Genetec Underlines Dealer Centricity, Hybrid Approaches at Global Press Summit ’24

During its Global Press Summit ’24, Genetec Inc. previewed an exciting new SaaS solution, but it also laid out a vision for partner-driven success.

Genetec Underlines Dealer Centricity, Hybrid Approaches at Global Press Summit ’24

Genetec Inc.’s Global Press Summit ’24 kicked off with a toast from Pierre Racz, president (left), and Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing (right). Photo by Dan Ferrisi.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Genetec Inc.’s Global Press Summit ’24, held near Washington, D.C., from Feb. 6 to 8, allowed security industry media from across the globe to dive deep into the unified security solutions provider’s roadmap, its vision for the future and its channel partner commitment.

The summit, which marked a roaring return from the pandemic years, was also a celebration of Genetec’s remarkable growth: Indeed, the company, whose headcount exceeds 2,000, has expanded its personnel by 77% since 2019.

The company is clearly in investment mode, a fact underscored not only by a new solution launch (see accompanying article: Genetec Unveils Security Center SaaS) but also by the opening of a new Experience Center in Sydney, Australia, which will allow integrators and end users alike to get hands-on with Genetec solutions.

Lots of Learning Ahead

When media members assembled on the evening of Feb. 6, Genetec president Pierre Racz toasted to all the learning that lay ahead. Starting on Feb. 7, we participated in in-depth content sessions focusing on Genetec, its understanding of the market and where its channel partners fit into the mix.

Genetec executive Andrew Elvish

Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing at Genetec, touted “creative destruction”: break things down in order to build up new and better. Photo by Dan Ferrisi.

The first presenter, Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing, helped level set for the discussions to follow. Using the term “creative destruction,” he described the Genetec team as the #WreckingCrew in the sense that they break things down in order to build up new and better.

This mantra helped power Genetec’s rapid ascent in the access control and license plate reader (LPR) markets, while also helping the company maintain its established leadership in the video management system (VMS) category.

It also positions the company nicely for what Elvish believes are seismic shifts to come. One such shift is that we’re speeding toward cloud adoption — especially in the form of hybrid infrastructures.

He believes this trend will become predominant over the next several years, citing strong growth prospects for cloud-connected physical security tools.

Elvish warned, however, that the answer is not merely to jam the cloud into existing structures and systems. Instead, he argues, the key is to “reinvent your business” by leveraging what the cloud can do. As Elvish puts it, “Moving to the cloud is a means to an end.”

He’s especially enthusiastic about a combination approach that blends the cloud and on-premises capabilities; this combination, he says, enables channel partners to apply the best tool to a given situation to meet client goals.

Newly Empowered IT Teams

Elvish also pointed to a notable finding from Genetec’s “State of Physical Security” study, which surveyed some 5,500 end-user organizations — namely, that IT teams are increasingly empowered when it comes to security technologies. As Elvish puts it, “The buying group is changing toward IT.” To that point, the study found that 55% of IT respondents had acquired or replaced security technology in 2023.

Accordingly, Elvish argues that the money’s in IT these days, and it is incumbent on physical security to get a seat at the table. That means becoming comfortable with OpEx budgets (versus CapEx budgets), since 62% of respondents said their OpEx budgets would at least stay flat, if not grow, in the coming year.

Control Room space at Genetec experience center

Constantly evolving security risks — whether physical or cyber — must remain top of mind for all channel members, but particularly for those working in mission-critical environments. Photo by Dan Ferrisi.

Elvish also underlined constantly evolving cybersecurity risks, saying they must remain top of mind for all channel members.

To that point, the “State of Physical Security” study found that 31% of respondents’ organizations had been targeted by cybercriminals in 2023. Worse still, 46% of banking and finance end users had been attacked. This makes clear that cyberthreats are increasing, with further worsening likely.

It’s unsurprising, then, that 42% of organizations increased deployments of cybersecurity-related tools in 2023 — up significantly from 2022. This underscores a simple truth: Physical and electronic security professionals looking to optimize their success in the coming decades must learn to speak the language of IT and attend to IT departments’ (valid) concerns about infrastructure security.

Genetec is Channel Partner-Centric

Michel Chalouhi, vice president of global sales, provided an overview of Genetec’s worldwide business. The Americas, he says, makes up about 76%, whereas Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is 17% and Asia-Pacific (APAC) is 7%. For FY22, the Americas and APAC exhibited the strongest growth, registering 25% and 23%, respectively.

He credits a lot of that growth to Genetec’s strong channel partner relationships, a recognition that integrators are the feet on the street who procure, design, deploy, commission, provision and maintain Genetec systems.

“We are a channel-led organization,” Chalouhi declares, “and the channel is the core of it.” He points to the company’s 2,132 global channel partners and says nearly all Genetec solutions — more than 99% of transactions, in fact — are sold through the channel.

Given Genetec’s tight relationships with — indeed, its mutual interdependence with — its channel partners, the company is very mindful in making selections. According to Chalouhi, Genetec considers a range of factors: expertise and certifications, scale and ability to help the company scale; reach into critical markets and regions (e.g., the corrections market); and whether the prospective partner possesses intimate vertical and domain knowledge.

Chalouhi makes clear that, although Genetec’s expectations of its partners are high, the company’s loyalty level matches it.

“We’re very protective as to when we bring new partners in,” he asserts. Notably, Genetec tries to ensure that any new addition will not cannibalize an existing partner’s business.

Chalouhi answers the question of why channel partners should choose to work with Genetec with a few refreshing pledges. First, he says there are no false promises and there’s no vaporware.

“They know they’re getting a reliable product and the support that goes with it,” he states.

Chalouhi also says that Genetec tries to simplify the lives of its partners — for example, by delivering a consistent global experience. He says that the relatively small, carefully curated nature of Genetec’s dealer network facilitates such uniformity.

So, make no mistake: Genetec is highly attuned to the experience of its channel partners. After all, as Chalouhi puts it, “The integrator is as much our customer as the end user [is].” That means Chalouhi and other Genetec executives are always thinking about how they can help channel partners achieve their desired outcome.

The Beginning of the ‘S’ Curve

Christian Morin, vice president of product engineering and CSO, took to the stage and shared an exciting observation: He believes that our industry’s cloud adoption is just at the beginning of the “S” curve.

Morin points out that Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) and Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) are already forecasting considerably more growth than their non-cloud counterparts are, with the latter only forecasting single-digit increases through 2027.

All this presents an opportunity, to be sure, but Morin reemphasizes that the cloud is simply a means to an end — it’s not an end unto itself. So, what is the actual sought-after end? For Morin, ease is the answer.

Morin takes pains to underline that ease does not mean simplicity, which often can connote compromised quality. Ease, he says, is about addressing the many problems that stakeholders face today. For example, organizations want to decrease friction and reduce waste. Organizations also want to eliminate obstacles that would impede achieving goals.

For channel partners, ease means driving efficiency — in particular, delivering on customer outcomes more quickly and with fewer impediments.

Genetec Security Center SaaS and the cloud.

Genetec launching Security Center SaaS reflects an indisputable fact: Stakeholders are speeding toward the cloud. Photo courtesy of Genetec.

In short, our speeding to the cloud reflects a desire to bring the fast experience of our consumer lives to the enterprise world. That means nonstop, continuous video delivery, high availability and uninterrupted access.

This is exactly the thinking that underpinned Genetec’s creation of Security Center SaaS.

Fireside Chat With Genetec

During a fireside chat with Racz, Genetec’s president, he reflected on the fact that the company’s first cloud-centric offering emerged some 10 years ago, a foundation that undergirds Security Center SaaS.

Speaking more broadly, though, Racz sought to elucidate the core values according to which his company operates. For example, he touted sustainability as being a core ethos.

Racz powerfully reinforced Genetec’s commitment to the channel, saying the company’s goal is to help its integrator partners compete with the do-it-yourself crowd.

“We’re betting on the channel,” he declares, while encouraging integrators to concentrate their efforts on higher-value work that only they can do.

Part of the recipe of delivering value is to become clients’ strategic advisor — and bringing cybersecurity to the fore can be a big part of that. As Racz observes, the opposite of security is convenience.

That fact means that industry leaders like Genetec and its channel partners must always push against people’s tendency to say, “I can’t be bothered to do that.” (This manifests in organizations failing to change default passwords, for example.) Racz says that Genetec and its partners are working to “…make it hard for people to do the wrong thing.”

Offering guidance on personal and organization-wide best practices is critical at this moment, when cybersecurity risks seem so high. Vincent de Noiret, application security program manager, offered an attention-getting presentation on how malicious actors seek weaknesses to wreak havoc.

He walked us through some Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) vulnerabilities that can compromise access control efforts. He also demonstrated relay attacks. These involve using a reader device to scan an access card, relay it to another device somewhere else and then have a third party use that device to breach a controlled space.

Finally, he demonstrated a device called Flipper Zero — termed by some “an RFID Swiss Army knife” — that can be used for everything from harmless pranks (e.g., changing TV channels in a bar) to malicious acts (e.g., cloning a car key fob or a hotel room key). A sobering presentation, de Noiret’s talk serves as a reminder of the omnipresent threats that integrators and their clients face.

Visiting Capital One Arena

Genetec technologies at Capital One Arena.

Genetec Security Center 5.10 is the main platform through which all building information is funneled at Capital One area, according to Sylvester Servance, director, venue security at Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Photo by Dan Ferrisi.

After a packed day of learning on February 7, attending global media enjoyed an excursion the next day to Capital One Arena. The famed sports and entertainment complex leverages Genetec solutions, along with other security technologies, to ensure visitors are kept safe.

Our guide, Sylvester Servance, director, venue security at Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), offered a backstage tour and insights into Capital One Arena’s security apparatus.

Capital One Arena, a 1.1-million-square-foot facility that can host 20,000-plus guests for hockey games, basketball games, concerts and more, presents unique challenges and needs.

Servance and his team recognized the importance of unifying security across the entire arena, as well as three ancillary spaces that MSE oversees: a new e-sports venue, newly established MSE office space and a practice venue.

Project leaders chose Genetec Security Center 5.10 as the main platform through which all building information is funneled. Servance and his colleagues, working closely with systems integrator partner Siemens, now leverage Genetec to manage its video surveillance and access control infrastructure across the whole ecosystem.

Servance reports that Genetec truly lies at the heart of the Capital One Arena security ecosystem. Indeed, he notes, “Whenever we’re looking at a problem — whenever we’re finding ways to implement new security technologies — one of the first questions we ask is, ‘Is there a way to integrate it with Genetec?’”

And make no mistake: The MSE team and he oversee a technology apparatus that is truly extensive. To wit, Capital One Arena boasts well over 350 cameras (mostly Axis, but with some Hanwha and Bosch), 175 card readers (predominantly HID, but with some Axis) and 148 readers for Genetec Synergis Access Control.

That’s not even to mention Genetec Sipelia communication management, intrusion detection software and Security Center Plan Manager mapping software.

Benefits of the Genetec Platform

 New dispatchers and security officers particularly benefit from the Security Center map feature, which enables them to get up to speed on the building’s layout and where cameras and card readers are located across sites. It’s simply faster and easier for operators to pinpoint cameras on a map, rather than having to remember their names and where they’re located.

Another factor is that MSE personnel must work hand-in-hand with the DC Metro Police Department (MPD) to protect not only the facility but also the city at large. Because MPD uses Genetec technology, MSE implemented Genetec Clearance digital evidence management software.

That way, if MPD detectives ask for surveillance video from venue cameras, the MSE team can upload it securely and immediately to the MPD’s servers. This can provide invaluable evidence if cases go to court.

Moreover, MSE has leveraged Genetec Security Center to map more than 100 different touchpoints in the fan journey when they visit the arena. Having a unified view like this enables event organizers to provide a better experience.

For example, a group attending an event experienced an incident where someone in their party went missing. The security team brought them to the security operations center (SOC) and leveraged cameras to see where that person had gone.

Another example involves an artist who had left behind a briefcase after an event. The security team was able to quickly access footage to help them retrieve it. And, focusing specifically on safety and security, Genetec Security Center empowers MSE team members to implement seamless screening protocols specific to the setup of the different events.

An exciting emerging application centers on analytics. Servance and his team are beginning to explore which analytics are most useful for them. On the security side, this would typically involve signaling an alert in the event of a fight, physical altercation, person lying on the ground, etc., which would require security officer dispatch.

Even outside of safety and security, though, the Capital One Arena team is interested in using analytics to track which concession stands get the most traffic and count the number of people who stop to look at promotional displays.

Given how central Genetec is to Capital One Arena’s day-to-day operations, it’s notable that, according to Servance, he doesn’t really consider his team and he to be Genetec “power users.”

“I know that there’s a breadth of capabilities that Genetec has,” he says. “We’re kind of growing into that.”

But he underscores that every new security implementation is intended to sit on top of Genetec and integrate seamlessly with it.

A Worthwhile Visit With Genetec

Amid a busy first quarter, with lots of industry events vying for media members’ attention, Genetec’s Global Press Summit ’24 was well worth the time investment. Our three days in and around Washington, D.C., underscored that Genetec is in growth mode, is deeply committed to its integrator partners and is embracing the cloud revolution, while, at the same time, offering hybrid approaches that allow integrators and end users to apply the best tool to the situation at hand.

With Genetec engineers devising new solutions like Security Center SaaS, security industry stakeholders have much to feel good about.

“As people use our product, they want to use more of the product,” Elvish says with pride. We see that not only with Capital One Arena but also many other A-list clients in every corner of the globe. And it’s one reason that Racz and his team see a very bright future ahead.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Dan Ferrisi has been a B2B editorial professional since November 2004, covering the audio, video, lighting and music industries since the beginning of his career. Getting his start with Sound & Communications, he ascended from assistant editor, to associate editor, to eventually lead editor. He served as editor-in-chief of Commercial Integrator from November 2021 through August 2023 before being promoted to group editor, commercial and security, gaining oversight responsibility of the Security Sales & Integration brand, as well.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters