What is the average life expectancy of an IP camera?

By Dave Sweeney,

CEO, Advantech Incorporated

Analog cameras have had a reputation for standing the test of time, mainly because the technology behind them is relatively simple and has changed little over the years. With only periodic improvements, end users often had little reason to replace them and upgrade to newer cameras.

The introduction of IP technology, and the widespread adoption of IP-based cameras, has transformed the camera landscape. IP-based technology has rapidly evolved to introduce high megapixel cameras and H.265 video compression. Still end users want to know the average life expectancy of an IP camera.

For example, what is the failure rate of an IP camera and how often should these types of cameras be replaced? Because the technology is only 20 years old, there is not a significant amount of data on the average lifespan of these type of devices. It’s also difficult to collect data on the lifespan of IP cameras because these devices are being replaced long before they reach the failure point. The reality is that we find that many customers are so reliant on their systems today that they are upgrading cameras for the latest feature set or resolution long before the camera actually fails.

However, as a general rule, a new IP camera today should last two NVR cycles. So, if an NVR lasts between three to five years that means the IP camera on the network should last between six to 10 years. After that time, it would be wise to start to invest in newer camera technology to ensure software compatibility with your new NVR system and cameras that have capability to leverage newer features.

One interesting trend of note is that many early adopters of IP cameras are now gravitating towards the newer multi-sensor cameras. A single camera containing multi-sensor technology has the ability to capture 360 degrees of view. Each camera is equipped with a four-image sensor fixed lens, so essentially one camera can do the work of four individual cameras.

While cameras do fail from time to time, there really isn’t a scientific number that can be applied to the lifespan of an IP camera. It is best to review your surveillance needs on a regular basis and invest in the camera technology that helps you to achieve your security goals.