Q&A: How does AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry provide exceptional security in one unified platform?
Introducing AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry—a new feature for AXIS Camera Station that streamlines security operations by unifying video surveillance and access control into a single solution that uses a common interface.
When combined with all core system components—such as video recorders, door controllers, readers, and cameras from Axis—facility and security managers gain a complete security solution that’s tested and validated to work seamlessly together.
Because these two functions are unified and not working in parallel, operators can centrally view and control network cameras and door controllers, verify alarms, and handle user permissions with intuitive drag and drop ease. Key features include:
- Cardholder and access management
- Live monitoring and video verification
- Access control log and search tools
- Flexible investigation tools
- Remote door control
This new system is ideal for larger locations, including but not limited to those in the education, retail, and commercial sectors, offering simplicity and ease of use.
To shed some light on the functionality and benefits of AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry, we recently spoke with Mitch Mershon and Bruce Stewart of Axis Communications.
Where did the idea come from to add the updated feature of AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry?
Mitch Mershon: There’s been a growing request in the market for ‘unification’ in the form of what we call an end-to-end solution and being able to purchase an entire security solution from one vendor. In this case, Axis Communications.
There was a lot of interest specifically in having the ability to integrate access control into our existing surveillance equipment. So, we figured this is the perfect time to do it. We have the products. We have the core solution with our video management software, Axis Camera Station. Bringing the two together was the next logical step.
“With a unified system, you’re getting a single pane of glass to install, configure, control, and view your entire solution,” explains Mershon.
You mentioned ‘unification.’ One of the major themes for AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry is the term ‘unified.’ What does it mean to have a unified system?
Mitch Mershon: ‘Unified’ means the system is truly configured, managed, and viewed in one interface. If two or more systems are integrated, that simply means APIs or SDKs are talking back and forth. But the systems are essentially being managed and operated by two separate software packages, which can be a hassle for users.
With a unified system, you’re getting a single pane of glass to install, configure, control, and view your entire solution.
Conversely, two different pieces of software might not be synced up to the same time server. So, just because it's 10:00 a.m. on my access control system, my VMS might say it's 10:02. Now, if I conduct a search for 10:00 a.m., I'm not getting the right video associated with that actual event.
Bruce Stewart: Another point to consider is working with a unified system really eliminates the finger pointing if a problem arises. If the platform is not unified and there's an issue with either system, you might be working with technical support from two different companies. Imagine how frustrating and inefficient it is for the integrator to make two technical service calls to determine what the on-site issues are.
For the end user, it's just added stress when systems don’t work properly. Is it an access control issue or is it a video issue? Unified means that all the equipment and all the information is from one manufacturer.
“This is easily a game changer for Axis… To now have an offering that can scale to more than 100 doors and 10,000 cardholders, it’s easy to see how much more of the market we can address,” says Mershon.
How is AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry a game-changer?
Bruce Stewart: We have an excellent product called Axis Entry Manager, which is perfect for smaller locations that have upwards of 10 doors and around 400 cardholders. But this isn’t really a fit for larger projects, and that pushed us to find a more appropriate solution to fit this niche.
AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry is a game-changer because we can now offer an entry management solution with our AXIS A1601 Network Door Controller. It's a system that we’ll be adding additional features to down the road as well.
Mitch Mershon: This is easily a game changer for Axis. Originally, we only had AXIS Entry Manager. To Bruce’s point, while it’s a great option for smaller locations, we received feedback that we needed to be able to scale beyond 10 doors and 400 cardholders. To now have an offering that can scale to more than 100 doors and 10,000 cardholders, it’s easy to see how much more of the market we can address.
However, it’s not just a change for Axis; the market itself is changing. As mentioned previously, unification and end-to-end solutions are becoming a hot topic. While there will always be a need for the very powerful and robust systems used in best-of-breed solutions, there’s a huge market that doesn’t necessarily need all those bells and whistles but may have more than 10 doors. Now there's a scalable solution for those end users with more doors, but less complex access control needs. And it’s backed by a company the market knows and trusts.
You mentioned AXIS Entry Manager. Could you talk more about how this differs from AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry?
Bruce Stewart: As mentioned, AXIS Entry Manager is an access control system that’s perfect for smaller locations. It works great for medical offices, small retailers, small commercial offices, and places of that nature. But unlike AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry, it’s not unified with our video software—it would need to be integrated into another video management software, using the API.
AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry includes more advanced features, such as cardholder video verification, graphical maps, zone management, and first-person-in identification. For emergency situations, AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry offers lockdown capabilities and a ‘duress PIN.’
Mitch Mershon: Scalability is by far the biggest key. With this new solution you can go from a few to 10,000 card holders and more than 100 doors. Scalability is also much easier because you're in a single interface.
Can you use AXIS Camera Station without access control?
Mitch Mershon: Yes, you can absolutely use AXIS Camera Station without access control. AXIS Camera Station allows us to grow with the end user depending on their immediate and long-term needs. If they don't have the budget for access control right now, we can install the video management software with the cameras, and they’ll have a highly functional security system. Then, later down the line, we can easily add in a door controller and other door hardware that go along with access control.
How do end users and integrators benefit?
Mitch Mershon: End users will benefit because they’ll have their access control and video management software operating within a single pane of glass, making it much easier to manage. With our technology, clients can remotely unlock a door and verify the person entering their facility, creating a more sophisticated surveillance system.
It’s also easier—for both the end user and integrator—to have installed equipment and software from just one manufacturer. You know it's going to be vetted, which means an update to AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry is an update to Axis Camera Station. End users and integrators don’t need to worry about how an update to one software could break the connection to the other software. Being able to have everything in one place also provides a level of system security that will continue to work as they move forward.
Bruce Stewart: It provides peace of mind for both the integrator and end user because Axis has a five-year warranty on all devices and software and world-class technical support as a single point of contact if they need help with something. And our warranty offering proves Axis stands behind and supports its product line. That's a pretty strong message that not many competitors or other manufacturers can match.
Some may be wary about adopting a new system. What would you want people to know?
Mitch Mershon: First and foremost, customers can feel comfortable knowing they’ll be working with a trusted name in Axis from design to deployment, ongoing updates, and more. The same passion and care we put into developing our cameras, we put into developing our video management system and access control. As we’ve discussed throughout this Q&A, AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry has a powerful interface, but it’s also simple to use.
Of course, developing quality products and solutions is only half of the equation. The other half is offering excellent support pre- and post-sale. Customers can feel comfortable knowing Axis will never leave them out on island to fend for themselves so to speak. They’re working with one manufacturer, which means one technical support, all of whom are employed by Axis.
Now, circling back to the product itself, I should also point out that we have one of the simplest licensing structures in the entire industry, and we don't have any license renewal or upgrade fees. So, we're not going to come knocking on your door in a year or three saying, ‘If you want your software to still work, you need to pay us again.’
End-to-end security is becoming very popular and sought after. It really began with bringing together our cameras with our VMS and our recording hardware. Launching AXIS Camera Station Secure Entry was the next step on our journey with innovative end-to-end solutions. And, we’re not done. We’re constantly listening to our customers and innovating, so you can continue to look forward to a lot of exciting enhancements in the future.