SecurityNewsDesk has been getting to know an emerging captain of the security industry, Austin Freshwater, Sales Director, Canon UK. It’s clear that the man driving Canon UK’s growing presence in the security industry is determined to make the venture a success.
Freshwater has worked with Canon for eight years now, across the spectrum of the global giants’ operation. As the Canon brand evolved and diversified he found himself tasked with making an impression in security. This hasn’t been without its challenges, and Freshwater freely admits that there have been plenty of people who have questioned Canon’s commitment to the market, but the ambitious sales director is certain that 2014 will be remembered as the year that Canon truly proved its dedication, not least because of its acquisition of software giant Milestone.
“Canon made a significant step towards becoming a leader in the fast growing network video surveillance market by acquiring Milestone Systems,” Freshwater said. “Together Canon and Milestone will become a formidable player in this market by combining the superior camera technology of Canon with the market leading VMS of Milestone.
“The network video surveillance market continues to show huge potential and Canon has a strong commitment to build a long term presence as a leader in this industry. Together with its partners, Canon and Milestone will accelerate their respective businesses through new product innovations, expansion into new markets and utilising the global resources and channels of Canon.”
Freshwater is also working to put his own mark on the industry. Prior to joining Canon, he had a well-established career in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.
“Before I joined Canon I worked for several well established FMCG companies,” he said. “It just so happened that I was looking for a new challenge the Canon opportunity was presented to me and the culture and ambition of the company drew me in. While the two sectors are quite different, my FMCG experience has served me well in establishing this new branch of Canon. For instance, FMCG companies take a more aggressive route to market, and this has helped me to challenge Canon and get things moving at a faster pace. As I’ve also made the transition from one industry to another once before, it gives me the ability to step back and assess what is required from the market place, and this has helped me get the right team in place.”
It’s clear when you chat to Freshwater how passionate he is about Canon’s products and potential in the security market. He told SecurityNewsDesk that this level of enthusiasm is easy to maintain in such a diverse role.
“No two days are alike,” he said. “I’ve got the pleasure of being responsible for a range of product lines and it’s amazing how quickly technology is advancing, and Canon is at the cutting edge of that advancement. This drives my vision of what is possible and what we’re capable of.”
It seems the sky is the limit for both Canon and its Sales Director, as he explained how dedicated both he and Canon are to becoming the leading name in video surveillance. Freshwater’s going out of his way to prove they have the technology and understanding of the market to achieve his vision.
As Freshwater sees it, the key challenge in the industry at the moment is the lack of understanding about the technology available due to the pace of change. He firmly believes stakeholders need to be educated on just how much can be achieved with the advanced nature of modern technology.
“Today’s technology provides a range of exceptional benefits for end users – above and beyond security. Historically, CCTV has been a grudge spend, particularly because you can’t measure results in terms of return on investment. However, modern solutions mean a CCTV system is no longer a simple surveillance tool, you can get so much more out of it, including ways to optimise your business.”
Not only is Freshwater out and about meeting key stakeholders to try and spread the word and improve education on this topic, Canon also has the tools necessary to help users get more from their CCTV.
For instance, Freshwater explained that Canon’s cameras have built in intelligent functions with up to 15 triggers, opening up a world of business optimisation possibilities. In addition, increasingly popular features like analytics and facial recognition require high standards of image quality, with high levels of clarity and colour reproduction, for accuracy – something Canon has a long established heritage of specialising in.
Freshwater adds that, with the video management system (VMS) and software know-how of Milestone in the mix, there really is no telling where Canon’s technology will lead the industry next.
What is for sure is that the company’s existing technology and services are being well received by the market. While some will no doubt benchmark the acquisition of Milestone as Canon’s top achievement of 2014, Freshwater’s proudest moment of the year is the company’s installation at the British Library. Canon’s cameras resulted in direct savings of £250,000 for the British Library as it was possible to cover a room using just three of the Canon models instead of four of a different brand (you can read about this project on SecurityNewsDesk.com by searching British Library).
“The fact that we won such a large contract, while impressive in itself, is not what I’m proud of. I’m proud of the way we delivered the project, the way we engaged with the British Library and supported the institution to achieve the best solution for its needs. This proves how committed we are to provided what is truly needed by our customers and the market,” said Freshwater.
Freshwater has always accepted that Canon needed to earn its position in the market and knew that the company’s success in other sectors was no guarantee that the industry would accept it. That’s why he’s been making a personal effort to network and interact with the industry at all levels, and the hard work is beginning to pay off.
“Not only are we proving our abilities with large projects like the British Library, we’re also expanding our EMEA team. The bottom line is that all companies operate differently and we’re still in the exploratory phase, trying to figure out the way of working that suits us best. But I think, regardless of how we develop our approach, we’ve proven that we’re here to stay.”