Genetec Lays Out Initiatives, Plans for 2015

Genetec executives outline an overall roadmap as well as more specific product goals for the year ahead at its Connect ’15 Press Summit.

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For a company based in Canada and headed by someone who tosses around famous people’s quotations as freely as a self-help guru, it was certainly fitting that Genetec president, CEO and founder Pierre Racz channeled hockey legend Wayne Gretzky while discussing the company’s 2015 strategy that focuses heavily on trending technology such as cloud services and 4K.

“At Genetec our top priority is definitely hybrid cloud, unification and 4K. In the words of Wayne Gretzky, ‘Don’t look at the puck, look at where it’s going,'” Racz told attendees of the company’s Connect ’15 Press Summit, held at Genetec headquarters here Feb. 8-10.

Racz was answering a question specifically pointed toward whether cloud solutions are seemingly at odds with bandwidth-intensive 4K video (or what the company refers to as “high-performance computing”), but he was just as well summing up what’s driving the 18-year-old company as it heads digs deeper into 2015 following a year that saw roughly 30 percent revenue growth.

Racz and other key management members previewed Genetec’s plans for 2015, outlined its product roadmap and development pre- and post-ISC West, shared an exciting collaborative integration initiative, toured the company’s facility and visited a municipal end-user application during the summit.

“I’m harnessing the entire company to stay innovative. We’ve been known to be innovative, reconnecting people to purpose. As we grow, there are people who want to put in structure but I want to make sure there’s not too much structure — if anyone hides behind process they might have to do some explaining to me,” says Racz of the software-centric manufacturer. “We want to make sure we can continue to turn on dimes. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, ‘Microsoft isn’t an aircraft carrier, it’s like 1,000 little canoes,’ to use a quote.”

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For 2015, Genetec plans to continue pushing a hybrid cloud/cloud first strategy for its VMS integration solutions. Cloud might still be a relatively scary term for both integrators and end users, and the company is trying to alleviate concerns by building upon a hybrid cloud storage solution that began shipping in November whereby the first 30 days of video get stored on premise and the next 720 go in the cloud.

Genetec notes that its approach allows users to have anywhere from none, some or all of its video functionality in the cloud, because admittedly although cloud is the big buzz-term these days it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, in the right applications it can be highly beneficial.

“Educating people is one of the biggest things when it comes to the cloud, the promise of the cloud,” says Christian Morin, Genetec vice president, cloud services. “It makes implementation easier; provides greater flexibility and scalability, you can pay up/pay down, etc.; lowers the barrier to entry to implement enterprise systems that [customers] couldn’t afford before because they had to host everything in-house; and you benefit from new functionality as it becomes available.”

Toward that end, Genetec announced late last year its Cloud Archives Services for its flagship Security Center product, which incorporates the company’s chief offerings of VMS, access control and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) in an open-platform IP system.

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At ISC West in April, the company will highlight Cloud Archives and its capabilities to: extend retention from days to years without investment in additional hardware; transfer recordings of specific events for the long term by protecting associated video; maintain short-term recordings of recent video, to mitigate against damage to on-site server redundancy without filling up storage; and deploy a fully redundant off-site recording solution for disaster recovery.

For end users, Morin notes, benefits include transparency in hybrid mode whereby access to both cloud and on-premise is seamless without having to know where the video is being stored.

“It’s not just the big players that understand the total cost of computing, smaller players understand,” says Racz. “We’ve had great successes in South America with retailers [who keep 30 days of video on-premises, but duplicate the last 24 hours in the cloud], and moving information far away from the recording device is a value to them” particularly in easing concerns of smash-and-grab.

Cloud and hybrid cloud touch upon virtually all of Genetec’s four main product themes for 2015 — simplifying the overall experience, tapping into the cloud, facilitating collaboration and investigations, and leveraging technology to do more. Encompassing these is the next generation of Security Center, version 5.3, which will be previewed at ISC.