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A Telegraph Business Club film on Axis Communications, the network video company
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00

Established 25 years ago in Sweden by two entrepreneurs, Axis Communications started out as a specialist provider of print servers for businesses. As the market for network-ready devices grew, Axis refocused its activities.

It chose to apply the skills and experience it had gained to a new market, launching the world’s first network video camera in 1996. The market for network video has grown rapidly, and Axis’ professional-level products are now primarily used in network applications for security systems and remote monitoring.

As the global leader in network video it has become successful by driving the convergence of IT and security, reflected in the ongoing shift from analogue to digital video surveillance. It has opened up the world of surveillance to a host of new, innovative applications.

The company today remains Swedish controlled but has expanded significantly. It operates worldwide and has offices in more than 20 countries and cooperates with partners in more than 70 countries. Axis Communications is the global market leader in network video and is driving the ongoing shift from analogue to digital video surveillance.

How has it managed to achieve this success and what challenges has it faced on the way? By highlighting the key areas where Axis Communications has excelled, this film illustrates the essential aspects of the business strategies that underpin the firm’s growth and success.

Those areas can be divided into three:

1. Heritage

2. Partnership

3. Personality

Heritage

There is a clear business advantage in being recognised as trustworthy in the industries where Axis Communications operates. Building and maintaining a positive reputation is vital when it comes to operating in both the IT and security industries. Given the sensitivity of the work and the complex nature of the technology involved, clients need a company and a product that they can rely on.

Axis’ market leadership is founded on more than two decades of success in a range of areas: developing core technologies and products for network connectivity, building strong sales channels, and forming key partnerships. With well over 1 million professional network video cameras installed, Axis Communications believes it has the experience to meet customers’ needs.

This success means that today Axis Communications is recognized as one of the most trustworthy brands within the surveillance industry. For example, research firms such as Frost & Sullivan and J.P. Freeman have recognized Axis Communications as the leader in the global network video market. This market is expected to reach a value of USD 1.2bn by 2010.

The firm has built its reputation by establishing lasting partnerships and by emphasizing the open, approachable nature of its staff and the ease of use of its products.

Partnership

All of Axis Communications’ branded products are sold through the channels of distributors and resellers. End users range from large multinational corporations to small-to-midsize enterprises. Given the fact that Axis does not sell direct to the customer, it is important for the company to build and maintain strong relationships with those who sell on its behalf.

Axis Communications seeks to put its partners at the heart of its business. For example, the goal of its ‘Channel Partner Program’ is to bring the customers to the right level of recognition and resources to ensure success in their business. Through the use of tools such as seminars, events and loyalty schemes, Axis Communications is able to maintain strong links and a constant dialogue with those who sell and buy its products.

A partner ‘Eco-System’ seeks to help clients make the most of an entire spectrum of related and compatible services, such as software and application development, installation and maintenance, storage and infrastructure devices. As evidence of the firm’s success in the field of partnership, Axis Communications has established global strategic partnerships with such prominent companies as IBM, Honeywell and Chubb.

Personality

As befits a Swedish-owned company, Axis Communications has a transparent, open corporate culture. This transparency has clear business benefits, and, as a company which stresses its team culture, it has been able to incorporate specialists from the IT and security industries and make the most of a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds. These people bring different skills and experience to Axis, and have allowed the firm to develop a more flexible, client-focused approach.

In turn, this has fed through to the firm’s success in developing easier-to-use products.

Of course, a film on Axis cannot ignore its innovative range of products. Featured in the film is some of the technology that has kept Axis one step ahead of its competition.

The success of Axis Communications hasn’t been without its challenges.

The vast majority of current CCTV is still based on analogue, especially in the UK: with digital technology, Axis is leading the rest of the industry into a new, cleverer era.

There is a perception that network video and CCTV are intrusive. It’s the arrival of Big Brother. Axis Communications is seeking to alter this perception by developing technology that allows cameras to film and record only what they need to film and then alert the user accordingly.

Similarly, small modern cameras can take very high resolution images and record them on increasingly smaller amounts of disk space. This opens up a world where small network video cameras can be placed more discretely and are able to blend into architecture more easily.

It is by overcoming challenges such as these that Axis Communications has become so successful. This film is a celebration of the company’s achievements and an insight into the business strategies lying behind its success.

 

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