How will the back to work surveillance solutions that Axis launched recently help the industry leaders with business resilience?
The initial stage of the pandemic saw most organizations grappling with the challenges of business continuity and workforce management. Slowly, things evolved as the economic activities began to resume. Companies are now looking for return-to-work solutions.
We saw an increase in demand in human temperature detection solutions. To cater to the need of the hour we have thermal cameras and are also partnering with different system integrators and third-party vendors for the same to jointly provide an end to end solution for our customers. We also see a demand in solutions like Touchfree Attendance systems for minimum to zero physical contact. Some other solutions that are gaining traction are Mask Detection Solutions, People Counting, and Occupancy Estimation to name a few. Thus, our cameras are well-positioned to cater to these needs and we helped the customers to address these concerns with top-notch technological support by utilizing either our third party vendors to integrate them or with our own end to end solutions. We also see a huge demand in audio and public announcement solutions. Keeping up to the changing customer requirements we have recently launched AXIS S3008 Recorder that comes along with the AXIS Camera Station. Ideal for those who demand a holistic solution, we go with a turnkey approach with our AXIS S3008 Recorder. It offers both recording and monitoring solutions, with little or no third-party apps involved. These are some of the return-to-office solutions’ needs that we addressed from camera point of view. Moreover, by adding audio to video announcements can be made. For instance, the maximum capacity of people in a hall is not supposed to increase beyond 50. The moment, there is a 5 or 10% increase, announcements can be automated, and people can be cautioned.
Technologies like AI/ML, IoT, Facial Recognition are changing the shape of the surveillance industry with its analytical capability in this fight against COVID. Please comment on this.
Technologies like facial recognition have a direct implication on the regulations laid out by GDPR relating to privacy concerns as seen strongly in Europe. However, facial recognition can be utilized positively by organizations in terms of attendance, conduct of people, and ensuring that social distancing norms are being followed. For instance, a normal airport scenario would involve physical checks and human intervention at every step. Now, if there is a barcode and a person walks in, a snapshot can be taken, and then the barcode is verified at the first gate and the person can go all the way to the boarding without being exposed to any human intervention or physical checks. This quickens the process while maintaining guidelines. Thus, automation and analytics can bring in efficiency and reduce human error.
We are also seeing the trends in the inclusion of technologies like AI, ML and analytics. For example, if the customers want to detect and monitor different kinds of motions they can opt for our Axis Camera Station offering end-to-end solutions, including notification on mobile. It also deters false alarm of cars, insects and pesticides, unlike the low budget ones. Here is where technologies like AI/ML plays a role as customer can feed data according to their requirements. These technologies can be used in the process industry to check whether processes are being followed and to check a deviations, the camera can alert the concerned person.
The latest suite of cameras launched by Axis Communications comes with our in-built ARTPEC 7 chipset that detect and deter video motion in an intelligent way, keeping in mind the cyber security norms.
As a company, we decided to move from a standard view monitor record to offer a robust and integrated technology solution that would behave like a human and analyze situation to take appropriate action. Thus, these technologies are definitely the future in the surveillance industry.
Can you please tell me the role of Thermal Cameras. How is it the hero in this back-to-office phenomenon?
Thermal Camera is gaining momentum in this pandemic as a go-to solution for return-to-work measures. The concept of how a thermal camera works is very different from an optical camera. A thermal camera can detect temperature in absolute darkness based on body or surface temperature. It gives imagery based on the surface temperature be it an animal, car or a machine. The application of a thermal camera comes in when there is absolutely no light. It works in situations of fog and rain as well. In case of an optical camera, one needs to switch on the IR to see the imagery. Thus, applications like these initially started driving the thermal cameras. Secondly, for perimeter security, most manufacturing and construction plants are situated in the outskirts of the cities and don’t have control over the light outside the plant or refinery. Here is where the thermal application comes as a saviour and eliminates false alarms. With regards to temperature detection, it has the ability to detect the body temperature, but it may not be very accurate to the last degree. However, when accurate software is installed, it can detect the temperature. That is what is driving the application correctly in terms of human temperature detection which is, currently, one of the most popular return to office solution. Therefore, we work with third party vendors for the right solutions and software and come up with an end to end solution for our customers.
Thermal cameras can also be used widely in data centres and the healthcare sector. A lot of new applications are being unearthed when it comes to thermal cameras which are leading in its increasing sales. In terms of critical infrastructure where the machineries are operating at a high temperature, one can find out if the temperature is going beyond a certain limit with the use of a thermal camera and then appropriate action can be taken.
What kind of temperature will the thermal camera check?
As I mentioned, with regards to temperature detection, it has the ability to detect the temperature of a surface, however, may not be very accurate to the last degree of the measurement. Though when accurate software is installed, it can detect the temperature. On average, it usually varies between 1 to 1.5 degrees from the actual temperature.
Do you think the surveillance industry has come to the forefront because of COVID-19? If yes, then how?
Security, in any industry, is always premium, with or without COVID. Earlier, it was used merely for solving crime and intrusion. However, customers have started to adopt high-end surveillance solutions for various reasons. It is no longer restricted as a deterrent but helps with analytical solutions. It’s in the limelight now for a lot of reasons. A lot of customers have become cautious regarding the investments to be made and are postponing the decisions, especially for sectors such as retail and hospitality where businesses took a backseat. Thus, they are toning down on the investments. On the flip side, some organizations, especially in the manufacturing, IT, critical infrastructure, and other commercial segments, are investing heavily on high-end solutions, and the demand is picking up massively. To conclude, we would say it balanced the shortcomings of other investments. However, surveillance solutions are under limelight because we can address many back-to-office concerns.
How does 2021 look for Axis Communications in terms of business?
This year may end up like last year or probably a little more than that. We are not seeing a major drop in terms of our overall revenue since we are seeing an overall pick up in terms of smart cities, traffic-related and threat prevention projects. We are also seeing many IT companies investing in surveillance as they are in the process of planning for return-to-work to provide the best infrastructural facilities for their employees. Large retailers too are investing in surveillance solutions with regards to their warehouses and shop floors. Critical infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing are going ahead with investments on surveillance solutions. Alongside we see investments on cameras that cater to cybersecurity concerns. Thus, we see that these industries will continue to invest and continue to grow. We remain optimistic to look at a market growth of 25% especially for the network camera category of the business.