Canada-based VMS solutions provider Genetec recently announced that it plans to offer cloud-based solutions for video surveillance, access control and license plate recognition. These new cloud security offerings, which will be built on Microsoft’s Azure platform, are a vital part of Genetec’s business strategy moving forward, according to Andrew Elvish, the company’s vice president of marketing.
"We had for quite a while, as a company, been engaged in something called grid computing, which is a way of looking at computers and using computers on a broad based network and making our applications more accessible to using broad networks of computers and processing power," Elvish explained. "And as the cloud came online as a more viable opportunity in business, we started investigating it internally. Then we started thinking about how our security applications could be made more accessible, more actionable and more useful in the cloud."
Elvish said that the cloud will enable Genetec to do two things: First, it will help the company expand options for on-premise systems to its existing enterprise customers and secondly, it will open up their product portfolio to a broader market, specifically small and medium-sized business customers that have between six and 12 surveillance cameras or between eight and 16 doors to secure.
"We don’t see the cloud as a swap out for on-premises security systems, but we do see it as a way of extending an on-premise system in a much more streamlined and fast way because companies – if you can imagine a company that has satellite offices – it’s much easier for them to federate in those satellite offices using the cloud than necessarily bringing in IT systems in that office," Elvish said.
The main benefit of the cloud to customers, according to Elvish, is the ability to have an elastic and scalable security system. In addition to reducing infrastructure costs for enterprises with satellite offices, Elvish said that the cloud will also result in lower upfront costs as clients will be billed on a monthly basis for the service.
"In our building of this business plan along with the technology plan, we looked at total cost of ownership and we wanted to be sure that the total cost of ownership of cloud solutions was much more advantageous, especially for those small and medium-sized business owners, so that they could take on the robustness of a Genetec solution without having to invest such a large, upfront sum," Elvish added. "From our research with different analyst groups and talking with small and medium business owners, one of the key things was cash flow. As-as-service solutions really address cash flow issues because you’re not putting out that big amount of money right at the beginning."
While other companies have been offering cloud-based security solutions for some time, Elvish said what will differentiate Genetec cloud products is that the company will be taking care of a lot of the backend infrastructure that others do not, simplifying life for the integrator.
"There are other players in the market who may offer a platform for an integrator to develop an as-a-service solution and then the integrator has to go out and figure out how to meter, provision, backup and secure all of this data or find their own data center," Elvish said. "To us, getting rid of that complexity was critical for this play."
Despite the security fears many people have expressed about using cloud solutions, Elvish said the biggest concern they heard from integrators and end-users was bandwidth.