A Q&A with Simon Legrand, Sunstone Systems – an Axis Partner
Can you provide some background information on Sunstone Systems?
- Sunstone Systems was established in 2011, operating primarily as an integrator and working closely with several Blue-Chip organisations. But fast forward to today and we have evolved into an OEM manufacturer working specifically in the clean energy space. We specialise in providing surveillance solutions that utilise renewable energy in remote, off-grid locations and have implemented successful projects in the oil & gas, critical national infrastructure, as well as highways and defence sectors.
How did Sunstone Systems begin working with Axis and what does the partnership mean?
- Axis was one of the first technology providers that we worked with. Axis is constantly evolving and innovating, continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. As a result, technologies such as radar and thermal imaging that would have been well outside of our price range, are now affordable and available to use across a multitude of security projects. The partnership with Axis is integral to how we operate our business. There are other companies that innovate, but they don’t have the same attention to detail and quality that Axis has. Axis takes time to understand a problem and works closely with us to find a solution.
You are currently involved in a significant project with an oil company in Kazakhstan. What have been the main challenges that Sunstone Systems has faced in this environment?
- The main oil field is in a very remote location. The extremes of temperature were initially a concern, as any technology deployed needed to be able to withstand highs of 50 degrees Celsius to lows of minus 40 degrees. In addition, operating in a highly corrosive environment that’s rich in hydrogen sulphide will result in anything that isn’t properly protected disintegrating at an alarming rate. Our Solar CCTV System (SICS) is made from 316 stainless steel which is impervious to such corrosion, and the Axis cameras have an anti-corrosion coating. Power was a further consideration, but with the lower power demand from Axis cameras and the increased efficiency of our solar system, this is an incredible combination to put our integrated technologies into remote locations and be confident that they will operate effectively all year round.
You have been implementing sustainable security systems for this project that utilise renewable energy. Can you describe how the technology has been beneficial?
- We built 58 solar powered systems to power the Axis cameras. In such a remote location it was simply not feasible to consider running cables from the nearest towns or cities for power or for online connectivity. With the guarantee of sunlight, solar energy is the most effective and cost efficient choice. Nowadays, the efficiency of renewable options is constantly improving, while the power demand of cameras is reducing, so clean energy is proving to be a perfect fit for powering today’s surveillance technologies. We’re seeing the move to clean energy replicated across the market. There is pressure from end users too as they work to reduce their carbon footprint, lowering emissions to meet global targets. The fact that they’re doing their bit for the environment, even if this hasn’t previously been their main focus, is beneficial to us all.
You’ve incorporated several Axis solutions for this project - can you explain which technologies were chosen, and why?
- We have developed two systems: a large solar IP video surveillance solution, called the Solar CCTV System and a smaller Autonomous Remote Communication System (ARCS). The Solar CCTV System, designed for remote locations, utilises Axis’ Q60 range of PTZ cameras. For the smaller ARC system, we use fixed Axis Bullet cameras from the M20 range to the Q17 range. Axis cameras all offer easy plug and play capabilities, great light quality, and we know how to integrate them onto our networks. The rugged PTZ cameras have the added benefit of being able to provide exceptional clarity of image over long ranges; critically important when securing a vast surface area, such as an oil field.
Axis prides itself on continuously striving for new ways to innovate for a smarter safer world. Are there learnings from your use of Axis technologies that can be applied to future projects?
- The fact we have developed and patented a system that works in one of the most hostile environments on the planet has given us confidence that we can do this anywhere, and it’s testament to the quality of Axis technologies. Axis has supported us and taken the time to understand the complexities of delivering such a solution, and we will continue to work closely alongside the team at Axis in the future. We’re constantly impressed by the capabilities of all the Axis solutions. As a result of our work in Kazakhstan we have been commissioned for a highways related project in the UK, where power considerations and environmental factors are thankfully less of a concern.