A regular part of my workday routine is watching the gyrations of the stock market on CNBC. While the pundits screech about the value or lack thereof of various stocks, I twitch right along with the beat — Buy or sell? What and how much? I can either do something or do nothing, and either way I’m already too late to profit on whatever recent convulsion has hit the markets.

As far as I can remember this is the worst economy in my lifetime, and I wonder when (and if) things will get better. Thankfully, the electronic security business continues to move forward, to the betterment of my friends and myself who are in our industry.

I don’t think I’m the only one who is deeply concerned about the future of our economy. I suspect that many security system end users are also feeling the pinch and are looking for ways to save money while still receiving the peace of mind that an electronic surveillance system can provide. From the dealer end, lowering the cost of equipment needed for an installation should lower the selling price to the end user, resulting in more sales and recurring monthly revenue.

I have been testing a new camera from Axis Communications, the P1346. This is a standard form factor IP CCTV camera, which includes the feature set that Axis users have become familiar with including PoE capability, audio input and output, various compression formats including H.264, and remote contact control. Along with this full menu of usable features, this camera provides the typically sharp images that are the real selling point for Axis cameras. Because they manufacture complete cameras including the circuit boards and lens, their cameras typically deliver excellent video images.

Axis is one of the most innovative manufacturers of IP security cameras and devices. What makes Axis successful is its ability to react to market realities and provide products with features that dealers can leverage to make sales happen.

All of the above information is nice, but what is there to get excited about with this new line of cameras? On the top rear of the camera housing is a little door that, when opened, provides an empty socket for an SD memory storage card. This is the breakthrough feature; by inserting a $10 SD card into the slot, the camera is now its own NVR and will record the video for local and remote retrieval and viewing.

Recording can be set on detected motion or pre-set timeframes.

What makes the recording work is a free downloaded software set from Axis called the Camera Companion. With this freeware software installed on the client’s viewing PC, live and recorded video from up to 16 Axis
cameras loaded with SD storage cards can be reviewed and manipulated. The Camera Companion software also can be used to download apps to allow access to the cameras from various smartphones and tablet computers. The cameras can be viewed over the local network or over the Internet if the LAN and routers are programmed appropriately. These cameras also can be programmed to be simultaneously recorded by an NVR or VMS system, providing redundant or backup recording of video.

What’s cool about this innovation from Axis is that now clients who only need one or a few surveillance cameras can get the functions of a full-blown NVR without having to purchase a separate video server with its attendant costs and complexities. Because the dealer doesn’t have to sell the client a new DVR or NVR, the camera systems will be lower cost and easier for end users to afford.

It’s important for my loyal readers to remember that DVRs and NVRs contain hard drives that can and will fail. If a DVR or NVR is not installed, it cannot break. It’s that simple.

Use these cameras for smaller systems, buy the $10 SD cards for each camera, sell it to the customer for a lower cost than separate recording equipment, and rake in the sales. Axis cameras with SD cards are priced right, and the recording functionality is inexpensive and user-friendly.

Axis Communications provides this same setup in a fixed dome camera, the P3343, and it is my understanding that the SD sockets will start to appear on the majority of the Axis camera product line. Visit axis.com or your local equipment distributor for more information.

And remember, as the stock market churns, the mantra of “buy low, sell high” is the path to profits. Now let’s see if we can stay on the track.