Genetec poised for big year

Press summit provides inside look at company culture, vision for future
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MONTREAL—Genetec, a company that develops open-architecture software, hardware and cloud-based services for the physical security and public safety industry, hosted its fourth annual press summit at its headquarters here in January, providing a glimpse into the company’s culture and vision for the future.

The company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is undergoing rapid growth, experiencing a CAGR of 28 percent over the past five fiscal years, with significant growth in North America as well as Latin America, Caribbean, Middle East & Africa, Europe and APAC.

“We are growing,” Genetec CEO Pierre Racz said. “In 2017, we expect to welcome our 1,000th employee in one of our nine offices around the world.” The company is expanding and renovating its headquarters here and recently moved its Paris office to a larger space.

Racz said that this is an exciting time as Genetec looks to shake off the label of just being a video management company.

“A lot of what we are focusing on here during the summit is that video management is not our only trick,” he said. “Video is certainly integrated very tightly into everything we do, but we also have emerging products, such as Synergis for access control, and we are certainly going to be one of the top 10 access control companies this year.”

He also pointed to the success of Genetec’s Mission Control, a decision support system that provides organizations with heightened levels of situational intelligence, visualization, and complete incident management capabilities, and Genetec Clearance, a collaborative case management system designed to speed up investigations by enabling organizations to collect, manage, and share any kind of multimedia evidence amongst a diverse group of stakeholders.

With a focus on easing collaboration between investigation stakeholders, the Genetec Clearance pricing model removes per-seat/per-user charges, and does away with billing surprises common on other evidence management platforms, according to the company.

Genetec will be showcasing these products and more at ISC West in April, and the company gave a sneak peak at some of the other highlights for the show, including the recently announced Genetec Retail Intelligence application. Designed to help marketing, operations and merchandising teams understand in-store shopper behavior, Genetec Retail Intelligence leverages existing security infrastructure investments to deliver business insights.

Presented through an intuitive web dashboard, this new product gathers information and performance metrics across single or multiple store locations and deeply integrates with point of sale systems so that store traffic and conversion rates can be better understood and contextualized with a variety of other variables.

The company will also unveil Security Center 5.6, which has key new features including an updated and modern HTML5-based web client, new security hardware integrations to SimonVoss electronic locks and the Mercury Security MS Bridge, and the ability to use license plates as access control credentials with the new AutoVu SharpV camera. The automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) camera delivers unique physical access control capabilities when paired with the Synergis Cloud Link appliance.

Other highlights for ISC West include the latest capabilities of its Synergis access control system, part of its Security Center unified offering. As a Mercury Security Platinum-Elite partner, Genetec now officially supports a new integration to the Mercury Security MS Bridge that allows organizations to economically migrate to an open and modern access control platform while protecting their existing investment.

Genetec VP of marketing Andrew Elvish said all of this innovation is the result of a company culture that fosters creativity and entrepreneurship.

“We have all embraced a new organizational structure that includes smaller, more autonomous self-functioning teams, which allows the teams to be more nimble in how they address the customer, and as a result we have seen a ramp-up in our ability to get things to market a lot quicker,” Elvish explained.

This product innovation also reflects “this move in Genetec away from just straightforward video surveillance and access control and much more toward a joined-up thinking around how people experience security in their every day lives,” he said. “A central preoccupation of the team at Genetec is how we take our technology and bring it into people’s businesses, into governments, in a way that actually helps them improve security as well as the everyday flow of their operation.”

“We have moved the discussion away from pixels to the bigger picture, so hence the slogan we came up with—pixels need perspective,” added Racz. “A big focus is helping our customers to be able to do a lot more with less, which is what Mission Control does, increasing the productivity of security personnel.”

A great example of how Genetec is working with customers to create total solutions is The Centre Hospitalier Urbain (CHU) Sainte-Justine, a hospital in Montreal that hosted a press tour as part of the Genetec summit.

To help keep patients safe, the hospital relies on Genetec’s Security Center for unified video surveillance and access control throughout the hospital and parking areas. Since 2010, the hospital has steadily increased its number of IP security cameras, which today is 750 Bosch and Panasonic cameras.

The hospital chose Security Center because of its open architecture, which supports use of some of the existing infrastructure and legacy systems as the facility gradually increases its cameras and doors.

Fabrice Brunet, CHU Sainte-Justine president & CEO, noted that there has been a “significant culture change at the hospital,” over the past eight years led by the efforts of Julie Carpentier, emergency preparedness and security coordinator for CHU Sainte-Justine.
 
For a hospital with a staff of 5,457 employees, including 4,416 trainees and students, the mission is “to protect people and infrastructures against any situation that would compromise the normal activities, and to prevent and prepare the organization for a quick response and recovery,” said Carpentier.

The security staff includes 75 employees working full or part time, who help run four security operation centers as well as the management of access control, key systems, video surveillance and interventions for emergency situation or crisis management.

In addition to increasing security and surveillance, the overall vision is “to make response more effective, prepare employees to react adequately, and be able to investigate and develop an expertise in hospital security and emergency preparedness,” Carpentier said.

Beyond the introduction of new products and a site visit to CHU Sainte-Justine, a big focus for the summit was cybersecurity, and the discussion was opened with an eye-opening keynote from Hart Brown, senior vice president, practice leader - organizational resilience at HUB International, the eighth largest insurance brokerage in the world.

Brown, who is also a certified ethical hacker, showed how easy it is today to create cyber havoc for a person or company, giving an example of a live real-time hack and live data breach, “so you can see what the back-end of all of this looks like,” he said.

“In an effort to understand the cyber threat a little better I became a certified ethical hacker, diving into this world headfirst to try and understand what these people are doing—spending time at all of the hacking events, meetings, conferences, those types of things.”

What Brown found is a lot of the tools and resources used by hackers today are commercially available with minimal cost and little effort or expertise. 

Genetec wants to be a leader in educating the industry about cysbersecurity concerns, and is pushing for more in the industry to embrace the concept of cyber-malpractice insurance. 

“The big problem with cyber is that there is plausible deniability,” said Racz. “We have been pushing this idea of cyber-incompetence insurance and it is starting to take traction. We have been telling the consultant community and the end user community that they should insist on cyber incompetence or risk insurance from the manufacturers and the integrators. What the cyber incompetence insurance does is if you are putting junk—vulnerable equipment—on my network, you will be liable to a lawsuit.”