Research: IP surveillance systems cost less than analog systems

Oct. 2, 2007
October 2, 2007 -- Independent research commissioned by Axis Communications casts doubts on the perceived cost savings of traditional analog security systems.

October 2, 2007 -- Contrary to popular belief, an IP-based system of 40 cameras offers a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than an analog-based surveillance system, according to a study released by network video provider Axis Communications. According to the company, the study also shows that if IP infrastructure is in place, the IP-based video surveillance system will always be lower cost for any system size.

The purpose of the study was to develop an understanding of the total cost of ownership for both an analog surveillance system and an IP-based video surveillance system. Factors such as system maintenance, video recording and playback, cameras, installation, configuration, training and cable infrastructure were assessed.

"There is an overwhelming lack of knowledge about the total cost of ownership when it comes to analog versus IP-based systems," comments Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications. "The study, which was led by an independent researcher, clarifies common misperceptions about pricing and validates the cost effectiveness of IP surveillance systems."

For the study, a dozen interviews were conducted with non-vendor industry participants such as security integrators, value-added resellers and industry analysts from different geographic regions in North America. Participants provided feedback, validation and cost data in the form of request for proposal (RFP) responses. The RFP was based on a typical deployment scenario that included a 40-camera surveillance system for a small to mid-size school campus. No existing cameras were said to be installed, and no premise wiring or infrastructure existed.

According to a press release, the findings showed that the cost to acquire, install and operate an IP-based system was 3.4 percent lower than a traditional system consisting of analog cameras and a DVR-based recording. Overall, an installation with 32 cameras is the break-even point for IP-based systems versus analog systems. An IP-based system will cost less than an analog system if the installation includes at least 32 cameras. With any installation between 16 and 32 cameras, the cost of IP versus analog is similar although slightly lower for analog systems. The research also showed that in facilities where IP infrastructure is already installed, IP-based surveillance systems would always be lower cost, i.e. even for systems of 1 to 32 cameras.

"There were many observations and cost considerations in the study that were non-quantifiable but showed major differences between the two systems," adds Nilsson. "Network cameras provide superior scalability, greater flexibility and image quality, and megapixel functionality. In addition, IP systems typically include better maintenance and service agreements for the equipment, plus they can be remotely serviced over the network for easier maintenance. IP systems clearly make the most sense both from an economic and technological standpoint."

Complete details of research findings are included in the "Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Comparison of IP- and Analog-based Surveillance Systems" whitepaper, which is available at the Axis Communications Website.

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