AXCESS Inc. (AXSI)
This is a printer friendly page!
AXCESS Inc. supplies advanced digital
video, access control, and asset management solutions, filling in the needs of security
systems integrators. These applications now comprise the three fastest growing segments in
the security industry.
These network-based systems automatically identify, locate, track, monitor and protect people, vehicles, and assets. The outcome is vastly improved security event detection and response, far beyond the capabilities of current analog technology and dedicated humans. AXCESS security solutions will play a major role in this rapidly growing and changing market by supplying critical elements in the solutions provided by large security system integrators, who today address every vertical industry market and must have a full portfolio of products. AXCESS has already secured supply relationships with multiple global security system integrators. More importantly, its solutions have now been fully integrated into Sonitrols (Tyco) SonNt security central station video monitoring system, SoftwareHouses (Tyco) C-Cure 800/8000 access control system, Honeywells Enterprise Building Integration control system, and others. AXCESS security solutions are replicable across all industry segments including the enterprise office, computer centers, retail, education, healthcare, and the critical homeland defense industries and the Department of Defense. The Company has over 2000 installations to date and reference customers covering a dozen applications. By becoming a standard, integrated component in the integrators core solution, AXCESS revenues will ride the global wave of expenditure growth necessary to meet the challenges of 21st century security solutions.
A 2003 Freedonia Group study shows the global market for security products will grow 9% per year, reaching $65 billion by 2005 with CCTV, access control/biometrics, and electronic article surveillance logging the best gains, each of which are product areas for AXCESS. Most of the market is today based on analog systems with labor-intensive support. In the near future, it is clear that most valuable assets will be electronically tagged; long range, smart wireless (access control) ID cards will be standard issue to personnel; cargo will be tagged; and there will be automated camera surveillance at every turn.
CEOCFOinterviews: Mr. Griebenow, where was AXCESS Inc. when you became its CEO and what changes did you orchestrate?
Mr. Griebenow: When I became CEO, AXCESS was already oriented to the security industry, as was I. The company had some raw technology in radio frequency identification or RFID, but significant strategy, product development, and sales channel development was needed. We recognized early on, the transition of the security industry from the analog world to the digital and networking world. Opportunities for technology companies to focus on points where that transition would occur, and productivity improvements could be laid out were many. We focused on the surveillance aspect of corporate security systems because those applications tend to be the most labor intensive and the least productive. As security systems become network oriented, digital and automated, those networks can become more effective, more extensive, and less labor intensive. We have now integrated the streaming video and RFID technologies onto a common platform, productized them into targeted applications, and secured strategic partner sales channels for automatically monitoring people, assets and vehicles. We now have a complete solution set in five key physical security applications, with reference accounts from over 1,500 installations, and weve been integrated into the core products of Honeywell and Tyco among others .
CEOCFOinterviews: Does digital video and RFID work in tandem or are they two separate areas of focus?
Mr. Griebenow: Digital video and RFID are two key technologies for automatically identifying and securing evidence of security events in an organization, and both technologies have the ability to stand alone. They can work individually or together but in general RFID identifies specific security anomalies while video gathers more general data and offers evidence. One of the biggest breakthroughs in the security industry, with the use of digital, networked video, is the ability to link security events in the organization automatically to video evidence in the system. That operation in the analog world was to take a video tape and spend hours and possible days trying to get evidence of a particular breach in security. Today, video is automatically linked to a given transaction. For example, we tag fuel trucks at JFK International so if there is ever a security breach, we can instantly bring up a video clip of what happened by simply clicking on the on-screen transaction in question. Operating in an event-based mode offers a tremendous productivity enhancement not only for the security department, but to the day-to-day work force by being non-intrusive. Our technologies working together are a perfect example of how integrated security elements can dramatically improve corporate security.
CEOCFOinterviews: Will you tell us about RFID technology and how it works?
Mr. Griebenow: There has been a tremendous amount of recent news regarding Radio Frequency Identification and as a technology it is already very pervasive in our society from building access control to toll collection to electronic article security. AXCESS ActiveTag system uses a battery-powered tag that transmits a low-powered wireless signal locally in order to identify and provide a location for person, asset, or vehicle. For personnel, the tag automatically activates as a person approaches a controlled door so the door can be opened without the person having to find and present a card for it to open. That same card is automatically linked to an asset such as a laptop so it can only be removed by an authorized person. Tags on vehicles lets drivers enter gated areas automatically and without stopping. The tag comes in various form factors including a standard access card, a key fob, prisoner bracelet, infant bracelet, asset tag, and cargo tag. For assets such as cargo, the tag constantly beacons to provide location and inventory count and includes an anti-tamper cable to secure the contents. The use of the battery characterizes the tag as active and offers what we call hands-free automatic identification. In general, it is oriented to tracking and protecting larger, more valuable items where passive tags are usually restricted to individual retail items at close range.
CEOCFOinterviews: Is there less resistance to this technology since 9/11?
Mr. Griebenow: There is less resistance to RFID as we have demonstrated successful customer installations and as other industries such as the use of RFID in the supply chain has become so widely publicized. We have seen an increase in access control applications since 9/11 particularly regarding vehicle access to previously non-gated areas. Regarding video, we have seen an increased acceptance as the general public has embraced digital video recording with devices such as TiVo. We provided a large, country-wide video surveillance and recording solution to a private air terminal operator that was in response to the events of 9/11. We also see an increase in use by municipalities putting in video cameras in public places. Clearly, the need to tag assets and provide greater control over access to secured areas and access control has increased dramatically since 2001. Video surveillance, access control and asset management are the three largest and fastest growing segments in security industry and these are the areas that were ripe for automation. We are able to bring networking and digital technologies to make the security network much more pervasive effective, and that is why we are excited about how we have positioned AXCESS going forward.
CEOCFOinterviews: What does AXCESS actually provide and to whom?
Mr. Griebenow: We provide systems that the security systems integrators of the world use to solve customer security problems. We targeted remote video surveillance, networked video recording, hands-free access control, and automatic asset protection. We fill-out their portfolio of solutions and to provide customers across various industries with a full range of solutions, from small cap companies to very large companies. We will provide stand-alone systems. In most cases, we prefer to integrate our systems into their core platforms so our contribution is seamless in the eyes of the end user. The systems integrators have not been able to build our solutions themselves, largely because of our digital and networking expertise and the speed with which we are able to innovate and bring products to market. Again, early-on we were able to see this transition of the security industry along with digital. Today, when a large company or government entity procures a system, they will go to a single systems integrator. We are component or series of components in that end solution. We have been very successful so far in being able to prove to the large systems integrators such as Honeywell and Tyco that we are worthy of that role. We are very excited about the sales channel leverage that we believe we are going to get by being a part of their global service offerings.
CEOCFOinterviews: Is there much competition for what you produce, and why do integrators choose AXCESS?
Mr. Griebenow: The competition that we have seen over the last couple of years has been very limited and not self sustaining. Digital video is a very excited technology, as is RFID but neither is easy to develop into a fully functional, reliable security solution. Largely the belief is that all you have to do is put video onto the network, digitize and compress it. In the RFID area, people think it is just a simple printed circuit board with a battery transmitting a signal. However, making both of those technologies work, and also work in the context of a security system, with all the features, functions and capabilities is a different story. We have been able to invent and patent both the RFID and CCTV technologies, develop fully functional security solutions as well as get them into the hands of security integrators and customers for references. We have been able to integrate our solutions into the core systems of the worlds largest security systems providers, and our ability to do that is a good example of how we have been able to distance ourselves from the competition. Many of those who have tried, either in the CCTV area or the RFID area, have failed largely because of the complexity of making such a system work in the context of solving customers problems. We have not only weathered the storm but we have been able to demonstrate that we do a better job in the particular areas that we are expert in, that the large systems integrators would serve.
CEOCFOinterviews: How do you reach these systems integrators, and are they buying from you on a project-by-project basis?
Mr. Griebenow: Opening a sales channel with a large systems integrator is a very involved process, requiring a lot of patience. We have worked with the systems integrators over a number of years to develop comprehensive and trusting relationships. First of all, our technology works and secondly, in the security industry, it is very important to have a product that is reliable as well as supporting the integrator during sale calls, installations and while performing maintenance. We make it easy for the integrator to order our product off of their own electronic catalogue, for example. Typically our sales come on a project by project basis. AXCESS is now structured in a way support systems integrators from the initial sales call all the way through customer retention.
CEOCFOinterviews: What do you do in terms of manufacturing and inventory?
Mr. Griebenow: The interesting side of our model is that we use contract manufacturers to build our products, making us essentially fabless. There is a tremendous resource of contract manufacturers today in the U.S., which have varying types of printed circuit board manufacturing and end-product packaging capabilities that we tap into. This makes our fixed cost overhead very low and we do not spend on plant and equipment. That means we are very scaleable, so that as orders come in we can respond very rapidly. The security industry does require relatively rapid fulfillment, typically ten days to two weeks. A security system purchase by an end user following a security incident involves a level of emotion that needs to be addressed quickly. We work to have available our core products in inventory for immediate shipment and handle special orders on a case by case basis.
CEOCFOinterviews: What is your research focus and how do you keep up with the new technologies?
Mr. Griebenow: One of the most exciting aspects about AXCESS is that we have a platform for RFID and video on which we can build. We see growth in the video area being in image-processing algorithms to automatically identify specific types of security threats, in an airport for example, whether a bag is picked up or dropped off or someone that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Algorithms will be different for each industry. The set of algorithms we have in development will add to the productivity of the security video system. This is in-line for our mission, which is to make the system much more scaleable, using less manpower. In the RFID area, we see a lot of opportunities to take advantage of component engineering improvements in the RFID tagging world, so that tags will continue to get smaller and cheaper with increased functionality. We have a very exciting roadmap for improving our core technologies. We keep up to date on new technologies by constantly looking over our shoulder. When youve been in the venture development business for a while, you are constantly filtering information for potential threats. University research projects give us great visibility for the far off horizon and we overlay near term threats such as those announced in the trade press against that technology evolution model.
CEOCFOinterviews: Will you tell us about the financial condition of AXCESS? How have you survived in a time when so many have not?
Mr. Griebenow: We were fortunate to be in the security sector which sustained investor attention during the economic downturn as well as having technologies such as RFID and streaming video that continued to make the news in other vertical markets, also attracting investor attention. The venture capital and investment banking communities have gone through the worst period in perhaps the last 25 or 30 years, but the investment dollars where there to support areas such as security and RFID. To weather the storm, we cut our costs and staff dramatically which was very difficult and we sustained our own severe hardships during that period. But I think the positioning of our company, our business model, our core technologies, and most importantly our lead investor, Vennworks helped us survive. Since the recovery in the financial markets began this spring, we positioned the company perfectly for new investment, and now we have emerged very lean and focused on what it will take to substantially grow the business, with the backing of the investment community.
CEOCFOinterviews: As your customer is the integrator, what is the integration industry like? Are there many companies you need to deal with and how do you reach them?
Mr. Griebenow: Having network-oriented products, we believe in the leverage the network can provide and we are that technology to gain access to the system integrator. They tend to be very spread out and difficult to call on face to face with any regularity. However, maintaining regular communications is very important. We use network-based web training to maintain contact, or share of mind with the system integrator sales and installation staff. We keep them current with our products and train them on our technology, as well as applications and installation techniques. I think the internet has provided a tremendous opportunity for us. As many small companies are doing, we are now able to reach out and train using the internet, and simultaneously train people, whether they are in the United States or around the world. We also use opt-in email messaging, where we are able to keep people current on our products and technology. We show them why we believe very strongly in our products and that we believe the integrator is the best way go to market.
CEOCFOinterviews: Do you have much international business, and are there different integrators in the international arena?
Mr. Griebenow: We do not spend a lot of time trying to penetrate the international market because we feel that the United States market is very bountiful. We do respond to international integrators on a country by country basis. However, Tyco and Honeywell are both multi-national in their scope. So we are proactive with Honeywell and the Tyco dealers internationally because of their ability to replicate sales successes across their organization. Now that we have been integrated into their core systems, our road map here is very clear. We developed our products to be acceptable to the different standards internationally. So, we do not see ourselves limited to the U.S. at all. But right now, we think it prudent for us to address and get a good core base in the United States first. The full blown international market will come in time.
CEOCFOinterviews: Why is this a good time for potential investors to be interested, and what should they know that they may not realize when they look at the company?
Mr. Griebenow: This is an exciting time in the security industry, with the security industry going through an automation model. As we like to say it will only go digital once in anyones lifetime and that time is now. That means that there are some tremendous opportunities for investment success with companies that are positioned properly. We believe that AXCESS is very well positioned, both in terms of the position in the security industry as well as with the products we have chosen. As exciting as anything is the way we have established the business to be very scaleable and to be able to grow very rapidly. As investors look at AXCESS, I think that we fit the profile for investors who are looking for those kinds of companies with exciting growth opportunities. I think that as investors look at AXCESS, it is worthy of their time to understand the potential explosive growth in network video as well with RFID. Everyone should understand that cameras are going to become more and more pervasive and everything will be tagged. Perhaps that is a simple message that says that we are tremendous area in which to invest.
CEOCFOinterviews: In closing, as a public company CEO, what is your focus?
Mr. Griebenow: As a public company CEO these days, I think the most important areas to focus on are communicating consistently, honestly, and regularly with investors and attending to proper corporate governance. There has been a tremendous concern on the part of the public post-Enron and post-WorldCom about the way public companies present themselves in terms of everything from their financial statements to their treatment of analysts in the sharing of news. I spend a great deal of time making sure that is done correctly. I think that is the way you get the respect and maintain the trust of the investment community for your company. Beyond that, we spend a tremendous amount of time making sure that we can fulfill the promises that we make. One of the most important areas of any industry is to be able to deliver on expectations. You have to be able to communicate with the customers and system integrators. The CEOs job today, in a small public company like AXCESS, is very much one of being able to present the way the company is operating on a very regular, timely and consistent basis, while simultaneously handling all the other responsibilities that one has for planning, strategy, organization, direction and control. Again, I think over the next year or so that we will have to continue to focus on communication properly to investors and customers, to continue to gain their trust and to keep their trust. Today, its the most important element of being the CEO of a public company.
To view Releases
highlight & left click on the company name!
Software House Dealer Integrates AXCESS Inc. System to Provide Comprehensive Asset Management
Industry Canada Implements System to Protect Laptops
Dallas, TX. February 12, 2004 AXCESS International Inc. (AXCESS - OTCBB:AXSI), an RFID and digital video solutions provider for physical security and asset management, announced today that Altel Incorporated, an Authorized Software House Dealer, has completed the implementation of an ActiveTagÔ Asset Management System at Industry Canada.
Posted: 2/13/04 - CEOCFOinterviews.com
Inc. Middleware Links RFID With EPC Retail Supply Chain Systems
Dallas, TX. February 9, 2004 AXCESS Inc. (OTC BB: AXSI), a leader in RFID and digital video solutions for physical security and asset management announced today the release of its OnlineSupervisorTM software enhancement to make it easier to integrate RFID systems with retail supply chain solutions.
Posted: 2/13/04 - CEOCFOinterviews.com
RFID can now easily augment existing access control systems with automatic hands-free access and asset protection
Posted: 1/14/04 -
Dallas, TX. November 17, 2003 AXCESS International Inc. (AXCESS - OTCBB: AXSI) announced today it has passed all the necessary tests for CE approval of its radio frequency identification (RFID) system. The CE approval paves the way for the system to be used in Europe and other countries around the globe that require the certification.
Posted: 11/18/03 - CEOCFOinterviews.com
ceocfointerviews.com does not purchase or
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.