Lenel vs Avigilon

By John Honovich, Published May 31, 2013, 12:00am EDT

One of the most interesting and potentially significant impacts of Avigilon's acquisition of RedCloud is how this helps Avigilon match up against Lenel.

Lenel's Historical Advantage

Avigilon has repeatedly stated its goal of expanding into the enterprise market, moving to bigger projects. By contrast, Lenel, is one of, if not the biggest, access control providers for large users - government, corporations, etc. While Lenel is most known and respected for access control, they also have (multiple) surveillance offerings that they aggressively market to those customers.

The long term lock-in that access control provides, and the high value that access / video integration delivers gives Lenel a significant sales advantage, even if their video products are generally viewed as mediocre (and changing - see Lenel's most recent Prism offering).

RedCloud vs Lenel

Many of RedCloud's key features and positioning are based on competing and beating Lenel. Indeed, RedCloud notes, "RedCloud's executive team is led by IT and security veterans from Lenel and Honeywell."

When RedCloud talks about the benefit of appliances, web client access, simple structure, etc., those are pretty much all implicit critiques of Lenel - Windows based, thick client, complex interface, complex licensing, etc.

Moreover, both companies are Mercury partners, using Mercury panels to connect door hardware, etc. This is a significant portion of an access control system's expense and can last for a very long time. However, because RedCloud supports the same Mercury panels used by Lenel, this makes it easier to flip those customers with minimal cost / changes.

Lenel's Technical Advantages

Nonetheless, Lenel has a very sophisticated access product with proven scalability for 'mega' systems, vast production ready 3rd party integrations and broad array of advanced features (from badging to databases to biometrics, etc. - see a 2009 Lenel A&E spec [link no longer available] for a sense). And, of course, video  / access integration into a single interface.

As such, Avigilon will need to invest significantly in expanding RedCloud's functionalities to overcome barriers for many large accounts who depend on such functions or integrations.

Potential Impact

We think the largest potential impact is how Avigilon can better compete with Lenel. Lenel is in a very large number of mega accounts that Avigilon (or any major manufacturer) would want to enter. RedCloud's feature sets give Avigilon a well designed counter to reduce Lenel's advantage on the access control side, providing a strong alternative. Moreover, if Avigilon further develops RedCloud, they can focus the competition more on the video side, where they clearly are stronger than Lenel.

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