NETWORK VIDEO solutions developer Axis Communications has issued the results of a recent partner survey in a new White Paper exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the physical security industry. The online survey, conducted last December, sought the views of senior decision-makers within circa 200 partner companies across the UK and Ireland.
The enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to be fully grasped. Its initial impact on businesses in the UK and around the world was swift and gave rise to a great many challenges. As businesses continue to adapt to the new social and economic reality and lay down plans for the year ahead, many will want to implement measures to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus.
For its part, the White Paper identifies ways in which technology can facilitate a smarter and safer world by helping businesses to continue to operate through the careful management of social distancing and other COVID-led requirements.
Axis Communications’ ‘listening project’ also sought insight into how the business can better support its partners and their customers in 2021. While the majority of partners continued to work (albeit some with limited capacity) under their classification as essential services, 41% of respondents expressed concerns about their supply chains, while anxiety over general economic recovery was repeatedly referenced as a top concern for both partners (67%) and their customers (55%). What’s clear is the need for ongoing support as partners and customers alike embrace new approaches towards security provision, with strong customer support now viewed as being essential.
Main challenges, needs and expectations
David Needham, sales manager for the UK and Ireland at Axis Communications, explained: “Despite the unprecedented disruption that COVID-19 has caused, we’re proud to have been able to effectively respond and adapt. To further demonstrate our commitment in offering support wherever possible, we launched a survey in the region to identify the main challenges, needs and expectations of our trusted partners, their customers and also wider stakeholders. Through careful analysis of the experiences of senior decision-makers from a wide range of industries, we will be able to determine where the greatest support is needed and identify ways that technology can facilitate safer and more effective business operations.”
Over half of the partner companies that responded serve medium-to-large enterprises in a wide range of industry sectors, with more than one-in-ten employing over 1,000 people. Analytics are highlighted as being key to ongoing success. Crowd management and assistance with appropriate social distancing measures also welcomed.
In addition, contactless entry to avoid the unnecessary touching of shared surfaces, in addition to integrated solutions such as video surveillance combined with access control, are also emphasised.
When it comes to which particular sectors are viewed as having the most potential in the year ahead, 73% of respondents cited the commercial sector followed by the industrial sector (58%) and education (50%).
Impact to date
As far as the effects of the pandemic on businesses to date are concerned, changes in workflow were reported by most respondents who indicated that both they and their customers have been challenged by the shift to remote working that has accompanied COVID.
Human Resources (HR) issues were raised as a cause for concern by 29% of partners, while 33% of end customers – according to their partner organisations – have been affected by HR-related issues and 32% by their ability to effectively function remotely.
The survey responses indicate that process changes have also been widespread throughout the physical security industry, although very few of those individuals questioned regard this as a concern. Respondents touched upon a number of key areas, such as the increased use of video conferencing, a shift towards remote management systems and changes in sales activity.
Further, one third (34% to be exact) cited changes in service delivery and sales processes. Many believe that the increased emphasis on Health and Safety processes would likely continue even as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Fall-out from the pandemic
The fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic has been widespread and often difficult to gauge. The Axis Communications survey results outlined in the White Paper shed light on the issues facing businesses in the security industry and their customers, as well as their willingness to embrace modern technology (such as automation, analytics and touchless tools) to mitigate those concerns.
Going forward, the responses will help Axis Communications to meet the ongoing needs of its partners and customers and continue to find ways of innovating for a smarter and safer world.
It’s hoped that, by dint of the results, partners and the wider security industry will be able to make more informed decisions on future business opportunities.
*Copies of the White Paper entitled ‘Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on the Physical Security Industry’ can be downloaded at https://cutt.ly/kkN5DhN