After completing university, Gavin Daly was planning to start a career in the telecommunications industry, instead, he ended up in the security industry. 

“I had recently migrated from Ireland where I had been working for IBM at the time. An opening at a security distributor caught my attention. I figured it would be a good experience for me but wasn’t sure if it was going to be long term,” said Daly. 

He landed the job and so began his career in the security industry. Fifteen years later, Daly is still in the security industry and currently holds the position of Professional Services Manager for Axis Communications. 

Gavin Daly was selected as a Vanguard Game Changer for the Dec/Jan 2021 issue. Here is his full interview. 

Tell us about your role today?

My official title is Professional Services Manager, I manage 4 distinct teams that range from field sales engineers to solutions engineers and architects as well as technical trainers. That’s the official on paper description, however, I would describe my role as more of an enabling type of position. I try to create an environment that is positive and embraces our company culture, encourage my team members to do well, give constructive feedback and try to give them the tools and resources they need to be successful in their careers.

What was your most challenging moment?

Becoming a father. I don’t think anything can fully prepare you for it, but like most things in life you adapt, and what seems like a challenge at first can become a blessing and be one of the most rewarding elements in life. I’m blessed with four wonderful children. My wife likes to remind me from time to time that I turned white as a ghost in the delivery room. 

What was your aha moment or epiphany that you think will resonate most with our reader, tell us that story?

There’s no single aha moment per se, but I’ll answer more broadly here. Some things I’ve learned over the years is the importance of having a strong team behind you and working in a company with strong leadership is key.  Treat your team and your customers with respect as you need them!

What is the one thing that has you most fired up today?

I think there are so many exciting changes happening now. Technology is evolving, we are doing some amazing things here at Axis and making a real impact. Even though 2020 has been a tough year for a lot of people, businesses, and the economy, there are also opportunities because of it, and I can’t wait to conquer 2021. 

What is the best advice you received?

I’ve had some great mentors over the years from past managers, colleagues, and family so it’s hard to pick a single thing but here are some.

Don’t follow the herd. I think this is a great one for anyone working where innovation is part of the business. It’s easy to fall into a trap of doing things that others are doing and trying to replicate it to be successful. 

Be open to feedback: It was something I learned to be able to take feedback well and be able to act on it. I think it’s a great thing when someone is willing to share some honest feedback with you and even better when it’s positive feedback about someone on my team.

What is a habit that contributes to your success?

Trying different things and allowing myself to fail. You hear this all the time, but it’s true you learn so much from the failures. The second is a balance of patience and diligence. It’s an unfortunate trend with the younger generation, that they expect more in terms of career progressions in increasingly shorter periods of time and are more likely to leave organizations two years in. 

Try to create your ideal role in a company. A lot of people within organizations tend to wait for a role to appear, apply for it, hopefully, get it. I think if you have been with an organization for some time, it’s good to have the conversations early on career development. I like the approach of arguing the business case for a role and if you think you’re a good fit then pitch yourself for it and make it a reality.

What people or organizations do you believe best embody the innovation mindset? 

For me, innovation means also adapting to change even in the face of adversity. This year I’ve been particularly impressed with some of the large grocery retailers adapting to the situation and how they are making groceries accessible for people at home.

The applications and services have become a lot more intuitive and accessible. It is not only an essential service, but it’s also about convenience and this may change the way groceries are done forever. And who doesn’t like to avoid long lineups!

How is your organization changing the game within your industry sector?

By offering a lot more than just IP cameras. We have broadened the portfolio to expand into areas of Access control, Audio, Analytics, Cyber, and more. With technology in areas of cybersecurity, edge-based applications, and more end-to-end solutions there is a team of great people to support our valued channel.

Not to mention recognition is also great – awards like the best place to work is a great support in the industry.  We have not seen this in our industry before and it’s normally reserved for large California based tech companies. I think we are changing the game in many ways. 

For example, 10 years ago who thought a “CCTV Camera” would also be a people counter, a smoke and flame detector, and an aggression detector?

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your industry sector?

Dependencies on third-party CPU manufacturers. From almost the inception when Axis started to develop its own CPU’s, known as ARTPEC. It gives us much more control and flexibility in what we can do with our products. It makes us more difficult to copy. If you’re busy copying, then you’re not doing enough innovating.

How has innovation become engrained in your organization’s culture and how is it being optimized?

Axis is very sharing of knowledge with all its employees. We are brought up to speed on new technologies, given opportunities to provide feedback and ask questions, and are well prepared with knowledge when products come to market. We all get to be a part of it and that is important and a big part of our “Always Open “core value.

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

I’ll give three: IoT, Cyber Security, and AI. End customers are (and should be) expecting more from manufacturers in these areas. In areas of IoT and the push of 5G allowing for even more devices to be added in areas such as smart lighting. IT depts are tightening up on network security as cyberattacks and breaches increase, hence we see more demand for products that are cyber secure. AI: More intelligence at the edge to create actionable events and gather more useful data from video.

What is your parting piece of advice?

It’s too easy to get comfortable and complacent, especially if you’ve been at the same company or in the same role for many years.  My advice is to approach things with an open mind, embrace change, and try different things.

Never stop learning, the world is changing at a rapid pace and it’s easy to fall behind. Learn to switch off for the sake of a work/life balance this has never been more important than it is today.