Axis Communications, a Swedish manufacturer of network cameras for physical security and video surveillance, is opening an office in Nairobi. The Nairobi office will be the third in Africa, the other two being in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and it falls under the larger Middle East and Africa Operations office based in Dubai. According to a press release, the company is targeting Kenya’s burgeoning private security sector. Kenya’s security industry consists of an estimated 2,000 firms, which employ upwards of 300,000 Kenyans. The push towards security and video surveillance is a result of increased public spending in IT infrastructure in the country, with double digit growth of 11% in the construction industry, a 9% growth in Kenya’s finance and banking sector and an 8% annual growth in utilities.
Axis was formally founded in 1984, and started making network cameras in 1996. The Axis Neteye 200 was the first camera capable of sending and receiving data via a computer network and the internet. Axis cameras were deployed in a number of game reserves in South Africa and Kenya in the early 2000s to stream live imagery to the internet in an effort to bring in more tourists.
Axis manufactures more than 108 models of cameras, alongside sophisticated software that provides a variety of information from the cameras. The cameras range from simple cameras to explosion proof models targeting the oil and gas sector and other security-sensitive sectors. Some models can detect when the camera’s field of sight has been tampered with, and others are sensitive to changes in heat patterns. Axis offers solutions that can analyze and break down data, such as the number of people that have walked into a location and which parts of a store or building that people most commonly are located. Such cameras are preferred by retailers and malls due to the amount of information that can be garnered. The cameras are also capable of complex pattern recognition and facial detection.
In Kenya, Axis will be mainly working through two distributors, ADI and InterDist, who will then supply customers through resellers and installers. “We are very excited about expanding our footprint into Africa. The market has shown continued maturity towards IP video, which is why we find it necessary to invest in the region and provide a more complete service to our channel partners as well as end users. Nairobi is one of the most developed and connected cities in Africa,” says Jason McGregor, Sales Manager at Axis Communications South Africa.
Axis has hired Andrew Ngugi, who joins as Key Account Manager. He has more than eight years of experience, and in-depth knowledge of the market and Integrated Security Systems. He will be responsible for overseeing market activity and working closely with local Axis partners and end-consumers on projects throughout Kenya and neighbouring countries.
Also joining the team is Sales Engineer George Mutai, who worked at one of Africa’s leading ISP’s and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in pre-sales and post-sales support. He will be responsible for all training and technical support in the East Africa region.
“Axis bandwidth compression technology means that cameras can be deployed in remote areas where communication links can be challenging and costly,” McGregor adds. “Additionally, we have worked with some firms that need to store footage for extended periods, maybe 6 months or more, meaning that storage costs end up eclipsing the cost of a security installation. Axis solutions, such as the ‘zipstream’ compression technology, can cut storage costs by up to 50% compared to the competition.”
“In order to stay ahead of the market we have the Axis Academy and Axis Certification programs. Other efforts such as online learning, webinars and other tailor made training events will be bolstered by the support of our new local resources. The new office and staff will ensure this happens on a larger scale and with higher frequency”, concludes McGregor. Axis plans to further expand into the rest of Africa, aiming to establish a presence in West Africa. In addition, the company hopes to scale up operations in its current locations, with the possibility of a regional office in future.