A golden business opportunity for IT installers
If you’re a fan of police television dramas, you can’t have missed the importance of CCTV (closed-circuit television) for forensic use. You’ll also be well aware of how many times shady characters have “misplaced” video cassettes or accidentally erased the VCR footage.
Even so, when introduced in the 1970s, the ability to save forensics on videotape was a vast improvement, which paved the way for a commercial breakthrough in surveillance applications. Customers of all sizes started to invest in cameras to improve safety and security at their sites, all the way from small retail shops to large industrial sites.
A market with exceptional growth
When digital IP (Internet protocol) video cameras broke through around 2005, they changed the game. You could now connect the cameras to a network which opened the doors to previously unheard-of functionalities and possibilities. And yes, it brought with it better storage solutions.
As the concern for public safety and security in society increases, the global video surveillance market keeps growing. According to one estimate, it will increase from roughly 37 billion US dollars in 2018 to around 68 billion US dollars in 2023. In 2018 infrastructure and commercial applications made up almost 75 percent of the market, and primarily the commercial vertical will drive the growth going forward.
As an IT installer, you might think, “Yeah, well, that’s interesting, but why does this concern me?” The truth is that if you ask this question, you really should continue reading. You might be missing out on significant business opportunities.
Business opportunities for IT consultants
Several companies have seen the possibilities and successfully added surveillance solutions to their IT portfolio. One is information technology consultant Nordlo’s office in Gävle, some 170 kilometers north of Stockholm, Sweden.
“About ten years ago, we got more and more inquiries from customers about installing simple camera surveillance systems. They, for example, wanted to cover entrances and parking areas,” says Rickard Forsberg, Sales Manager at Nordlo Gävle. “This was perfect as we generally had installed and hosted their business networks.”
However, the business expansion got off to a somewhat rocky start. Nordlo Gävle experienced some problems with equipment from third-party suppliers regarding, for example, firewalls and switches.
“Quite frankly, installing analog cameras wasn’t a great success for us,” Forsberg now says. “Then five or six years ago, when we were looking to change suppliers, we got in contact with Axis through a distributor. When we started using their IP cameras, the systems got stable, and that changed everything. Maintenance is also easy, and if a customer wants to expand the system, it’s easy to scale it up.”
Leading IP camera innovation
Axis Communications was founded in Lund, Sweden, back in 1984, and started out developing printer servers. The company introduced the first network camera in 1996 and has since been a driving force in IP camera innovation.
Targeting customers of all sizes and sectors, Axis now offers an all-embracing portfolio of surveillance equipment. It, for example, includes cameras that can see in the dark, intelligent video for motion detection, and network audio that makes surveillance systems significantly more effective. All-in-all, the solutions encompass pre-alarm, deterring intruders in real-time as well as after-the-fact forensics in high resolution and quality.
Easy to get started
Axis was also one of the founders of the industry standard ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum), which makes it possible to connect products from different manufacturers. The number of Axis products that are based on the ONVIF standard is growing continuously, which significantly simplifies for installers.
Installing network surveillance systems is incredibly easy if you’re already working within information technology
“Installing network surveillance systems is incredibly easy if you’re already working within information technology,” Forsberg says. “It’s about getting the various parts of the system talking with each other, such as getting the data from the camera to the storage without glitches.”
For small business owners getting their first IP-based surveillance system, the AXIS Companion video management software (VMS) is a perfect match. Not skimping on functionality or possibilities, AXIS Companion offers reliability in a user-friendly package tailor-made for smaller applications. If the customer’s need changes, you can seamlessly scale the system up to 16 cameras per location.
Getting the help that you need
As an installer, you’ll find everything that you need to get started with surveillance systems in AXIS Companion. The range includes affordable cameras, a network video recorder, and software, but also secure remote access from any location using a mobile device or PC.
There is a product selector tool on axiscompanion.com that will help you choose the right equipment for your customers. When it's time to set up the system, AXIS Companion automatically configures it.
Axis works hard to make installations run smoothly. For example, you will find online manuals and video tutorials on axiscompanion.com, and if you need help, you can always get support from the company’s experts.
Axis continuously introduces new functionalities and updates to improve surveillance systems. One example is audio, which is gaining momentum, but there are also things such as license plate recognition and people counters.
“A lot is happening, and we see an increasing interest from our customers,” says Forsberg. He stresses that as an IT consultant, it is a significant advantage to take overall responsibility for the customer’s digital solutions, covering, for example, surveillance, telephones and the software used for the operation.
“You get more control and can provide a better solution,” Forsberg says. “Working with surveillance, I must say that partnering with Axis helps. We’ve developed a strong relationship, and they have helped us out with some large projects. And their products work. So far, we haven't had any problems with them.”