There lots of options to get LPR on Axis cameras. In this article, we evaluate the different approaches for Axis LPR, assess the key features of some key LPR vendors, and discuss the most cost-effective way to get LPR on Axis.
What is ALPR?
Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is an advanced software feature that decodes the vehicle license plate. ALPR (also referred to as ANPR for Automatic Number Plate Recognition) uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. In this article, we will refer to this as just LPR, rather than ALPR or ANPR.
Whether you need to control access to parking lots, or you want to identify a specific vehicle to alert your security team or the authorities, license plate recognition software offers an effective flexible solution. From immediate responses to track how often and when a vehicle enters and exits a restricted area, license plate recognition has operational and security value for many facilities.
What is Axis Camera?
Cameras from Axis Communications are world-renown for their quality, sophistication, and technical capabilities.
Axis cameras are a type of network camera or Internet Protocol camera (IP camera) developed by Axis Communication. Axis cameras are a sort of digital video camera that receive control data and send image data via a fast Ethernet connection. The cameras send their signals to the main server through an Internet or network link which can be accessed directly over a network connection. Axis cameras can work as great ANPR cameras but there are a few things you should read about before purchasing a license plate reader camera.
Axis cameras are becoming very popular with some of the powerful features embedded in them, such as:
- Remote access – so you can configure the camera settings without physically touching the camera.
- Digital zoom – so you can zoom into a certain part of the camera beyond the lens’ capabilities.
- Data Transmission – so camera feeds can be sent via the Internet.
- Progressive scanning – so images of higher resolution can be extracted from the video
- Two-Way communication – so you can get audio to/from the camera.
- Flexible frame rates and resolution – to accommodate different network bandwidth limitations.
How to Get LPR with Axis Cameras?
There are several ways to get LPR with an Axis camera, including getting LPR on the edge or accessing LPR via the cloud.
LPR on the edge means that the license plate recognition software runs inside the Axis camera. This eliminates the need to have any additional hardware to process LPR. However, if that camera fails (e.g. overheats in the hot sun), then the LPR technologies die with it.
LPR in the cloud means that license plate recognition is processed in the cloud. The camera sends images of vehicles upon motion detection to the cloud via an API. The LPR software in the cloud then process LPR from those images.
How do Vendors Compare for LPR on Axis?
We researched and assessed some of the leading LPR software providers on Axis cameras.
- Key Features: OpenALPR agent detects and recognizes license plates. Plate results can be viewed and searched from anywhere with a web browser.
- Usability: It is easy to install the software locally, connect to live camera feed, and view results on the OpenALPR dashboard.
- Compatibility: OpenALPR LPR runs inside the Axis camera.
- Key Features: VaxALPR provides real-time license plate recognition based on video generated by one or more cameras, providing quick and safe access control based on the vehicle license plate. VaxALPR claims that its LPR is suitable for high speed scenarios of up to 160 Km/h.
- Usability: The software is user friendly and easy to configure.
- Compatibility: Vaxtor LPR software runs inside the Axis camera.
- Key Features: PlateSmart ARES uses software-only automatic license plate recognition that can work with virtually any IP camera.
- Usability: It is easily integrated with video management systems and most existing or off-the-shelf cameras as it is a software-only LPR system.
- Compatibility: PlateSmart ARES software runs inside the Axis camera.
How is Plate Recognizer Different for Axis Cameras?
Unlike the LPR software listed above, Plate Recognizer takes a different approach to its LPR integration with Axis cameras.
Plate Recognizer uses an API cloud-base protocol to power their Automatic License Plate Recognition system. The software is highly accurate and is specially tuned to capture license plates in different real-life scenarios, such as blurry plates and dark environments. Plate Recognizer supports over 90 countries worldwide.
It is very easy to use and it doesn’t require any software installation at the edge of the camera. It works with a vast majority of Axis camera, since nearly all Axis cameras have HTTPS capabilities.
What Are the Advantages of Using Plate Recognizer on Axis Cameras?
Unlike some LPR software vendors that operate inside the camera, Plate Recognizer runs in the cloud. This brings forth several key advantages:
- Cost Savings – One Plate Recognizer cloud account can serve multiple cameras. So rather than purchasing a license to run on the edge of each camera, one Plate Recognizer subscription can potentially serve, say a dozen, cameras at one time.
- Simplicity – There’s nothing to install inside the camera. Often times, camera installation firms are great at wiring and setting up the cameras—not necessarily at loading edge software into the camera. So with Plate Recognizer, you can save yourself the headache.
- Future-Proof – Machine-learning software continues to get better and better. So while LPR software that runs on the camera’s edge may be OK for your needs now, it remains fairly stale. Plate Recognizer’s software, on the other hand, will continue to improve. And because it’s in the cloud, you benefit from all the updates without having to change anything in the camera. For example, with its latest update, Plate Recognizer is now able to detect and differentiate Pick-up Trucks vs. SUVs.
- Two-Way communication – This lets you get audio to/from the camera.
- Camera Freedom – If the camera fails, then no worries! Just get another IP camera. Even better, this “other” IP camera does not necessarily have to be an Axis camera! So with Plate Recognizer, you have the freedom to go outside Axis, if needed.
Net net, with Plate Recognizer, you get an easy, fast speed of deployment that’s truly cost effective. And, it can be deployed with nearly all Axis cameras since most Axis cameras have HTTPS capabilities
Why is Plate Recognizer the Most Cost Effective for Axis LPR?
For many LPR deployments, cost is a major factor. So let’s drill down and do the math.
Let’s say that you want to capture the vehicles entering and existing your parking lot of 200 parking spaces. You deploy 4 Axis cameras with OpenALPR on the edge, at a cost of $79 per month per camera. This equates to $15,168 over 4 years.
With Plate Recognizer Snapshot API Cloud, you’ll need the Small Plan of 50,000 lookups/month for this parking lot. With 200 parking spaces, and 2 cars per space per day, that will utilize 24,800 lookups a month, so you have plenty of extra lookups to spare (in case more vehicles enter or exit). A Plate Recognizer investment over 4 years would be $2,400.
That’s a savings of almost $13,000! That’s 84% savings for Plate Recognizer solution over edge-based LPR on Axis cameras!
What are the Best Use Cases for Plate Recognizer LPR on Axis Cameras?
Using Plate Recognizer LPR with Axis cameras brings a new dimension to license plate recognition. Here are some ways you can deploy Plate Recognizer on Axis cameras:
- CAR PARK MANAGEMENT: Since Plate Recognizer LPR decodes license plates fairly quickly, you can use it to manage a car park lot. This can help enhance security of your business, retail or residential parking area.
- TOLL GATES: Regular users of toll roads can be registered via their car and license plate number, thereby allowing payment to be done electronically. This eliminates the need for RFID. Once Plate Recognizer identifies the pre-registered license plate from a distance, the toll gate can automatically open.
- FUEL STATIONS: Plate Recognizer’s cloud-based LPR solution can help enhance security and efficiency for gas (or petro) stations. It can detect and create alerts for vehicles with illegal license plates involved in criminal acts like fuel theft. LPR can also enable users to pay automatically and electronically with their license plate rather than a credit card. LPR is also an effective way to do CRM for fuel station customers.
- Toll Systems use webhooks to relay the decoded license plate over to the payment system before the barrier opens.
While the Plate Recognizer Snapshot API Cloud for Axis cameras can be used in a variety of use cases, it is important to note that it may not be the most cost-effective solution for situations such as highway monitoring or traffic management.
[Side Note: for these applications, Plate Recognizer Stream would be a much better fit, but we’ll save that for another day.
How To Configure Plate Recognizer with Axis Cameras?
It is quite easy to configure Axis cameras to support Plate Recognizer Snapshot API Cloud:
- Set up motion detection in the Axis camera.
- Enter the Plate Recognizer API Token via HTTPS in the Axis camera’s Action Rules (from the Events menu).
- This way, upon motion detection, the camera will send the frame over to Plate Recognizer.
- You can forward the decoded plate via Webhooks to your internal system(s).
Feel free to read our tutorial with detailed steps and screenshots on how to configure Plate Recognizer with Axis cameras.
All Axis cameras have powerful, built-in motion detection features, which make them quite suitable in detecting motion from moving objects such as vehicles, while ignoring pets, humans or other objects. Axis cameras work really well in various lighting conditions and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
What’s There to Lose with Plate Recognizer for LPR on Axis?
With the amazing features and functionalities, the Axis camera is one of the most powerful cameras on the planet today. While license plate recognition can certainly be run on the edge of the camera, this approach may not be the best technical or financial fit for you.
With Plate Recognizer, you can get a very high-accuracy LPR solution with minimal upfront investment and effort. Accurate surveillance can easily be accomplished with minimal cost and technicality.
If you have already decided to use Axis cameras, then great! Feel free to take our Free Trial on a test drive and see the benefits. Just sign up here!
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