Billion in 2012 revenue up from an estimated $556 Million in 2009. Of course, this analysis counts all revenue from products running video analytics - meaning a DVR with two channels of perimeter detection is counted for $5,000 or $7,000 rather than the $500 - $700 the analytics alone cost. Likewise, this would make a Pelco Sarix running ObjectVideo count for $1500 rather than the $300 premium the OV enabled Sarix camera has over the non-video analytic version.

The upside is that if you want a 3rd party to provide a big number justifying video analytics growth and size, now you have one from V/B Research.

On the other hand, there are some other obvious and important flaws in V/B analysis:

  • V/B claims that OV and ioimage believed that retail would be a big adopter despite ioimage not even having a retail video analytic solution. While OV does offer retail oriented analytics, OV has continuously been clear that security has and is their major market.
  • V/B cites Southwest Florida International Airport claiming a 5 month ROI on their video analytic systems as proof of 'real ROI'. However, this airport's use is a niche case involving wrong way exit monitoring. While this may be a solid application, it is incredibly narrow and only applicable where regulations apply to controlled movements in indoor areas. This shows nothing about the use in the more commonly desired outdoor perimeter scenario.
The one point we do agree with is that video analytic only providers have shifted into selling 'solutions' or bundles of cameras plus analytics or DVRs plus analytics. While this may be the best option for video analytic startups currently, it is a reflection of a failure to succeed at the primary and initial strategy rather than the ideal market approach. Video analytics manufacturers moving into the DVR or camera market now need to compete head to head against establish incumbents with only minor differentiation from their analytics."

Weekly Updates

Each week, we release 10 or more new updates covering new developments within the industry. These updates help you to stay informed and understand the significance of new developments.

Here's an example of our unique coverage of Vicon's recent financial results:

Over the last few years, CCTV pioneer Vicon has become a poster child for the trials and tribulations of incumbents moving into the new world. In the past few years, revenue has fallen by more than 30%. Now, Vicon's 2011 financial results are in and while revenue has stabilized, profitability plunged.

Let's start by teviewing Vicon's 2011 10K financial statement:

  • Total revenue is fairly stable dropping only 3% year over year from $48.6 M USD to $47.1 M USD.
  • However, operating losses surged from $1.9 M USD in 2010 to $9.5 M USD in 2011. That is an operating loss percentage of 20% - extremely bad.
  • Driving the losses was a steep fall in gross margins dropping from 42.1% in 2010 to 38.6% in 2011. A 3.5 point decrease in a year is troubling especially considering management acknowledged this being driven by increased competitive pressures.
  • Current assets dropped from $36.6 M USD in 2010 to $27.5 M USD. Cash and marketable securities almost decreased in half from ~$14 M USD to ~$7.6 M USD. These are bad indicators for company liquidity.
  • The stock price is down about 28% this year from $4.60 per share to $3.30 per share. Market capitalization is ~$14 Million or about 0.3 times revenue. This is extremely weak even relative to the modest valuations in the surveillance market.

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