Daniel Falk is a software engineer and the CEO of FixedIT. He has always been interested in solving problems and finding solutions. He was born with an entrepreneurial mind and started his first company as a teenager. Today, he and his team at FixedIT create tools based on machine learning to help clients address different network camera needs. 

Growing up in the countryside in eastern Skåne, he started to solve software and hardware challenges already as a teenager. By the age of 18, he had started his first firm. He helped clients program microcontrollers, operating in electronics and software development.

–When it was time for college I moved to Lund, he says. I have always liked Lund and decided to stay.

During his student years, Daniel decided to get a broad education, instead of specializing straight away:

–When I started at Lund Faculty of Engineering, I chose to study mechanical engineering. I wanted a broader platform within the framework of technology to be able to see the whole context, he says. The first three years at the university were dedicated to mechanical engineering and mechatronics. Over time, I started diving more and more into software and machine learning.

Lund also turned out to be interesting to Daniel, who has always been into entrepreneurship.

–I enjoy being in a place where a lot is happening and want to surround myself with people who are curious about technology and innovation, he says.

Being at Ideon in Lund, he feels like he is in the right place at the right time. He can meet peers interested in the same things and discuss developments within among other things machine learning.

A Clear Niche  

Daniel has worked with various types of programming and started a business alongside his studies. After graduating, he landed a job at Axis where he found his true niche, network cameras. At Axis, he worked as a tech lead in a team that developed applications for Axis’ cameras:

–Throughout my career, I have worked on developing intelligent applications for surveillance cameras, mostly for Axis’ cameras, he says, but also for LUCID and Hikvision.

When he worked at Axis, he studied various use cases.

–I realized that many interesting cases could be solved with machine learning on the cameras.
Daniel wanted to make the cameras more intelligent.

–I quit Axis to start a company and explore just that.

Daniel quickly discovered that the reason why companies don’t work with the more exotic use cases is that it is expensive and complex to develop applications for the cameras.

– You need these large general use cases where there are many potential customers to justify development costs, he says. I began to ponder; ‘why is it so expensive’ and ‘why so complex?’

While looking for answers to these questions, he worked on consulting projects to help various companies around the world develop applications for network cameras.

–I found that 90% of companies address common and general problems every day, he says. The wheel needs to be reinvented all the time. That seemed unnecessary to me.

The first step to his new business idea was to break out standardized components that could be reused between the different projects to be able to offer better solutions at much lower prices for the customers he worked with.

In this way, Daniel has continued to develop and consider which processes can be simplified.

–Which parts are most companies struggling with? ‘How can one simplify this? How do you create a more accessible technology for the various challenges?’ Those were the issues I was working on.

A Growing Little Team

FixedIT, specializing in surveillance network cameras, currently consists of three people who work on developing, packaging, and offering reusable solutions to common software challenges in companies with network camera solutions.

–We still have consulting projects that finance most of what we do and develop, says Daniel. But we are breaking out more and more of these components and our solutions are maturing. Instead of reusing them between different projects, we can offer them to our customers so that they can reuse them themselves. We are now in the process of transitioning from consulting to selling more and more products and tools, such as SaaS platforms.

Cameras For Different Purposes

–Many customers use the camera to collect specific information, Daniel explains. They may want to check that cars are driving in the right places, i.e., places where they are supposed to be driving.

Some customers, such as environmental protection agencies, want statistics over time on certain types of birds that have been present in an area.

Another important application can be to detect forest fires.

–This may involve sensors, says Daniel. Typically, there are small, local, and simple sensors that can be used to detect smoke, for example. However, if you need to monitor thousands of hectares of forest to detect fires and prevent wildfires, you will need thousands of sensors.

But that is an inefficient solution, he says:

–Instead, it is better to mount a camera at the top of a pole so that it can cover a large area. You can get a large amount of information through images. You can get rid of all other unnecessary information in the image. The distilled information can be sent via 4G or stored in memory over time.

Applying a Specific Way of Working

FixedIT’s ‘secret sauce’ is to make the most of Axis’ surveillance platform. The purpose is to give their clients access to a breadth of services within proof of concept, development, deployment, monitoring, innovation, and product improvement:

–We take care of the whole solution and develop it over time to adapt to the client’s needs.

In the past few years, many companies have presented a lot of different IoT (Internet of Things) platforms.

–It is common to have a platform that takes ownership of the whole device, assuming that each device is a ‘slave’ to the system it is connected to.

The camera industry is, instead, based on a so-called multi-tenant system. It is a more generous system with a shared platform that you can build upon.

For example, the main purpose of a camera could e.g. be surveillance. But, since the camera is already there collecting a wealth of information, the customers want to do more with it.

Departing from this, FixedIT uses a different way of working than most IoT companies. Making use of the resources, their Axis cameras, customers already have, FixedIT helps customers make the cameras carry out additional tasks. To make this possible, clients would normally need to get more devices and installations. Instead, the same system shares resources. Several applications, use cases, can instead operate side-by-side.

Knows Axis Cameras by Heart

Daniel’s specific knowledge of Axis surveillance cameras is a major reason why FixedIT has been able to add value specifically for the development of these.

–Currently, there are few people with the skills needed to solve what we want to accomplish in this area. We also have connections as well as practices that have allowed us to find a strong niche.

Hence, FixedIT currently focuses entirely on working with the Axis platform.

–Axis is the starting point globally. It has the best potential, we believe, Daniel says. It has a robust hardware platform and is well-built. Many other camera manufacturers are becoming unpopular because of security vulnerabilities.

Besides being strong, powerful, and stable, Axis’ system is also flexible, Daniel says. It is a large-scale product that can be used for many different purposes.

New Solutions Under Way

The team also has other solutions in the pipeline:

–We are working on developing a business model that involves offering solutions, tools, and software to consulting firms, that they can use to solve common problems for their customers, says Daniel.
Daniel sees that it is the scalable part of the company that will grow a lot in the coming months:

–There is a great need for tools that we can provide. We’re trying to make it easier for anyone to start using platforms and develop their application with as little effort as possible.
The team is also working on developing solutions fitting companies of any type:

–Among other things, we have developed an online learning portal. We aim to become a one-stop-shop for the entire network camera ecosystem, for all companies, regardless of the type of partnership or product they are looking for. We also offer free learning materials.

What Happens Now

–We are working on a Vinnova project in which we are developing the platform to make it a large general one that anyone can use, says Daniel. We are looking at which solutions companies are generally requesting, and which are more unique and niche. Then we try to tie them together so that it becomes a generic product that fits many.

About being part of the Ideon Science Park Incubator…

Daniel thinks that the best thing about being at an innovation hub, or incubator such as Ideon’s, is to get the chance to interact with like-minded.

–The network is valuable, discussing ideas and synergies with other interesting people who are doing exciting things and who are interested in similar challenges.

As part of the incubator program, Daniel believes that he has learned a lot that he had not previously considered.

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