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PC-Based Home Security: Do It Yourself

Inside the M1054

For security, few options matter more than how you can set up and manage triggered events. As you can see below, Axis offers quite a few options for what to do in the event of…um, an event. Each event can be given a priority, reacted to based on a schedule, and generate notifications via email, HTTP, and/or TCP. As with the M1011-W, you can monkey around with the animal audio clips. You can also set triggers according to eight types: input ports, PIR sensor, manual trigger, motion detection, audio, on boot, temperature, and camera tampering. This last one is pretty handy for times such as when the image gets too dark for too long, as when someone throws something over the camera or turns off the lights in a room that is meant to stay illuminated.

I also like the M1054’s motion detection parameters. You can drag zones across a live view, just as with the D-Link DCS-1130, but Axis gives you much more control, allowing you to name each monitored area, select whether to include or exclude it from the monitored scene, and set thresholds for object size, historical histogram activity, and sensitivity. If you’re going to use visual motion detection, these options give you a lot more control over weeding out false positive events.

But let’s cut to the chase. Is the M1054 worth $399? As you might expect, the answer depends on your situation and needs. The extra image resolution is better, but not $300 better. POE is great, but it’s mostly for people who have POE-enabled routers and need to hang their cameras from a ceiling. The added stream security is definitely valuable if you’re monitoring something that shouldn’t be made publicly known. You get the idea.

Consumers are likely to miss wireless networking, and the lack of both mobile-friendly streaming features and a friendly monitoring and management utility is significant. Axis seems to presume that users will have a tool such as Security Monitor Pro at their disposal…but D-Link didn’t assume this. If you want to see your Axis camera’s video on your cell phone, you need to do so through a paid-for third party. This type of arrangement grows more outdated and out of touch with current market capabilities by the day. But Axis has a long history of supporting its channel partners, and it’s hard to turn that big ship aside, even with an iceberg dead ahead.

Is the M1054 a great security camera? Absolutely. Is it a good fit for most consumers? Probably not. That said, at $199, it would be irresistible.