How hard should it be to design a surveillance system?
System integrators and designers are creating complete network surveillance solutions, using only Axis hardware and software. It’s an approach that improves efficiency and reliability in the design stage, as well as simplifying purchasing and installation.
A surveillance solution from Axis can be anything from a simple six camera set-up to a multi-site operation with hundreds of cameras and accessories. Whether it’s a small system or a big one, the designers are likely to be individuals with strong technical knowledge. And more often than not, they just want their tools to do their job as efficiently as possible.
As Business Development Manager at Axis, Mitch Mershon spends enough time with system integrators and designers to have a good idea of what they want. Most of the time it’s fairly straightforward: to be able to get on with their job.
“More experienced system integrators have really latched on to AXIS Site Designer, because it makes them more efficient. Instead of moving from Web site to Web site, finding the right equipment and checking their compatibility, they can get everything from one place – cameras, software, recorders, accessories, everything. For a lot of people, it means they can design two sites a day when previously they might only have done one.”
This efficiency comes, in part, from reliability. The combinations that can be put together on AXIS Site Designer have all been tested and validated to make sure they work together. That means that system integrators don’t have to waste time checking compatibility, or even worse, purchasing unsuitable components.
“Even the most experienced system integrators will occasionally use a new product for the first time,” Mershon says. “AXIS Site Designer’s great in those situations because it removes any doubts about whether that product will work alongside the rest of the software and hardware. Even something as simple as a mount for a camera – AXIS Site Designer tells you if they’re going to fit together and takes any guesswork out of the equation.”
One device, one licence... that’s all you need to know
At the heart of any good surveillance system, you’ll find reliable video management software (VMS). AXIS Companion and AXIS Camera Station are easy-to-operate VMS options that bring together surveillance systems and get the most out of every component. One of the things that makes these VMS platforms so straightforward throughout the design, installation and operation stages, is their licensing structure.
“From a licensing perspective, we’ve made it just about as simple as it’s possible to make it,” explains Mershon . “You need one licence per device, and that’s really all you need to know. We don’t use tiered pricing to limit functionality, so from day one, your licence gets you access to everything. There’s no recurring fees or upgrade fees – our licences are perpetual and will stay in place for as long as your system keeps going. The end-users appreciate having access to every function and application like this, and it definitely makes life a lot easier for site designers.”
Gather and share all information in one place
Devising an end-to-end solution in this way also makes it easy to produce all the documentation that system integrators need. On the customer side, AXIS Site Designer auto-generates everything from quotes to maps to bandwidth storage estimates. These can be important for the customer once their system is installed, but they can also be great sales tools, helping potential customers to visualise the coverage their new system will provide.
AXIS Site Designer’s documentation also makes purchasing more efficient. It automatically creates a bill of materials that can be exported and sent to the distributor, cutting out a process where errors might otherwise take place.
“It might sound like a small thing,” Mershon explains, “but purchasing can be a pain. If you have to produce a bill of materials with a long list of products, all with long product names, it’s really easy to make a few typing mistakes along the way. AXIS Site Designer just takes that task out of your hands, so the whole purchasing process becomes a lot smoother.”