A success story born from a creative corporate culture

Article
March 14, 2019
An open and dynamic work environment where employees are given free rein to create new ground-breaking products, services and solutions resulted in a new approach to camera R&D.

Innovation in all its forms is central to Axis's activities, as well as vital to its continued growth and profitable development. The culture of innovation is closely linked to Axis’ philosophy of listening to its employees, having faith in their activities and giving them great freedom and independence. A successful example of the culmination of this engaging corporate culture is the development of the network cameras in the AXIS P32 Series.

A new camera in development: clear targets and a free way of working

The brief was simple: design an advanced high-quality camera but still make it affordable. Axis found that it could not meet the demanding technical requirements by designing a camera in the traditional way. The development team was therefore given free rein to produce different prototypes within certain given frameworks: the group had fixed requirements on quality and functionality, as well as a time limit for when the prototypes should be ready.

Cooperation and collaboration for the best ideas

Initially, a prototype was used for a completely different type of camera model, and then further developed, which was a new approach.

"We wanted to learn and benefit from products that had a different design logic. Amongst other things, we thought about what makes the camera impact-resistant and what makes it water-resistant. Then we wondered if it would be possible to separate these two things", says Michael Chen, Global Product Manager at Axis Communications.

Michael Chen was involved in developing the AXIS P32 Series, then as the supervising mechanical engineer for the team. In the water and climate laboratories, amongst other things, thorough testing was carried out in which the cameras were exposed to snow, rain and wind.

"We were allowed plenty of time to test, test and test again the development of our products to ensure we had the best possible solution", säger Michael Chen.

Cooperation took place with colleagues within their own department, but also with representatives from the Quality, Production, Test and Design functions.

We saw a lot of cooperation and collaboration, both within the group and with other departments, in order to come up with the best and most innovative ideas, says Michael Chen.

The result was a camera that contained less metal and was lighter when compared to equivalent cameras. AXIS P32 features advanced functions such as Axis Optimized IR; Axis Lightfinder technology, where the network cameras are extremely light sensitive and can "see" and capture colour images even in the dark; and Axis Zipstream technology, which compresses video data, reducing bandwidth and storage requirements. In addition, Wide Dynamic Range has been made possible, i.e. the camera can reproduce sharp images even though there are large variations in the light conditions in the same single image.

An engaging corporate culture with strong values  

Axis's corporate culture, supported by its strong values, is constantly present. This corporate culture is characterised by an entrepreneurial spirit, transparency and diligence, and is vital for maintaining innovation and dynamism.

All employees are expected to be involved, engaged and take responsibility for what they do. The employees are allowed a great deal of freedom under responsibility, which helps to promote innovation and creativity.

"We don't limit anybody, if you want to show ambition then you get the opportunity", says Michael Chen.

The common core values form the basis of the corporate culture. Amongst other things, they mean being open to colleagues' ideas and customer needs, working together to achieve Axis's objectives, and being at the forefront and creating the best products and solutions.

At Axis, there is freedom to talk to whomever you want to, whenever you want, everyone's door is always open", says Michael Chen. "Everyone always wants to help out. It's what makes Axis such an enjoyable and healthy workplace where people want to stay for a long time.

Openness and faith in the employees

Amongst Axis's other major advantages, Michael Chen also highlights, is the independence and how people are allowed to be curious and think freely without limitation:

"A developer will not be hampered by limitations but will instead have the opportunity to see the whole picture, or the big picture, if you prefer. Engineers have very free rein when it comes to their work in order to understand the challenges faced by customers, to understand the environments in which the camera will be used, and to develop solutions that are relevant."

A good work environment where every individual count

The culture of innovation contributes to increased profitability for Axis, with satisfied employees who stay for a long time. Staff turnover is low at 6.5 per cent, while the company is growing rapidly.

There is a long-term approach in this way of working. It's fun, the experience helps people to grow, and grow together with their colleagues. And the result will be successful products and solutions for a smarter and safer world, says Michael Chen.