SmartStateIndia
Interview

“We will continue to see a rise in the manufacturing, government, smart city and critical infrastructure segments”

Axis enables a smarter and safer world by creating network solutions that provide insights for improving security and new ways of doing business. As the industry leader in network video, Axis offers products and services for video surveillance and analytics, access control, and audio systems. In an interaction with Mr. Manoj Jha, Editor, SmartStateIndia,  Mr. Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications India & SAARC talks about the India surveillance market and key sectors/regions where implementations are going up.

How is CCTVs are helping government authorities in monitoring and managing cities in the times of new normal?

The contribution of CCTV, as generally perceived by people as the crime prevention tool, has drastically evolved over the years. From being a mere crime prevention tool, it has proven to be a critical technology partner aiding government authority in performing difficult task of managing the city and traffic while adhering to the social distancing norms. We have witnessed an increase in investment on CCTVs by government authorities over the recent months with sophisticated technological solutions to help safeguard citizens.Today, advanced technological solutions infused with CCTVS like cloud-based storage, thermal cameras, wireless technology helps in not just preventing crime but also acts as an effective weapon to fight the pandemic and ensure that all citizens are abiding the government directed norms of crowd gathering and mask compliance among others. We are closely collaborating with various city authorities like Kolkata Police, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Kolhapur, Nanded to name a few to support them with top notch solutions to keep law and order under check in the current scenario. We offer end-to-end solutions catered to solving the current concerns with regards to an expandable storage system, protecting the systems from any potential cybersecurity threats and aiding in a stricter traffic management system.

Our recent implementation with Kolkata Police captures our close association with the latter to deploy 800+ fixed and PTZ cameras across the city. These installations support them in tracking vehicles, search for loopholes in the traffic management system round the clock besides managing crowd and identifying violators with regards to the ongoing pandemic guidelines and miscreants in public rallies and demonstrations. Moreover, our solution- Axis Zip Stream Technology has helped the, to optimize and expand the bandwidth and storage requirements of the mass video being produced at all times thus aiding them in better tracking, monitoring and analyzing the video feed to detect violations, road congestion, and criminal activities.

How is CCTV helping different industry leaders in business resilience – education, retail, manufacturing, critical infrastructure, IT, healthcare etc.?

The courtesy of COVID-19 has put forward a major task to all business leaders – business resilience and being the caretaker of the employees. The ever-changing market dynamics have kept them on their feet to cater to the constantly changing situation.

As India is eventually resuming economic activities and employees are starting to get back to work, the biggest concern for all the companies to provide optimum employee safety. Companies across education, retail, manufacturing, critical infrastructure, IT, and healthcare sectors are increasingly leveraging technology to ensure social distancing in the offices. Covid-19 has made mask compliance, crowding checks and temperature screening mandatory for all employees, and companies are installing high-tech solutions to avoid long queues outside their campuses.

We at Axis Communications, together with our system integrators, have come up with solutions to support our customers and cater to the ultimate need of the hour:


• People Counting: Our People Counting solution has been specifically curated for measuring and taking faster action to avoid congestion or a queue and maintain social distancing norms which is so crucial for the healthcare, education, and retail sectors. It gives analytics and valuable insights such as – how many employees are in an area like playground, cafeterias, lift lobbies, shop, or sites at the same time, how they move, where they congregate, and periods of peak occupancy. These insights further enable the management to plan accordingly and take immediate action to make social distancing normal while improving
service, operational efficiency and profitability.


• AXIS Occupancy Estimator: AXIS Occupancy Estimator offers a cost-efficient way to accurately estimate occupancy levels on office and sites as well as schools, malls, and hospitals to understand visitor patterns better and how the space is used. It provides real-time data on how many people are present in the premises or in a certain area at a certain time. This valuable data helps in increasing operational efficiency to maintain the premises and avoid crowding, optimize workforce planning and opening hours and take necessary measures to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

• Alongside, we have collaborated with Application Development Partners (ADP) to offer solutions such as Social Distancing solutions, Touch Free solutions, Body Temperature Monitoring solutions, Mask Detection solutions and Touch Free Attendance systems with facial recognition capabilities to offer top-notch solutions to create a secure working environment for all employees, customers, and students.


• Audio solutions and Public Announcement solutions are gaining prominence too, in the light of the pandemic, to manage and monitor employees, customers and students so that they follow and adhere to the social distancing norms better.

How it is extending support to the business leaders while they have become the caretaker of the workers and the workplace?


The global pandemic has turned the way businesses are conducted and really daunting and difficult to stay optimistic. One major challenge thrown towards all business leaders in this scenario is the herculean task of business resilience and being the caretaker of the employees. The ever-changing market dynamics have kept them on their feet to cater to the constantly changing situation. As India is eventually resuming economic activities and employees are starting to get back to work, the biggest concern for all the companies to provide optimum employee safety. Companies are increasingly leveraging technology to ensure social distancing in the offices. Covid-19 has made mask compliance, crowding checks and temperature screening mandatory for all employees, and companies are installing high-tech solutions to avoid long queues outside their campuses.
We at Axis Communications, together with our system integrators, we have solutions that can be tailored to suit the requirements of your businesses – be it small, medium or large. We can increase efficiency, reduce total cost of ownership, remove system vulnerabilities and increase situational awareness in geographically dispersed sites.

With the increasing sentiments on Chinese products how can CCTV with no back door policy can help regulate India’s data privacy?

With the technological advancements and the rising potential threats, Cybersecurity has become extremely crucial. We, at Axis Communications, strongly believe in our No Back-Door Policies. As a Swedish- engineered product and solutions company, we have always kept a No Backdoor Policy in all their products. In the current market situation, we believe that CCTV with no back-door policy has a strong competitive advantage and as one of the only few manufacturers we have our own system-on- chip – ARTPEC Chip, that directly complies with the India’s data privacy policy. This indicates that we have complete control over each and every transistor in our products brining in trust and a higher level of cybersecurity for our clients. Our no backdoor policy makes it the only network surveillance company in the world that is un-hackable. Hence, using this customer’s sensitive data recorded by the camera cannot be utilized by any 3rd party for exploitation. Additionally, it aids in implementing these cameras for national security as Axis solutions guarantees that other countries and foreign law enforcement (FBI, CIA, KIG) cannot surveil Indian citizens by hacking into the systems.

How is CCTV helping in market boom despite the pandemic woes?

CCTV, through time, has risen to be one of the most trusted technology across all works of life providing safety and security across the globe. The surveillance sector has formed a strong backbone offering solutions to aid all organizations and industries during this ongoing crisis. We had witnessed a mild stagnation during the first few months of 2020, due to lockdown, in sectors such as retail, aviation, and hospitality. However, we have started to witness a high demand as India is opening up again in terms of economic activities, especially for technologies such as People Counting, Occupancy Estimator, Social Distancing solutions, Touch Free solutions, Body Temperature monitoring solutions, Mask Detection solutions, thermal cameras, facial recognition in-built solutions etc., to deliver a safe experience to the employees and customers.

We also continue to see a rise in the following sectors – manufacturing, critical infrastructure segments, data centers, healthcare and IT/ITes. The requirement for cameras for round-the-clock monitoring of the employee body temperature and premises to avoid crowd has taken the center stage. We have also seen an increase in government and healthcare projects where the demand for advanced technological solutions in CCTV has led to an exponential growth.

Recently, we announced our collaboration with Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, a medical college under KiiT university, which is a super specialty hospital with 2000 beds. They partnered with us for solutions to help them better monitor and secure their premises as well as further improve their healthcare management. Axis Zipstream technology has been deployed here to optimize bandwidth and installed on an open platform using third party VMS. It additionally utilizes our Lightfinder technology that delivers high-resolution, full colour video with a minimum of motion blur even in near darkness. Axis Lightfinder makes dark areas in a scene visible and catches minute details in very low light. The result is excellent image quality without the necessity of an external light source proving to be the largest surveillance system deployment in any healthcare facility in India.We have also partnered with Emami Group in Kolkata and installed about 200 + Fixed and Dome cameras to upgrade safety of the staff and facility and premises of the manufacturing unit to secure their products, employees and monitor processes.

We are currently witnessing the demand to slowly moving back to the pre-Covid life with regards to business continuity.

In fact, most of our customers in commercial settings, smart city, city surveillance, critical infrastructure retail, etc., are investing on surveillance solutions for securing workforce and premise to rightly comply with the norms as people are returning to work. Cyber security is another major aspect where we are seeing an increasing demand of our solutions as there had been a remarkable increase in cybersecurity threats due to the ongoing pandemic where organizations are opting for more reliable and robust surveillance solutions ensuring to secure the data as well. With increase in data centres, more so the private data centres, organizations are looking at more robust and unified solutions that secure both premises and people as well as the data.

India surveillance market and key sectors/regions where implementations are going up- Roadmap to the in the COVID world

We choose to remain optimistic in the coming months with the lockdown being lifted resumption of economic activities. We have aligned our growth to the industry’s overall growth as COVID has created a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges for us.
Internally, At Axis Communications, one of the first step towards supporting our customers is by briefing our employees to be responsive during this crisis. We are always available on calls, emails and other medium of communication. As part of our global organizational guidelines, being responsive to our customers, partners and distributors and the ecosystem is a prerogative. Along with that we are maintaining continuity in terms of the technical support and ensuring that tech support is available around the clock with our online chatbot so that if there is a challenge with a camera, then the customers should not be impacted. Our tech support team is working from home and trying to resolve the problems to the best of their capacity. With the reopening of courier services, the problem that we initially witnessed with solving hardware issues had been resolved at a domestic level.

We have a team prepared to go to the field and work for any physical repairs, if needed. We have cautiously designed all the precautionary measures to deliver the best even during the lockdown. Even with the international cargo shipment running full swing, along with the manufacturers and Axis configuration and logistics centres, 80-90% of our supply chain has started back to normal. We also have maintained consistent
correspondence with our distributors and top focused partners while keeping them updated with information to ensure a smooth business continuity.

We also make sure that our partners and distributors have end-to-end information of the total functioning to maintain transparency, especially in cases where the lead time is more than usual. Starting from the phase 1 of lockdown our priority has been to be transparent in our communication with employees, channel partners, distributors, SI partners and even customers, as part of our business strategy. Coming to our operations and market conditions, we will continue to offer solutions to organizations for employee safety and seamless business continuity. We will continue to see a rise in the manufacturing, government, smart city and critical infrastructure segments, where we might see a growth, for securing the office premises. We might see a dip with industries including tourism, aviation and hospitality as they were the most affected sectors of COVID and are still struggling to revive.

However, with the resumption of their operations and services, we might see a demand for installations.
In terms of government initiated projects, we again expect a rise in businesses especially for projects related to social distancing monitoring and surveillance of office buildings whereas some government projects have been put on hold at the moment due to pending investments. Interestingly, taking into account the market segmentation, we might experience both a dip and a growth mainly because some organizations might opt for cost cutting solutions whereas some companies might prioritize quality. We hold a long heritage of delivering the highest standard products and solutions and hence the cost can be a parameter in the decision making for organizations. However, our Total Cost of Ownership are beneficial for reducing the operating and maintenance costs in the long term. Thus, organizations will be required to re-think in a digital-first approach by evolving and aligning to the industry’s overall goals.

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