Axis celebrates 10 years of network video cameras

Monday, January 1, 2007

LUND, Sweden--Axis Communications, the company that released the first network video cameras in 1996, held an IP-video conference in a 16th Century castle here to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its pioneering technological advance. The conference, which ran Nov. 29 and 30 and hosted some 80 journalists and industry experts from around the world, began at the sleek, open-concept Axis world headquarters here, just a hop, skip and a jump across the bridge from Copenhagen. At headquarters, guests were invited to view Axis' products, from the first Axis 200 camera to the latest 209FD-R model that was installed on the Stockholm metro system on Nov. 29.
Axis began as a print server company in 1984, originally based out of co-founder Martin Gren's fraternity room in college. About 10 years later, while on a sales trip to Japan, he was asked to "think about networking cameras." So Gren came home to Sweden, and with the help of partner Mikael Karlsson, created the Axis 200.
Fredrik Nilsson, Axis general manager of the Americas and a presenter at nearby Svaneholm Castle during the afternoon program of the conference, compared Axis' vision--and products--to the cars that Henry Ford manufactured at the turn of the last century. "'If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,'" Nilsson said, quoting Ford. "Remember, no one was asking for network cameras back in 1996, but today the product is changing the whole surveillance market, including the end user, the system integrator and distribution channel, and the vendors active on the market. That's what a true innovator does, just like the T-Ford did some 90 years ago," said Nilsson.
Simon Harris, research director for security and ID at IMS research in England, during his presentation stated that the network video market (including cameras, NVRs, servers and storage) will grow by 40 to 50 percent by 2010. Axis is currently the leader in the network video market (with Panasonic and Sony snapping at its heels) and intends to keep it that way.
"Our greatest challenge is not to sit back and relax, but to keep on being hungry," said Gren. Competitors have their work cut out for them: Axis network video sales have grown from zero in 1996 to $110M in 2005, and this year is expected to be close to $150M.