Centre of Innovations

Ettiene van der Watt, Regional Director, Middle East and Africa and Rudie Opperman, Regional Manager, Engineering & Training, Middle East & Africa at Axis Communications, elaborate on the recently launched Axis Experience Center (AEC) in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

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Axis Communications has recently introduced its first Axis Experience Center (AEC) in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Based in Dubai, UAE, the AEC allows visitors to have a hands-on immersive experience with the company’s extensive portfolio of network and security solutions. We speak to the surveillance services provider’s Regional Director for MEA Ettiene van der Watt, (EW) and Regional Manager, Engineering & Training for MEA Africa Rudie Opperman (RO), for more details.

Can you elaborate on the new AEC and how is it a differentiator for the company?

RO: This is the first AEC of this nature in the UAE. It was built on the same design philosophy as all the ones we have across the globe, including in cities such as New York, London, Hong Kong, and Munich. We are excited to now expand to MEA and give regional customers an opportunity to acquaint themselves with our portfolio. We will continue with this framework of AECs and focus on further expansion as it gives us a platform to talk about all our intelligent devices and solutions. When customers come to the AEC and see a demonstration of how our solutions can improve their business, they understand the full extent of the value Axis Communications can provide. They can make informed decisions and feel more confident of their investments. In this regard, the AEC will set us apart in the market.

What are the technologies that we can find at the AEC?

RO: From security, video, and audio technologies to everything based on IP communications, we can integrate any solution to ensure operational efficiency for customers. There are many diverse use cases, and we are casting a wide net. We will customize offerings based on which vertical customer we are talking to. Thanks to our open nature, our products can co-exist with many other devices, so Axis devices can be implemented across verticals.

How has surveillance tech evolved and adapted to the current demands in physical spaces?

EW: Axis Communications has been ahead of the curve in terms of introducing new technologies. Our journey on IP and IoT has been tremendous. Over the years we have evolved to become an industrial IoT provider. So, partners and customers who are part of our world and our community will always be introduced to avant-garde technologies, platforms, and new ways of working.

Sometimes, we are ready and have solutions before the industry even considers it. As a thought-leader in the space, it is important for us to set the bar and look beyond where we are today. It is also our responsibility to help our ecosystem to migrate to the new platforms, devices, and technologies. Today the industry is heading towards metadata, AI, edge capabilities, and so on. All of these are huge areas of opportunities for us as well.

RO: Traditionally, it has been on-prem server intelligence, and we have always focused on intelligence on the edge. With our latest application platform custom-designed system-on-chip (SoC) ARTPEC, we have made it easier for developers to port the existing code to our devices. Traditionally they would have done this on a server or in cloud. It becomes much easier and faster. We are seeing a hybrid implementation as the way forward, where intelligence could be spread across different platforms from the cloud to the edge.

What is Axis Communications’ focus going forward?

EW: Technology is moving faster than education levels. There is a gap between understanding a new technology and skillsets required to implement it successfully. This is why education is an important element for us in the region. If we are able to close the gap and pull those partners and customers a bit closer to our world, they will understand better the great potential of new technologies. We have become a trusted advisor for customers, they see us as a technology partner and as a thought-leader in the space.

RO: This is one of the opportunities for the AEC as well. We can use this environment and space as a platform for education. We will be launching several initiatives on a regular basis to promote education and close the talent gap.

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