IP cameras the next Android or iPhone?

Growing demand for people counting, facial recognition, thermal, and tripwire apps.

While smartphones might be the software development platform de jour, intelligent IP surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly attractive as a viable commercial platform, according to Axis Communications.

According to Axis Communications ANZ country manager, Wai King Wong, the combination of dedicated processors, higher resolution imaging, and concerns over security meant an IP camera-based apps store was not far off.

“Imagine the iPhone and how many applications you can get today – thousands. It is the same concept what we are doing today,” Wong said.

“We have opened up our development kit for cameras, so any customer or developer in the world can start developing software, we run it on our systems, check it, give it a certification then they can start installing them onto cameras.”

According to Wong, advances in IP camera technology, which now saw cameras with inbuilt processors, now allowed for applications to installed and run on the camera itself without the need of a dedicated application server.

Wong said that the company had released a software development platform, VAPIX, to allow its software development partners – at last count 800 globally – to develop intelligent applications to run on the company’s cameras.

Along with facial recognition, people counting and ‘tripwire’ based apps – which draw an invisible line within a cameras field of view and determine whether an object or person has moved across that line – were emerging as popular applications.

Using tripwire, a train station with IP cameras would be able to determine whether a person had fallen from a platform onto a railways track, alerting station staff to the situation.

Similarly, tripwire used within a prison environment would also help detect and alert guards to a possible breakout.

Further applications likely to emerge in the areas of licence recognition technology, e-health, retail, and using the thermal capability of some cameras.

“You could use them in data centres to trigger air conditioning if [the vision] shows that there is too much red then have it bring the temperature down by 10 degrees,” Wong said.

By the end of the year up to 30 new apps, developed using Axis’ application programming interface, were expected to be available to run on IP cameras.

The company would also consider the launch of an open online application store to facilitate the sale of applications, which would then be downloaded and installed as firmware updates to existing installations of IP cameras, Wong said.

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