Genetec and Milestone Access Tested

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Apr 23, 2014

Video management software companies entering access control is a growing trend.

One of the first to do this was Genetec, who now has a long history in both video and access. Indeed, they market their Security Center as a 'unified security platform' rather than 'just' a VMS or an access control system.

In 2013, Milestone jumped into access control at the same time as Axis. Indeed, Milestone's first access control partner is Axis.

In this report, we tested both Genetec Security Center and Milestone XProtect / Access Control to better understand how they work and what tradeoffs they provide.

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Comparison ********

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Comments (24)

Good to see VMS products embracing access control, just not sure I can justify $175/door or live with limitations of Milestone. Can anyone recomend good affordable access control software that will work with HID OPIN products like their Edge and VertX controllers?

Not sure why Axis entered this market half-arsed. They don't have an entire solution like Assa-Abloy with card readers, controllers, rfid tags, electric strikes. Access control is complex and without the one throat to choke to contact when it's not working right and without the 3rd party software support, it's worthless to me.

How about a report on the access companies that moved into video long before Genetec, Milestone, Axis, etc. decided to go the other way? Those systems, while not popular amongst the 'video' community, have likely been rolled out in many more instances than video-driven access control systems. Amag, Lenel, and S2 would be the first to look at there.

On the topic of HID, does Edge/VertX work beyond small installations? It was always a much weaker platform than Mercury and was said to be the source of Genetec's early difficulties in establishing a reliable access control product.

Yes, we plan and want to test other access control systems, including those that are primarily / 'first' access like the ones you mentioned. The choice of Genetec and Milestone here was (1) we know lots of IPVM readers are interested in these companies and (2) we have the software already setup from our video tests.

I'll defer to Brian on the HID question.

I have done many large scale installations (>50 doors) in the past with HID Edge Controllers, simply pull a CAT6 to each door from a PoE switch and locate the Edge device above the ceiling on the secure side of the door or in an adjacent room. It doesn't get much easier than that. No giant cabinet full of Mercury boards or wall full of them in an electrical room with having to run multiple cables or heavy gauge banana cabling to each door. Especially nifty when using low power locking (12VDC <600mA) devices such as electric strikes that can be powered via PoE through the Edge controller.

The only brand of door controller that I am aware of that you need to purchase a Synergis Master Controller for is the Mercury Board. The HID VertX Evo V1000 will still control V100/V200/V300 modules.

As far as Axis selling their controllers direct to integrators, for Genetec and their integrators that may be a feature and not a bug. They are primarily a software company that in my opinion would prefer to sell connection licenses and software support. Having to purchase controllers from HID or Mercury and re-sell them is not their primary business. Even if you are an authorized HID dealer, you cannot purchase the Edge or VertX modules from them directly, you have to go through Genetec as HID limits the distribution of those products through their access control manufacturer partners. There were many times that HID controllers were on backorder from Genetec as they did not have adequate stock on hand from HID.

Mercury 1501 and MR51E are both POE and have 12VDC output power

Can install like HID Edge but need 3gang boxes

Out of curiosity, do you always use an electrical box? I know that Mercury boards are packaged differently depending on the OEM, but am curious to know if you found boxes better than enclosures.

Beware in some circumstances the HID edge controllers and HID Vertex controllers may not provide features that are avialable with access control system software using mercury hardware (or proprietary system harware). i.e., antipass back, two man rule, etc.

HID's VertX is built to scale where it may be more expensive to use individual Edge units.

The V100/V200/V300 enable scales beyond a single door (up to 32) like the single-door Edge.

The V1000 actually will control 32 interfaces, which is up to 64 doors.

Roger that. Thanks!

However Genetec does not recommend more than 16 downstream V100/V200/V300 units when using the V1000, you can use more with the SMC.

In regards to cost, you need to consider the tradeoffs of remote mounting V1000/V100 or V2000 units in cabinets in an electrical room and taking up wall space/real estate versus mounting Edge units at the doors.

The problem we had with VertX over Edge is the service we use does not allow unique rules be applied to different doors on the same controller. Don't know if this issue applies to Genetec or Milestone or just the service we use.

We are a school system with 60+ Buildings. We currently have access control managed by Andover. We are evaluating VMS and access control to be integrated. We have Milestone Xprotec Essential in support buildings with17 cameras currently connected. A resent bond issue passed that will fund the installation of cameras at 6 High Schools.

We are trying to decide if it is feasible to upgrade to Milestone Expert or Corporate and through API integrate with the existing Andover access control or to look at Genetec or another access control that would compatible with Milestone. I have done some initial cost comparisons and Genetec appears to have a higher up front cost then Milestone.

I have looked at Paxton or Gallagher which appear to be supported by Milestone.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Larry, It would be wise to evaluate Continental Controls CA3000 as it will integrate with Milestone now. I have 143 school sites with CA3000 for 12 years now. We are upgrading video integration with Salient Systems Completeview. But since you have Milestoned........

Hi Larry,

For the sake of disclosure let me start out by saying that I sell Milestone, Paxton and S2 systems, so I am naturally biased towards those product lines.

I do not have any experience with integrating Milestone and Andover but this is something that you should look into further. Upgrading to Milestone Corporate will work well for your distributed architecture and give you many features that will make managing the different buildings very easy. If you can save the cost of changing EAC systems without sacrificing functionality then working towards the integration of the two systems makes sense.

If you do decide to ditch Andover I can tell you that Paxton is a very solid product with a very simple installation model (one Cat5/6 to each door with High PoE and you are all set). I was also told that Paxton will be one of the new 5 EAC systems to be integrated into the next release of Milestone's offering.

Lastly, I can also offer a vote of confidence for S2 and I am hoping to see them integrated with Milestone very shortly as well.

As a side note, both Paxton and S2 both currently offer integration the other way, meaning you can see the Milestone video within the EAC system's interface. This is not ideal but it is worth mentioning. Paxton also has an add on offering to show their data directly in the Milestone Smart Client but I believe support for this will go away when Milestone includes native support for them in the new release.

Best of luck.

Thanks Brian

Due to the investment in Andover which also controls our HVAC systems we are trying to work to maintain the access control. Our Computing Services people are also working to use Active Directory to interact with the HR employee record keeping system. Hopfully we will be able to integrate video, accesss control and HR systems.

Larry, I am new to IPVM and just came across this thread from awhile ago.

I am in the same position as you mentioned above. We have a very large customer using the Andover HVAC controls and we are implementing the Andover access control into about 25 sites now. The customer now wants to integrate video as well. The video will all be new systems so we are currently evaluating what system would work best. We have the 25 sites for video but also about 100 more sites to add in the future for both systems.

Wondering if you can share what you decided to go with and how is it working out for you?

Thanks,

When offline, it can not be processed locally.
I think as a defect.

re: Access Control Integration with with Genetec and Milestone VMSes. Is there 'two-way' integration being deployed? Typicallly, I believe the VMS tends to support the Access Control system, e.g. a Video Pop-up window in the Access Control system, providing coverage of the alarm.

But alternatively the VMS could play a larger role with the response to access control alarmes e.g.

From Access Control to VMS:

- Specifeid access control Events to trigger alarms with video pop-ups and present alarm information in the VMS

- Present Location of Access Control Alarm so it can be provided on VMS Map Interface

- Present Card Holder Details in the VMS (name, image, card status)

From VMS to Access Control:

- Acknowledge/Close Alarm Events in the VMS(e.g. classify alarm as 'false', provide detials and close event)

- Manage Access Control in the VMS (Open Door, Put Broadcast on Door, Secure Door, etc)

Has this type of integration been done previously? Are vendors offering 'products' (as oppossed to customized software development) that perform these functions?

In general, Genetec's integration is complete and fully 'two-way' as you describe. The only point I am not sure of is your "Put Broadcast on Door" question because I'm not sure what that is. Can you clarify?

Milestone's integration(s) is/are less of a given, because the 'Access Module' essentially is a factory integration to a 3rd Party access platform. So the answer is: two-way integrations can vary based on which access platform is being used.

That's the biggest difference between Milestone and Genetec here:

  • Milestone integrates with someone else's access system into their VMS.
  • Genetec combines it's own access and VMS into a single application.

Brian - thanks for your response. A 'broadcast on a door' in our terminology means 'put door on open mode for extended hours'.

We are actually most interested in Milestone and Genetec's capabilities to integrate with 3rd party Access Control systems (rather than their own). Have there been any articles published whcih assess major VMSes capabiliteis with regards to 3rd party Access Control Integration?

Great article & research!

However, it is not clear to me what Access Control system is being tested with Genetec's Security Centre. Is it a 3rd party Access Control system or is it Genetec's own access control system? i..e

http://www.genetec.com/solutions/all-products/synergis

If it is Genetec's own access control system - are all these Access Control features available within Genetec Security Centre available to be integrated with 3rd party Access Control systems via Genetec's APIs?

This test is Genetec's own Synergis access system, not an integration with another system.

If you want to integrate access inside of Genetec, it is done via Synergis.

A number of 3rd party integrations will integrate Genetec video with someone else's access management platform outside of Security Center, but the integration depth depends on that company/module. (ie: Genetec & Lenel)

In that particular example, only a select number of video features are integrated into Lenel, ie:

The integration supports:
  • View live Security Center Omnicast video from OnGuard applications
  • Playback and control Security Center Omnicast recorded video from OnGuard applications
  • Get a video pop-up based on access control events/alarms
  • Received Security Center Omnicast events in OnGuard (Signal Lost, Signal Recovered, Unit Lost, Unit Recovered, Archive Server Down, Archive Server Up, Directory Down, Directory Up)

It would be great to see these two options retested with current versions.

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