Can you believe it?
CHELMSFORD, Mass.--A study commissioned by Axis Communications' North American offices here found that an IP-based system of 40 cameras offers a lower total cost of ownership than an analog-based surveillance system of the same size. In a market where the common knock on IP video has been its cost, the study seems almost too good to be true for Axis, the world's leading seller of IP cameras.
The man who completed the study, Chris Humphrey, of Chris Humphrey Consulting, said Axis was as hands-off as could be, however. Based in San Diego, Humphrey conducted a dozen interviews with non-vendor industry participants from different regions of the country. Participants provided feedback, validation and cost data in the form of request for proposal responses. The RFP was based on a typical deployment scenario that included a 40-camera surveillance system for a small- to mid-sized school campus, in a greenfield environment with no previously installed system.
"I approached [integrators] saying that I was doing independent research and if it comes out unfavorable, that's okay," Humphrey said. "I wanted as candid feedback as possible, so I kept them anonymous." He found integrators both IP-savvy and not, some who installed nothing but IP systems and others who were just dabbling in IP. From the get-go, he said, there was a feeling that, per camera, IP systems were more expensive, but "then they started to get into a lot of unquantifiable feedback, like, 'Well, after-installation support cost is a lot lower with IP because we can log in remotely and trouble-shoot it.'"
Even though he couldn't quantify the after-the-fact benefits, integrators "acknowledge that the camera would be more expensive, but when they started to think about the total-system cost, I didn't get a consistent feeling that either analog or IP would be more expensive than the other."
When the RFPs were all collected, Humphrey found the break-even point to be at 32 cameras. Below that, an analog system is less expensive. Asked whether the results seemed to fit nicely with Axis' business objectives, Humphrey said the results are what they are: "When I did talk to Axis, they were pretty cool about saying, 'It's cool if it doesn't come out so good for us.'"
The study is available at www.axis.com.