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The world on its Axis

May 20, 2024 by Alistair Enser

In a week when we are still processing the change of sovereign, when mortgage interest rates have gone up but taxes and NI have gone down, I thought I’d steer away from politics and the economy and focus on people, values, culture, integrity, quality and security.

Having just returned from the headquarters of Axis, I was reminded how similar their core values are to ours at Reliance High Tech, and why it is so important today more than ever to surround yourself with strong business partners.

My time with Peter LindströmGunilla WejfeldtLinn StorängShirley Phillips-KnightYasin Miah and Claudia Copeland, among others, showed that Axis places a great focus on sustainability, cyber security and quality, wrapped up with innovation, integrity and people.

Since 1984, when they first embarked on creating network print, storage and scanner servers, Axis has drawn on its IT knowledge and skills. The firm released the world’s first network CCTV camera in 1996, and over the last 25 years, it has evolved into a world-leading security manufacturer, covering multitudes of areas such as cameras, access, radar, AI and Edge Analytics, Video Management platforms, and more.

As a specialist installer, it was great to talk with the development teams directly. In today’s world of fast turnaround, short-lifecycle products, it was good to see a manufacturer still laser-focused on quality. Nowhere is this more evident than in the months and months of quality testing that go into a new release. Axis seems to focus not only on picture quality, but also product durability, compatibility (through open standards) and, most importantly, on the cyber security of its products.

I have spoken at length in the past about the importance of cyber security and the irony that many so-called ‘security systems’ are, in fact, the back door weaknesses within an end-user network structure. Whether due to low-security devices being used or poor installation practices, this can lead to severe network compromise.

Increasingly, over the last few years, as analytics have come to the fore we have seen varying views on the appropriateness and ethics behind topics such as facial recognition and AI. Tony Porter, the past camera commissioner, was a staunch advocate for technology (with reasonable controls), whereas the current commissioner, Fraser Sampson, has been more critical of these technologies and alleged misuse of some manufacturers’ products by autocratic regimes. The one thing both commissioners agreed on, though, is system integrity.

And, at a time when ethical considerations are of growing importance to end users, I learned this week that Axis took swift action, even prior to the invasion of Ukraine, it closed down its Russian business. While this was very sad for the employees affected, they felt that it was at odds with their overall culture, and taking a bold stance such as this is to be welcomed.

At Reliance High-Tech we work with a select number of manufacturer partners across the security space, whether access control, video, audio, intrusion, analytics or other areas, but my visit to Axis was a refreshing opportunity to see ‘inside the house’ and understand where they are on their journey.

So, when you next design a system, purchase a system or use a system, think about value for money and total cost of ownership, think about integrity and values, think about what additional benefits and value beyond security you can gain using insights and data and ensure that your integrator/installer and the manufacturers they recommend are all qualified to deliver what you need – with passion and in a way which reflects your values.

Finally, for any of you who are near to Sunderland please do come and see us next week at the North East Auto Alliance Show, at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, where we will share some ideas on analytics.