A perfect IIoT tool for integrators: how will you use it to innovate?

Axis is all but synonymous with network-based surveillance cameras. The same operational efficiency, open APIs, and edge computing that built a world-leading position in that sector can be used for industrial internet of things (IIoT) solutions, helping integrators and end-users improve productivity, safety, and quality while reducing waste and downtime.

Ask anyone about robots, and they will probably think about funny-looking ones that can vacuum your home or mix your Friday drink. Maybe even do some stilted small talk with it. But it’s all in the future, right? The truth is that robots have already had a massive breakthrough, albeit not in domestic applications. They are well-established in manufacturing and logistics, helping processes become safer and more efficient. And they don’t look a thing like R2-D2 in Star Wars.

Using innovative technology to improve processes

Robots are also integral to the so-called fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – to help automate industrial processes. Industry 4.0 relies heavily on intelligent technology to improve productivity, safety, and quality while reducing waste and costly equipment downtime. The technology helps collect and analyze process data as well as set up machine-to-machine communication. The industrial internet of things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are crucial components.

However, when you substitute software and robots, machines, and other process equipment for humans, you need various smart sensors to act as the “eyes or feelers” of a process. In this capacity, sensors monitor manufacturing, maintenance, and security applications and logistics, where they make sure that the right part or package ends up in the right place.

A smart sensor’s essential parts are an image sensor that collects the information, a microprocessor, and communication technology that transmits the data to other systems. You might be surprised to find that Axis cameras can be perfect IIoT smart sensors. Read on to find out more.

Tools to improve your clients’ businesses

Axis cameras have become practically synonymous with network surveillance. Many system integrators are probably not even aware that they can have many other valuable uses as visual sensors. But the advantages and reliability that have a proven track record in the surveillance sector can vastly improve a wide range of other applications.

Back in the day, the Axis business started with our camera and its built-in small Linux computer. It’s still going strong, and the functionalities keep improving. Front-line edge computing brings you excellent analytics capabilities. Add our open APIs, and you have a solid foundation for creating powerful and user-friendly solutions.

These features can contribute immensely to Industry 4.0 and IIoT applications. Only the system integrator’s imagination and creativity define the innovation limits. So, how can you use them to improve your clients’ businesses?

No extra investments or training

One significant advantage is that you can quickly transfer data from our cameras to other systems using protocols that you are used to, such as MQTT or OPC, (read more about MQTT in this blog post). There is no need to invest in new software or learn anything new. You get a powerful tool that is compatible with conventional IT systems.

Our camera analytics can perform selected pre-analyses which proves a huge advantage. An end-user can potentially save a massive amount of bandwidth when they don’t have to send the recorded data to a server or the cloud for all analyses.

For example, suppose that you have face detection analytics built into the camera. It will then transfer only the data where there is a face. So, when you start analyzing, the gathered material is relevant, and it will be much faster and efficient, saving both time and money.

Many user-based good examples

Many customers have shown impressive imagination and creativity in adapting our cameras to their specific needs. For example, a paper mill uses an Axis camera with color/contrast analytics to check if the protective side covers on the giant paper rolls are applied correctly before shipping. It’s way more time- and cost-effective than the previous manual control.

A logistics customer uses an Axis camera with analytics to detect serial numbers. It will send only video footage of a product with a serial number to the cloud, where AI software links it to the correct batch number and the right delivery address. This information is sent back to the warehouse floor, where a printer right next to the camera prints a label with the address and batch number – four seconds, done.

Instead of having a person read the tiny serial numbers and maybe getting them wrong, the automated setup will do it correctly in no time. Our camera and analytics are just a small part of the process but crucial to making it work.

A very competitive solution

The analytics set us apart. Many companies still use analog cameras for their process monitoring or IP cameras which they aren’t putting to their best use. Of course, there are specialized process cameras with extremely high frame rates, maybe 400–500 frames per second (FPS). Not only are these very expensive, but using AI, the 25–30 FPS of our cameras have proven to be sufficient in most cases. Our cameras are also easier to integrate into third-party systems.


Read more blog posts by Carl Staël von Holstein.