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Axis Communications Becoming ‘Solutions-Oriented’ Company After String of Acquisitions

SSI spoke with Axis Vice President, Americas Fredrik Nilsson about its recent purchases of Cognimatics and 2N, and what it means for the company’s future.

What are some unique elements and qualities about the markets in which Cognimatics and 2N do business?

Nilsson: I think they all bring lots of additional values when it comes to IP-based systems, both in the security and more business solution side. 2N is more in the Internet of Things arena when it comes to the intercom solution. Their intercom solution is more of what we call a one-to-many kind of solutions we have in residential buildings or other more traditional intercom solutions where the intercom solution that we’ve been pushing for the last year with our door station is more of what we call a many-to-one, where we integrate intercom into the video surveillance solution. So that market shifting over to IP on the intercom side is going quite quickly, but [there’s also] the camera side and we’ve been kind of approaching it from two different sides and just becoming stronger by having both companies in the same group. So that’s their main business value.

And for Cognimatics, they’ve been focused and been very successful on the retail analytics side. Retail is huge to video surveillance and if we can bridge the asset protection to the marketing and business side of retail, we can become a more interesting player for them to deal with.

How will we see the integration of these businesses within Axis play out in 2016 and 2017?

Nilsson: That’s a great question and that’s a question that most people ask, also internally. A lot is to be seen, but when it comes for 2N, they’re a 200-people company. They’ve been in business for quite a long time, they’ve been very successful at growing fast and they have a good brand in that space. So we have no ambition there to change the brand or to do any integration, but rather to continue to let them run their successful path and then in the background see what we can do together to make each company better and understand and learn from that kind of side. So there’s no plan of any integration there.

When it comes to Cognimatics — which is a smaller company and is based near our headquarters— there’s some more natural potential for doing some changes even though they have not been decided yet and nothing has been communicated. But we’ve been working very, very closely out in the channel and most of the cameras that Cognimatics have sold their solution with have been Axis cameras, so we have a very natural way of cooperating out in the channel.

We have a lot of respect for success that companies have had and we don’t want to be a company that comes in and changes everything right out of the gate, so we’re very respectful of the companies that we acquire. – Nilsson

What types of similar acquisitions is Axis looking for that we might see in the near future?

Nilsson: Well, you won’t see two next week. We’re kind of busy with what we have right now. It’s kind of a new era for us
as the market is developing and we need to get closer to the customer and accelerate their solutions agenda. We’re definitely looking at other opportunities in the future.

If you look at video surveillance and at the base that we’ve been working on for a long time, we have a lot of partnerships in that area where we continue to work with a lot of partnerships in that area on the software side. But if some specific vertical market such as retail where Cognimatics fits in, or such as transportation where Citilog — that we acquired some two to three months ago — fit in, might be areas that we’re looking into, where we can bring unique customer value and solution that are not necessarily in the space of video surveillance, but more in business analytics to bring a higher value to the system and get closer to the customer. Those are the areas we’re looking into.

And then 2N kind of fits into that in a similar but slightly different way if they are more of an IoT company. We continue to believe that the more things you have on the IT network and that can get easily integrated, the more value it brings to the complete solution, and that’s why 2N fit in very nicely. There might be something in that area as well so that’s kind of the theme of the acquisition so far. While we won’t do anything in the near term, we continue to investigate what’s out there on the market.

Is there anything else people should know about the acquisitions?

Nilsson: Axis is a very, very long-term oriented company and so are our new owners, Canon, that acquired Axis a year ago and they let us run the business on our own. We have a lot of respect for success that companies have had and we don’t want to be a company that comes in and changes everything right out of the gate, so we’re very respectful of the companies that we acquire.

And also another thing that is important to us is the culture within Axis and that we have respect for the culture of the companies we’re acquiring. And we also want to assure that they have a similar long-term based culture, that we have that fit into the philosophy of how we want to do business and treat and deal with our customers. Those are very important aspects for us.

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