Milestone Corporate And Third Party Access Control Versus Genetec Unified VMS And Access Control

I'd like to know what the IPVM community feels is the better solution (Scaling for small sites as well as large enterprise level sites) between using Milestone Corporate VMS and one of their third party access control options and Genetec with their Unified platform. The thought is to use a common solution over an enterprise, with installations ranging in size from sales offices with four card readers and 6-8 cameras to large corporate sites with many hundreds of IP cameras and card readers.

I'd like to know pros and cons of the two offerings.

Things we are considering include pricing per door/camera, quality and ease of integration, enterprise maintenance features for both the VMS and access control sides, ease of use for the operators, ease of administration, robust architecture with failover capabilities, etc. etc.

I look forward to hearing the communities thoughts on this.

Here's an update you may find useful: Genetec and Milestone Access Tested

We tested Milestone Access v1 using Axis Entry Manager and Genetec 5.2:

I believe since our testing, Milestone's Reporting and Cardholder management integrations have gotten tighter.

Costwise, while it appears Genetec is 2X more, it should be noted that using Milestone's solution requires you to purchase and maintain a separate access system, while Genetec is essentially an 'all-in-one' buy.


That is a great review but it is almost two years old. I am hoping to hear from those that have recently either made a product decision or have more recent experience with the products as they both have had recent updates.

The company I work for does implementations for many different clientele. We've done everything from public schools to retail locations, banks, jewelry, both large scale (upwards of 300 cameras) to small scale, (access control and maybe 10 to 20 cameras) and so far we have always used Genetec. very few problems, the interface is really easy to use (granted I do not have any experience with Milestone, so this is just the Genetec Side) and we have had a couple clients have us change over their entire existing system from Milestone to Genetec. As for Brian's previous comment, while that comparison is two years old, I believe most of those are still true (Again, no personal experience with Milestone, so if someone knows more about that side, feel free to input).

Thanks Logan - Good to know

Hi Undisclosed 1 End User,

I know you're specifically seeking opinions on Milestone vs Genetec with their integrated/unified access control offerings but I'd like to suggest to take a different approach. I would suggest selecting first and foremost a suitable Access Control platform that integrates with your VMS of choice. Often times requirements extend beyond simply unlocking a door. Take also into account that there may be regulatory building codes and mandates that come into effect such as monitoring a sprinkler riser or Fire Alarm panel etc. I find that VMS vendors don't understand the full scope or mission critical nature of controlling access or detecting intrusion breaches. If any of these sites will require a professionally monitored Intrusion System (IE - one that can report to a central monitoring station - which most commercial sites do because of insurance policies) then your selection of a properly integrated, and properly listed unified platform becomes even more critical. Intrusion Systems don't typically offer end user management software (and if they do it's very basic and can only connect to a single site or panel to make changes at a time) which requires users to make PIN code changes through the keypad (very archaic and counter intuitive). This piece of the integration scope (Intrusion Detection) should be highly considered in your evaulation process. Thus far neither Milestone with Axis controllers nor Genetec with their own Synergis hardware or Mercury/HID can support proper intrusion detection and reporting to a central station.

Just thought I'd give my perspective on this since it seems like you're embarking on such a huge task.

Undisclosed 2 Manufactuerer - You are correct - Intrusion Detection System integration will be an essential part of this project as there may be smaller locations that rely on central station monitoring instead of an on-site guard force. It was my impression that both Genetec Unified (follow link) and Milestone with some of the third party access software platforms offered this integration. Can you explain what features would not be included from an intrusion standpoint?



Yes, they do offer integration to some Intrusion platforms but these offer limited central control and management. Also, to set these up you'll have to go through a million steps - configuring comms parameters such as baud rates, IP address, panel address etc etc. What these vendors don't show you is how time consuming it is to setup this type of integration. This will not prevent the need to actually connect to the Intrusion panel with panel specific software to set up zones, attributes, central station #, account #, comms format etc. and if you look at what features are actually supported by Genetec, you pretty much have to go with DMP to get the "most" integrated features - but not all.

Also, what if one of the vendors makes a significant change on their system - does Genetec or Milestone guarantee that the integration will not be broken? I'm sure their documentation states what version(s) are compatible with their system.

For a task as large in scope as yours I would look for a better suited solution.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer

Your knowledge of our product and process is quite limited and based purely on your conjecture.

A sales skill you should seek to acquire is to tout your products capability rather than disparage your competitors with false accusations and innuendo.

The fact you chose to remain anonymous with your mistaken representations speaks volumes to your level of credibility

Scott Thomas

Global Director retail & Banking

To the IPVM Community - If we take the intrusion panel integration out of the equation (based on Undisclosed 2 manufacturer's previous comments) - what are some of the other Pros and Cons of either system choice (Milestone Corporate VMS and one of their third party access control options versus Genetec with their Unified platform).

Full Disclosure - I work for Genetec

Hello Undisclosed 1 End User - in your first post you indicate your criteria includes:

cost per door/camera, quality and ease of integration, enterprise maintenance features for both the VMS and access control sides, ease of use for the operators, ease of administration, robust architecture with failover capabilities for multiple sites

Based on your criteria a unified solution with enterprise capability is the correct option for you to explore. Genetec Security Center is designed to provide all of these capabilities as well as integration to alarm panels (DMP, Bosch, DSC, Honeywell), intercom, mobile video, LPR & more.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer has attempted to complicate our intrusion panel integration rather than address your specific criteria. If you are using a 3rd party central station, our integration to the panels listed has no bearing or change to that process. In this scenario, the integration is done to provide real time alerts and reports to you, the end user. We have many users in vertical markets including education, transportation and retail, both large and small who currently leverage this integration

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me.

Scott Thomas

Global Director Retail & Banking

Hello Scott,

Actually, I think I'm showing a level of class by not trying to promote my product outright. You're right, knowledge of your product is not that in depth but I am familiar with the "process". The product I represent was designed from the ground up as both an enterprise access control system AND and an enterprise class intrusion system. When I say that integrating Genetec to one of your listed and supported intrusion panels is tedious and involved that is true... It has to be since most of the panels you list are not IP devices which means device servers or serial to IP adapters will need to be used. This involves tedious setup and programming.

I also wanted to give End User 1 my professional opinion regarding VMS software companies trying to be the "backbone" of an enterprises' security infrastructure. I have always viewed intrusion and access systems as "mission critical", often times being mandated by AHJs and requiring a certain level of safety listing. If a signal doesn't reach a CS or an elevator doesn't allow access all of a sudden that could have serious consequences. If a VMS fails or a camera goes offline, life goes on and no real disruptions are felt.

As an IPVM member I think I'm entitled to express my opinions on physical security matters and I've got over 23 years of experience selling very large scale unified intrusion, access control and surveillance systems. Our product is being used in all verticals and in very large scale applications- entire cities, massive multi site retail, massive MDU etc.

I think Genetec makes a strong VMS. I don't think Genetec offers strong unified access control, intrusion and surveillance system. Your "process" and system architecture is the problem.

If End User 1 wants to know why I don't think Genetec (or Milestone) is the right solution, I'd encourage him/her to reach out to me.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer What intrusion/access panel do you recommend for this project? I have a good idea what you are referencing but you are rather cryptic.

It's like choosing between Apple and Android. I believe you have two great products to choose from, although there are many others as well, and it can get very confusing and frustrating selecting "one" out of the bunch. All bickering aside, to answer some of your questions, here are my thoughts on the two, and I admit we are not a Genetec house:

Genetec is overall more expensive, and depending on scenario could be up to twice as expensive for software licensing alone (hardware is becoming more of a commodity item, costs are about even). On the Access Control side, although it's "open platform", the Synergis CloudLink Controller is proprietary, synergis-cloud-link. Once the controllers are installed, it becomes difficult to switch to another manufacturer later down the road. The 3rd Party Integration list is extensive, but hard to tell how deep the integrations are, especially with competing products (AMAG, Lenel, etc).

Milestone Corporate is not cheap, although less expensive and depending on the 3rd party Access Control manufacturer it could be even less, relatively speaking. The 2016 Access Control integration is quite robust and bi-directional, whereby xProtect is receiving alarms, door status, has command and control capabilities, access requests, badge and personnel photo recall, personnel lists, access reporting, macro programming, etc. The Test that Brian referenced is indeed outdated and ancient (and utilizing the Axis door module, not a 3rd party ACS) Milestone xProtect Access . Milestone is a VMS, and you know their R&D funds are going to improve the VMS and 3rd party integrations. Depending on the 3rd party ACS, not having proprietary ACS hardware makes it easier for the end user to switch software. As such, the integrator has to service the customer and perform well (and keep costs reasonable) in order to maintain the relationship.

Genetec is more like Honeywell, Lenel or Bosch (as it was back in the days of ReadyKeyPro)- they have their own products, hardware and software. Once you're down that road it is harder to switch, but they are great products! If you select Milestone with a 3rd party ACS now, and hate it down the road, it's easier to then change to other VMS's or ACS's, or Genetec. I can't say it's the same the other way around.

Above all this, I think the relationship with the installer is the most important, and how hard the integrator works to satisfy the needs (and to keep the relationship and systems installed), and what can you do if it does not work out.

Since I have first hand knowledge of Milestone, I can speak to some of the features, and I hope someone from the Genetec side can respond.

1. Active Directory - native integration, no additional cost (NC).

2. Clients - unlimited clients, no additional cost (NC). The Milestone client can perform live event monitoring, reporting, investigations and some controls. Both Milestone and ACS system have thin client, thick client, mobile client and web client. ACS web client can be many users (limited by licensed concurrent user count). milestone does not count users, concurrent or otherwise.

3. Mobile client - NC. can receive events and alarms, control doors, push video back to server, as well as the usual features (live, playback, export, etc)

4. Distributed Architecture - NC. Recording, management, events, web and other services can run on separate servers/VM's.

5. Failover - NC. both hot and fail-over groups available. Hot stand-by for a one-to-one relationship, 1-5 second delay. Fail-over groups can be many-many relationship, up to 15 seconds delay.

6. SQL - NC. supports up to latest Microsoft SQL release (2014), both express and full.

7. Federation - NC. limits access of clients for both user and management interfaces, maintains a single management database.

8. Interconect - connect video channels from lower tiered Milestone systems into Corporate - provide extreme costs savings for small systems, while maintaining master level access from centralized location. licensed per channel

9. Archiving - NC. can archive on multiple locations, and create multiple rules for archiving. can also groom video, reducing frame rates during archive process.

10. Mapping - NC. maps can have cameras, doors, access requests, alarms, controls buttons, etc.

11. Video Wall - NC. can push video on events, alarms, doors, etc - Macro programmable and automated video call up.

12. Video Analytics - several partners. no cost from Milestone, only 3rd party

13. LPR - utilize many cameras, vendors and 3rd party solutions, and perform Macros based on LPR events

I think the list can go on and on, but a good consultant should be able to put together a comprehensive list and details for you to review.

Great Response Mihai, as you mentioned it would be great to hear from Genetec on your 13 listed items to have an apples to apples comparison.

Whether you decide to go Genetec or Milestone and integrate with their access control supported hardware and LIMITED intrusion detection integration you will still be faced with extensive and tedious programming to get these systems running. You'll also be faced with expensive annual sma's.

Sorry, but selecting a VMS like Genetec or Milestone to manage access and intrusion is not the way to go. Their systems are not intuitive and easy to manage beyond video management.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacture you keep saying there are better options then Milestone or Genetec but you don't say what the better option is. You must not be that confident in your solution if you don't want to disclose what this better option is.

Hi Michael,

I'm very confident in my products and solution. I think I've given a number of valid reasons why I wouldn't lead with a VMS platform. If End User 1 wants to learn more about what's been discussed and proposed in this form, then he/she knows how to contact any one of the gentlemen that has responded to this thread. I chose to remain anonymous because the initial discussion was about comparing Genetec vs Milestone.

I am really only interested in the comparison between Genetec and Mikestone at this point and would much appreciate pros and cons of these systems only with respect to the access control and VMS interoperability. I am only looking for status and control (arm/disarm) for an interface to Intrusion detection systems. As I stated in my original post, this would be for large corporate headquarters and manufacturing plants as well as medium to small regional and sales offices around the globe.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer ok then you sold me and wanna resell your product. Who do I contact to find out more info?

Undisclosed 1 End User,

Given the types of facilities you're mentioning, I can see why you're not focused on the alarm systems. The arming and disarming can easily take place via relays and proper zone programming on the alarm systems input zones, regardless of intrusion manufacturer.

In Milestone and 3rd Party ACS, You can also set the system up (easily) with Macro programming, to allow for automatic arming and disarming, therefore your employees don't need to utilize an alarm panel keypad in the morning or at night. Additionally, personnel can also be assigned PIN numbers that are managed by the Access Control System, so that dual authentication is possible (Card and PIN), which allows for alarm system disarming upon an access granted event. This is how we set up our systems for a "first-man-in" scenario - the first person to access the facility will use dual authentication, which will disarm the alarm system and unlock the front door for the day (if applicable). Alternative programming: if the alarm system is armed, the readers use 'Card and PIN' for access, otherwise they are 'card only'.

Using relays and zones to "integrate" the alarm system with ACS and VMS gives you a secondary layer of protection, a separate control panel/alarm system that will operate regardless if you have controller, server issues or other connectivity problems - something to keep in mind when selecting an "all-in-one" solution (it is nice to have all systems in one "box", but that also means it may all go down at once)

Depending on the Access Control system you select, there are also direct integrations with Bosch, DMP and others, allowing you to receive events and alarms from these panels directly into the VMS/ACS platforms. This is either IP or Serial connection with the Intrusion Panel, point specific events and alarms.

The Milestone integration with select 3rd party Access Control vendors allows for using the Milestone interface to issue commands in the Access Control System, and pass on through to the Alarm System. I'm assuming Genetec is similar in nature.

As for the annual SMA's - yes, they exist, for Gentec, Milestone and just about any other medium to high end software (and I'm talking of not just security software, but HR, Payroll, CRM, BAS, basically anything that runs on a server). Although it's nice to get things for cheap, you get what you pay for. The SMA's make sense when the software is continuously updated with new features, functionality, integration and performance, and you actually benefit from these improvements. For Milestone, the SMA cost varies based on licensed channels - there is a base cost, then per channel cost. As an MSRP idea, the Corporate Edition SMA of Milestone, here in the US, will be $575 for the base and $60 per channel, for one year, Discounts apply for multiple years. I don't know of Genetec's MSRP pricing... maybe someone else will respond.

I hope you find a good consultant to help you identify the best solution for you and answer your questions objectively. Maybe a demo of Milestone with a preferred ACS partner is best, and compare with Genetec... write a list of the key aspects you're looking for, identify your needs, and see how the systems fit those needs. I would also recommend involving an integrator from either camp, and have them propose a solution for your needs, with all features enabled and fully integrated, so you have a clearer picture . IF you offered a 5-10k budget to either side, to spend the time and resources pre-engineering a solution for all your facilities, it might be the best $$k you ever spent.

have a great weekend!

Good Information - Thanks Mihai

Hi Mihai,

Using external relays for key switch arming/disarming is less than an ideal scenario. It involves extra wiring and hardware. That's how things were done back in the early 1990's. The problem with most intrusion panels (DSC, Honeywell, DMP, Interlogix) is they were designed for the mass market - lowest price is all that matters so dealers can sell more systems a reap more recurring monthly revenue. Not only that, but the hardware and tech they contain is ancient (no native IP, slow processors, no end user software, no real time multisite setup and control (meaning, you'll have to connect to one site at a time to make configuration changes). Slow processors and low memory to keep production costs down. That's what you get with Resi grade intrusion systems.

Intrusion is a Major piece of the puzzle and it's too bad people don't put enough thought into it especially for enterprise class deployments such as what End User 1 is looking at doing. Making changes to area programming, zone attributes, pin changes, arming/disarming schedules etc etc can all be made within our "unified and native" (I use this term because our system was designed from the ground up as both an unlimited capacity intrusion system and an unlimited capacity access control system - that happens to integrate with all the top tier VMS companies such as Milestone, Exacq, Avigilon, Pelco etc).

With our unified approach one can easily manage pins, change area arming/disarming schedules and provide advanced features such as "defer auto arming" which allows a user that's working late and still in the building to delay the auto arm sequence. Since our system is unified, during the autoarming, we can easily pulse all the outputs from all readers on site so people know the system is arming - we can do this easily through programming by creating an output group - that's powerful stuff. We can also log and report on late to arm or early to arm to report on perhaps the efficiency or lack thereof of cleaning staff etc. We can also provide double badge/arm disarming with access card or PIN on the fly (meaning I don't need to send a tech out to wire an external relay to I can arm disarm an area if I so decide down the road). We also have advanced "two-man" rules for accessing highly sensitive areas and for Vault access etc.

Our system can even handle tricky scenarios such as allowing access through a door into an area that needs to remain armed but only allow authorized personnel through. All this with only a single door sensor (and not two such as when someone would use two separate systems - alarm and access)

When you say beware of "all in one" solutions because if the system fails "it all fails" that doesn't apply to our system. If the controller fails, the system continues to operate because the intelligence is distributed and some of the modules can operate in 'degraded' mode or in some cases totally on their own without the need of the controller. It all comes down to designing a robust deployment.

We also produce our own analog data acquisition modules for monitoring and reporting on things such as moisture, lux level, temp, humidity, PSI pressure, RPMs, wind speed etc that allows our system to provide advanced control and feature rich functionality:

Moisture levels - don't turn on sprinklers if moisture level is too high

Lux level - don't turn on outside flood lights if the sun is still up.

Wind speed - don't lower the sun shades if it's too windy out.

Temp/Humidity - provide levels on a floor plan and log levels for food processing plants or IT rooms etc.

I'll stop here for fear of writing a novel. But the items listed above are just some of things that will come up in enterprise class solutions.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer Ok sounds great what is the solution?

Aren't you a reseller yet? ;)


Check them out. Tight integration.

Hi there,

Kantech/exacq/dsc is hardly a tight integration. Sure you can view a camera linked to doors or arm an area from the exacq vms but the functionality is very limited. Not only that but the DSC NEO product is your typical mass market low cost burg panel. Good for small business but not designed for the commercial market in my opinion. It only has a 1000 event buffer so wouldn't be ideal for satisfying regulatory mandates for record keeping. The setup is also the issue.. too many steps integrating NEO and Exacq just like it is for most access control systems that integrate to low cost mass market alarm panels (purchase and configure an ethernet interface in order for the alarm panel to be 'seen' in the Exacq software or Entrapass).

I guess this would depend on one's definitions of tight and difficult.

Also, I consider the access control software the "hub" for all activity instead of the VMS.

The Integration between Kantech and Exacq is very easy to accomplish and provides the integration features most clients are looking for. At this point, the NEO panel sends all alarm events to the Kantech event log, which means the 1,000 DSC NEO limitation is not a problem. The communications between the NEO panel and Kantech is extremely easy to set-up, and rock solid.

NEO is a legitimate panel to consider for the commercial market. It is currently maxed out at 128 zones, but we expect to see the 256 zone panel within the year, as well as the ability to link panels together. Those are not residential features, in my opinion.

Is the Kantech platform going to offer everything a deeply integrated system can? Probably not. But for the price tag and rich the off-the-shelf integration features, I suggest it is worthy of consideration. Also throw in the fact that the Kantech software interface is among the most intuitive and most customers (large and small) like it.

Kantech has also just released their basic Active Directory integration, at no additional cost.

All three of these companies are Tyco owned. Yes, that's a bad thing in some ways. However, at the same time we have found that the integrations remain rock solid and don't "break" as they often can when companies are not all under one roof.

I am not selling here, but I think an integrator looking to evaluate options should be made aware that Tyco's mid-level brands are worthy of evaluation.

I also consider access control systems to be the "hub" or backbone of modern integrated security deployments. I understand what you're saying about Exacq/Kantech/DSC being a cost effective solution that provides a single point of reference for the end user but it is a lot more taxing from an installation stand point. Yes, it's fairly simple to set-up the integration but it is tedious and time consuming (9 pages just to configure a NEO panel to talk to Exacq).

The DSC NEO is using 20+ year old technology. The hardware is slow and vastly under-powered for commercial applications (it's a mass market product - that's why it's so inexpensive). Their DLS5 software still requires you to upload/download changes to the system remotely etc. This is primarily why I consider NEO to be a small business product.

Also, since your approach is separate alarm system - separate access control system, you typically would have to install two door contacts on a door - one to the alarm panel and the other to the access control panel. More installation time spent.

Also consider advanced features like accessing an armed area without tripping the alarm. This would be near impossible with a two system approach.

Undisclosed 2 Manufacturer

I agree with you on the burg systems in general - they haven't changed much in the last decades and I wonder what the big players are going to do as far as technology and innovation. Maybe they read your post and get some ideas. Traditionally the relay/zone integration is old, but robust - at the hardware level - and it's generally low cost, like you said. Running 12" of wire is not a deal breaker for anyone either. There are also Serial and IP connection modules available between the ACS and burg panels, and they do arm/disarm the partitions as well. But you are correct - this is additional hardware and set-up, with associated cost. It's just not something that everyone needs/wants.

A lot of the data acquisition modules you're talking about (PSI, Temp, Humidity, etc) are already available from the BAS systems in the large facilities - However, I can see this being useful in the small to medium businesses or facilities that haven't invested in a commercial/industrial grade BAS.

What is your product? I would like to learn more about it.

I think Undisclosed End User 1 knows what he wants and is looking for specifics on it... I suggest we keep it on task for End User 1.

This is a very long discussion that seems to have gone off on a tangent - what about IDS?

I think you need to go back the base question - Milestone or Genetec. (Note: I work for an integrator that is a dealer for both.)

What features do you want or need and will those features be offered by both platforms?

Milestone and Genetec are very good VMS products. Their user side of the feature set is comparable. Milestone integrates with a number of access systems that Genetec doesn't integrate with. Genetec offers a single server solution.

Large, enterprise class systems may also need federation. This is different from Enterrpise. Some organizations don't want central control. "You run yours and I run mine and we share." I see this in the Universty market and in some parts of the government. Milestone and Genetec both offer federation. If this is important, you need to make sure that the access control system you pick to mate with Milesotne also offers this feature.

Use of the cloud is another issue. You can set up Milestone in a private cloud. With Genetec, you can use their cloud offering for the smaller/remote locations where you don't want to manage a server. Very convenient.

IDS monitoring is a side issue. Look at bigger issues.

Hi Mihai,

I'll send you a private message and tell you more about our system. I'd like to remain anonymous since I started this thread as anonymous. Also because the subject on this thread is a comparison of Genetec vs Milestone.

please send me the information as well...thanks!

Please send me information about your system...thank you.

Hello .. please send me a link to your solution as well. Intrusion integration is usually not a make-or-break issue, but I have seen it come up recently on several projects where the consultant issued their "boiler-plate" security spec that includes a loosely worded (and single sentence or so) requirement for the access control system to have integration to the IDS.

There are 100 or so zones to the IDS in this case, and the integrator cannot feasibly hard-wire 100 zone's worth of I/O between the IDS and access control system, i.e. they wish there was a software-based integration between the two systems at this point.

There are security specs out there that ask for "integration" between access and IDS or access and VMS, but don't really spell out what that integration really means.

Thanks again for sending info on your system/solution.

Hi Alberto, Harold and Damon. For some reason I cannot send you a private message as I did with Mihai. I don't see an email icon next to your name. I'll find out what the problem is and hopefully send you the info asap! Thanks for your interest.

My e mail is

thanks Alberto Croso

I enabled the message option in my profile so please try again.


2, enough with the games and slight of hand. I'd rather you just identify yourself probably than turn a genuine request for information into a game.

Hi John,

I initially didn't disclose my identity because the thread started as an inquiry comparing Milestone vs Genetec and their access control capabilities. I offered some thought provoking information concerning the limitations in these types of integrations when it comes to Intrusion. I don't consider this a game, and that certainly was not my intent (for it to become a game). Straight away I told the audience that they could contact me if they so desired. Someone posted a reference to "Wheel of Fortune" (not me) and I guess that's when it spiraled out of control.

My name is Pat Alvaro and I represent ICT in Canada.

If someone from Canada would like more info I can be reached at

For US inquiries:

International inquiries:

Hello John H. - Would you consider an article/discussion on the pros and cons of a CCTV oriented hub for security systems vs. an access control one? (I think we could park the PSIM option discussion). It seems to be a trending topic - that this discussion has raised as a tanget? I would think it would depend on your business and/or your operations/security set-up?

I am very late to this (very derailed) party, but I wanted to throw my opinion in here as well.

When reading your initial post, I keyed in on a few very specific things:

  • "ease of use for the operators"
  • "ease of administration"
  • "robust architecture with failover capabilities, etc. etc."

In my personal (and non-affiliated -- I'm an integrator that is a dealer for both and has sold both) opinion, those things lead me down a certain path....

If you are running a true SOC with 24-hour monitoring, operators, and are legitimately interested in the features you outlined above, the previous recommendation of "start with access, then account for video" is the right answer as far as I'm concerned. So, while Genetec is, in my opinion, the superior video choice, the unfortunate reality (sorry Genetec) is that I would not recommend them for an enterprise-level access control platform at this point.

Therefore, my decision, if forced to choose between those two paths, would be one of the enterprise-grade access control platforms (Lenel, Software House, S2) with Milestone video integrated. That will NOT be your least-expensive option, but the reality is that if you're serious about building out an enterprise-grade platform, skimping now will only result in major headaches down the road.

With that said --

I personally think, based upon what little information you've provided, that your best bet may actually be Genetec SecurityCenter with either Lenel/Software House access control, with the plugin to bring your access control events into SecurityCenter and utilize SecurityCenter as your "alarm monitoring" platform. As of right now, that is probably the most compelling solution in the market in terms of overall features, ease of use, and overall scalability for operators and an enterprise. Oh -- and by pulling your access control into Genetec, you will save a boatload on integration costs, so your overall TCO will potentially be lower depending on the level and scope of the integration you're trying to achieve.

Just my $.02. Good luck.

Undisclosed 7 Integrator: Could you list the weaknesses of the Genetec Access Control solution for enterprise systems versus the Lenel option? This will allow me to get a better feel for why in your opinion Lenel scales better to the enterprise level systems versus Genetec.

First of all, while you're not suggesting that I was, I want to make it clear I'm not disparaging Genetec -- I think my original post was pretty clear that Genetec does some things very well.

Second, I won't go into a ton of detail about it because I know that if I do, the Genetec guys will (perhaps rightfully) try to put me in my place on some of the things I bring up, and I truly don't want to get into a back-and-forth. Not only is this not really the proper forum, it's also not productive.

I'm not going to go into a long-winded explanation of each, but here are a few items to consider between Lenel/Software House and Genetec.

  • Proven longevity/fit for purpose
  • Hardware inconsistencies / challenges
  • Integration capabilities (software / API level)

Again, I am making some large assumptions based on your initial post, which is that you will eventually be building out a large, distributed architecture of "many hundreds of cameras and card readers." I, personally, would simply not be willing to roll with Genetec in a scenario like that.

Final piece -

While I'm not saying this is impossible and will never happen, I have yet to see an Access Control company produce a top-tier video solution. Likewise, I've never seen a "video" company produce a top-tier access control solution. Is it workable? Absolutely. Is it compelling because of the native integrations? No question. But does that mean that each are truly anywhere near the "best of breed" within their space? That's the question, and for me, the answer is a clear no.

My ultimate suggestion would be to engage your integrator (or a couple of integrators if you don't have one) and talk this out with them. But, make sure you do the research and know who can sell what and why and thus who will have an angle when presenting. You could also reach out directly to the manufacturers themselves and ask them to do a shootout, with the clear knowledge that they are competing against the other. You may get some information that pushes you in one direction or the other, and I can guarantee you will get preferential pricing from one of them either way.

... And then you have the scenario where your 'best of breed' access control company refuses to play nicely (i.e. integrate) with your best of breed video management company, because they view the video management's company foray into the access control product space, as competition.

Hello Undisclosed 1 End User

From a Genetec perspective, Security Center is based on our vision of offering true unified security, a single software architecture and platform that natively embeds access control (ACS), video (VMS), communications, intrusion, etc., and includes both the ability to configure and monitor it all from a single application. It boils down to one solution managing a variety of edge devices (cameras, controllers, locks, intercom stations) and treating your security system as a single unified entity as opposed to a number of independent systems that weren’t necessarily designed to work together from the outset (requiring integration). Unified is a very different approach from integration and it’s unfortunate the term is being misused.

At Genetec we believe strongly in the principle that a unified solution offers greater ease of use, ease of administration, and overall scalability. Integration of multiple platforms means end users likely need to deal with 2 vendors (one for ACS and another for your VMS), deploy 2 separate installation packages, use 2 or more monitoring and alarm management applications, operate 2 or more configuration apps, and attend 2 or more training sessions, while not always being free to upgrade for fear of breaking the integration’s compatibility. There are added challenges and expenses for both the integrator and the end user to contend with. All things being equal, it is very unlikely that the TCO will be lower with an integration than when selecting a unified solution. Integration also means end users have to decide if they choose “video first, then ACS” or vice versa. A modern well-designed security system should be strong at both.

We are always open to discussing the merits and success of our Synergis access control solution, feature by feature, which was built from the ground up by Genetec and launched in 2006. Efforts to discredit our ongoing success in the Access Control space by labeling Genetec as a VMS vendor is simply an ad hominem attack that clouds the reality of what drives Genetec (develop innovative ACS and video solutions that help provide safer and more secure environments for our customers).

We are happy to offer you more information if required – and happy to participate in a shootout (ACS and VMS) with any other vendor in the market. Just let us know!

Best of Luck


Jimmy -

With all due respect, this excerpt right here is exactly why I said I didn't really want to discuss this in an open forum, nor do I think it's at all productive:

We are always open to discussing the merits and success of our Synergis access control solution, feature by feature, which was built from the ground up by Genetec and launched in 2006. Efforts to discredit our ongoing success in the Access Control space by labeling Genetec as a VMS vendor is simply an ad hominem attack that clouds the reality of what drives Genetec (develop innovative ACS and video solutions that help provide safer and more secure environments for our customers).

It's not an "ad hominem" attack to point out direct issues with a product, nor does it "discredit [your] ongoing success" to suggest that perhaps, just maybe, this product is not ready for, as the end user put it, "large corporate sites with many hundreds of IP cameras and card readers." The reality is that there are very few companies on the market that would successfully fit that bill as far as I'm concerned, and it's not a knock on Genetec to say the product isn't there yet. And unfortunately, it's not particularly relevant what "drives" Genetec. I may be driven by becoming the next Warren Buffet, but that doesn't mean I'm there yet.

And, for what it's worth, this isn't an "ad hominem attack." This is fact, as demonstrated by my direct experience with the product. If I'm incorrect about the purpose of this forum and that it is NOT meant to share feedback about products with those asking, then I hope that someone will tell me such so I don't make this mistake again.

labeling Genetec as a VMS vendor is simply an ad hominem attack

One, I do not see where 7 called Genetec a 'VMS vendor' or applied that Genetec was VMS only.

Indeed, 7 clearly said:

So, while Genetec is, in my opinion, the superior video choice, the unfortunate reality (sorry Genetec) is that I would not recommend them for an enterprise-level access control platform at this point.

7 clearly is acknowledging that he knows Genetec offers access control, he's saying that they are just not good enough.

7 may be right or wrong on this. I do not know enough about access control to take a stand here. However, 7's claim is clearly not an ad hominem attack.

very few companies on the market that would successfully fit that bill as far as I'm concerned, and it's not a knock on Genetec to say the product isn't there yet.

7 and others, It would more useful to specifically enumerate what are Genetec's limitations.

7, you do mention:

Proven longevity/fit for purpose
Hardware inconsistencies / challenges
Integration capabilities (software / API level)

Can you elaborate on this? The first one is straightforward. Genetec would be better off highlighting how long their access systems have been deployed and how many large access systems Genetec has deployed.

And with the other 2, it would be worth explaining more details. For example, what hardware issues or limitations does Genetec have that say Lenel does not? Same for integration / API?

This way, we could rationally analyze this and better determine what issues exist.

Not strictly speaking an ad hom, but certainly empty rhetoric was

I have yet to see an Access Control company produce a top-tier video solution. Likewise, I've never seen a "video" company produce a top-tier access control solution.

Whether or not someone has ever "seen" it done in the past or not has little value in determining whether in fact it has been done in the present. (c.e. argument from tradition)

Undisclosed 7 Integrator

You obviously aren't familiar with our ability to scale when you say:

.... to suggest that perhaps, just maybe, this product is not ready for, as the end user put it, "large corporate sites with many hundreds of IP cameras and card readers."

Genetec currently supports an Enterprise Federation customer installed with our solution in over 8,000 locations globally. We also support another customer with over 170,000 cameras in their Federated Security Center system.

If you'd like more information, please feel free to contact Jimmy or myself


We also support another customer with over 170,000 cameras in their Federated Security Center system.

How many readers?

Depending on budget for the project, I would definitely recommend going the Genetec route. In terms of future planning, I am sure Milestone will be adding on competitive features, but the fact that you have to rely on a 3rd party integration to a company that Milestone/Canon have no impact over, leads to some potential risk that the integration lacks advanced features in the future (or breaks altogether).

Genetec wise you have the benefit that the entire system is under one umbrella, working on the exact same databases, and is all under one roof development wise (no risk of Omnicast and Synergis no longer supporting integrations with each other in the future, or leaving out advanced features).

Genetec does have the potential to have a confusing UI in terms of there being so many options; but just ensure that your integrator locks down users to only what they need, and sets up pre-built templates such as monitor tasks and reports- this will save a ton of time and learning up front until your team is comfortable with the UI