No Genetec Major Releases In Over A Year

By Sean Patton, Published Feb 06, 2019, 09:05am EST

Annual VMS licenses are a controversial practice in the video surveillance industry, with many questioning their need or value. However, enterprise providers like Genetec make these effectively required as no live support nor software updates are provided without them.

However, Genetec released no major updates in 2018, with their last major release (Genetec Security Center 5.7) more than 14 months ago.

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Justification ************* **** *** ****

*** *** **** ****** justifications *** ******* **** for ***** **** ***:

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Comments (33)

Nice Article. We are a Genetec dealer and this was more info than we get out of our rep :(

Wait, are you telling me Genetec has reps?

Genetec sales reps exist but their phones are all issued with do not disturb mode permanently set to on.

Interesting article. Genetec came into our office 2 weeks ago to present a new development with their transportation system software module, so perhaps their resources are spent in another industry?  (who knows)

May I ask in other people's opinion, for an enterprise system with IDS/ACS/VMS combined, who has a higher value per dollar, Security Center or others like LenelS2 | SWH | Milestone | etc accounting for annual fees & subscriptions? 

Nathaniel - you may not receive many responses on this.  What I've found is that fully integrated solutions are essentially non-existent without going to a PSIM or Genetec.  PSIMs are generally costly and have little ROI.  Genetec has invested pretty heavily in being PSIM like.

Bosch does have some fully integrated solutions.  I have not used the product but the reviews on the VMS portion are generally poor which immediately deters me from testing.

Avigilon and Motorola are now making clear attempts to compete against Genetec in the metropolitan scale integrated system market.  I cannot say for certain they are anywhere near close.

Milestone and other VMS (e.g. Avigilon before Motorola) have slowly become more PSIM-like at a lower level due to third party integrations.  My experiences with this are pretty mixed.  It was usually more hassle than it was worth.

In my opinion, Genetec is the most fully integrated product out there at the moment that doesn't have severe drawbacks.

I work as a SI and have sold and commissioned many Genetec and Milestone systems over the years. The last time I has a client that wanted to make a decision between Genetec or Milestone (video only solution i must add) I did an initial licence price comparison and cost of license + 5 years of SMA. I found that Genetec license coats (cost per camera + modules etc) was higher than Milestone by about 15%, but their SMA cost per channel per year was lower by around 30%. With the initial system cost and the 5 years SMA both were almost identical, within 3% or so of each other. At the time the company i was working for were partners with both Genetec and Milestone and buying upwards of 2000 channels a year from both so our discounts from both were pretty good in the 30-40% off list range.

My advice to the client in question at the time was to use Genetec as in my opinion they are at least equal to Milestone on video but their platform is far more powerful especially considering they have access control, ANPR, SIP intercom, powerful map interface and the federation solution across all modules in the same package it would give them a better growth path moving forward. 

What’s SUP with that?

your pun caused my brain to experience actual pain

They get far worse, don't tempt fate.

"We’ll also introduce door templates for access control deployments." Finally this was one of the worst lack of a feature in Genetec. It made anything more than a couple of doors a real pain to deliver.  

It is frustrating as they have focused on developing components such as CitiGraf & Mission Control for a few clients and the core offering has become stagnant.  For the amount of growth that they continue to show on an annual basis very little has been done to improve the core product offering.   The last time the Legacy Mobile App for Android was updated was on Nov 2, 2015.  The last time the New Mobile App for Android was updated was on Dec 21, 2017.   Product development is steered by the demands and feature requests of the larger clients.   

It is refreshing to know that 5.8 is 'coming soon'.  However, history proves that an additional 2 months can be added to that timeline at a minimum.  

I'm not familiar with Genetec's versioning but why do they consider 5.2 to 5.3 a major release? That is generally a minor release. Major to me would be 5.x to 6.x. I know some that don't follow this common practice such as Microsoft's public version numbers of windows that they market with. I'm just curious.

Usually when the first number changes, I look to read/study the release notes. For second number changes I skim the release notes as I don't expect things to break but am somewhat cautious. When the third digit change, I feel safe upgrading perhaps near the end of the week. For almost all upgrades though, I like backups because feeling too comfortable can really sting when you get burned by a failed upgrade. I don't like when release notes aren't included. Sometimes reading them gives you a sense of if you need/should upgrade now or not. When they aren't included, I always wonder if the company is hiding something.

Or you could be like Netgear, offer an update that bricks the switch and not provide a console port to be able to fix it without having to get a replacement.

I'm not familiar with Genetec's versioning but why do they consider 5.2 to 5.3 a major release?

They also have these little service releases that include hot fixes and minor additional features or drivers.  It's a bit confusing.

Disclosure - I work for Genetec

the first number in our naming convention is the Platform Version itself in - Example 4.x was Omnicast (Primarily Video) whereas 5.x became Security Center (Unified Video / Access / LPR). 

The Major Release (AKA Revisions) is the second number - example 5.7 to 5.8. and contains all previous service releases, cumulative updates, new HW integrations and new features to the platform as described in Sean's article 

At Genetec we understand that not all customers may want or need to upgrade from one Rev to another (usually this is determined if new integrations, features etc. are required)

We also understand that the model for delivery of SW is changing, and that some customers, rather than buying a proprietary licenses upfront and paying SMA, would prefer to simply pay as you go which is why we introduced Security Center SAAS which decreases the initial investment and includes full support & upgrades in a simple monthly or annual subscription.

This product works well for our partners who want to bundle it, along with HW, warranty, service and/or monitoring, in an RMR /RAR model for their customers. 

I think 'Annual VMS Licences' is an inaccurate description for how licensing and SMA's work. When you buy a channel license and module/feature/integration licences from any VMS or Access Control vendor (at least all the systems I've used) its a perpetual licence that never expires, its yours to use forever on the version of the product you bought.

The SMA is for manufacturer support and software upgrades past the version you purchased, if you don't have an SMA your system doesn't stop working so its not an 'annual license' to use a product its a 'support and upgrade agreement' that can be renewed in yearly/two/three/four/five year agreements.

In the case of Genetec they don't block your ability to expand your system if you don't have an SMA. If you have an out of SMA system that you want to add 10 cameras to, you just buy 10 more channel licences and add your new cameras. I know that some vendors don't do this and this is where customers feel aggrieved, they buy a system on a given version with maybe a 1 year SMA and then two years later want to add some cameras or doors. The vendor wont let them add channels to their system until they renew (and often back pay) their SMA. I've see lots of end users rip and replace system because of this!

Some end users get good value from their SMA's as the upgrade their systems often and have a big enough system and diverse enough requirement that the new features they get are valued and actually useful to them whilst some don't update at all and pay for something they never actually use.

I realise I'm coming across very pro Genetec and pro SMA here so I just want to say that I agree with the SMA concept and it is pretty standard across the software industry as a whole but I think Genetec and pretty much all of them out there charge too much. 

My hope is that they put more future development effort into the Synergis side of the house as I feel that they are relatively weak with respect to access control capabilities. If you need to configure an alarm on an input not associated with a door object, that cannot be acknowledged until the alarm condition clears - you must first create a zone to accomplish this. An example of this would be an emergency door status switch. If configured with just an event to action that triggers an alarm, it could be acknowledged and cleared off the alarm monitoring task by the security guard while the door is still open. Having to create a zone for this is way too complicated for such a basic access control alarm.

As I stated in the Milestone string linked to in this OP, 'the deal' is (or should be) what matters - and I think this perspective is on-target for most users of anything that has a 'deal' built into recurring costs.

If you charge customers for annual licensing fees, these same customers are assuming that they will get something of value (that year) from their annual licensing fee outlay.

If a company charges annual licensing fees and produces no new product based on the core install (i.e. not new paid features) then the company should refund all monies taken in via annual licensing fee schemes.

Except they never do.

Genetec, as a gesture of good will, should extend all SMAs covered during this time frame where no releases occurred to cover the time frame until the 5.8 release.

I am going to put on a limb and guess that the disagree means that “soon” for 5.8 means in the next 6-18 months.

The new version releases aren't the only component of the software support component that is included in that yearly cost.


The same version upgrades (5.7 SR1->5.7 SR2, etc) include some feature improvements as well as additional support for newer products (and security updates as needed) are all part of the developmental cycle that has continued throughout the past year (just because 5.8 hasn't come out yet doesn't mean no new features have been created. 

Access to as-needed tech support is also included, which is quite valuable since their response times for call in and chat support are very low and their tech support has been head and shoulders above others that we work with (with much lower wait times, and a lot less bouncing around). 


The "rebate" logic when there isn't a major version release inside a year is nice to think about one direction, but if the same logic cut the other way then would it be ok for Genetec to charge us again if they rolled out several new releases in a year (or would you rather they just delay the release of new features so that they aren't released until they qualify for "next years release"). I would much rather get the new features as they are developed, even if it means that there are occasional cycles where an individual year goes by without a major version release- especially if it then leads to a very significant product quality jump during the next release (i.e. 5.8)

you have the clear mindset of a 'fan' - which is awesome for Genetec.

because customers bitch about stuff like this, while 'fans' will show compassion instead - especially if they have invested lots of their own time promoting the company that manufacturers the stuff they sling every day.

we all get that.

Even as a fan - you can not ignore the fact that Genetec charged (via SSA) their customers (fans or otherwise) annual fees that produced very little of actual value to those that paid the annual fee.

Do you agree/disagree?

I would definitely disagree that it has produced very little actual value. Do I wish the SSAs were lower? Of course I do, if the complaint is that Genetec has a high life-cycle cost, that is absolutely fair (and why it isn't the best fit for every business out there); but I don't think that anyone can realistically argue that the software development that Genetec does provides no value. I can do things with a Genetec platform that wouldn't be possible with the majority of other platforms out there; and just because a single year went by without a major update doesn't make me any less confident that when the next release comes out it will continue to lead the market. 

If all you need is a simple NVR to record and play back video, and a simple access control system for the front and side entrance is good enough- then I would agree that the Genetec SSA is probably of dubious value; but that SSA isn't there for that client (nor do they typically choose to invest in the SSA)- the SSA is there for the client that wants their system to grow over time and be a long term investment (even if there are different timelines in the development cycle)

you are obviously not dumb.

and your arguments have logical merit.

so there is that.


...but you are still avoiding my main point:

Genetec charged it's own customers/fans an annual fee this past year and seemingly provided nothing of value to them in return for that fee (in product/feature releases).

- and yet those same customers/fans have already paid the annual toll/fee.

If I pay you a toll to cross your bridge and you don't allow me passage, well then the deal has been broken - imo...

give me back my money if you bust the deal.

This is my primary - and only - position.

I will proffer that Genetec is a great partner to any VAR who slings their stuff.... and this has zero to do with my primary position:

In the last annual cycle, they charged their customers money...and there was nothing of apparent value that was delivered to these customers/fans that these same folks can imagine has any value to them whatsoever.

How am I (or they) wrong?

Genetec charged it's own customers/fans an annual fee this past year and seemingly provided nothing of value to them in return for that fee (in product/feature releases). This is ignoring tech supporting, consulting hours, and the feature releases in the SRs as well

- and yet those same customers/fans have already paid the annual toll/fee.

If I pay you a toll to cross your bridge and you don't allow me passage, well then the deal has been broken - imo...

Software support agreements are not a simple box sale though; by saying "the SSA is without value if you do not have a major version release" you are ignoring the value of the tech support component as well as the other aspects covered by Genetec Advantage (and by saying that you need a version release every year, that just creates incentives companies to call releases "major releases" whether they are or aren't). The other component to that is that in the bridge/toll example you have a contract with set terms; I pay "x" and get "y"; in the SSA example there is no contract saying "if you pay "x" per year then I will give you a 5.7 to 5.8 upgrade"- instead the SSA is there so that you have access to all minor and major releases and equally importantly to immediate tech support assistance

And in that example would Genetec get to charge double in 2017 when they released 2 major versions?

I will proffer that Genetec is a great partner to any VAR who slings their stuff.... and this has zero to do with my primary position:

In the last annual cycle, they charged their customers money...and there was nothing of apparent value that was delivered to these customers/fans that these same folks can imagine has any value to them whatsoever.

How am I (or they) wrong? I wouldn't say that you're wrong per se, just not looking at the entire picture- the SSA is more than just a box sale of 5.7 to 5.8

 ...the SSA is more than just a box sale of 5.7 to 5.8

That's definitely a fair concern regarding whether or not customer B got something that customer A did not (if we are assuming that customer A decided not to renew for the next year of SSA). However, isn't the same thing true in regards to most products? If you end up buying any other security item a day later and a new version of item x comes out, you are in a better place then someone who bought the previous version the day prior- that's the way technology items always have and always will work

this is exactly right.

the issue if one of fairness.

your position is valid - and expected (as previously mentioned).

You are a Genetec VAR fan after all.

but that does not change the opinion of those that are not the 'fans' of Genetec that you clearly are.

FTR, I wish more VARs would demonstrate the same loyalty to their chosen VMS provider that you do.  It should be a 'partnership' in more than name only.  so kudos to your manufacturer loyalty.  it's a good thing.

I commend your position while disagreeing with the logic of same.

Genetec charged annual fees and they did not deliver the value that their 'partners' assumed was forthcoming for the fees that were paid that year.

if you can't see that, then you aren't looking to see that.

pretty simple.

Nothing against developing platforms that are needed for airports, city wide surveillance or justice systems; but don't waste developers that are employeed to develop the core platform and engage them to work on platforms for a niche market while leaving the rest of the customers without innovation. Hire more developers to develop the platforms that are built based purely on the requests or demands of the large accounts /clients. 

How many feature requests on the core platform have been prioritized for the general Genetec Client base?  And if 'big client A' wants feature XYZ then it becomes a project and eventually a plug-in or core role or cloud based platform integrated with Security Center.  

A minimum 6 month SMA (Advantage) extension should be gifted to all customers for the lack of innovation to the Core Platform from a company that prides itself on innovation.

Hiring developers is expensive. What if to do that the SMA price went up? Would that be acceptable?

The SMA pricing went up ~3 years ago, for Enterprise licensed systems over 200 cameras. Genetec dropped the Base System License ($400 List) but increased the Per Camera SMA price by $2.

If you consider the typical customer of Genetec, large Enterprise installs (not SMB or under 50 camera systems), that meant an increase on a non-trivial amount of customers.

5.7 SR5 was released yesterday with minor updates:

What's new in Security Center 5.7 SR5

With each release, new features, enhancements, or resolved issues are added to the product.

Platformenhancements: There are no new platform enhancements in Security Center 5.7 SR5.

Video enhancements: The following video enhancements are included in Security Center 5.7 SR5: General enhancements • Improved configuration of HttpsOptions: HttpsOptions on the Archiver role can now be configured in a new Advanced security settings section in Config Tool.

Hanwha enhancements • Support for Hanwha Techwin PNM-9320VQP: The Hanwha Techwin PNM-9320VQP can now be added to Security Center. Smart zoom must be configured on the unit web page before adding the unit to Security Center.

KiwiVision™ video analytics 4.1 GA enhancements • Support for object detection analytics: You can now use the KiwiVision™ video analytics module to detect objects left in or removed from a scene, such as unattended luggage. • Predefined and custom analytics scenarios: You can now choose from different types of analytics scenarios to use as starting points to accelerate configuring video analytics. The settings that are available in predefined scenarios vary depending on the use case that they are designed for. For cases that are not covered by the predefined scenarios, you can use custom-type scenarios, which have all settings available for configuration. For more information, see "About analytics scenarios" in the KiwiVision™ Video Analytics Guide.

Accesscontrol enhancements There are no new access control enhancements in Security Center 5.7 SR5.

LPRenhancements There are no new LPR enhancements in Security Center 5.7 SR5.

Genetec announced 5.8's release today, and we have added it to our list of VMS tests.

There is information about the release in a Genetec Blog post.

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