This weekend, the city of Chicago will host more than 45,000 runners from all U.S. 50 states and from 100 countries, in addition to two million visitors, for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

With an impressive amount of runners, community members and visitors, the city of Chicago, as it has done for many years, will rely on Axis Communications to ensure safety for the runners, spectators and marathon workers. Axis will deploy 3,000 security cameras. Safety and security will also be ensured with an additional 30,000 security cameras provided by sister agencies, in addition to Genetec’s Citygraf™, which helps unify public safety operations across city departments, disseminate timely information and allows for greater situational awareness.

Part of the reason why Chicago relies heavily on Axis is due to the company’s commitment to make the world a smarter, safer world, and their reputation and stake in the local market that is further enhanced with an Axis Experience Center, located in Cook County, Illinois.

I recently toured the state-of-the-art Axis Experience Center for its grand re-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Although the Axis Experience Center opened in 2013, it has expanded its footprint by 50 percent, which gives it more space to educate and help visitors understand the technology that Axis produces and deploys each day.

A visit to the Axis Experience Center is a unique opportunity for end users to learn how their enterprise can get the most out of the newest and innovative Axis security technology.

The Axis Experience Center is focused on stimulating thought by educating its visitors and engaging in discussions on how its solutions can help enterprises of all sizes. The new space features areas such as a Statement room, Vision room and an Education center that houses educational programs once per month.

“Five years ago, we opened up the first Axis Experience Center. Our intention then was to allow the integrators to bring the end users in to actually see the products and learn about the technology. By having an Experience Center in Chicago, it allowed us to take our resources from Boston, Massachusetts, our regional headquarters at that time, and put staff members in the field where they are needed the most. We want and need to understand the local market, local people and their needs. That’s the benefit of having the Experience Center here,” says Karl F. Radke, CPP, PCI, PSP, Business Area Director, Midwest, for Axis Communications.

“We have expanded by 50 percent, and our goal with the expansion is very simple: when an end user comes through that door, we want them to not just see our products and understand the technology, but to actually experience the product in an actual live, working environment,” Radke adds.

The Experience Center achieves that goal and more. Products are mounted to walls, but even more, visitors can see exactly how facial recognition, license plate recognition (LPR) technology, audio management systems, gunshot detection and many other technology works. “It’s one thing to show end users how the technology works on a piece of paper, but it’s different to allow them to experience in a real world and live setting how that technology can help mitigate any pain points they might have,” notes Radke.

The Axis Experience Centers are so successful and achieve goals of understanding local needs and wants that by the end of 2019, Axis Communications will have three new Axis Experience Centers located across the Americas. Other locations include Boston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Toronto. 

As mentioned, the city of Chicago relies heavily on Axis Communications to keep the city and its 2.7 million residents safe. “If an event does happen, the city of Chicago is on top of it, and they know what is going on. They can help deter, mitigate and push crime away from the city. They’re leveraging technology, such as IP cameras and many other innovative technology, to help keep citizens safe,” says Radke.

“With the Chicago Marathon, it’s a big concern,”Radke adds. “The city of Chicago is striving to make that a safe marathon and a safe city to everyone that is visiting Chicago on Sunday. That is what we want to do. Whether it is Chicago or a small municipality, a grocery store chain, a retailer or higher-education, it’s about making those spaces a safe environment,” he says.