Axis: IP surveillance less costly than analog for mid-size installations

Disputed by some, the claim is based on a study conducted among U.S.-based IP and analog system integrators.

by Patrick McLaughlin

Axis Communications recently published a white paper entitled "Total cost comparison study of analog and IP-based video surveillance," which concludes that for mid-sized applications of 14 cameras, IP surveillance systems are less costly than analog. Thirteen percent lower, Axis reports.

The paper is based on a study carried out by Lusax, a research group at the Lund University School of Economics and Management in Sweden. Axis is a Swedish company. However, the study was conducted among United States-based integrators that, according to the white paper, actively sell and install both analog and IP-based surveillance systems.

In the study, Lusax put out a fictitious request-for-quote for one analog and one IP (digital) system to be installed at a retail site. The paper provides significant detail on the request and the entire process, describing the manner in which Lusax concluded that IP is the more-economical approach. Axis's vice president of global sales Bodil Sonesson Gallon commented, "The benefits of modern IP technology become evident when looking at the full system solution, including cameras, recording, storage and installation. A similar study from 2007 showed that an IP-based surveillance system was more cost-efficient in installations where the number of cameras exceeded 32. We now see that the IP cost advantage is valid also for systems with lower number of cameras."

Of note to cabling professionals, the specifications listed in the Axis white paper call for the analog system to include 100 feet of coaxial cable from each camera to a DVR, plus 65 feet of power cable to each camera. In the IP scenario it calls for 65 feet of Category 5e cable to each camera. The analog cameras would be powered by camera power supplies while the IP cameras would be powered by a Power over Ethernet-enabled switch.

Lusax head Thomas Kalling, also a professor at Lund University, stated, "The market for IP security products has developed rapidly and is much more mature than only a few years ago. The cost differences are becoming insignificant and focus can shift to the real advantages that come with the superior functionality of IP solutions, such as image quality and flexibility - the factors that really drive return on investment."

Axis's portfolio consists exclusively of IP-based products and systems. Not surprisingly, news of the study's conclusions did not sit well with some in the surveillance/security industry. Specifically, the Twitterverse buzzed on the day Axis made the results public. (Those with Twitter accounts can view the commenters' pages by clicking on the links that follow.) @ipvideo asked, "Are you saying Axis did not pay for this study?" then added the hash-tag #hardtobelieve. From what this writer can see, Axis never denied funding the study, but does characterize it as "independent," as it was conducted by Lusax. @SecurityTech1 chimed in with, "98% of our video installations are now IP however I have yet to see where IP costs less than analog - manipulated marketing." Axis noted through its Twitter page @AxisIPVideo, "IP camera cost more than analog in study. In total, IP cost less than analog+DVR."

Download the Axis white paper here.

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