Axis Communications: Success Sells
by Security Electronics and Networks | @Articles News | April 13, 2011, 7:00am AEDT
Q: Axis Communications celebrates 15 years as an IP camera manufacturer this year. How does it feel to have been around so long in what most people think of as a brand new market?
A: Axis introduced the first network camera, AXIS 200, on September 17, 1996. Since the first network camera was introduced Axis has gone from a company with products in print servers, storage and now video – to a company focused on network video. The main reason for the company’s success is its emphasis and domination of networked video.
Q: Axis Communications growth was around 40 per cent in 2010 – that’s a powerful performance in such a challenging market, isn’t it?
A: The main reason for the company’s success is its emphasis and domination of networked video. The company has been in the business for 25 years already and is a trusted brand in the market for its reliability and services.
Q: The company’s performance in Australia – does it mirror the growth experienced overseas?
A: Yes, we are seeing tremendous growth globally beyond Australia which is reflected in our 2010 financial report.
Q: Is this amazing growth rate – a rate faster than market growth – sustainable? Will you maintain 40 per cent growth or do you think you’ll grow faster still?
A: According to IMS Research, growth for network video products will be approximately 27 per cent over the next five years. By 2014, network camera sales are forecast to account for 48 per cent of total worldwide camera sales.
According to IMS Research, growth for video surveillance equipment will be approximately 12 per cent yearly growth over the next five years.
Q: What do you put the success of Axis Communications down to? Is it product quality? Affordability? Speed of new product development? Features?
A: We are innovators and specialists focused only on professional network video, Axis and its partners, who include security and IT experts worldwide, develop, deliver and support cost-effective user-friendly solutions.
At the same time, we use network video’s potential to pave a path to new business solutions and new business opportunities- for both the industry and its customers. Our experiences gained from our installations inspires every solution we create, resulting in well-informed product development, well-proven solutions and a clear vision of the next step in video surveillance.
Axis focus on delivering dependable products that best fits into the users environment. On the outside, our products streamlined look discreetly blends in with the surroundings. Inside, there is Axis superior image quality and reliable award-winning performance.
Q: Axis makes encoders but the primary business is cameras – would you say this focus gives you an edge when it comes to R&D spend, economies of scale in that you can share optics between many models, shorter lead times between product updates?
A: Yes, as both our encoders and many of our network cameras share the same technologies and this is an advantage in many ways.
Q: One thing Axis does well is build new products – dozens every year – how is this possible given many manufacturers have such long lead times? Does private ownership allow greater investment in the business and allow companies like Axis to get traction when needed?
A: As Axis is only focused on network video products, we are able to do better forecast planning and thus have shorter lead times. Axis also partnership with strategic partners who provides expertise in their areas so as to provide the best-of-breed solution to our end customers.
Q: At the beginning of 2009 we sat down and talked about your new Q1755 HD camera – a product that quickly became the benchmark for high end IP cameras. At that time Axis had decided to focus on the SMPTE standard – a move that now looks extremely farsighted, given the fact most the big makers are rushing to HD. Are you still the leader in HD?
A: Yes, we are still the leader and we are one of the few manufacturers that can develop cameras that are SMPTE compliance. If you look at all our HD camera models, all have SMPTE compliance in place. This is due to our chipset that is able to provide real time and color in HD quality.
Q: Would you say this sort of ‘thinking ahead of the market’ is indicative of the culture at Axis Communications and could you give us a few hints on how you will continue to stay ahead of the curve?
A: Axis has a successful strategy that is built on a global partnership concept that is the cornerstone of Axis’ approach. Axis believes that close, highly collaborative, long-term relationships create a mutually beneficial eco-system of opportunities.
We had the industry’s first partner program with an open model for working together. The Axis channel partner network includes more than 40,000 partners, in more than 70 countries. This sales model is a key success to Axis.
We also focus on a broad and innovative product portfolio concentrating on openness with standard networks and IT equipment and we’re a founding member of ONVIF, as well as supporting the VAPIX Application Programming Interface and the AXIS Camera Application Platform.
Innovation is evident in technologies like the AXIS ARTPEC and ETRAX chipsets and we have achieved many other industry firsts. These are the areas of focus we think allow us to stay ahead.
Q: In terms of new products, what’s next for Axis in terms of major product or technology releases? You dished up a smorgasbord of new products at Security 2010 – will this be repeated in 2011?
A: Axis will continue to roll out a wide option of products with HDTV, progressive scan, Power over Ethernet and megapixel. We’re also looking for greater efficiency in video compression and working on more intelligent solutions. Axis will also offer a wide price range to suit market needs.
Q: Do you have a theory on where you think the market is likely to go next? Will change continue to be incremental or are there big adjustments coming?
A: The world of video surveillance was transformed by the ability to connect a camera to an intranet or the internet. This invention allowed the introduction of technologies that security managers take for granted today – from remote monitoring to video analytics.
According to a recent report, the following trends are likely in CCTV:
* HD CCTV products will be more available and although this won’t impact the adoption of network video surveillance in the short term, there is potential for it to do so in the longer term
* The cloud based video surveillance market will grow particularly in applications with multiple sites with a low camera count as the cost of DVR systems across multiple sites can be reduced with a cloud based solution
* India is the next market to watch (in the footsteps of China at a slower pace) for video surveillance market growth
* The Video Content Analytics market has potential for growth outside the traditional security market (visually intelligent devices in automotive, defense, medical, consumer and digital signage markets)
* 3D offers the benefit of depth perception to the security industry and 2011 will herald the start of a trend towards 3D in video surveillance
* Lowering equipment prices and alternative business models (cloud based) will push the industry towards the tipping point in the shift from analog to IP
* Wider adoption of thermal technology as cameras are more affordable
* As demand rises for high resolution cameras, increasing proportion of high resolution security cameras will be HDTV rather than megapixel types.
Q: Opportunities for installers – what would you say are the areas of the market best suited to the latest IP camera solutions and which sales and installation models/relationships does experience tell you have been most successful?
A: Axis’ latest range of products caters for all vertical segments. However, we are especially strong in the transportation and retail markets as there are higher growth opportunities in these 2 sectors.
Q: Staff – Axis grew to 944 employees worldwide last year – how many are research and development? And how many are there in Australia now?
A: Axis staff strength continues to grow yearly and a high percentage is invested in Research & Development resources. In Australia, Axis staff strength has grown to 6 in recent years, and more resources will be added in 2011 to meet the strong local market demand.