Mobotix – Eye of the Robot


Previously an old rail crossing, the Sandridge Bridge over Melbourne’s Yarra River was redeveloped into a public walkway in 2006. Strolling across you can read, country by country, about Victoria’s immigration history.

According to Swede Magnus Ekerot, the chief sales officer of German security technology company Mobotix, more than 21,000 Swedes have relocated to Australia; however this is trumped by Sweden’s alphabetical neighbour Syria, he notes. Another feature of the Sandridge precinct is its strange security arrangements, Ekerot observes: “I’m not a freak, but I like looking at security applications.”

Cameras are visible every 20 metres, but there are unusual blind spots, for example around an ATM. He appeals to conference delegates, asking if anyone present has the City of Melbourne as a client. No one owns up. “Whoever did must be wizards at selling them crap,” he quips.

There’s a technology revolution and the security sector needs to be part of it. The problem, however, is that too many resellers focus on moving cameras—units that current systems struggle to support—rather than providing a security solution that works out better for the end user; not just financially, but in labour productivity. The solution is not more cameras but better cameras with better technology in them, and easy to use (“grandma ready”) so this level of surveillance becomes accessible to all, says Ekerot.

The conference, for the company’s Australian resellers, kicks off on Sunday evening with a welcome reception at 28, Crown Metropol’s panoramic bar and lounge, where delegates begin to mingle. Previously run in Sydney, where you’ll find Mobotix’s Australian head office, the event has come to Melbourne to acknowledge business growth in Victoria and the brand’s expansion throughout Australia.

I met Dean Hobin, Mobotix Australia’s business development manager, and Chris Watt, sales and marketing manager for Mobotix Asia-Pacific. The key to expansion has been to educate and evangelise resellers, but through a strict channel structure where Mobotix uses distributors to reach resellers, who offer Mobotix solutions to end users.

This makes the job pure business development, Hobin says. Once the end users choose Mobotix they’re converts, so the real challenge is conveying the business proposition to resellers. Ekerot’s animated keynote the next morning is close to evangelical. There’s already brand loyalty in the room, he waxes, before launching into some history. In 1999, founder and current CEO Dr Ralf Hinkel set out to make a robot, hence the portmanteau Mobotix from ‘mobile robotics’.

The eye he developed for the robot had immediate surveillance applications, being better than cameras on the market at the time. The  technology still leads the high-resolution video surveillance segment. Since then, Mobotix’s products have evolved.


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