How it began
Ajax Systems was established in 2011 by Aleksandr Konotopskyi. The company’s goal was to take the niche of producing medium-price security systems, which lied between cheap Chinese and expensive Western brands.
First detectors were ready in a year. The product proved to be quite successful in the local market, but when the team presented it at an international exhibition, no one showed any interest in it. You won’t surprise anyone in the world with an import-substituting solution; what you need is something new and unique.
Then, Aleksandr and the team decided to create a security system from scratch with a communication protocol, control panel, detectors, cloud server and a mobile app of its own.
Ajax 2.0 and SMRK investments
After 3 years of development, Ajax Systems introduced the next generation of wireless detectors. The first release included motion, door/window opening, smoke, glass break detectors and modules that allowed connecting devices to security central units of other manufacturers (Ajax didn’t have its own central unit yet).
A proprietary radio protocol Jeweller was created for the operation of the detectors, providing a big range of up to 2000 meters and energy efficiency — Ajax devices were able to operate for up to 7 years using bundled batteries. Attention was paid not only to the reliability of the devices but also to their design, convenience, and ease of use.
Ajax innovations have attracted the attention of the Ukrainian venture fund SMRK, co-founded by Oleksandr Kosovan, CEO of the famous Ukrainian company MacPaw. After receiving a $1 million investment from the fund, Ajax Systems used it to expand its product line and create an integrated security system.
Also, to guarantee the high quality of the product, production was organized in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ajax Systems employed 40 people at that moment.
Beginning of international expansion
In 2016, the company released the intelligent Hub central unit that integrates security devices into a single system, the Ajax Cloud server and apps for convenient system control from a smartphone.
Also, smoke, leakage detectors and a relay for remote power control were introduced. Thus, the system started protecting not only against robbery but also against fire and flooding and provided an option to control electrical appliances in the house.
In the same year, Ajax Systems successfully entered the world market, presenting its product at three major security fairs in Las Vegas, London and Essen (Germany).
The number of employees increased 2.5 times to 125 people. The product line extended to 13 devices, and production tripled to 12,000 units per month by the end of the year. Sales of Ajax products started in 5 countries worldwide.
2017 was the year of prestigious awards for Ajax. The company won awards at international security exhibitions, including “Security System of the Year” at IFSEC in England and “Best Innovative Product” at MIPS/Securika. Ajax became Europe’s most awarded wireless security system.
The R&D team improved the hub’s operational system and named it OS Malevich. The system is highly reliable, resistant to viruses and cyberattacks, and ready to be improved even further.
An option for integrating video surveillance has also been added; thanks to the support of a standard RTSP protocol, it became possible to connect virtually any IP video camera to Ajax.
Ajax Systems showed good results in terms of business growth; sales volume increased 5 times, and the number of countries of presence increased from 45 to 67. Ajax sales grew particularly fast in Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The team increased to 230 employees and the production rate increased to 44,000 devices per month.
Preparations for the next breakthrough
It was a year of refactoring for Ajax. The key priority was an optimization of the internal processes of the company – in particular, preparation of the production for further aggressive growth.
Ajax has successfully passed the European quality audit and received a certificate of compliance with the European standard EN 50131 and Grade 2 under the 5th scheme.
One of the priority goals for the year was the launch of outdoor protection devices. The line was opened by MotionProtect Outdoor, an outdoor motion detector with two-stage protection against false alarms.
Another important event was the release of Enterprise API, an interface for integrating Ajax products with third-party services and apps.
The company has passed the mark of 1,000,000 manufactured devices. The team increased to 450 people, and the output exceeded 100,000 detectors per month.
Multi-release, smart home and $10 million from Horizon Capital
2019 saw the largest release in the Ajax history – the Multi-release. The company presented several major novelties and updates at once:
- Safe photo-verification of alarms became available for Ajax thanks to the release of a new Hub 2 control panel and MotionCam detector with a camera. Exclusively for MotionCam, Ajax team has developed another radio protocol, Wings, which provides safe image transmission in less than 9 seconds from a distance of up to 1,700 meters.
- A big step toward smart home was new automation scenarios. The system learned to automatically shut off water in the house in case of flooding, cut the power by a fire alarm, and much more. The line of automation devices was extended with a Socket smart plug, and the panic Button received an alternative mode for the control of scenarios.
- The new intelligent ReX radio signal range extender increased the potential Ajax coverage area from 12 to 16 km². And with the OS Malevich 2.8 update, Ajax hubs can operate with 5 ReXs at the same time, increasing the maximum coverage area to 35 km².
The company’s exceptional results and success in local and international markets helped attract $10 million in investment from the international fund Horizon Capital. The long-term goal of the partnership is to put Ajax Systems on IPO.
The company keeps expanding; the production volume has increased to 220,000 devices per month, the number of markets where it operates has reached 93, and the number of employees is now 800+ people. A new R&D office was opened in Kharkiv along with representative offices in the UAE and the UK.
Ajax Special Event, partnership with Andriy Shevchenko and protection of a UNESCO site in Norway
2020 has been a year of great challenges. The security industry has faced serious challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ajax believes that any crisis is a time of opportunity.
The pandemic deprived us of the possibility to contact partners and installers in person, but we did not back down and presented all the new products online. This is how we held our first Ajax Special Event — a large virtual presentation of new Ajax devices and updates, which was broadcast for partners and users from 120 countries in 9 languages simultaneously. The Ajax team led by the CEO presented 8 innovations, including Hub 2 Plus, MultiTansmitter, StreetSiren DoubleDeck, and monitoring software 911. Another highlight was the new Ajax product video shot in the spirit of Hollywood blockbusters.
The summer update of OS Malevich 2.9 included hub data import and a number of additional features, while the fall release of OS Malevich 2.10 presented the function of alarm confirmation with multiple detectors, new device DoubleButton, and compliance with the key British standard PD 6662.
Another important event became partnership with the world football legend Andriy Shevchenko. He became an Ajax ambassador on the Italian market and starred in a series of videos for a joint digital campaign.
2020 was also a year of trust for us. The Ajax system was entrusted with fire protection of historic buildings in Norway and multi-story buildings in the Czech Republic, as well as the protection of production facilities of a large agricultural holding.
It’s also worth noting Ajax was joined by the best sales directors to strengthen the company’s position in the UK, South African, Italian and Iberian markets, as well as to develop local teams in these regions.
Thanks to the Translator app updates, the most popular in Europe monitoring apps — Manitou, Horus, SBN, WBB, Patriot, V1, F1, Sentinel, Kronos, ABsistemDC(NG)v2 — now support new features of Ajax systems including photo verification
Despite the difficult economic situation, Ajax Systems continued to grow. We opened a second plant and increased production output to 450,000 units per month. The number of system users has grown to 830,000 and the number of company employees has increased to 1,500 worldwide.
Fibra, 18 new products, 2 new R&D centers, and the first million users
2021 was a landmark year for Ajax Systems: the first million users, the new Fibra wired product line, a record number of releases, and projects that seemed unthinkable not so long ago.
Now, you can see the Ajax logo on a multi-million-dollar yacht in the UK, on a cell tower in Bangladesh, on the railway in Switzerland, on a mushroom farm in Turkey, in museums in Denmark and South Africa, in the 19th-century castle in Germany, in the UAE hospital, and even at the research base in Antarctica.
The Ajax Systems team already employs 1,734 people, including 374 engineers. In 2021 the company opened new R&D offices in Vinnytsia and Lviv, and acquired the Concepter team, a design and product development studio. The Concepter engineers have become members of various Ajax Systems R&D teams and strengthened their expertise.
Thanks to the comprehensive R&D improvement, the Ajax product line has grown to a record 18 new devices over the last year, including the revolutionary Fibra wired line. Traditionally, the new products were presented at two Ajax Special Event virtual presentations.
The Ajax global expansion has also continued. The company has put together strong local teams in the UK, Italy, France, Iberia, and South Africa, and acquired skilled regional sales managers to strengthen its position in Northern Europe, the Balkan and Adriatic regions, Benelux countries, India, Australia and Oceania. Also, at the beginning of 2021 Karl Robb became Ajax Systems Independent Board Member. Karl started started optimizing corporate governance and preparing the company for going public.
As offline events were gradually returning, Ajax attended 16 international exhibitions in 9 countries, including Turkey, India, and the USA.
In Ukraine Ajax was best remembered for the large-scale advertising campaign “Your protection in an imperfect world”. A situational partnership with Darijo Srna resulted in a long-term collaboration: a Croatian defender and UEFA Cup winner became the Ajax Systems brand ambassador in Croatia.
Summing up, in 2021 Ajax Systems became the largest manufacturer of security systems in Europe. The number of countries of presence has increased to 130, and the number of Ajax users has reached 1,250,000.