Axis Communications – Enabling Surveillance Innovations for Smart Cities in India

An Interaction with Axis Communications |

With an array of globally recognized surveillance solutions, Axis Communications is fulfilling the need for a number of smart city projects in India. The company is positioning its latest surveillance offerings to drive secured and safe, city ecosystems.

Sudhindra Holla, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Axis Communications speaks with Zia Askari from about the company’s channel policies and how it is targeting India as a key geography in the coming months.

What are the key priorities for Axis today? How important is the Indian market??

We have had a good run in India since we came into the market. We have always prioritized innovation and building a strong partner ecosystem in India. We have focused on specific sectors such as retail, hospitality, government and education where our solutions have been adopted.

This year we aim to focus more on transport and Smart Cities where surveillance is a top priority.

The transport sector has seen many upheavals in recent times. Railways and metros have been far behind airport when it comes to safety and security. Recent incidents of theft, vandalism and accidents, and can even pose bigger threats to national security. We aim to raise awareness about this issue. It is very important for metro and railway stations to be secured as they are the vital forms of transport for most of the citizens. Today, Axis has the technology for facial recognition and incident detection inbuilt into the cameras which can support law enforcement agencies / police in gathering primary evidence.

Smart Cities is the other area of focus this year in India. A city has to be safe first, only then it can be smart. The safety of the citizens of these cities should be a primary focus for the government. Building a smart city requires extensive data analysis and this can be enabled, in part, by the surveillance systems installed in the cities. A CCTV camera is no longer just a recording device. It is also a source of data collection and through ICT, it can become the backbone of the city’s management. We aim to be part of the Government’s Smart City initiative and introduce the technology required to build a secure and technologically advanced nation.

What is the Axis channel strategy for 2017?

The Axis Channel Partner Program is designed to help system integrators, value-added resellers (VARs) and installers accelerate their solution sales. We have always had a close relationship with each of our partners. During my tenure at Axis, I have always advocated towards building an ecosystem that can foster the growth of our company as well as theirs.

We believe that it is crucial for the partners to understand our vision and technology well as they are the bridge that connects us to the end user.

We are streamlining our efforts to focus to on key markets where surveillance is a priority. Apart from city surveillance, commercial and manufacturing units we are venturing into physical security in the oil, gas and infrastructure and other emerging sectors. Our key strategy for the year includes:

• To focus & build trust with more channel partners and grow our existing channel partner network
• To penetrate the mid-size solution business with Axis end to end Solutions
• To introduce more innovative products & solutions based on market feedback and requirement

We believe that in today’s highly competitive market, our channel partner growth has helped us to make strong inroads in the country with a global count of more than 75,000 partners, in 179 countries.

How is the company enabling partners move up the value chain and gain on the long term?

We are very open towards working with more partners in the near future. We have the Axis Channel Partner program where we classify our partners as Authorized Partners, Solution Silver Partners and Solution Gold Partners. They come with various benefits and we also have the Axis Certification Program which was created to educate the partners about the industry as well as Axis solutions.

We guide and train our partners to understand our solutions so that they can, in turn, guide the customers on which products and solutions would be the best fit for their requirements. We also hold monthly sessions, “Axis Connect Day” with our current and potential partners in different cities to update them on our latest offerings

How is the company growing relevance of the Tier II and III cities and how is Axis increasing its focus in this space?

Security of citizens is important for irrespective of the Tier of the cities. We have made headway into these Tier II and III markets too in recent times. We successfully secured 4 cities – Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Kolhapur and Nanded. All these cities had different requirements and through the support and coordination of our SIs, we have successfully implemented our solutions. For example, in Bhavnagar, we installed IP66-rated cameras as they needed a traffic monitoring system. In Kolhapur, all the tourist attractions and city entry/exit points had to be monitored, for which we deployed 165 network cameras at 65 locations.

Our focus is not only to sell our product, but to increase awareness amongst the other State governments and citizens to implement high-quality cameras that are robust enough to last for many years and produce feed that is up to forensic standards. We are trying to extend our partner reach to Tier II and Tier III cities aggressively to enable them to support us on this mission.

What kind of product innovations can we expect from Axis in the coming months?

We have recently launched the first integrated, open, IP-based mobile access control solution. It is a product where we have been able to cut our teeth on access control. It makes accessing one’s premises completely mobile by saving credentials and access control on smartphones instead of relying on access cards and biometric verification.

We have also launched a range of explosion protected cameras for sensitive zones. The Axis XF40-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, XF60-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, and XP40-Q1942 Explosion-Protected PT Thermal Network Camera are specially designed to withstand explosions and can be used in hazardous areas.

We are also proud to announce that Axis has recently inaugurated the largest experience center in UK. The experience center will promote the potential of IoT technology amongst consumers. We have showcased surveillance technologies such as sound identification, intrusion detection and access control systems, as well as analytic innovations such as people counting and occupancy tracking, designed to assist with business intelligence and marketing effectiveness.

How are you as an organization targeting such smart city projects?

When a smart city project is conceived, we try and evaluate the needs of the customer to find out their specific focus – like traffic management; efficient water management; waste disposal, health and sanitation.

There may be more than one element involved apart from safety requirements. Post evaluation, we align our solutions to the requirements so that it benefits the end user. The system involves working with the ecosystem to provide the best possible solution. Post which we extend the bidding by system integrators (SI) partners.

To allow a level playing field and evaluate the quality, reliability and the TCO proposed by the SIs. Essentially for all safe and smart city projects we work in tandem with our consultants and SIs to implement the project.