We celebrate many birthdays at Axis, and not just those of our 2,000 employees. We’ve brought many new and exciting solutions to the market over the last 20 years, and 1966 was a particularly productive year in our history.
That was the year we launched the world’s first network camera, AXIS 200, and pioneered ‘ThinServer’ technology – that would later to become the enabling concept behind Internet of Things (IoT). The original network camera provided low performance – around one Common Intermediate Format (CIF) image every 17 seconds, but with significant investment, we developed the first generation of our ARTPEC chip, enabling our cameras to reach 30fps – an impressive achievement at the time.
I had a deal with management – if we could sell more than 10,000 units of the original network camera, we would create an independent camera business unit. I got my camera business unit. – Martin Gren, Founder, Axis Communications
Our early focus was to make networks smarter, enabling a range of hardware to be connected simply and economically to IP networks. Starting as a print server company, and with everyone talking about the dying mainframe, we knew we had to innovate to survive. We started to attach printers to networks, then we began to attach anything, including network-based optical storage; we called this ‘ThinServer’. This climate and framework allowed us to develop the first network camera, which given its nature, seemed only natural to refer to as a ‘camera server’.
Shift from surveillance to intelligence
Axis’ network cameras have come a long way since their introduction. In 1999, we were the first to offer a Linux-based network product, AXIS 2100, and in 2009, we launched the first network camera with HDTV capabilities. It wasn’t an easy journey, and our engineers persevered to make it work on what was a severely handicapped version of Linux.
We did get it working, however, and within ten years of the introduction of the first network camera, we reached one million installations worldwide, revolutionising the industry and transforming video surveillance from analogue to digital. – Martin Gren
Today, this is referred to as part of the Internet of Security Things (IoST) and we offer over 200 network camera models providing intelligent capabilities, such as 4K and HD resolution, wide-dynamic range, infrared and Lightfinder – all of which ensure a crystal clear picture.
As analytics become increasingly important for businesses, our cameras are also facilitating a shift from a pure surveillance approach, to one of business intelligence. IP cameras are no longer just about producing a video feed – we provide facial recognition, cross line detection and other intelligent solutions.
Evolution of the network camera
Today, Axis is the market leader in network video, increasing the security of millions of people worldwide. This hasn’t always been the case. When we developed the first network camera, we didn’t fully understand the potential applications; we did it because we could. We were an IT company that happened to land in the security industry. We spotted an opportunity in an industry that was all analogue and waiting to go digital – and seized the opportunity to innovate.
20 years on from the introduction of the AXIS 200, innovation remains key in our goal to create a smarter, safer world.
For the full version, visit Axis Communications.
by Martin Gren, Axis Co-Founder and Co-Inventor of the network camera