Genetec's Sipelia Acquisition and Plan Manager Offering Examined

By John Honovich, Published Dec 22, 2010, 07:00pm EST

In this note, we examine Genetec's December 2010 acquisition of Sipelia [link no longer available], a French software development company. We share feedback from an interview with Genetec as well as provide our observations on the deal.

The acquisition has two key components:

  • Expanding Genetec's custom solutions development team
  • Acquiring Plan Manager, a Genetec add-on that provides sophisticated map based monitoring.

On the organization expansion, Genetec has been growing rapidly for some time (just today they tweeted promoting 19 open positions). With the acquisition, Genetec adds 7 team members from Sipelia. Commenting on this point, Genetec notes:

"We have been impressed by their talent. Plus, currently, it is really hard to find high quality software engineers. By acquiring, we 'instantaneously' have a custom development team for Europe and being consultants that have a lot of experience at managing custom projects which is totally different than building a product."

Plan Manager helps expand their high end / 'command and control' solution (For background, see the Plan Manager overview document). While Genetec has their own built in 'basic' map functionality, Plan Manager provides a number of enhanced features including: dynamically displayed PTZ position on map, click on map to reposition PTZs to look at area of interest, displays alarms on top of maps and supports CAD files. Beyond these, we see a number of 'stand out' features:

  • Allows integration with a 3rd party GIS server (via OGC). This enables knowledge of specific position via latitude and longitude coordinates.
  • Dynamically zooms in and out of maps from bird eyes view down to details (very common in general web mapping offerings - like Google Maps but uncommon in VMS offerings). Genetec explained that, "on the server the system generates a hierarchy of small JPEG files based on the zoom level that are seamlessly merged together on the client workstation based on the zoom level. The system only sends the images visible by the user. Because the CAD files are vector based and not raster, the precision of the map is always better that a single JPEG image for the entire floor plan and it’s lighter to load and transfer on the client PC."

Below is an unofficial demo provided by Genetec that provides an informal overview of Plan Manager's features:

Plan Manager is offered as a license add on to Genetec's Omnicast. In their upcoming release (5.0), they will offer two versions - a basic and advanced option. Specific features and pricing for the new versions are not yet determined.

Clearly Genetec continues to develop high end offerings but does this make them a PSIM? Genetec's response:

"We believe we are different than PSIM because we offer built-in Video Management and Access Control as opposed to the majority of PSIM on the market that integrates with such system. We want to create an affordable product that is not unique to each and every customer." 

The pitch looks to be that Genetec does what PSIMs do but simpler and more affordable. A number of their recent moves (such as Plan Manager, extended support for 3rd party video recorders, integration with Mercury controllers and 3rd party access systems, etc.) strengthen Genetec's positioning as a 'PSIM' or 'PSIM' alternative.

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