Extravision provides high security for marijuana grower

Canadian integrator finds transparency leads to customer loyalty
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RUHENGERI, Rwanda—At 375,000 square feet, Vida Cannibis will likely be the largest indoor marijuana grower in North America and its security system will be comprehensive.

“The security at this facility is the level you would find at a nuclear site,” said Andre Fiset, president of Extravision, the systems integrator working on the project.

Fiset spoke to Security Systems News during the Northland Challenge, which is taking place in Uganda and Rwanda this week.

“In each area that you find marijuana, you have to have 100-percent camera coverage,” Fiset explained. The installation will have sophisticated perimeter protection and biometrics including iris readers. “For every single access door you must have two ways of ID and cameras to document each interaction with the security system. And, each event must be archived for two years.”

Canadian marijuana growers must adhere to Health Canada Cannabis Regulations, which Fiset said are very strict and specific. “The guidelines in the U.S. are much more subject to interpretation. In the U.S. you can have a Costco camera system paired with an alarm system and a panic alarm. That could work,” Fiset said. Not so in Canada.

The first phase of the Vida installation is done and awaiting inspection. Fiset said Vida’s goal is “to overnight become the world leader in producing marijuana,” he said.

Recent legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana in some locations and recreational marijuana in others means the demand for growers is also increasing.

Fiset says increased demand has created a “race in the marketplace” to get approved growing facilities up, secured, and running. About 12 facilities have received government approval thus far, but an estimated 1,000 growers have applied for government permits, Fiset said.   

Because Extravision does government risk assessment and knows the cannabis security regulations well, it is in demand as a systems integrator for these facilities. Fiset said he’s turned away some projects.

Founded in 2000 by Fiset, Extravision is based in Quebec, Canada and has offices in Montreal, Ottowa and Toronto. It is set to surpass $10 million in revenue this year and has 26 employees, which includes four new employees hired in the past week.

Fiset said “our guys are really good with software, our internal people are all software driven, with [multiple] certifications.”

The Extravision business model is different. It has no sales people; project managers also handle sales. Other than one technical person in each office, Extravision doesn’t “have technicians or do the installation ourselves, we use partners,” Fiset said. The partner arrangement works well, he said. After negotiating price with Extravision, the partners take over the minute details of a project.