In 1996 a Swedish network camera manufacturer named Axis Communications launched the Neteye 200, a product that would revolutionize the industry and propel video surveillance from analog to digital. This first centralized IP (Internet Protocol) camera was developed by the team of Martin Gren and Carl-Axel Alm. 

The Neteye 200 was initially used to monitor the sea for oil spills, and recorded twice a day via web interface to save customers from taking two air flights a day to locations. The first time the product was shown at a N+I trade show in Atlanta it even had a pretty high profile customer — Steve Wozniak of Apple — who ordered two of the original Neteyes. The product also received several industry awards, partially due to its use of a custom web server that was inside of the camera.

While marketing the Neteye, Axis realized that customers liked the product, but many still had analog systems. This meant they couldn’t replace their setups with the Neteye. In 1998 Axis extended IP connectivity further by creating the first video encoder. This was an enormous milestone because it allowed users to integrate their existing analog CCTV systems with the new IP technology. Axis took this step even further and invested in their first video chip, the ARTPEC-1, to ensure that their first network video products wouldn’t have low performances.

In 1999 following the success of the Neteye, Axis began to use embedded Linux to operate their cameras. They also released the low level API (Application Program Interface, a tool that allows software applications to be built) called “Vapix,” an API that builds on the open standards of HTTP and the real time streaming protocol (RTSP.) This open architecture encouraged third party software manufacturers to develop compatible management and recording software.   

In the same year (1999), a company by the name of Mobotix released the first decentralized IP camera. This Mobotix camera had a Linux system that contained video, alarm, and recording management capabilities.

The next step for IP cameras occurred in 2005 when Intellio released the first IP camera that featured on board video content analytics (VCA). This Intellio camera was able to detect a number of events, like if an object was stolen, movement, or vehicles.

Why are IP Cameras Better?

IP cameras are often referred to as “network cameras.” The term IP stands for “Internet Protocol,” and these cameras have more capabilities and are more powerful than their previous CCTV counterparts. They record in higher resolution and use newer technology. They may be more expensive, but the general shift in camera technology has gone toward IP cameras.

One of the issues with CCTV has traditionally been their high storage requirements, but this issue is resolved with IP cameras because they are able to store via the cloud.

There are two different types of IP. One is centralized which needs a central network video recorder to handle recording, video, and alarm management. The other is decentralized IP which does not require a central network video recorder. The decentralized model has a built-in function that allows it to record directly to local storage, flash drives or other storage devices. 

The main appeal with IP cameras opposed to others is that they can be controlled remotely, they have digital zoom, and as long as you’re connected online these cameras can send photo or video from any location. Due to their progressive scanning technology these cameras also have high-resolution video and images. You can even adjust frame rates and resolution depending on your needs. IP cameras can send back alerts and usually have two-way talk capabilities as well. 

It’s important to realize that since IP cameras connect to the internet and their feeds can be accessed from across the globe, security is especially important. If you use an IP camera connected to the internet, make sure that you are using a strong password and a secure website.

These IP systems have truly changed the way customers, homeowners, and business owners interact with security and surveillance in the modern age. Thanks to smart devices we now have the internet in our pockets or on our desks at all times, which means IP cameras allow security to always be at your fingertips.