Genetec to offer cloud solutions

Nov. 26, 2012
Company looks to broaden its customer base by providing video surveillance, access control and LPR as a service

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.

"There are two things we did to help address this. Certainly as we develop video surveillance-as-a-service, we need to think very carefully about bandwidth because some people think about it as trying to stuff an elephant into a straw," he explained. "Right now, we’re very focused on understanding the best way to move data up and down and the Microsoft Azure data centers are critical in that because they’re highly available and getting data into the data center is extremely efficient. From that perspective, we’re happy to be in this partnership with Microsoft. The other side of that was let’s look at our key markets, which right now are roughly North America and Western Europe, around the cloud just because of cloud adoption rates and see where the strongest amount of bandwidth is. Certainly on the East Coast, the upper West Coast and lower West Coast and then a few spots right down the middle of the U.S., there is very high-bandwidth availability. I think in some outlying areas it may take another year for bandwidth to be where it needs to get."

Aside from enterprises with satellite locations and SMBs, Elvish said that construction sites and events, such as the G20 summit and other things that draw huge crowds, will be other big vertical markets for these cloud solutions. Genetec plans to deliver its first cloud-based service offering in the first half of 2013.       

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.