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Axis releases significant firmware update

Axis communications have announced the release of firmware 5.50 which will roll out soon across all of their network cameras. The new firmware adds a wide array of new and improved features designed to enhance the usability and effectiveness of IP-based security using their popular devices.

This is a significant update to their camera firmware and to their VAPIX API/SDK (affecting hardware and software integrators).

Edge recording improvements

For starters, 64GB SDXC and MicroSDXC memory cards are now supported, doubling the previous maximum of 32GB. This increase now allows long-term retention periods as well as twice the capacity.

There’s also added error-checking. The new firmware will detect if there’s an error recording to local storage and will email operators to take action. It provides greater system reliability and reduces system downtime. Additionally, this feature can add redundancy by allowing the camera to take action if there is a recording problem. If local recording fails for any reason, the camera can send footage to a local NAS server until the issue is resolved, or vice versa.

Digital Auto-tracking

We’ve seen auto-tracking systems on PTZ cameras, but not on fixed cameras until now. This advanced feature digitally zooms the camera view on moving subjects in view. The camera will then return to the overview once the subject moves out of view. It’s an ideal feature for monitoring centres, visually alerting operators to movement.

PTZ tour recording

A novel, yet straightforward idea, instead of pre-specifying a sequence of commands to create a guard tour, the camera will record the movements that an operator makes to the camera. These movements will then become the guard tour repeated by the camera. It makes guard tours more accurate and much easier to create. This is useful, macro-style functionality.

SSL support for email and HTTPS

This addition will help out a lot of people. Up until now, Axis network cameras have not been able to utilise webmail services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Email to send emails due to their requirements for SSL encryption on SMTP. This welcome feature has now been added.

On top of this, for installations where HTTP notifications are used, security can now be increased with HTTPS support. It’s ideal for secure notification across unsecured networks.

Video upload via FTP

This is another feature we get asked for regularly that isn’t available on most IP cameras. While almost all cameras can send images via FTP, very few can upload a video file due to the limited memory and processing power. The new firmware will offer uploads in the .mkv file format, playable in most modern media player applications.

Improved notification

In addition to the SD notification above, the new firmware will also alert users to disruption in the movement of PTZ cameras, unexpected camera restarts and notification of someone monitoring live footage. It makes management of the camera much easier and allows operators to quickly pinpoint problems.

Support for fallback servers

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Now your IP camera will too. By specifying a secondary FTP, HTTP or Email server, if the first connection fails, the second will be used. This adds a layer of redundancy for mission-critical applications.

SSH support

All Linux system administrators can rejoice. This firmware incorporates SSH access for command-based administration. Just don’t run rm –rf / as root!

Improved on-screen display

Event-based OSD text is now available, providing on-screen notification of alarms such as motion or tampering detection. It can also provide an on-screen status, for example showing if an external door switch is open or closed.

Non-western characters are also supported for use in eastern markets as well as adjustable text size for increased readability.

Miscellaneous

In addition to these features, there are a number of small improvements:

  • Support for ONVIF Profile S improving device detection
  • Improved Constant Bit-Rate (CBR) algorithms for accurate video bit-rates when using CB
  • Tweaks to the Axis Camera Application Platform system to increase positive detection rates
  • Up to 32 independent privacy masks on all cameras
  • Virtual inputs, allowing operators to trigger actions in the event system
  • Centralised SSL certification management from companies including Verisign, Thawt and GeoTrust

Please note: Not all features will be available on all cameras. See the range of Axis network cameras here.

NW Systems Group is an Axis Solution Gold Partner.

Published on February 12th, 2013 by James Drinkwater

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