Genetec Partners With Access Giant

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 27, 2013

Over the last few years, Genetec has expanded from simply being a VMS to offering access control, and now increasingly being a 'unified' solution. Indeed, the ability to unify access and video is heating up, as Avigilon's recent access control acquisition shows.

Now, Genetec has partnered with Assa Abbloy, the 800 pound gorilla of access control. What does this partnership mean and what does it consist of? How will it impact the market? In this note, we break down the technical details from speaking with Genetec and analyze its strengths and weaknesses.

Gunning for The Incumbents

In strategic terms, this partnership arms Genetec when competing against incumbent access providers like Lenel and Software House. Genetec clearly considers enterprise access control a base competency, and the move allows Genetec to compete its platform even in 'access control only' opportunities.

Integration Overview

Genetec's announcement describes out of box integration between their Synergis hardware controller and a range of ASSA's standalone access control locks such as Corbin Russwin and Sargent. Genetec notes that other lines are being tested and we would suspect Aperio would a top choice.

What's interesting is the support of standalone access control offerings as this is less commonly available (though supported by major access control rivals such as Lenel and Software House).

Genetec does not officially support any other 'standalone' lock offerings (although the Mercury-based AD400 can work), so this announcement opens a broad, new segment of the access market to the company: "stand alone" offline/wireless locks.

Stand Alone Pros and Cons

Stand alone access control differs notably from traditional access control. The main advantages are lower overall purchasing cost, due to 'unitized' designs that include a reader, retracting bolt/latch, and manual lever lockset in a single device. These locks do not require cabling, and typically can be quickly installed into existing doors without modification. "Stand alone" locks can be wirelessly networked, and are battery powered, eliminating some of the more expensive attributes of a hardwired door - the ethernet and power utilities.

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Most access control/VMS integrations require fully networked door control systems that cost thousands per door and typically take many hours of installation labor. However, "Stand Alone" locks are complete access systems on a door, with everything furnished in a single device.

The drawbacks of "stand alone" locksets are notable, including the maintenance costs of replacing batteries, longer operational cycle times, and non-centralised management of settings and users. They simply do not provide the needed performance for 'high security' and high volume openings served by door controllers, readers, and electrified hardware.

For more details, see our review of the stand alone access control lock from Sargent.

Assa Stand Alone Lock Cost Comparison

ASSA's 'standalone' offerings can be installed less expensively than traditional ones ($500 - $1000 less per door) and into existing door preps much faster and simply. Purchasing product through Genetec will be possible under terms of the partnership, although pricing and discounting are not finalized. However, based on feedback from existing ASSA hardware distributors, the compatible products range between $900 and $1700:

Corbin Russwin:

SARGENT:

Installation costs for stand alone will typically add ~$100 per door, given the simple install process, compared to traditional which routinely costs $500+ and takes a roughly a day.

These 'standalone' locks are generally deployed to classroom, office or corridor doors, but not for securing perimeter faced, emergency egress openings. However, these locks allow doors with lower traffic volumes to be incorporated into enterprise access at a lower overall cost.

Requires SMC

Unlike HID Edge/VertX, Assa offerings historically supported by Genetec, the integrations with these stand alone locks require adding / having the Synergis Master Controller panel (maximum 32 door support). 

If a lock or ASSA product requires its own controller or hub, the SMC will integrate to that device, not replace it. However, taking advantage of ASSA's "standalone" architecture means that when SMC is connected to an ASSA wireless hub, the system supports 'standalone' deployments of door locks not networked or connected to external power sources.

Competitive Comparison

Avigilon's acquisition of Redcloud drew substantial attention with the prospect of out of box integration between enterprise video management and an IP-based access platform. Like SynergisRedcloud also offers integration with 'open' access hardware from HID and Mercury, and works with Schlage's standalone AD400 locksets, but does not work with ASSA's stand alone lock lines.

However, Genetec's partnership with ASSA opens potential markets for the platform. While ASSA integration with other access control platforms is common, no VMS vendor supports ASSA's standalone offerings. In terms of delivering new business to Genetec, ASSA brings significant A&E / Specification Writer clout to bear in new construction projects. Potentially, Genetec's enterprise/cloud management of "stand alone" locks with video surveillance can be leveraged into specifications - an advantage that ASSA ABLOY does not have otherwise.

When contrasting Genetec's partnership with Access Control incumbents like Lenel and Software House, the ASSA partnership is less compelling. For facilities previously invested in incumbent EAC platforms, this announcement is not catalyst to change, nor are any new features supported. Both companies have announced similar partnerships and offer open box integrations with the same range of "standalone locksets".

However, Genetec's foray on video management is more polished and 'open' than either Lenel (PRISM) or Software House's (American Dynamics) offerings, and a 'greenfield' project requiring both systems could benefit from increased flexibility.

ASSA ABLOY profile

For many, ASSA's name may be unfamiliar, but the brands the conglomerate owns are not. The company's 50+ brands include major access control offerings:

  • HID: One of the world's largest access credential vendors, who has branched into 3rd party controllers and NFC based identity products
  • Yale: The original developer of the 'pin tumbler' lock, and one of the oldest brands in physical security.
  • HES: A leading producer of electric strikes, with global market verticals.
  • Medeco: One of the leading names in 'high-security' locking hardware, whose portfolio includes the 'digital lock' Mul-T-Lock offerings
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