New, 8th-Gen Axis Chip Improves Analytics on the Edge

The venerable network video surveillance leader hosts a panel to discuss evolution and future of its business.

CHELMSFORD, Mass. — Axis Communications sought to make one of the biggest splashes associated with this week’s GSX show in Orlando, Fla., by inviting security trade media to a presentation and news announcement titled, “Analyze This.”

Held virtually due to many of the company’s personnel and industry reporters forgoing the expo due to the pandemic, the hourlong session celebrated Axis’ historic milestones, covered the evolution of video surveillance technology and especially analytics, and concluded with the unveiling of the firm’s ARTPEC-8, the eighth generation of its custom-designed system-on-chip (SoC) for network video.

Hosted by Axis Vice President, Americas and SSI Industry Hall of Famer Fredrik Nilsson, the discussion also included another Hall of Famer in Cofounder & Advisor New Business Martin Gren, along with CTO Johan Paulsson and Vice President of Strategic Innovation Matthew Tyler. OMDIA Global Research’s Oliver Philippou, research manager for physical security, was also on hand to lend market perspective.

Nilsson and Gren recounted how it’s been 25 years since Axis launched the first IP surveillance camera and 20 years since bringing rudimentary video analytics to market. More features and capabilities were added as time went on, notably with the introduction of Zipstream compression technology in 2015 and in 2020 deep learning that allowed analytics to become more reliable and viable. But, stated Gren, it’s all still reliant upon security integrators to carefully set it all up correctly to optimize results in the field.

Nilsson noted that video analytics are forecast to grow 20% annually. What are some of the key drivers? According to Tyler, bandwidth management (e.g. compression, intelligence at the edge, Cloud) is the biggest recent development to enable broader user of analytics.

“Also, the pandemic has cut labor more than ever and so that now is an analytics driver to step in with information and data where in the past maybe that would have been served by humans,” Tyler added.

Oliver cited analytics capability and accuracy, scope and use cases, and users being better education and understanding what can be done as core drivers.

“More accuracy and efficiency are key to wider adoption,” said Paulsson. “Forensic search of recorded video is a huge use case.”

Other leading use cases mentioned include retail stores, people counting and traffic management. The panel conceded that maintaining privacy remains a challenging issue and an imperative, made all the more complex by government vs. private sector and country by country outlooks, deployments and standards. Wrangling over facial recognition technology throughout the U.S. was referenced as an example of potential hurdles.

“Security is the most common use today, but the future will be more about operating efficiency applications. There are likely a whole host of use cases coming soon we are not even yet aware of,” said Oliver. Tyler chimed in about how there are various analytics on market that can be combined to generate a wide range of operational benefits for myriad venues and facilities.

Other key points included how moving forward machine learning will begin to allow solutions to be updated/upgraded without requiring integrators or users to constantly undergo new training; and how edge (quicker data flow) and Cloud (greater data storage and wider dissemination) topologies can be equally advantageous depending on the application and also can work well in combination.

Finally, in unveiling the ARTPEC-8 Axis’ experts brimmed with excitement about its more advanced capabilities, which are already being evidenced in select products from the manufacturer and soon to be broadly implemented. The new SoC is said to bring improvements and innovations across the board, especially where analytics are concerned.

“ARTPEC-8 is leading the way toward a new era of exciting analytics based on deep learning on the edge. It is optimized for our market, whereas most chips on the market are not and that makes a huge difference,” said Paulsson.

Axis’ software has also been enhanced to exploit the chip’s capabilities, so as to pull out the most useful information that lends to users being able to make better decisions for security as well as operations.

“As an integrator, you have to really understand your customers’ business to best recommend and implement the appropriate analytics solutions,” concluded Tyler.

The ARTPEC-8 is among the many offerings being highlighted by Axis at its booth, among the largest on the GSX show floor.

About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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