Axis Communications was founded in 1984 by Martin Gren, Mikael Karlsson and Keith Bloodworth in Lund, Sweden. The company developed and sold protocol converters and printer interfaces for the connection of PC printers in IBM mainframe and mini-computer environments. By the end of the 1980s, Axis Communications had opened its first U.S. sales office in Boston, Massachusetts and in the early 1990s started shifting its focus away from IBM mainframes towards networking and the TCP/IP protocol. 


In 1991, Axis Communications introduced a multi-protocol print server supporting both TCP/IP and NetWare. In 1995, the company introduced a file server independent, multi-protocol CD-ROM server, supporting TCP/IP (NFS) and Windows (SMB), for Ethernet networks, the AXIS 850. Also by 1995, Axis Communications had opened sales offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, Japan. 

Focus on network cameras 

In 1996, Axis Communications introduced the industry's first network camera, the AXIS 200. This was followed in 1999 by the AXIS 2100 which was the first volume product using an embedded Linux. In 2004, the company introduced the AXIS 206, the then smallest network camera. 

Founding of industry standards body 

In 2008, Axis Communications announced together with Bosch and Sony that the companies will cooperate in order to standardize the interface of network video products and form a new industry standards body called ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum). Axis Communications introduced its first product with ONVIF support in 2009, the AXIS P3301. There are now over 600 ONVIF conformant products available. 


Axis Communications operates offices in more than 50 countries and employs over 2,800 people. According to a 2013 market research report by industry analyst house IHS Research, Axis Communications is the global market leader in the network camera and video encoder markets. Installations include the City of Houston, Sydney Airport, Moscow Metro and Madrid Buses. In 2014, Axis Communications published a sustainability report disclosing it had reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 13 percent and that 65 percent of the company's network cameras and video encoders are PVC-free. 

On February 10, 2015, Japanese multinational corporation Canon Inc., which specializes in the manufacture of imaging and optical products announced a cash bid of 23.6  billion Swedish kronor (US$2.83 billion) to acquire Axis Communications. While Canon is the majority shareholder, Axis is run independently. However, Canon's portfolio of network video solutions is marketed by Axis Communications in the EMEA region and in North America since September 1, 2016 and October 1, 2016 respectively. 

On July 18, 2017, security researchers published a cybersecurity vulnerability in a piece of code called gSOAP. All ONVIF compatible security products were affected, including those from Axis Communications.