For many organizations, video analytics provide a powerful means for building intelligent applications and extracting business insights. While running video analytics at the edge is a powerful enabler for these applications, running intensive AI models solely on the edge device 24/7 can at times be inefficient, restrictive, and costly. What if some of the AI processing could be done on the camera instead of an edge device?
Axis Communications (Axis), the industry leader in network video, has been tackling this challenge with their AXIS Camera Application Platform (ACAP) and their best-in-class cameras. With ACAP, apps running AI can be installed directly on Axis cameras, allowing initial AI processing to be done on the camera. Intelligent cameras running built-in lightweight AI models thus provide a powerful solution for running video analytics at the edge. Azure Video Analyzer helps expand the capabilities of Axis cameras by providing a platform for end-to-end video analytics solutions that span the edge and the cloud.
In this article, see how Microsoft and Axis Communications are partnering to solve the problem of extracting insights from live video at the edge and recording video to the cloud. The solution presented in this article utilizes an edge gateway, an edge device that provides a connection between other devices on the network and Azure IoT Hub. A specific use-case shown in this article is event-based video recording, in which an edge gateway running Azure Video Analyzer Edge publishes video recordings to the cloud, based on events triggered from an Axis camera running motion detection.
Axis Communications and Microsoft have come together to support the development community with new tools to deliver cutting-edge AI solutions to the market. With Axis cameras and Azure Video Analyzer, developers can create solutions that fully utilize compute from edge to cloud–delivering efficient, secure and actionable insights for customers across many industries. – Johan Paulsson, CTO, Axis Communications
A Hybrid Approach for Connecting Axis Cameras to Azure
Connecting cameras directly to the cloud presents several issues, such as loss of internet connectivity and noncompliance with an organization’s policies. The use of an edge gateway between Axis cameras and Azure Video Analyzer presents a satisfactory medium between running AI fully at the edge and sending data directly to the Azure cloud.
With an edge gateway, an Axis camera can connect securely to Azure IoT Edge. Axis provides instructions for this setup in its GitHub repository, Telemetry to Azure IoT Edge. The Axis documentation gives instructions on how to generate and upload X.509 certificates to Azure IoT Hub and the Axis camera, and set up Azure IoT Edge runtime on the edge gateway.
An Example with Event-Based Video Recording
A quintessential use-case of this setup is event-based video recording (EVR). EVR refers to the process of recording video triggered by an event, which can originate from processing of the video signal itself or from an independent source. In the following tutorial, the Axis camera acts as the independent source, with motion detection running natively (as opposed to on a separate edge device, as previously demonstrated in Video Analyzer tutorials). Once video has been sent to Azure Video Analyzer, it can then be used for playback and posted in Microsoft applications such as Power BI.microsoft.com