Testing Genetec Security Center

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 23, 2014

This is IPVM's first in a series of all new, in-depth test reports on video management software.

We start with Genetec's Security Center. Here's a 50 second video overview:

Inside this report are 40 minutes of video screencasts break down live monitoring, investigations, configuration, administration and access control integration.

Over the next few months, we will follow with similar reports on many other well known VMS systems.

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Comments (12)

Readers, note that we are happy to take a look at other features you feel we may have missed. We plan to update this report in the future as new features are added, as well.

Ethan,

Many of your conclusions jibe with our evaluation of Security Center 5.1 in late-2012 and early 2013. Below is our list of the "Pros" and "Cons" we noted:

PROS:

  • Relatively uncluttered desktop.
  • Many Salvo Options
  • Relatively easy to learn and operate.
  • Fast camera “Live” call-up times.
  • Relatively wide range of forward and reverse playback speeds (to 100x).
  • Easy-to-use digital zoom.
  • Excellent PTZ control with multiple methods (hardware joystick, on-screen joystick, mouse).
  • Can create a clip from a clip in a standard format for editing or displaying in a “standard” media player.

CONS:

  • Very poor playback – especially reverse playback and most especially of salvos.
  • Motion Search worked sporadically and was slow when it did work.
  • Bookmarks can only be set for individual camera. Must synch with salvos.
  • Creates folder(s) named <Camera Name> and puts actual clips within the folder(s) (clips are auto-named).
  • No “searchable” metadata in clips.
  • Save locations controlled by Windows Explorer – cannot be limited or controlled except by Windows User Rights.

I understand that at least some of the Cons were resolved in subsequent releases but it appears that Genetec has added more layers of complexity to their software in the attempt to be all things to all people.

One of two serious shortcomings we noted were the very slow switching from "Live" to "Playback" including problems playing back at high speed, especially in reverse and most especially with multi-camera salvos. The second was long clip creation times, during which a huge popup window blocked out most of the display.

Speculation was that the first problem was related to improper setup of the DDN storage system provided with our first evaluation unit. The second system to come in had different storage and did perform better but we still had periods when the rotating hourglass popped up with the overlay "Buffering" during fast playback.

Did you note either of the above issues during your evaluation?

I am curious. It seems Genetec's entry level VMS pricing (Standard version) is much higher than any of its main rivals. Am I missing something? How do you compete with Genetec for a 20 - 40 camera job?

Genetec does have some deal packages espically if it is a conversion from analog. They will pretty much offer the software for free. This is usually only offered at certain times.

Genetec can't compete at 1-40 cameras deal, too expensive...

It is possible to conceal much of the complexity in Security Center for non-power users, e.g. you have highly granular settings available in Config Tool to determine which tasks any user or user group has access to - so that for example a highly restricted user could see only one task - Monitoring - in their workspace and you can limit their ability to create new tasks. Only the admin user login would see the huge number of task options shown in the video.

It's really a matter of how much work you want to put into initial set up and customisation that is rewarded down the line in less support questions from end users.

I have just 2 comments 1) in reference to there being a large number of tasks: each and every one of those tasks can be shown or hidden per the user group or user privileges. Power users with a stronger need and background can see everything. Investigators can have only 1 task: Archive Search. Then again you know this Ethan, so this is just playing to the spin of "Genetec is confusing" 2) overall great report, maybe you touched on it in the video, but the Remote Task is a hugely powerful new feature that I dont think any other VMS currently supports

"Investigators can have only 1 task: Archive Search"

But what if they what to do motion search or find bookmarks or search through camera events?

What about 'generate reports' returning a list of cameras that need to be clicked, played back asynchronously by default?

There's complexity throughout the application, far more even their core competitors. I am not saying it's universally bad. There are clearly advantages but saying that you can just hide a few things and voila appears to be overdoing.

"But what if they what to do motion search or find bookmarks or search through camera events?" - Then they have 3 tasks... not sure what is overdoing about that. I was exaggerating to make a point, but the point remains the same, with proper up front setup and management, the system can be as user friendly as any. That's the inherint issue of these "out of the box" intensive tests, it couldnt possibly dig deep enough into the setup and configuration, while also being any sort of apples-to-apples comparison base.

For example I can customize a users Archive Search task to have the tiles synchronize by default, but rarely do, because its just not that useful of a feature in my opinion.

Hi John

(Disclosure to readers - I am a Genetec Employee)

Both and Andrew and Sean are correct regarding the upfront configuration of Security Center

All facets of Security Center can be configured and "locked down" for whatever the system administrator deems is needed and appropriate for specific users within their organization. This includes visibility and access to any and all features of the system

I would extend an invitation to have one of our sales engineers present / demo this to you and your team at your convenience

Scott Thomas

Genetec

Genetec people, enough already.

We had a dedicated webinar with a Genetec employee before our webinar. We had multiple Genetec employees on the IPVM webinar. It is not an issue of us not being aware of this.

We get that it's possible to hide certain features. This still requires knowledge to setup and does not eliminate all the complexity in the features and layout of the system overall.

I don't have a dog in this fight, however 'complex' is a subjective expression. Complexity leading to confusion would be undesirable, however I did not find anything particularly confusing about navigating the interface. In watching these videos for the first time I had the distinct feeling that 'features' more than complexity was appropriate. I am at a disadvantage however in that I am not able to kick the tires on a wide variety of solutions.

Nor do I have an opinion on jargon - maybe Genetec terms stray from common terms in the industry.

Every new client/user would receive appropriate training, these solutions are by nature 'complex' and navigation by intuition is not expected.

It seems that there is a lot of flexibility in 'dumbing down' the application as well for different user profiles?! I don't know if that is common.

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