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Understanding the new Axis Camera Station licence structure

Axis Camera Station - Core and Universal licencesThe recent launch of Axis Camera Station 5 has also brought about a restructure to the licensing for this versatile Video Management Software (VMS).

At NW Systems, we’ve welcomed this latest version of Axis Camera Station (ACS 5) but we must admit the new licensing initially resulted in some perplexed expressions around the office. Axis has changed from simple channel licences to having two types of licence – core and universal. It’s a move that’s caused some confusion for end-users, particularly for those currently using the previous version of the software (ACS 4) and looking to upgrade.

The new approach to licensing may not be that intuitive but it’s certainly logical once understood – let’s take a closer look.

  • Core Device Licences are used by Axis devices up to 32 cameras per system
  • Universal Device Licences add scalability above 32 devices and provides third party device support

In essence, this means each Axis device needs a core licence (up to a threshold of 32 Axis devices) and each third party device requires a universal licence. Once the system reaches 32 Axis devices you’ll need a universal licence for each additional device (whether it’s an Axis product or not).

This table should help clear things up:

ACS - core and universal licences

Why the change?

ACS 4 and previous versions used channel licences. The software only supported Axis network products and once a base pack of channel licences was purchased, additional licences could be purchased as the system grew (up to a maximum of 100 cameras). A licence was needed for each camera (technically, an image sensor) or in the case of an encoder, for however many analogue cameras could be connected to that device.

There are some fundamental differences with ACS 5.

  1. Firstly, the ACS 5 interface has been optimised for systems with up to 50 cameras but the software actually allows for an unlimited number of cameras, restricted only by the system hardware specification.
  2. Secondly, each device or accessory (excluding the T8310 joystick controller) needs just one licence in ACS 5 – this includes encoders and cameras with multiple images sensors.
  3. Thirdly, ACS 5 supports a range of compatible third party IP cameras.

It seems that scalability, third-party camera support and a shift from licensing channels to devices has prompted a split in licence types.

Upgrading your system

Upgrades from ACS 4 and ACS 3 are free for core device licences (up to 32 per system) but upgrading a system that’s larger than 32 devices will require the purchase of an ACS 4 to Universal Upgrade Licence for each relevant device. It’s this latter scenario that’s causing some consternation for existing ACS 4 users looking to upgrade. Those with a system that’s larger than 32 devices are now presented with a cost for doing so. We’ve queried this with Axis but it looks like this approach is something they’re sticking with.

For some users, there may be a cost to upgrade but having seen ACS 5 in action, we’ve been impressed. The ease in which cameras, access control and other IP-based accessories can be integrated and managed in the software offers great versatility and certainly makes it a worthwhile investment.

Licence Calculator and Device Compatibility Tool

Axis has created a Licence Calculator to help users work out how many core and universal licences they need for their system. We’ve checked it out – it’s simple to use and caters for new system and upgrade scenarios.

They have also created a Device Compatibility Tool to help users verify if a third party network video product is compatible with ACS 5 and above.

A full selection of universal and core eLicences is available at Network Webcams and they can be purchased easily online. If you do need further advice about the latest version of Axis Camera Station or licences, just get in touch.

Published on May 26th, 2016 by Network Webcams

2 Responses to “Understanding the new Axis Camera Station licence structure”

  1. Ian Rigby says:

    Hi Roy,

    Thanks for your enquiry.

    You are correct. It's free to upgrade 32 camera licences, but any additional licences needed above that number will require the purchase of upgrade licences. These upgrade licences are not listed on our online store but we can easily supply them to you.

    Feel free to contact our sales team on 0151 633 2111 or sales@nwsecuritygroup.com where we can assist you with pricing information.

  2. Roy Pateman says:

    Looking to upgarde axis camera station from 4 to 5, we have 47 cameras and licenses and so from the sounds of it would be looking at 15 upgrade licenses, I see you do the universal licenses but do you do the upgrade licenses, if so how much does it cost and how do you use the upgrade license.