On Feb. 2, 2011, the 2011 Groundhog Day snowstorm, as some are calling it, dumped an excess of five inches of snow in 21 states and resulted in at least 13,000 cancelled flights. The storm happened just a day before the Axis A&E Technology Summit 2011 was scheduled to begin February 3 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., followed by a three-day cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas vessel. For everyone who made it down to Florida for the event from those 21 states, saying the contrast and relief from the cold and snow was “nice” is an understatement. And the timing, while causing some travel headaches, couldn’t have been any more perfect to maximize appreciation of the event’s sunny location.

The Axis (Architect and Engineer) A&E program is open to qualified independent network architects, engineers, consultants and end users who design and specify IP-based security systems. There is no obligation and participation is free of charge. Axis’ A&E program provides a set of support tools for network architects, engineers and consultants who design and specify IP-based security systems. It is a gateway to active support from Axis, and gives access tools such as A&E Specifications, Visio and CAD drawings, and continuously updated online information, as well as access to advanced education and other opportunities.

For the last four years, Axis has hosted the members of its A&E program at an annual technology summit.

The event this year contained a nice mix of work and play. It was clear in the morning and early afternoon sessions that everyone was there to get some quality work done — andthen head out to play until networking in the evenings at cocktail and dinner events. I was impressed with the interactive, invested mentality of the nearly 100 architects and engineers (A&E’s) attending the event. The representatives of the 14 technology partners attending the event also capitalized on the event — participating in two technology panels and holding an Axis partner exhibition and solution display to complement all the information being shared at the summit’s workshops (some of which were eligible for ASIS credits) and general sessions. The Axis ecosystem partner participants interacting with the A&Es throughout the event included Allied Telesis, CommScope, Firetide, Iomega Corporation, Veracity, Video Insight, Salient Systems, OnSSI, NICE, Aimetis Corp., Exacq, Genetec, and Milestone.

A few moments during the event that made me think:

1) The conference included keynote Domenic Flores, senior project manager for Royal Caribbean Cruise LTD, Miami. Flores has participated in 18 newbuild, seven retrofit, and 45 drydocks, and managed a fleetwide CCTV upgrade project of 14,000 cameras across 32 ships. “We only install IP,” Flores said while discussing the cruise lines’ security philosophy. Any analog cameras on the ships (there are still about 6 to 7,000) are from original builds. The CCTV systems on the ships are not for active surveillance, rather they are “post event driven, designed to protect guests and employees from false accusations of wrong doing,” Flores describes.

2) At one of the evening sessions, an attendee at my table remarked that he thought our waitress was “new” as she was all too happy and smiling far too much to be jaded yet by her job. We asked her when she came back to the table how long she’d been working for the cruise lines and she happily told us “This is my first cruise!” A nod to my fellow attendee for his heightened powers of perception. It did get me thinking. I wonder how many people still are smiling about their job? I hope you are one of them.

3) Watching the Super Bowl on the ship on an high definition (HD) flat screen seemed only fitting. Axis Communications is highly invested in bringing HD from the consumer world into security — and according, to IMS Research’s latest report, “The World Market for CCTV and Video Surveillance Equipment — 2010 Edition”, by 2014 more than 50 percent of all network cameras shipped will be HD or megapixel resolution. That makes the growth of HD video surveillance equipment is one of the key trends shaping the video surveillance market. At the summit, the A&Es tapped HD as generally having more application possibilities than megapixel.

 4) I walked away with an enhanced expectation that standards and certifications are the mandatory wave of the future. They both came up in multiple sessions and in many conversations.  More A&E’s are stressing that they won’t just specify the product anymore — they also will specify the certifications and professional designations an integrator needs to have to be eligible for the job. Also, they’re asking that companies no longer be certified, but theindividuals actually performing the jobs be certified instead. What are you doing to increase your employees’ certifications/make sure your company qualifies for a bid?

Overall, the Axis A&E Technology Summit 2011 was a great event with a lot of indicators for upcoming trends and changes in the video surveillance industry. I’m looking forward to formally writing about it all in an upcoming issue of SDM Magazine and Security Magazine.