Member Discussion

Andover Continuum End Of Life Rumors

I have heard multiple times that Andover Continuum Access Control hardware and software systems were going to be made end of life, or were made end of life recently by Schneider. I am not working for and Andover dealer, but have some customers with a video system and they are still running Continuum and are looking to sink a ton of money into additional hardware. Does anyone have information they we can confirm/share with our customer?

I hope they discontinue that glorified thermostat.

On paper its a cool system, building automation, security, access control, lighting. In reality, clunky interface, limited reporting, not a fun product.

I emailed a Continuum contact at Schneider for comment. If/When they respond, I'll share here.

Did Schneider ever respond regarding the end of life for Continuum?

Some months after this was posted, I asked a Schneider executive about plans for Continuum and Andover, and the response was no plans to 'end of life' the platform.

The feedback was line development is quiet and growth is flat, but the existing install base is large enough there were/are no plans to stop things are in the near future.

I too have a Continuum client. Was the product present at ISC West this year?

I just asked Continuum about ongoing support, and they again told me that Continuum is not EOL and was shown at ISC West this year.

I reached out to one of my former customers and he told me that though they are not end of life, they are, or will be soon, no longer providing any product development effort for the product. They don't advertise, no reach out, no integrators in my experience. Would be nice if they occasionally had a webinar or something. Anyone else??

I've got two integrator customers that have installed the product and they have nothing good to say about it. It's a building automation system first (someone made the comment - glorified thermostat) and no where near an access control system by today's standards. Plus, they were not impressed with the support. They both recommend staying away.

Thanks. There are a couple of things i think support your post including: VMS integration, visitor management etc. but in the area of relational programming (i.e. using Boolean logic) i would think they shine given their involvement in the building automation industry. I also hear that Continuum is a pretty complex application to learn. One of these clients is supported by Simplex, a most unusual integrator considering they are a Tyco Company. I think this goes back a long time.

The Continuum product is not being End of Life anytime soon. Give it another 10 years. Many customers (usually INT HVAC) love the product and know the script. What is happening is that SE's new front end is compatible with old hardware. They will need a new master Automation Server but that server can bring in old Access Controllers as well as HVAC into the new front end (which can be integrated or not).

The new Access Control product will be completely cloud based and is just being released at the end of 2016. This will not be able to use the old hardware but will be able to talk to the integrated front end via BACnet.

Therefore, not end of life (yet) but no new installations and no further development of the old front end.

I wish I knew exactly what was going on but that is the general idea.

The new Schneider cloud access platform is a private labeled OEM of Feenics Hosted Access Control.

According to my sources, one of which is Schneider Electric, Continuum will indeed be end-of-lifed, within the next 2-3 years, but a customer of Continuum was told 5 years. As to what remains supported, my source says a new version to replace Continuum will make use of Mercury controller hardware and there are no plans to make the new product compatible with existing Net Controllers...yet.

I would trust that Andover will develop a transition strategy of some sort. My experience has been with some very large and complex system where security was added to an EMS. Its a complex system, but if you know the app, it can do about anything you can dream up. Problem is, I never see it except SOME times at the Schneider booth.

Can anyone verify that Continuum was at the ASIS booth this year?

I understand that Continuum is going to transition to the Mercury-based products and is involved with Feenics as the OEM. I THINK I understand how this transition is to take place and it seems pretty solid. The interface is going to change considerably but be backward compatible with the Continuum controllers shortly. The EOL date has not yet been determined but my guess is 3-5 yrs. I understand they will be at ASIS, so you may want to ask them.

Both of my clients think Continuum is a great product, but they are sophisticated users.

Several sources have confirmed Schneider's AccessXpert is a Feenics OEM, but Continuum will remain an independent product. The backward comparability bit is new to me.

Undoubtedly sales focus will transition to AccessXpert, but the Schneider hasn't budged so far on their official 'no EOL for Continuum' statement.

I'll keep our ears open for changes.

Do we have any users of Feenics?

Oh my beloved Andover, how I miss your Plain English architecture. I am now forsaken into the world of right click, double click and drag/drop GUI.

You were always good to me.

I talked to them at great length at the show and they were reticent about telling me anything. Best they would say is 5 years. But they also said that existing systems would be backward compatible.... kinda. Feenics will support all the Continuum RS485 modules under the plan; but the controllers will have to be replaced. Once that happens, you can implement Freenics and it will support both the old modules and the Freenics mercury based products. Now Feenics is partnered with Salient Systems and Bosch for the VMS, but not Pelco (Even their new(er) Video Expert product). Strikes me as odd for Schneider Electric since they own Pelco. Perhaps this integration will come later.

Most of the skilled users of Continuum love it, but it is a bit tough to learn.

Anyone have an update on this subject? It has been a couple of years since last comments were posted and at least one user is under the expectation that the product is done and they are working on a replacement. Is Mercury working on a bridge similar to the Casi/GE Micro controller to Lenel?

Any end users with a perspective on this?

 Is Mercury working on a bridge similar to the Casi/GE Micro controller to Lenel?

The Lenel bridge is Mercury's product: The M5 Bridge

Most, if not all, Mercury partners support a Casi upgrade path based on this hardware.

Thanks Brian, 

If Schneider is leaving Continuum behind in favor of Access Expert using Feenics and Mercury hardware, it is reasonable to consider a similar solution to the M5 Bridge coming for Andover hardware. Or maybe they are just expecting their customer base to make rip and replace decisions? 

Schneider claims to be able to support legacy Continuum product with the exception of one underperforming panel... or so they have told one of their large clients.  However, I do not deploy or support this product actively and cannot vouch how well supported it may or may not be.  You may be better off speaking with a Schneider representative to confirm.

As for Mercury making a replacement product similar to the M5, MI, and MS bridge - one can only hope!  It makes the rip and replace decision a little easier.

I'm a little removed from this now (by about a year or so) but what I recall is after years of leading people on that Continuum was going to be part of their new unified line of building controls StruxureWare they decided not to go that direction and OEMed something just so they can claim they didn't abandon people. It sure seemed to me like they just don't care about the security market anymore and I have to believe it's only a blip on their balance sheet anyway.

What I remember is you can get a new panel/cpu module (that IS a new StrucureWare module BTY New Panel) and flash it to be "Mercury Compatible" and replace the existing Net Controller.  Then you can reuse all the AC-1s and other modules in theory on the new software.  I say "in theory" because as anyone who has worked with Andover knows: the reason you use it and more importantly the reason you stay with it is the power of the Plain English scripting language.  All of that is gone when you convert over so I really don't know why anyone would bother.  I mean sure there are some panels that are doing simple access control, but even on those things like remote release buttons, external triggers etc, are going to have to be completely re-engineered no matter what.  It's a huge mess for anyone heavily invested in it to be sure and a lot of people I've seen are in complete denial about what's happening.  

it is reasonable to consider a similar solution to the M5 Bridge coming for Andover hardware.

I suspect the business model for Mercury to go into production with a Bridge product for Continuum is probably weak.

Mercury has the MI/M5 Bridge for Casi/GE and the MS Bridge for Software House takeovers, but each of those platforms had/have a large install base.  With Andover, I do not think Continuum has the volume of potential system takeovers to support designing and producing that hardware.

With Andover, I do not think Continuum has the volume of potential system takeovers to support designing and producing that hardware.

That low volume, I think, is the whole reason Schneider has all but abandoned the market.  It's sad too, because there was nothing like it in access control and as much as Genetec innovates, it's still all host based.

I worked around 2013 for an Integrator that installed Continuum in a CO of a Major Telecom, so I wonder if there really was a low volume. I assumed that they had these in all their CO's nationwide.

I would be interested in hearing an update as well - The Mercury Bridge idea is of interest.

This thread makes me wonder... does no one from Schneider subscribe to IPVM?  I would figure the sole mention of their product in the last decade would attract them to respond if only to provide some clarity.

Update. I understand that a bridge is now offered (its Mercury) that is backward compatible with the I/O and reader modules and Mercury boards (very unlike GE). The bridge replaces the Continuum net controllers. Both the AC1s and the Merc boards will work on the Xpert platform (Fenex) which is intended to tolerate the EOL of the Continuum 

Poor Continuum, gone too soon. RIP.

Any information on the Continuum Bridge that can be shared? Does it exist as a part number and if so what access control systems can connect to it?

I'll reach out to Feenics and queue up a post on what they're doing to support Continuum via AccessXPert.

Also, I've not seen an official EOL announcement from Schneider on Continuum.  Has one been sent to dealers?

I don't think one was ever "technically" issued.  All the dealers were being warned that it was coming and to get on board with the new solution, and that there was going to be a 2 year window to purchase the old controllers before they stopped production (and that was like 2 and half years ago).  I heard from the rumor mill (so take this as you will) that they have a very large customer that balked at this and applied some kind of pressure (I've never heard who this is or what they threatened) but that caused them to walk back all the end of life talk and even come out with a version that works with Windows 10 and some of the newer servers.  But make no mistake, the lights may be on, but there's no one home and this is a dead system walking.  I guess technically until Windows 10 is no longer supported but I sure wouldn't want to do a serious security audit on that platform today for cyber vulnerabilities.