IP surveillance sector taking off

IP surveillance systems offer opportunities for the channel, says Baraa Al Akkad of Axis Communications

Tags: Axis CommunicationsSurveillance
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IP surveillance sector taking off
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 12, 2011

IP surveillance systems are becoming cheaper and more wide spread, creating opportunities for the channel, says Baraa Al Akkad, Regional Manager ME, Axis Communications.

CME: Axis is focused on IP surveillance, what is the state of the market for these solutions in the region?

Baraa Al Akkad: Government is one of the major customers for us, retail is also a big customer, transportation projects for government. We are also quite strong in education. A lot of public places require surveillance. In the private sector, big enterprises in areas such as industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, they always required surveillance, but the demand is increasing.

We see demand from residential usage, people want to remotely monitor their apartments or villas, and we see more demand for small retail applications. With the advancement of IP surveillance, and prices coming down, and the type of solution we provide, we see a big potential market.

CME: What is your channel set up?

Baraa Al Akkad: We work with two tiers, with distributors and systems integrators. We have a very clear strategy when it comes to sales, we only sell to the distributors, and they sell to systems integrators and resellers.

We have developed a partner programme, which we started implementing in the Middle East in January 2007, and it has proven very successful. We have three levels in the programme, Authorised, Silver and Gold partners, each with different requirements and benefits. We currently have around 300 partners in the region.

CME: Are you looking for more partners at the moment?

Baraa Al Akkad: We always look at the market demand, from country to country. Whenever we see that we need more partners, we welcome new partners into the partner programme. Depending on the performance of the partner and our co-operation together, we see how we can move forward in the partner programme. We aim for quality, not quantity.

CME: What percentage of partners are Silver and Gold, and how much of the business do they account for?

Baraa Al Akkad: Around 25% are Silver and Gold, and they account for around 80% of the business.

CME: What sort of skills do your Silver and Gold partners need?

Baraa Al Akkad: They usually have a basic knowledge of IT infrastructure, then they should have knowledge of security applications and knowledge of installing such solutions.

CME: Are you looking to develop the authorised partners further?

Baraa Al Akkad: We look to skill them up, see who has potential and who is following our Axis Communications training academy. One of the most important goals for us is to focus on knowledge, and increase the knowledge within our channel, and knowledge transfer to the end users and to consultants.

The Academy covers training about our products, and education about the total solution. The total solution is always provided by our channel partners, so it is very important to give them the knowledge about different solutions and what they can put together, in terms of the transmission media, storage, what cameras suit which applications, the design of the end-to-end solutions.

CME: How do you help resellers to gauge customer requirements?

Baraa Al Akkad: We help them with designing the solution, from beginning to end. Any questions they can contact our technical engineers, we have three levels of support, we have technical engineers based here in Dubai, and we have an online support system where they can submit questions to the support team in Sweden.

CME: Are customer requirements here comparable to what you see in other markets?

Baraa Al Akkad: They compare, but they also have their own specific requirements. We try to see if we have installed similar solutions, or offer pilot solutions for the customer to test the projects.

CME: Are there any challenges to deploying solutions in this part of the world?

Baraa Al Akkad: I think education is the main challenge, to educate the end user and the consultant in particular. Sometimes they over-exaggerate their requirements, so we try to educate them, for example, in outdoor environments, there are IP ratings for water and dust resistance. Some customers ask for higher ratings than required, so we have to educate them on how to choose the proper products.

CME: What new technologies are we going to see from you in the next twelve months?

Baraa Al Akkad: We are expecting to release at least 30 new products, within 2011. In 2010 we released around 50 new products, we really focus on R&D, we spend around 15-17% of our revenue on R&D.

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