Axis Communications recently hosted its fifth annual A&E Technology Summit which, from bow to stern, was a rigorous educational program that intertwined Axis’ development and technology partners. From a “This is Axis”-themed dinner on the first evening of the event, to a group gathering on the fourth evening to watch Super Bowl XLVI, the program was packed with sessions that covered product detail, technology trends, application challenges, business opportunities, and idea sharing.
“This is such a rich environment for consultants, because most of the respected names in the industry are here. They don’t take time to go to everything,” said Henry L. Homrighaus Jr. of Professional Security Consulting Inc., San Antonio, Texas. “You go to some of the other [events] and there are more integrators. This is really consultant-centric. We talk about nuances, and product, and installations, and environmental issues and things of that nature. These guys are well-connected with a lot of the federal agencies.”
The summit began in Miami with a keynote presentation by Louis Noriega, chief information officer at the Port of Miami. Noriega described how the port’s video surveillance system was built with funding for port security, but now the major use of video and the major expansion of video at the port are for operational reasons. “Just like automation replaced people, cameras are replacing people. Instead of having 150 security officers we have 80, and the more and more cameras we put out there, the more efficient we get,” he said.
Axis Communications’ Patrik Pettersson, product analyst, North America, and Andres Vigren, product manager, presented a roadmap of Axis products, engaging the consultants in brainstorming about where some of these new products could be specified.
Most of the summit presentations — even the keynotes, where speakers addressed as many questions as they could — were truly interactive and demonstrated Axis Communications’ proclivity for partnerships. For example, Pettersson and Vigren took the time to carefully answer the consultants’ questions about things such as the extent of influence that Axis has on sensor development by its suppliers, power considerations, and the possibility of manufacturing certain products in different configurations.
Some of the new products that caught the consultants’ attention were the P85 network pipe camera with a pinhole lens, designed for applications such as banking or retail where the view of the camera needs to be at average shoulder height for identification purposes; and the Q1604 designed to solve bright light challenges.
“The whole idea with the Q16 series is to get a good image in difficult light situations. So the Q1602 is for low light and the Q1604 is for bright light — intense back light conditions,” said Vigren, who explained that it could be used in areas that have especially large windows such as airports and retail entrances, to get a good image of a face against bright back light, or anywhere there are wide dynamic scenes of dark areas with very bright areas. In addition to the knowledgeable speakers, what made the summit interesting was that a lot of the speakers used video vignettes to visually demonstrate the products in action.
One of the key areas of concentration for Axis in 2012 is image quality, it was stressed during the summit. Other areas, Vigren said, are low-camera-count per-site applications, ease of installation, and ease of integration — with the right tools available for helping to integrate a total video surveillance solution.
One of the highlights in Miami was a presentation by Steve Surfaro, business development manager and security industry liaison at Axis Communications. In his “Top 10 Transformative Technologies in Physical and Cyber Security” session, Surfaro took the consultants on a mental journey through technologies such as edge sensors, video content analysis, video verification of alarm transmissions, virtualization and the cloud, low-light imaging, HDTV, and mobile solutions, among several others.
Surfaro talked about central station platforms that link event-based video clips to alarm events, “and where do you think those video clips are stored? In the cloud,” he said. “This is really going to be more and more of a great opportunity. It could be in a private cloud, not necessarily on-site, or a combination of the information that’s on-site or at a remote facility.
“You’re going to see the partners here that have video management systems. One thing they do best — they don’t care where the video is stored. Essentially their middleware, their solutions, are incredibly elegant and sophisticated search engines for video,” Surfaro described.
Before the group of 79 consultants (representing 58 different companies) and sponsoring partners of Axis embarked on the second part of the summit – aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas cruise ship to Nassau, The Bahamas — they were treated to another keynote presentation, by Dominick Flores, senior project manager at Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. Royal Caribbean is a major customer of Axis’ network cameras, and Flores discussed the partnership the companies have, not only in the usage of cameras but also in their development. He also gave the group some insight into the January 13 shipwreck of Carnival’s Costa Concordia near Italy. The photos Flores showed of the shipwreck were astonishing, and as the crowd got silent, he said, “This is probably not the right presentation to show,” a comment that was met by a lot of laughter. Still, it was an amazing pictorial presentation and by the time it was over, all were ready to go out to sea.
Aboard the Majesty of the Seas, the summit continued with four unique panel presentations featuring Axis Communication’s Application Development Partners and Technology Partners, companies that sponsored the summit. (See list of partners on previous page.) Panelists spoke about a variety of issues, including integration, unified solutions, mobility, and more.
“It’s rare when you install a video system that you don’t have to do a link to the access control system or vice versa. So providing the two platforms into a single integrated solution, we see that as something that’s going to be more and more [common], said Francis Lachance, product manager at Genetec. “Sometimes they are specified separately, so we have a specification for the access and a specification for the video; they are not necessarily related. But at the end, we need to integrate the two. So having that as a single specification or a single system makes it a lot easier for the end user.”
The panelists provided a lot of detail about not only their unique products and how they work with Axis network cameras in a full solution, but also how the security industry is changing.
“There are a lot of moving parts to a successful [security] project,” said Scott Dunn, director of business development for Axis Communications in North America. “You’ve got the software piece, the infrastructure piece (our development partners), the consultants, the integrators, you have us. If we educate one part of that eco-system, but not the other, things will lag behind. So our key is to educate the entire eco-system so all the projects will be successful.”
In addition to the panels there were workshops — with topics on the history of Axis, perimeter design considerations, lens technology, designing for tough lighting, and an interactive partner exhibit — that rounded out the summit.
“In security, design is very important and obviously the consultants drive a lot of the business in the industry. They’re responsible for very sophisticated security designs,” said Jack Meltzer, A&E and Consultant Program manager at Axis. “The entire industry has moved forward towards IP, so it’s extremely important that we offer education to all segments.
“So what the integrators might be able to take away from this is that they’re going to see specifications coming out that will have more detailed information with regards to how to implement the systems that they’re going to be installing and bidding on,” he said.
Partner Participants at the Axis A&E Technology Summit 2012
ADP – Axis Application Development Partner Program
Axis’ ADP program assists software developers to fully integrate Axis network video products in end user solutions, by providing application components such as VAPIX®, technical documentation, SDKs, and dedicated development support. The AXIS Camera Application Platform enables development of Axis compatible camera applications (typically video analytics or intelligent video applications) that can be downloaded and installed on Axis network video products. The program ensures product compatibility and helps software developers provide reliable and optimized network video management solutions for most industry segments. — Source: http://www.axis.com/partner/adp_program/
Salient Systems Corp.
TPP – Axis Technology Partner Program
The Technology Partner Program is aimed at companies that deliver the infrastructure components required in an IP-Surveillance system. Together, Technology partners and Axis can identify and market values such as improved functionality and performance, sharing information and education. Providing the missing piece between CPP and ADP, the Technology Partner Program enables Axis and partners to offer complete solutions and have a good understanding of the different parts in an IP surveillance system. — Source: http://www.axis.com/partner/tpp/
Allied Telesis Inc.
iomega, an EMC company