Video Surveillance Buyer's Guide 2012

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 05, 2012

With so many manufacturers and so many new products, deciding what products to buy can be overwhelming. Last year, to make this easier, we released our first ever Video Surveillance Buyer's Guide - a huge success. Now, we are updating the guide to help you understand the most impactful new products changing buying decisions.

We reviewed nearly 100 products since the last guide including:

From those, we picked a dozen that most significantly shift competitive market positioning. These are the products that most likely merit changing from an existing product to a new one.

Our previous Video Surveillance Buyer's Guide contains rankings of video surveillance manufacturers. This new Guide complements that one with updates on new products.

Cameras

A number of camera lines have significantly impacted competitive positioning:

  • Low Light: Axis's Lightfinder cameras have made the biggest impact on low light options. Without using slow shutter tricks or requiring IR illumination, Axis's Lightfinder has significantly increased low light performance relative to top-tier competitors. See our test results of the non megapixel Q1602 and the 720p Q1604. Axis has also recently announced that they are expanding Lightfinder integration into their new dome series.
  • Ethernet over Coax Adapters: Historically reusing coax with IP cameras was quite expensive. Now, Intersil's SLOC is cutting that cost in half (see our EoC guide). Best example is the Altronix eBridge. If you are looking to migrate an existing analog system, this should be carefully considered.
  • Hybrid Coax / IP Cameras: Sony's upcoming IP cameras that integrate Ethernet over Coax adapters inside their cameras promises to simplify and reduce cost of reusing existing coaxial cables. Plus, on the receiver side, low cost Intersil enabled EoC adapters like the Altronix eBridge can be used. The problem is these cameras are still not shipping, well more than a year after they started promoting them.
  • Really Inexpensive VGA Cameras: Samsung has released a line of extremely inexpensive VGA IP cameras. While it does not improve resolution over analog, the Samung VGA cameras are so low, that it actually can be less expensive to use them plus a NVR rather than buying a DVR. If you are looking for a budget option for VGA IP, this is worth considering.
  • Really Inexpensive Megapixel Cameras: ACTi has announced the most inexpensive megapixel cameras we have ever seen from a major players. The prices are so low that it rivals analog camera pricing. On the other hand, ACTi has developed a reputation for quality problems so be careful when evaluating.
  • Unbelievably Inexpensive Megapixel Cameras: Even less expensive is Ubiquiti's new Aircam line with all 3 camera offerings priced at under $100. However, these cameras have a built-in fixed lens, no D/N and only integrate with 3rd party systems through ONVIF. However, for those motivated by cutting product costs, this is attractive. Plus, Ubiquiti has proven to be a very aggressive, strong product developer that is targeting new professional surveillance cameras this fall. They are the company involved with the Chinese mafia / counterfeiter craziness.

VMS Software

While many providers have released incremental upgrades to their VMS software, very few have amounted to a shift in the company's overall competitive positioning. Here are the exceptions:

  • Low Cost Alternative: The combination of Axis Camera Companion and upcoming low cost HD cameras provides a strong alternative to traditional VMS software for small camera count applications. While ACC has many limitations, we think this will already have an impact that may grow as Axis expands the offering.
  • Milestone Support Changes: On the plus side, Milestone has a new client version that rectifies a number of its usability issues. On the negative side, their head scratching support plan including restrictions to device packs and likely charges for many calls makes their offering riskier to use. Overall, the support plan should make you more careful about using Milestone.
  • Exacq Edge: Exacq joins Genetec as the only two major VMS providers to offer support for long term 3rd party edge recording (See our review of Exacq Edge). This combined with solid improvements in their 4.9 release, moderately improves their overall position, especially relative to competitors who have traditionally and rightfully viewed as higher end.
  • DVTel Smartphone Camera Support: Using smartphones as surveillance cameras has recently become a hot trend, with many larger end users requesting it. DVTel has taken a lead against direct competitors Milestone, Genetec, etc. by shipping theirs (TrueWitness). Many VMS companies are claiming to be releasing the same offering in the near future with Milestone already saying sometime in 2012. It will be interesting to see how quick and how well VMS companies implement this feature.

Storage

Traditional centralized storage has not changed much in the last 6 months. The surge of hard drive prices was the biggest issue, though the worse has already passed on that issue.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

The big storage shift occuring is the 'rise of edge storage'. Finally, after many years of over promises, edge storage (at least via Axis) is starting to become a viable feature in video surveillance systems. See our edge storage / SD card guide for details.

Video Analytics

How low has video analytic innovation been? A 4 channel video analytic encoder won the ISC West video analytic award. Worse, it was not as if there was much better competition to beat it. Bottom line - not much has changed in product options for video analytics.

The big spectre continues to be ObjectVideo global litigation campaign. Undoubtedly though OV is out for blood big money. The outcome will impact the future of the industry. Unfortunately, the legal battles, including the US ITC court case and the patent invalidation contests, could easily continue until 2013.

Wireless

Overall, wireless surveillance options have not really changed too much. This is especially true with mesh networks, where innovation has essentially ground to halt. We see a few developing areas for wireless:

  • Cellular: As 4G and LTE networks continue to grow, these are becoming a more practical way to do remote surveillance. While experts continue to debate the limitations involved, the massive increase in bandwidth clearly are making cellular more realistic for surveillance users. See our Cellular Surveillance Guide for more.
  • Whitespace Wireless: As spectrum once used for analog TV frees up, opportunity is growing to use that for surveillance. It is early and bandwidth will be limited, especially compared to today's super high-speed wireless networks. However, the big advantage for whitespace wireless is that it does not require line of sight - a painful limitation of most wireless offerings in surveillance. See our Whitespace Wireless Surveillance Guide for more.
  • Gigabit Backhaul: Getting wireless throughput of over 100Mb/s is typically quite expensive. Approaching a gigabit can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Against that, Ubiquiti has released a gigabit wireless offering that costs ony $3,000 for the pair. While this has limited use for surveillance, it could be valuable for connecting building on a campus where dozens of cameras need to be transmitted in bulk. See our Ubiquiti gigabit backhaul review.

Manufacturer Rankings Remain

Given that it has only been 6 months and the overall market has not changed that much, we are leaving our rankings as is. These can be reviewed in the following 3 posts:

Who Else?

If you have questions  about other products, please feel free to ask in the comments. One important point - in this post, we focused on companies whose positioning has recently changed. For instance, Genetec has a strong product offering but it has not significantly changed since our last guide (October 2011) so we did not cover them. In our comments, we will segment responses into overall product positioning and recent improvements/declines.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Size Statistics 2018 on Nov 08, 2018
What is the most common hard drive size for video surveillance? 150+ integrators answered: What size hard drive do you most commonly use? What...
Axis 2N Intercom Tested on Nov 08, 2018
Axis expanded its video intercom business buying Czech-based 2N in 2016. Despite competing against owner Axis' intercoms, 2N recently registered as...
Ubiquiti Protect Video Surveillance Profile on Nov 07, 2018
Ubiquiti has now been in the video surveillance market for 7 years (see our first coverage back in 2011). In that time, the company's revenue has...
Kogniz Silicon Valley AI Startup Profile on Nov 07, 2018
Kogniz is a Silicon Valley company that aims to bring AI analytics to security and surveillance, centering on their own smart cameras: We spoke...
Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Directory Of Video Doorbells on Nov 06, 2018
Video doorbells are one of the fastest growing categories in video surveillance, especially among residences. The optimal placement of these...
Avigilon Opens Up Analytics And Cameras on Nov 06, 2018
Avigilon is opening up. The company historically famous for advocating its own end-to-end solutions and making it harder for 3rd parties to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Report on Nov 15, 2018
ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed as the "Largest Annual Northeast U.S. Security...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact