Lenel’s product transformation takes shape at ISC West

April 17, 2015
With the launch of its web-based dashboard solution for CSOs, Lenel expands its options

Ever since its sale to United Technology Corporation in the spring of 2005, Lenel Systems International has been on a journey. The acquisition of Lenel by UTC was characterized by a desire to increase its penetration into the enterprise market, improve its standing internationally, as well as improving its appeal in the government and still fertile DHS sectors. Along the path, some risks paid dividends, others did not.

Yet through the years, Lenel has managed to maintain its strong industry presence, counting on loyal customers, dealers and integrators to carry the banner. More than a decade after the UTC marriage, Lenel seems ready to reestablish its roar in the North American market place, so says Ross McKay, Lenel’s Director of Product Management, who has been with the company since 2010 and is based in Austin, Texas. For over 15 years he has held various Product Management (PM) roles in the global Security industry, including Fire & Security Product Leader for Asia/Pacific based in Australia and China; Video PM focusing on the UK market; and integrated Intrusion/Access PM in the Asia/Pacific market.

“We regionalized back in 2013 and it has taken some time for the Asian and EMEA regions to really pick up. I think the whole approach now is paying dividends -- think globally but act locally has been a success,” says McKay. “It has taken some time to achieve the profile in Asia and EMEA we wanted, and we are once again focusing on getting the message back out to the North American market. That is a priority this year.”

The push started late in 2014 with the release of OnGuard 7.0 and its web-based Web Access Trending and Comprehensive Health (WATCH) package. And now at ISC West in Las Vegas this week, Lenel has announced OnGuard WATCH lite, a free version of the comprehensive, Web-based dashboard tool for OnGuard system users. The dashboard discovers and presents security data to security and IT professionals in a whole new way — enabling them to visualize the information at once to allow for quicker decisions, rather than scanning multiple reports. Both OnGuard WATCH lite, along with the full version of OnGuard WATCH, are at the show.

OnGuard WATCH lite places actionable information at the fingertips of key personnel. Users can monitor OnGuard system information through one graphical and intuitive interface to more efficiently manage the OnGuard system.

“This is the first taste of the new generation of OnGuard. It’s a dashboard and by definition it is entirely visual and it is intended for the Chief Security Officer,” explains McKay. “When the CSO comes in on Monday morning, they can take a look at the dashboard and it will show alarm and hardware settings that have either been masked or overwritten, it will show any system parameters that have exceeded a warning or an alarm threshold, which would have triggered alarms. So basically you are getting a visual snapshot of the system’s health. This prepares the CSO to better manage his company risk and helps his metrics.”

With OnGuard WATCH lite, users can quickly view:

• Total counts of access panels, readers, inputs, outputs, cardholders, active badges, visitors and visits

• Basic system information about OnGuard and Windows operating system, SQL server versions and service packs

• Database backup details

• New badges created per day

• Alarms generated per day

• System performance such as CPU, memory usage, hard drive, peak usage

• Error logs

For additional ease of use, the date range can display a few days, months or years of captured data and deeper analysis can be conducted into hours and minutes.

“WATCH lite is a symbol of the product’s transformation.  OnGuard is evolving into a web-based solution. We have a user experience team we never had before, plus we are supporting multiple browsers and Evergreen browsers. All the interaction with the web client is via a new services-oriented architecture platform and a web services API we’re releasing. So all the plumbing behind the solution is really the taste of things to come from OnGuard,” says McKay, who adds that OnGuard WATCH lite — available in May — is free for customers with a valid software upgrade and support plan and is also available as a free 90 day trial for customers without a support plan. The full version of OnGuard WATCH will be available in late summer through Lenel value-added resellers.

The other major transformation is more of an internal push, but no less important to Lenel’s future. Over the past several years, UTC has been looking for more integrated solutions from within. Finding integration synergies among its internal partners is now a priority as well.

“Lenel has always been known to be an open architecture both from our Mercury hardware and our OAP program in that we have more partners than ever before. But we have been a lot more focused in doing more integration with our brothers and sisters within UTC. Last year we did five technology and solution integrations and this year we’re in varying stages of doing four more. Lenel integrated with the Edwards fire panel, with Interlogix NVRs and DVRs, with Otis/Compass elevators, with Mastermind central station alarm automation software, and an intrusion alarm panel from one of the European divisions,” McKay says.

“We now have interaction and share data with all those various platforms. Those devices can be shown on the OnGuard graphics map, those systems alarms and events can be shown on the OnGuard alarm monitor,” he adds. “So now it allows OnGuard to not only manage all the third-party products through the OAP, but more and more of the UTC products as well. That integration strategy all dovetails into the whole Intelligent Building story we are telling at the show.”

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes the magazine's Security Technology Executive, Security Business, and Locksmith Ledger International, and the top-rated website SecurityInfoWatch.com. He is also the host of the SecurityDNA podcast series.Steve can be reached at [email protected]