How has been 2019 for Axis Communications in terms of business?
We cater to the entire gamut of security and surveillance, and we sell our products and solutions through our ecosystem of channel partners, across segments such as enterprise, commercial, government, education sector, etc. Overall, from Axis Communications’ business perspective, 2019 has been a good year. This is mainly a result of the market economics and market drivers. Despite some fluctuations in the market, the overall market sentiment remained positive. With enterprise and government investments, we have seen positive trends in the market, driving overall growth for Axis Communications.
What have been the key customer trends in the market, that have acted as growth drivers?
Among some of the trends that we have witnessed, migration from analog to network camera is a significant one, because of the benefits associated with network cameras – more control, higher resolution, ease of management, open systems, etc. Another trend is around addition of other things along with videos, such as integration of access control, audio, radar systems; and having a common system. This has brought a transition to integrated systems, from siloed systems. These elements, combined, form a response to a particular threat or incident.
Cyber security is becoming more and more important for customers. For instance, if a camera is vulnerable, attackers can get into the system and cause theft of sensitive data. Cyber security is a key concern for customers; they don’t want to compromise, because they are answerable to investors. From a camera technology perspective, there’s a need for cameras to provide excellent footages in low light conditions.
With widespread adoption of technologies in the education sector, and the focus on security, what’s the significance of the education segment for Axis Communications?
Overall, education is an important segment for us. One of the prime reasons include the focus on safety. Educational institutes want to secure their premises and have a better response system in place in order to prevent threats. Bigger campuses also look at perimeter security to protect themselves from intruders. We see varying degrees of needs and requirements, depending on the campus size, lighting condition, etc.
Going further, we also see a trend wherein, educational institutes want to use our audio systems on their networks. For background music and public announcement systems, customers want to use audio as an add-on to videos. Network audio system is becoming an emerging trend among educational institutes. From an Axis positioning perspective, we have total end-to-end solutions – including software, audio, video, radar and access control. This addresses the needs of the education segment. We see a trend wherein customers in this segment want to scale their existing security and audio systems. The blend and customer needs and our offerings position us well in the market. We see education as a growing market segment, from our solutions standpoint.
How is the adoption of technology in the Indian education sector, and which are the areas that educational institutes need to focus on?
The education sector has some form of existing technology in place, ranging across varied degrees. Security is definitely on the agenda for customers in this segment. Depending on the types of institutes, educational institutes already have some form of security infrastructure in place. As they realise that analog systems may not be able to address the increasing demands, they look at migration to new-age systems.
Having business presence across various countries, do you see any similarities or differences between the India and overseas market?
The needs among customers are the same across all markets; therefore, our solution offerins are also the same. Our approach to customer remains consistent in different markets. From a customer trends and demand standpoint as well, there are no differences among these markets.
From a channel ecosystem standpoint, how strongly are your partners equipped to drive busines from the education segment?
We are closely associated with our channel partners. We might influence the customer in terms of right technology adoption, but we don’t sell directly to our end customers. Beyond products and solutions, customers also have ancillary requirements such as integration, support, training, onsite engineering, etc.
To order to our channel partners to meet these, we provide them with in-depth training in the form of Academy Training – a certification training by Axis. We also conduct in-depth bootcamp training, which covers solution configuration, integration of different systems, and making the software work on it. Further-more, we also organise a series of webinars and face-to-face training sessions, which give an overview about our solutions and their benefits for channel partners and customers. We truly enable our channel partners, and as we move up the partner chain, our gold partners are the most enabled ones, because they possess detailed knowledge across our portfolio of offerings. They also have the capabilities to propose a solution to customers and integrate it. Whenever a demand arises from a customer, we cater to it through our partners.
What is Axis Communications’ roadmap and focus areas for 2020?
We are looking at few things; one of them includes making a deep imprint in our focus segments – commercial, city surveillance, smart city projects. We want to penetrate deeper into these segments in terms of engagements, customer enablement. With our end-to-end portfolio of offerings, we would like to further strengthen our position in the education segment. We provide simple solutions that integrate complex technologies. We will also enhance the knowledge of our channel partners, and develop more gold partners, so that can address different market segments. We are also looking at channel expansion into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. For instance, we have expanded our reach in the East region and we further plan to beef up out footprint there.