Feenics Hosted Access Control Tested

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 07, 2016

In the access market, new entrants are uncommon. Because of that, newcomer hosted access vendor Feenics has gained the curiosity of many. A particular noteworthy element is Feenics support for Mercury panels, enabling the takeover of many existing traditional access control systems.

 

But how good is Feenics? How does it compare to other hosted and traditional access platforms? In what ways is it better and how is it worse? We tested Feenics with our Mercury EP1501 panel.

This video shows an overview of Feenics Keep from our testing:

Inside we test Feenics to analyze the platform's competitive positioning on several keys, including:

  • Live Access Controls
  • Mapping
  • Third Party Hardware Support
  • Mobile Apps
  • Video Management Integration

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General *********

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Video ********** ***

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Future ************ ******

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Comments (12)

The story I've been told goes like this: Lenel was a great place to work, but UTC is horrible. I have no idea if that's true, but it seems to be a fairly common opinion.

As a result of that decline in job satisfaction, a lot of key players from Lenel have jumped ship to start their own competing "Lenel takeover" products. Feenics is one, Mavin (go-mavin.com) is another, and I'm missing at least one or two. There are a few pedigreed options here, and it's hard to back any of them.

At the core of each, you've got Mercury hardware and software built to solve higher-end problems...but access startups don't usually get higher-end accounts. Look at Paxton, RedCloud, NLSS, etc. It's a long way to the top. These companies had to hustle to get 2-10 door jobs, partnered with small, unknown integrators, and pricing is a serious issue when you've got high-end features in your product and your on-ramp is small projects.

Survive the early years and, maybe you can move up the ladder through luck, perseverance and the generosity of old contacts that have been convinced that the product has matured and the risk has shrunk over time.

So wouldn't the best evaluation in this situation be to determine whether Feenics (ugh at that name btw) and its would-be enterprise peers can make it through that five to ten year ramp-up period, eating rabbits instead of elephants? I don't know that there's any perfect measure, but I'd settle for a good one. Do they have a lot of cash? A strong backer? A credible cash flow plan?

Judging by the responses so far it seems like Feenics has only gained the curiosity of IPVM.

Also, I'd love to know how many systems are "taken over" because of "open" Mercury panel compatibility? I think the whole "open" access controllers is phenomenon is a little rediculous.

You represent a competing access control line that uses proprietary hardware, so your lack of interest is not shocking.

The fact is both HID and Mercury produce hardware usable by a good chunk of the access market:

To your question: "I'd love to know how many systems are "taken over" because of "open" Mercury panel compatibility?"

The feedback we've gotten from members and surveys is that it does not happen often. The cost and 'hassle' of changing means dissatisfaction has to be pretty high to warrant a move to another system.

The counter is the 'open controller phenomenon' (that might be a little strong) allowing take-overs remains an option that isn't possible with proprietary systems, so it becomes a point of differentiation, especially among buyers seeking to avoid being locked-in.

You're correct. I represent a manufacturer that designs and creates their own software and hardware. Our solution is "open" in the sense that the channel is not limited. We have a number of qualified integrators per territory.

I can imagine how painful it would be to take over an existing system and convert it to another platform. Depending on the size of the system there would be an inordinate amount of programming and testing involved. Not to mention that most manufacturers that claim they can provide an upgrade path don't reveal the limitations (in some cases there are - no elevator control support, limited programmable functions that may of existed in the previous system etc).

Also, I think it puts a bad light on the industry when you immediately speak of the ability to change platforms. You're bringing out a negative buying experience right away. I think it's best to promote the fact that the system being proposed is not locked down to a single integrator/provider. I think that's a much better approach. If you're not happy with integrator A you can turn to integrator B, C, D etc

Yeah, so that's a lengthy list of access control manufacturers that OEM the hardware from a third party. It's funny but a lot of people "frown" upon hearing that the solution you offer is an OEM. Why doesn't this happen with access control?

I think it's an IT mindset that has naturally caused a shift in the security industry with respect to interoperability. In most cases it's a good thing, but in others it's not. It's a good thing when you talk about interoperability or standards that allow things like the internet and TCP/IP. Without standards these would not exist in today's form. But does that need to be the case in all facets/segments of the security market? For example, should DSC make their keypads compatible with Honeywell, or DMP or Bosch?

2, don't hijack the Feencis report discussion. You seem to want to make a more general point and you are welcome to do so in its own discussion.

This is the not first time you have done so I am giving you a warning to stop.

To be clear, you are more than welcome to offer your opinion but do that in your own discussion unless it is directly related to what the current report or discussion is.

Sorry John, that wasn't the intent. Won't happen again.

What's often missed in the take-over conversation is that Mercury makes a component of access control systems, not full systems.

Common hardware relives you of having to "forklift" field electronics, but it doesn't help you at all with porting badgeholder data, video integration, etc. Takeovers are a lot of work even if both software packages talk to all the same hardware.

In that context, it's an insurance policy, really.

Undisclosed 1 Integrator,

Feenics is a Canadian company started by an Integrator who happened to lead with Lenel. Also, Paul DiPeso - ex Honeywell Access, ex Lenel now works for Feenics.

As if there are not already enough Canadian based access control companies already.

I guess time will tell if they are successful.

I like the fact that it is completely cloud based. I am sure their applications will integrate soon but they seem to function well in silos. A software company hoping to grow through partners and integrations. Seems like a good play.

Feenics is a completely cloud based product currently operating in the AWS. I’m tempted to write that the “cloud is the future”; but in reality the cloud is now. Manufactures that are not looking at how to operate their platforms in the cloud are behind the curve. Feenics is a forward thinking product, owned and operated by a team that are ahead of the curve. This product and other similar products will impact both small and large opportunities and they already have gained traction. Many of our clients are thinking cloud; and if they aren’t thinking cloud, their IT departments are.

Feenics, enable your GUI to apply skins to change the navigation experience and content appearance. You can name the skins such as Fguard, Fcure9000, Frowatch, F2, Frivo, F2000, Fasi Fusco, Fecurity Fenter...Ok I was a comedian once. If the skins match the navigation to the tee, training will be a snap on system takeovers.

I applaud any new technology that enhances our experience and careers. Keep up the hard work Feenics!

Having sold several Keep by Feenics systems, I can say with confidence that their latest version release is a completely new platform. It's truly ready for the Enterprise customer, and is still a true-cloud based offering. The architecture has also gone through a major transformation. They use a RESTful API that sits in AWS, with MongoDB on the backend. No more SQL, and no more dependency on NPAPI/Silverlight. The dynamic load-balancing in AWS offers customers nearly zero latency, and events are as real-time as they can get.

Feenics has also added support for Salient, Milestone, ExacqVision, and OpenEye VMS's. The OpenEye integration is slick because it doesn't require any additional plugins, and offers a feature-rich "native" integration.

Regarding takeovers of Mercury-based systems - I agree that they require a lot of time testing, validating, and ensuring that the DB transfer is clean and transitions properly. But Feenics does make it easy by "flashing" the firmware code to enable IP Client mode for the intelligent controllers. I've worked with Feenics on a couple takeovers and both were successful. Personally, I think there will be more and more opportunities for takeovers, especially since more organizations are making the move to the cloud. If you can migrate to the cloud, without the major forklift upgrade on the HW, I'd say you'd have my attention. The 99.999% up-time, point-in-time recovery/backup, and auto-updates all included makes for a hard sell against the traditional premised-based systems with reoccurring maintenance support agreements.

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