Axis Communications AB is a Swedish manufacturer of network cameras for the physical security and video surveillance industries.
Axis Communications originally started out as an IT company selling print servers. It then applied its knowledge in networks and embedded computing to develop network cameras for the security industry. Most of its products contain an embedded computer with some flash memory and run a custom version of Linux. One of its major breakthroughs in technology was the development of JFFS, which extended the lifetime of the devices' flash memory.
Axis Communications was founded in 1984 by Martin Gren, Mikael Karlsson, and Keith Bloodworth in Lund, Sweden. The company developed and sold protocol converters and printer interfaces for the connection of PC printers in IBM mainframe and mini-computer environments. By the end of the 1980s, Axis Communications had opened its first U.S. sales office in Boston, Massachusetts and in the early 1990s started shifting its focus away from IBM mainframes towards networking and the TCP/IP protocol.
In 1991, Axis Communications introduced a multi-protocol print server supporting both TCP/IP and NetWare. In 1995, the company introduced a file server independent, multi-protocol CD-ROM server, supporting TCP/IP (NFS) and Windows (SMB), for Ethernet networks, the AXIS 850. Also by 1995, Axis Communications had opened sales offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo, Japan.
In 1996, Axis Communications introduced the industry's first network camera, the AXIS 200. This was followed in 1999 by the AXIS 2100 which was the first volume product using an embedded Linux. In 2003, the company introduced the AXIS 205, the then smallest network camera.
In 2008, Axis Communications announced together with Bosch and Sony that the companies will cooperate in order to standardize the interface of network video products and form a new industry standards body called ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum). Axis Communications introduced its first product with ONVIF support in 2009, the AXIS P3301. There are now over 10000 ONVIF conformant products available.
Axis Communications operates offices in more than 50 countries and employs over 3,600 people. According to a 2013 market research report by industry analyst house IHS Research, Axis Communications is the global market leader in the network camera and video encoder markets. Installations include the City of Houston, Sydney Airport, Moscow Metro, The White House, and Madrid Buses. In 2019, Axis Communications published a sustainability report stating that 80 percent of its network cameras and video encoders are PVC-free.
On February 10, 2015, Japanese multinational corporation Canon Inc., which specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical products announced a cash bid of 23.6 billion Swedish kronor (US$2.83 billion) to acquire Axis Communications. While Canon is the majority shareholder, Axis is run independently. Canon's network cameras are now sold and supported by Axis Communications in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) region and in North America since September 1, 2016, and October 1, 2016, respectively. In November 2018, Axis Communications was delisted from Nasdaq Stockholm.
On July 18, 2017, security researchers published a cybersecurity vulnerability in a piece of code called gSOAP. All ONVIF compatible security products were affected, including those from Axis Communications.
In May 2018, Axis opened a new R&D office for software development in Linköping, Sweden.
On May 30, 2016, Axis Communications acquired 2N, a provider of IP intercom systems based in the Czech Republic. On June 3, 2016, Axis Communications acquired Cognimatics, a video analytics provider for retail applications such as people counting, queue measurement, and occupancy estimation.
On February 1, 2016, Axis Communications acquired Citilog, a video analytics provider for traffic and transportation security and safety applications. On April 30, 2021, Axis Communications announced that it was selling Citilog, citing challenges in finding "desired synergies because of our different go-to-market models."
Axis Communications develops and sells network cameras for many applications. Products include PTZ, vandal-resistant, thermal, outdoor, nitrogen-pressurized, HDTV, wireless, motion detection, and progressive scan cameras. It introduced the industry's first thermal network camera, the AXIS Q1910, in January 2010 and the industry's first HDTV network camera, the AXIS Q1755, in December 2008. In March 2020, Axis Communications entered the body cam market with its own open architecture system competing with market incumbents Axon, Digital Ally, Wolfcom, and Motorola Solutions with its Watchguard Video brand.
ARTPEC (Axis Real Time Picture Encoder Chip) is an Application-specific integrated circuit developed by Axis Communications which powers many AXIS cameras. There are currently 7 generations of the chip. All chips run AXIS OS - a modified version of Linux meant for embedded devices. Developers can use ACAP, Axis' API to design custom applications for Axis Devices. Since ARTPEC-1, custom GStreamer plugins were developed by Axis to provide video services from the camera.