Career & development

Where innovation meets purpose: Life as an Axis engineer

June 13, 2024

Johan Paulsson talks about innovation meeting purpose

In our dynamic world of surveillance technology, where a clear purpose meets bold innovation, extraordinary things can happen. To understand more about how our mission inspires the minds behind our products, we spoke to three people in the thick of our R&D work: Johan Paulsson, Axis CTO, Kent Fransson, Global Product Manager, and Jenny Weeks, Senior Environmental Engineer.

“Most people don’t just want to go to work and only get a paycheck; they want to make a difference in the world,” says Johan Paulsson. Our purpose of innovating for a smarter, safer world means employees have the opportunity to make a difference every day. This applies across divisions and roles, but perhaps none more so than for our almost 2000 R&D engineers—those at the forefront of researching, developing, refining, and innovating our products and services.

From crime prevention to disaster management

The impact of our surveillance products and solutionsextends beyond common perceptions. Of course, they play a vital role in detecting, preventing, and solving crimes. Kent explained that he has heard of studies that find that solving murder cases increases significantly if the incident is caught on video. “A surveillance camera is the perfect witness,” says Kent, “It tends to tell the truth and is at no risk of retribution for standing up in court.” Moreover, cameras play a role in crime prevention on city streets, capturing the moment when someone is potentially at risk and alerting the police.  

Beyond assisting law enforcement, our cameras play a significant role in making the world a safer, more functional, and enjoyable place. Traffic surveillance, for example, can provide statistics to optimize traffic flow, or if there’s been an accident, supply vital information to determine if the fire department is required or how many ambulances should be sent. Cameras can act as an early warning for disasters such as flooding, wildfires, or overcrowding in public spaces. They can also make our everyday experiences smarter by, for example, estimating queuing times, allowing you to grab something to eat, and rejoin the line when it’s your turn.

Start small, think big

Johan Paulsson, Kent Fransson and Jenny Weeks talking about the importance of innovation.
Johan Paulsson, Axis CTO.

When we innovate new products and solutions, we often work in teams with engineers from different branches, including Software, Mechanics, Testing, Imaging, and Electronics. Each team works with a product or solution throughout its entire lifecycle from idea to launch, which can take 1-2 years. When you’ve been involved in developing a product from the start, it gives you a greater sense of purpose to see the finished product or solution contribute to a safer society.

So, how does a culture of innovation at Axis enable all these impactful solutions and drive our purpose? Johan provides his perspective, “Innovation is about solving a problem in a new and more innovative way. It usually starts small and may not initially be seen as a big innovation. It’s often only later, when the market has caught up, and we’ve made improvements in several iterations, that it is considered an innovation.” He continues, “We don’t always need big, dramatic changes and entirely new products and solutions; it’s often about the small improvements that make a big difference in our customers’ lives. A great example is screws that don’t fall out of their hole as a customer stands on a ladder mounting one of our cameras – now that’s an innovation that also makes a difference in people’s lives!”

It’s often about the small improvements that make a big difference in our customers’ lives.

Johan Paulsson

Kent elaborates on why he thinks Axis is a hotbed for creativity, “When we work, we have a culture of knowledge sharing and helping each other out. Even our offices are designed to encourage this, with meeting rooms on every corner. That’s what makes what we do possible because employees in all roles and departments can constantly talk to each other about what they are working on or how they can solve a problem. We also have a culture where employees feel comfortable trying new ideas, embracing challenges, offering new perspectives and opinions, and learning from their experiences, whatever the outcome. After all, learning is often a process of trial and error.

Underlying all this is our commitment to reducing our products’ environmental impact, an area in which our Product Management and R&D teams play a vital role in the Axis Environmental Council. “An important part of the product development process involves answering questions such as how can increase the use of recycled and renewable materials? How can we make our devices even more energy efficient? How do we design packaging for optimized shipping?” says Jenny Week, Axis Senior Environmental Engineer.

A team of many mindsets

When it comes to building their team, Johan and Kent aren’t looking for just one type of person. They need the whole spectrum: the deep thinkers and innovators, the people who specialize in a very niche area of technology, the generalists, the introverts and the extroverts, and the strategists who can take the final product to market. “We welcome a spectrum of mindsets and backgrounds because diverse viewpoints enhance our innovation capabilities,” says Johan.

And what about the future of innovation at Axis? Our interviewees agree that innovation will never stop; the world and our company are constantly evolving. Sometimes, there will be giant leaps forward, but it’s the incremental, everyday steps that are vital for creating a smarter, safer world.

Learn more about innovations at Axis

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Axis innovation facts

  • Last year, we generated sales of almost 16 billion SEK, of which 18% was reinvested back into R&D, allowing us to remain an industry leader in network technology and continue developing high-quality products and services.
  • Axis has six R&D sites worldwide with more than 2,000 dedicated engineers working with product development and innovations.
  • In total, Axis has over 2000 patents. We filed 70 new patents in 2023, which we expect to result in around 300 new country-specific patents over the next three years. A single patent application results in multiple patents across different countries. Last year, we were granted 198 country-specific patents.