Every element of the surveillance system lifecycle – from the initial design through implementation and configuration, to ongoing maintenance – can come with its own complexities for system integrators being that it likely involves multiple tools in addition to extensive human labor. Setting, managing, and meeting prospect and customer expectations is critical throughout the sales and business development process and in building relationships that will deliver value over the long-term.
The numerous processes needed in customer installations: pre-configurating hardware, assigning IP addresses, allocating resource, installation, and status alignment throughout, to name a few - demonstrate the complexities that system integrators need to address. With every link in the chain, you’re further increasing the chances of encountering problems such as human errors, accidental damage, or miscommunication, each of which can affect the customer relationship. Additionally, problems can also result in tiresome work or rework, and costly site visits that would otherwise have been unnecessary. By combining the management of all these requirements into one central platform, management can be simplified.
AXIS Camera Integrator Suite is our set of tools specifically designed to assist in the critical elements of the solution lifecycle. Here we explore how it maps to the key challenges facing system integrators.
Providing an all-in-one toolkit for integrators
AXIS Camera Station video management system is a versatile system that can be used in range of installations, for example schools, manufacturing sites, retail stores and more. The AXIS Camera Station VMS offers customers complete control over their premises and surveillance solution - AXIS Camera Station Integrator Suite is a set of tools providing new possibilities for a system integrator to effectively manage customer installations throughout the complete lifecycle, from design to system maintenance.
Designing the right system from the outset
AXIS Site Designer, the key tool for system design in AXIS Camera Station Integrator Suite.
In sales situations, it’s essential to design the right system for an individual customer from the outset. Subsequent changes to design can be time-consuming and, potentially, costly. Close collaboration at the design stage makes the whole project more tangible, improving the customer’s understanding of the system and the problems that will be solved, which in turn facilitates the sales process.
Using AXIS Site Designer, as the first step in the design process means the systems integrator and end customer can work together to identify the best system to fit their exact operational requirements, making the right choices faster while ensuring optimal performance.
With AXIS Site Designer, the systems integrator can visit the end customer location and work out the design on site in close collaboration. AXIS Site Designer can be used on mobile devices, such as a tablet or laptop. Building floorplans can be uploaded, with cameras and other devices dragged and dropped into the design, immediately showing coverage (as well as blind spots) using different types of cameras.
Taking a collaborative approach makes it easier to resolve questions about which is the right solution for the given requirements, such as camera selection, mounting accessories, and storage options.
AXIS Site designer is also a dynamic tool: any changes made in discussion between the system integrator and customer can be updated with a few clicks within the design, automatically updating related products, accessories, and mounts. Furthermore, it is possible even at this early stage to configure the entire system with specific camera names, resolutions, retention times, and to add notes or write down detailed instructions for the installer to clarify any additional requirements.
When the design is completed and the customer is satisfied, installation instructions and a bill of materials can automatically be generated and shared. In this way, the chances of any aspect of design and configuration being ‘lost in translation’ are eradicated.
With AXIS Site Designer, systems integrators can save time while efficiently transferring the customer’s needs to a concrete solution – avoiding costly mistakes while implementing the optimal system for their requirements.
Automated configuration for a seamless and accurate installation
The vast majority of configurations can be automatically imported from AXIS Site Designer to the VMS.
Manual configuration is a time thief and a source of potentially expensive errors (and potential subsequent customer dissatisfaction). By automatically importing all configurations from AXIS Site Designer into the VMS, errors are kept to a minimum while the installation time is drastically reduced. If necessary, however, configurations can always be set or changed manually.
Thanks to the improved communication between customer, integrator and installer, supported by the bill of material and installation notes, the system is much more likely to perform as intended in the original design, making the end customer happy while creating significant time savings for the installer. When using a third-party installer, clear instructions and automated VMS configurations are also particularly beneficial.
Testing and verification to ensure system operation
AXIS Installation verifier, an integrated tool in AXIS Camera Station, performs an on-site system verification to ensure everything is working properly.
Efficient, accurate system installation is one thing: full system operation under load and different scenarios is another. Once installation is complete, the integrated verification tool performs an on-site system verification to ensure everything is working properly. The verification tool in AXIS Camera Station simulates bandwidth consumption and storage needs during different operational conditions. After the verification test is run, all documentation is saved and handed over to the end customer.
The first run is in normal “current day-light” operation mode to verify that the installation is working as intended. Thereafter the system is tested with all cameras in simulated “night mode”. The night simulation test will verify that there is sufficient bandwidth during low-light operation when noise levels are higher and more bandwidth is needed. Finally, AXIS Installation Verifier performs a stress test by steadily increasing the data volume generated in the system until the first bottleneck is found. This will reveal the system spare capacity and indicate if system improvements are needed. The information is summarized in a report that will show if the system is both scalable and properly installed.
Ensuring customers get the most from the system
At some point, customers will need to operate and manage the surveillance system themselves. Helping them do so through comprehensive training and supporting documentation is an essential aspect.
After the verification test is run, all documentation is saved and also handed over to the end customer. In addition to a post-sales report, the documentation forms the basis for future reference and system status follow-ups. It can also be useful for troubleshooting, planning additions to or expansions of the system as well as for resolving any disputes between the installer and customer about whether the system was changed in any way after it was handed over. The system configurations, camera selection, storage etc., are saved and easy to locate. As a result, all documents and reports can be used to educate the end customer on their system.
Easy maintenance of your customers' installations
AXIS Camera Station System Health Monitoring can easily be enabled in AXIS Camera Station and is used for regular system status checks. It enables the integrator to monitor all their end-customer installations and get status up-dates on cameras and servers, reducing the need for needless on-site visits, saving time and money.
Enabling efficiencies to deliver value across the system lifecycle
In creating and building valuable, long-term customer relationships, AXIS Camera Station Integrator Suite can help systems integrators to build valuable, long-term customer relationships. From verification that the system is working properly to regular health monitoring and status checks, it offers multiple benefits to integrators and their customers throughout the complete lifecycle of a surveillance system.
The optimal solution is designed and sold; system implementation is faster and more accurate; maintenance is simplified; new business opportunities become apparent and, ultimately, relationships between integrator and customer are strengthened. The very definition of a win-win.