July 20, 2020
Member Spotlight: Meet Axis Communications’ Kevin Taylor .
All across America, cities and towns are leveraging 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and other emerging technologies to make their communities smarter, safer and more efficient. Companies like Axis Communications are at the forefront of this technological revolution, using innovation and creativity to improve countless lives. We interviewed Kevin Taylor, Axis Communications’ North America Segment Development Manager of Smart Cities, to get his take on smart cities and how his company is helping them develop and grow.
Please give us a high-level overview of Axis Communications.
Kevin Taylor: Axis Communications is a worldwide leader in network video. Since Axis launched the world’s first network, or IP, camera—a device with its own internal web server that streamed video content over a local-area or a wide-area network—our mission has been to innovate to enable a safer, smarter world. Today, video is still our largest product category, but we offer several Internet of Things (IoT) device categories including network audio, radar, access control and input/output modules.
How would you describe Axis Communications’ approach to smart city solutions in today’s marketplace?
Kevin Taylor: At Axis we focus on three key areas where we have a strong and unique value proposition to help smart cities move metrics and deliver positive outcomes to their communities. These areas are public safety, urban mobility and environmental sensing and monitoring. We have many existing clients and published case studies where Axis devices are the foundation for city-wide programs that deliver real-time information to emergency first responders. Our devices also play a central role in traffic monitoring and data acquisition tools and as assets to strengthen a community’s resilience to natural disasters, such as floods. In addition to the technology solutions enabled by our devices, we also find interest from cities in our focus on sustainability, which is a main focus area for many cities and municipalities.
What is one of the greatest benefits for communities looking to invest in smart city solutions?
Kevin Taylor: “Smart cities” is a term that has gained tremendous popularity in the last five years or so, but local governments have been doing smart things for as long as local governments have existed. The change, to me, is that the challenges facing local governments, and the tools at the disposal of local governments to solve, or to at least lessen these challenges, have changed significantly in recent years. I believe “smart cities” basically boils down to local governments using modern tools to solve modern problems. The benefit of being a “smart city” is that, if they use modern tools to solve modern problems effectively, it is likely the community served by that local government will reap the rewards of improved economic opportunity, improved safety, reduced congestion and gridlock, improved resilience to both natural and man-made disasters and improved efficiency in the delivery of public services and in the operation of the government.
What role does data play in the development of smart cities?
Kevin Taylor: The power of data is key to smart cities. Data sources and analytic tools have substantially increased in recent years, and data scientists play an emerging role in smart cities. Of all the areas previously listed where smart cities can drive improvement, none is more important than using data effectively to ensure all of these benefits are delivered in an equitable and inclusive manner so that all members of the community are beneficiaries.
How do you see 5G playing a role in the future of smart cities?
Kevin Taylor: There are several unique aspects about 5G that make it stand out as a critical component of how smart cities will be constructed. First, 5G has the potential to enable the connectivity of new technologies to address emerging use cases. 5G also can bring more equity into the area of data access and connectivity. Finally, and particularly in the area of high-band, millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, the deployment of small cell infrastructure will encourage collaboration at levels never experienced before, and this collaboration is likely to take place in both private sector industry as well as in public sector local government.
Once we get past all of that, and actually get down to using 5G, the benefits of high throughput, low latency and inherent security built into the core of the network will benefit everyone—subscribers, technology companies with IoT solutions, cellular carriers, internet and cable service operators and of course, local governments.
How has CTIA’s Smart Cities working group and industry collaboration benefited you and Axis Communications?
Kevin Taylor: CTIA has played a pivotal role in elevating the voice of Axis Communications through its wireless policy advocacy, working groups and other functions they fulfill on a daily basis. We have multiple “Axians” participating in CTIA’s working groups of the association. Personally, I am involved with the Smart Transportation and the Smart Cities working groups, and I serve as a co-chair on the Smart Utilities working group. I also participate on a committee drafting a maturity model specific to the use of wireless communications and technologies in smart cities.
Our experience working with CTIA has been wonderful. The quality of leadership and organization of the association is absolutely top-notch, and the opportunity to network within the organization to grow our ecosystem and better understand creative ways to bring our products and technologies to market has been apparent from day one of our participation.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.