White Paper

TCO - Analog vs. IP Cameras

Source: Axis Communications

The shift towards IP-based video surveillance solutions has been going on since the first network camera was introduced in 1996. Despite the benefits of going IP, analog technology is still entrenched in some markets and segments. There could be numerous reasons for this, including long replacement cycles of security equipment, a tendency to do partial security system upgrades, IT knowledge gaps among installers, etc. One of the longest-standing arguments against going all-digital has been the perceived higher cost of IP cameras compared to their analog counterparts. However, cameras are only one part of a video surveillance solution, and the total cost of a complete system is dependent on a number of factors.

In the spring of 2007 a study was carried out by an ndependent research group – that was subsequently published as a White Paper by Axis Communications – with the aim of determining and comparing the upfront total cost of ownership (TCO) of deploying an IP-based and analog system in a school scenario with 40 cameras. Based on bids from real integrators, the study found that the TCO of the IP-based system was slightly lower than that of the analog system. Based on these findings, the break-even point where an IP system exhibits a lower TCO than a similar analog system was determined to be around 32 cameras.

Three years on, the video surveillance market has developed significantly, and a need was felt to update the TCO study to reflect current price points and the latest technological advances. Hence, the objective of the present study is to update and improve the previous study. The fundamental objective of the study, however, remains the same, namely to determine and compare the total cost of ownership of:

  • An analog camera system using DVR(s)
  • A fully digital system using network cameras and standard network and computer components