The Axis end-to-end concept is about tailoring a complete security solution to a business’s specific needs, all from Axis. AXIS Companion video management software (VMS) can be a key component in such a solution. Depending on the needs of the organisation, the solution will also include cameras and additional hardware such as door stations and network speakers. In addition to surveillance, analytic software can support a range of functions for improving operational efficiency and profitability. “Although it’s designed for fairly basic surveillance needs, AXIS Companion is excellent at integrating hardware and can be effective in a wide range of situations,” explains Göran Haraldsson, Global Product Manager at Axis. In the sections below, AXIS Communication presents two cases where businesses have benefited from the security that AXIS Companion delivers. Remote access to live footage AXIS Companion VMS lets users access multiple cameras per site (plus recorders and other accessories) and gives multiple users secure remote access to live footage and recordings on their phone, tablet or computer. Several sites can be accessed through the user-friendly app so, for example, the owner of a chain of boutiques can easily monitor their entire business by selecting the store they’d like to view from the simple menu. Friskis&Svettis use IP cameras in combination with AXIS Companion software to protect their premises and staff With branches in numerous cities, the Swedish fitness chain Friskis&Svettis use IP cameras in combination with AXIS Companion software to protect their premises and staff against threats like theft and violence. Sus Andersson, Senior Facilities Manager at Friskis&Svettis in Malmö: “We decided that Axis was the right solution for us when we heard that it allowed us to access the cameras and the footage remotely from our mobile devices.” Video management software “All in all, I can say that the different solutions available for AXIS Companion fit the respective needs of each of our facilities and have really made our everyday life so much easier. The whole team at all four locations are extremely happy and so are we for making this decision. With the new security solution, we can leave even our larger facilities unguarded because the cameras do the heavy lifting for us.” Axis end-to-end is an approach that supports business growth and development since it is easy to add more sites, capabilities or devices. Purolator, a renowned courier and freight corporation in Canada, sought to upgrade their outmoded analogue video surveillance systems to sophisticated IP solutions in all retail outlets. The solution they went for: Axis IP cameras and AXIS Companion video management software. Built-in cyber security Jason Ball, Manager of Security Technology Solutions at Purolator: “We needed a system that was expandable without spending a lot of money on the back end. We wanted something that was flexible, scalable and integrated well into our current security infrastructure, without sacrificing quality.” We want to package our knowledge into our solutions, and cyber security is a big part of that" At some point, businesses may even require a more advanced surveillance system, so it is easy to reuse hardware if one moves to a more powerful VMS - AXIS Camera Station, for example. As with all validated Axis solutions, security is paramount, and this is another area where AXIS Companion brings together advanced technology and ease of use. Secure remote access “We want to package our knowledge into our solutions, and cyber security is a big part of that. It shouldn’t be necessary for customers and integrators to be experts in encryption and security, so we make sure protection is in-built,” Göran says. In practice, this means that the AXIS Secure Remote Access service is used to create a secure encrypted communication channel. “The benefit,” explains Göran, “is that customers don’t have to, for example, open ports or configure routers. It makes AXIS Companion easier to use, and it doesn’t risk creating vulnerabilities.” The newest version of AXIS Companion features improved multi-user support, making it easier to add additional users. The person responsible for the network can decide which levels of access a user should have, then send them an invitation to get started. Axis end-to-end solutions are a way for businesses to buy a complete security system from Axis, tailored to their specific needs.
To help installers provide simple, reliable, and affordable video surveillance solutions for small business owners, Axis developed AXIS Companion. And while this system has changed the lives and security approaches of many business owners already, there’s new software that significantly enhances the product services. Göran Haraldsson, responsible for small business solutions at Axis says about the new software, the new features it brings, and how especially small business owners can benefit from it. Software development But first, let's retrace the steps that led to AXIS Companion: How did the development of this software start? “It was seven years ago when Axis launched the first version of what we know today as AXIS Companion. The key idea behind it was to develop something that would address a smaller system market and smaller businesses.” “At the time, the market was focused on analog surveillance systems and network video solutions couldn’t really keep up with these systems, as they were too complex and costly for small businesses,” recalls Göran. Smart solution Removing the need for centralised servers was key to making the solution more cost-effective “There was also a need in the market for a solution that could compete in terms of pricing and, therefore, we developed a solution that focused on the ‘smart’ abilities of the cameras.” “The solution was AXIS Companion, with the possibility to store video footage in the camera itself instead of on external servers. Removing the need for centralised servers was key to making the solution more cost-effective as servers and their maintenance were quite expensive and complex,” explains Göran. Simplicity and ease of use AXIS Companion focused on simplicity. One of the features adding to easy usage was remote access, making it possible to use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to access and control the system from anywhere in the world. No complex network configuration was needed. Intuitive solution It was designed as an out-of-the-box, intuitive solution with a simple set-up that covered all the basic surveillance needs a small business might have. This included high video quality that detects intruders and incidents in daylight as well as during the night, real-time monitoring to prevent and reduce theft, and the ability to control the devices at any time and from any location. While the AXIS Companion system with all its features is in fact an ideal solution for small business owners, it can also be installed on various types of premises. Benefits and features “Like any new technology, there was still room to improve AXIS Companion. We wanted to take the numerous functionalities to the next level by combining the embedded intelligence of Axis network cameras with the advantages that new cloud technologies bring.” “Our next big step started with the idea to create a new cloud back-end for the system and move some of the system logic to the cloud.” Performance and security optimisation The new software has been focused on optimised performance and security, as well as introducing a number of new services. The three examples of the services are as follows: Real-time alert notification The first example is an alert notification that can be sent to any mobile device. Not only do business owners get a notification of an incident on their premises in real-time, but these settings can be even more specific by creating a schedule that determines during what time the sensors can be triggered and who is authorized to receive the notifications. Multi-user feature The second example is the multi-user feature, which – as the name states – allows numerous people to use the surveillance system. This way both installers and business owners can use the system and all they need is the email address of the person they want to add to the account. It can even be specified if the person has configuration rights or is just in viewing mode. Remote device management On the web portal users can overview all the sites they have access to and can monitor the status of every device The third example is particularly interesting from an installer's perspective. The new AXIS Companion software allows installers to remotely manage clients’ devices on different sites. On the web portal users can overview all the sites they have access to and can monitor the status of every device. Due to the capability to remotely control the system, installers can undertake simple maintenance steps right away, such as restarting systems or upgrading them. Even these supposedly simple tasks would usually cost time and money as they would require workers on-site. Cloud-connected software “I’m convinced that the new AXIS Companion will make the life of many small business owners as well as installers easier”, says Göran. “It’s our objective to provide security that’s easy to use as well as affordable. With the new cloud-connected software we’ll be able to add further services in the future. This was just the beginning.”