Sudhindra Holla, country manager, India & SAARC, Axis Communications speaks about the high-quality security solutions the company provides to the hospitality sector, and the new
innovative technologies in this space
What are your key security solutions for the hospitality sector in India?
Axis Communications has always had a focused approach in all our verticals. Hospitality is a booming sector in India. We service some of the major large and mid-size hotel chains in the country and our effective solutions continue to draw clients who require high security with minimal intrusion. There are three main requirements that our hospitality clients ask for:
- Safeguard guests and staff
- Operate discreetly
- Help improve hotel operations and staff management
We guide our partners to provide the right solutions customised to the needs of the customer. One of the large scale installations done by us was for the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg – a 19th century mansion refurbished into a modern hotel while keeping the interiors of the last century. Our mission was to seamlessly integrate our cameras into the hotel security without disturbing the look of the mansion. Specialists of the company – integrator Specmontazhservice, developed an integrated security system, which included a wide range of Axis products. Key arguments in favour of this decision were high quality and broad functionality of the equipment, enabling complex tasks and satisfying high requirements of the security service of the Four Seasons Hotel chain worldwide. More than 200 AXIS P3301 and AXIS P1344 Network Cameras and other accessories have been installed at Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg. The system performs around-the-clock to provide high-quality video images from around the building and instantly identify people. Using specialised software, the system informs the security service of forgotten things and missing items within the surveillance coverage. In addition, this system allows identifying registration numbers of incoming and outgoing vehicles, followed by refusal or granting them a passage to the territory, and informs a security officer of cases, when an unauthorised access to the object (break-in, holding of a door after an authorised passage) takes place through the instant video output from this zone and alerting with a corresponding sound signal.
What are the cost benefits of installing your products for a hotel company?
Since the inception, Axis has always tried to create awareness amongst the end-users of the benefits of using high-quality products instead of low-priced cameras which come with the very high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Our cameras have always come with a longer shelf life and low maintenance requirements. They are routinely tested for environmental hazards, rains, external damage possibilities and tampering by intruders. This ensures that the products are always reliable and secure. We always recommend using our solutions with the products as they seamlessly integrate into the framework.
For the hospitality sector, security is the foremost concern, especially with the influx of foreign tourists, it is critical to select the best option within their budget without compromising on image quality and storage. Using a multi-vendor approach can be extremely difficult as the integration process takes time, which is the reason our partners also recommend using the complete Axis approach to secure the premises.
Are there any advantages in terms of seamless operations?
As I have mentioned, we have many different products and software that can be integrated into any of our systems. Our system integrators meticulously work around the requirements of the customer and provide the best solutions available. In case the customer prefers using systems from other vendors, it is not a challenge as our products are ONVIF ready. This means that in a multi-vendor environment, our cameras are industry ready and can be utilised in conjunction with any other ONVIF-ready devices.
Your views on the increasing awareness among restaurant outlets in India to install security cameras. How does it help them?
We work with a lot of restaurants and one of our biggest success stories is the installation we have done for Café Coffee Day. The management of Café Coffee Day (CCD) was looking for a surveillance system that would help them in multi-location remote monitoring, staff management and store management, all from a central location. Further, CCD required that the cameras have aesthetic appeal and blend in with the café’s interiors to maintain the décor of the stores.
Each café had two cameras – one to monitor the service area and the other for the billing counter. AXIS M3011, AXIS M3004-V and AXIS M3203 Network Dome Cameras were chosen since they are vandal-proof and provide superior video quality. The benefits provided by this installation include:
- Business intelligence: Gathering business intelligence about each store including employee behaviour, level of customer service offered and the areas where the employees need training, consumer behaviour and time graphs related to consumer walk-ins.
- Central monitoring: With the Axis installation, the senior management has now been able to monitor remote stores real-time from a central location, over the internet. The cameras enable effective and real-time monitoring by providing vivid details enabling the authorities to monitor each order being dispensed. The video that is recorded is compressed and shared over the internet with the authorities.
- Cost-effective: The installation helps in monitoring stores even in remote locations, thereby reducing the travel cost incurred from the management team needing to monitor stores in person.
- Edge-based storage: Since there are a substantial number of outlets in the highways and remote locations, where connectivity is very low, there are chances of authorities not being able to monitor the stores due to lack of footage. In such a scenario and in case of connectivity fail-over, the Axis solution can record the video footage which can be retrieved later for perusal.
- Effortless scalability: Café Coffee Day adds on about 20-25 stores in India every month, therefore the solution offered has to be easily scalable. Axis solution enables the stores to install more cameras in existing and new stores without having to change the network infrastructure, at minimal cost.
Your focus on innovation. Which are the new technology trends in this space?
Today the customer no longer requires CCTV cameras only for the purpose of monitoring. Video analytics and storage has grown in parallel with the innovations in the security industry. We have created the Zipstream technology that can be used to compress storage space. Optimised for video surveillance, Axis’ Zipstream technology is a significantly more efficient H.264 implementation, lowering bandwidth and storage requirements by an average 50 per cent or more for many common 24/7 surveillance use cases.
We have also strived to create a technology that reduces dependency on light. In low-lit areas and at night, when it is difficult to detect faces and license plates, our Lightfinder technology can be utilised to get a clearer feed from the videos. Lightfinder technology is a combination of Axis’ expertise in image processing, in-house system-on-chip development and selection of the best optical components. Cameras with Axis’ Lightfinder technology have extreme light sensitivity. Such cameras can deliver color images in as little light as 0.18 lux or lower.
Do you foresee any interesting new tech concepts emerging in the near future in your industry segment?
Some of the concepts which were earlier considered too futuristic have turned into reality now. We have facial recognition software inbuilt into cameras these days which makes it very easy for the security supervisors and even the law enforcement officials to identify miscreants. One should not compromise on resolution and robustness of their cameras. The facial recognition software is able to detect faces in low-light and even from very long distances.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is another similar technology that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. This is something that should be implemented around cities to keep track of traffic violators and as a part of incident detection.
For large premises which require very active surveillance, we recommend using technologies such as Perimeter Defenders. AXIS Perimeter Defender is a flexible, scalable video analytics application for perimeter surveillance and protection. It’s designed for demanding large-scale installations. It is ideal for reinforcing physical access control for high-security facilities such as chemical plants, power plants and prisons and for critical infrastructure.