Axis Communications has been in the business of making networked surveillance cameras for a quite a while now. The great thing about their products is the open APIs for controlling the camera remotely. It is possible to create third-party applications that control capturing from distance. Just because the platform was originally designed for security creative applications do not need to remain in that area. The Linux-based embedded platform has thus great potential to be utilized in many uses.
Axis 223M, high-end model for outdoors, can support a resolution of 1600×1200 at 30fps. The picture can of course be cropped to 720p, but a native 16:9 sensor would be preferable for entertainment applications. Even surveillance systems will be moving to 16:10 or 16:9 screens so this issue will be solved sooner or later. The 30fps is quite adequate to most uses, but not optimally suited to fast action capture such as sports.
Unfortunately the camera can encode just in Motion JPEG to full resolution. Converting one of the different M-JPEG variants to a more distributable format can be a hazzle on the server side. So as circuit technology evolves hopefully we will see some more distributable formats (flv, wmv, h.264) straight out of the box. Information security will not be compromised as long as secure transport protocols are used in distribution.
These devices’ biggest draw is the direct network connectivity. Unfortunately currently the device does not support push communications other than email. Interfacing the camera would be much easier if it supported multiple push protocols such as the ATOM API for updating a remote server. Custom software can be uploaded into the device so customizing can possibly solve this issue.
Other wireless models are also available, but Wi-Fi/Wlan has been vulnerable to jamming. Naturally security applications should be bit harder to circumvent. In entertainment applications outside interference should not be a huge problem, but the mobility won is not all that great. Power over Ethernet is a big help in installation as number of cables (or at least cable connections) is reduced.
The thing about Axis products is that the prices have been bit too high for our liking. Of course the brand is positioned as a premium product and there are more reasonably priced alternatives. In conclusion Axis products seem to be well suited even for entertainment purposes and hopefully more advanced models keep getting published. It is also worthwhile to follow what kind of third party applications begin support t networked cameras.