Montreal montage: a collection of moments from Genetec’s 2019 Press Summit

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Montreal—Just last week, I was enjoying cool temperatures, great food and Canadian hospitality while learning about Genetec and hot topics in security. And, while two days filled with continuous learning and fun is a blur, I gleaned some amazing insights into the world of today’s security landscape. 

Starting off at Genetec’s Headquarters, approximately 30 international journalists from Brazil, Canada, Columbia, France, Germany, Mexico City, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. gathered in a conference room, coffee in one hand, notebook and pen and/or computer in the other to soak up the knowledge that was to be presented. 

The Genetec journey is constantly evolving. In terms of global presence, the company’s focus is to “go at the right place at the right time, with an emphasis on building channels and channel partners,” Andrew Elvish, vice president, marketing & product management, Genetec, explained as he welcomed everyone to the summit. To do this, the company focuses three distinct pillars: intelligence to understand the everyday; operations to improve the everyday; and security to security the everyday. 

Jean-Pierre Picard, manager of product marketing, Genetec, followed with Genetec’s roadmap and vision, which is all about investing in long-term projects via an open platform that is secure, smart and scalable, with the core products being video, access control and license plate recognition (LPR). 

“Becoming a data platform involves ingesting, leveraging and interacting with data,” Picard explained. With Genetec’s solutions, data is taken in, “used to improve operations and efficiency via a rules machine and new ways to see and explore data to tap into the future is done based on who needs to interact with the data and tailored to individual roles, which is then presented in various ways such as graphs, charts and maps, for physical exploration.” 

Once the data platform is established, the ability to grow the network easily and efficiently is key. 

“Scalability is not about connecting more devices, but about efficiently managing systems with remote site management by empowering people while protecting privacy; connecting beyond the organization into a community connect framework where public and private organizations exchange data; and empowering operations by incorporating the human aspect via apps,” Picard said. 

After learning about Genetec and a quick break, our minds were whisked off into a discussion of hot topics in security: 

Role of privacy in a digital democracy: According Genetec’s Founder and CEO, Pierre Racz, no one is doing anything to secure our information supply, as he sees a “rise of anti-scientific thinking” which has produced “fecal matter in our information supply.” And, while that was said tongue-in-cheek, the tone was serious with serious implications that typically harm society’s young and elderly the most, according to Racz. 

Realizing that traditional perimeter security is broken, the focus has shifted to identity, people and machines, as the new perimeter. 

“Information needs a chain of trust,” explained Racz. “You need to know specifically who you are talking to.” Levels of identity assurance start with simply hearing someone’s voice and knowing who they are to physically seeing them and verifying their identity in comparison to their government ID, and onto password identification and biometrics. 

Of course, with any personal identifying information comes the issue of protecting privacy. 

One way Genetec is working to protect liberal democracies is with their Privacy Protector tool that helps protect people without sacrificing their privacy. The tool, which has the European Privacy Seal, obscures personal identifying data in surveillance videos in real-time, protecting privacy through pixilation while motion remains recognizable. With blurred video, viewers “can’t tell who, but they can see what they’re doing,” Racz said. This is especially helpful in smart city applications as well as the school environment because if offers the ability to blur children in classrooms.

“Put the responsibility for negligence of security where it belongs; it’s not always IT’s fault and executives should invest the appropriate amount of money into security,” Racz concluded.

The future of AI in security: “AI has lots of fails, so how can we trust an AI algorithm,” Sean Lawlor, PhD, data scientist, Genetec, asked the group, answering, “we are at the machine learning level, not the AI level.” 

Lawlor explained that true AI mimics the human brain whereas machine learning is trained to solve very specific issues and problems via the process of deep learning. “People don’t know what machine learning picks to use to make predictions and do actions,” he said. (Makes you think, doesn’t it?) However, appropriate machine learning encompasses repeated tasks and the identification of abnormalities, which humans know it is capable of. 

“To have faith in solutions [including AI, machine-based learning and deep learning], fairness, the ability to explain, robustness and lineage is needed,” Lawlor said. 

Racz interjected, “AI does not exist, but IA, “intelligent automation” does, which puts together human creativity with a computer doing the heavy lifting and calculating.” 

Privacy matters in security: With growing risks of the interconnected world from so many connected devices, “anything connected to the network is vulnerable,” Laurent Villeneuve, product marketing manager, Genetec said, giving the following formula to properly evaluate risk: calculate probability of something bad happening x impact of it happening. 

With an estimated global cost of cybercrime at $5.8 trillion per year, according to Villeneuve, companies need a cybersecurity plan. (By the way, that amount has officially surpassed the global drug trade!) To create a plan companies should use frameworks already available, encryption and permission-based privileges; gain knowledge of potential threats and how to fix them quickly; and consider open architecture software because all links are secured. 

To help enforce best IT practices in an organization, Villeneuve offers the following tips: 

  1. Use password managers to help manage all passwords.
  2. Implement multiply layers of protection.
  3. Choose solutions you can rely on. 
  4. Hire white hat hackers to hack constantly hack systems, identify vulnerabilities and fixing them. 

Cannabis and security: This topic was covered via a panel discussion between Chris Rodriguez of MedMen; Michael Elkin of High 12 Brands; Tim Sutton of Guidepost Solutions and moderated by Alain Bissada, director of sales, North American, Eastern Region for Genetec, presenting perspectives from a dispensary, a cannabis-focused consumer packaged goods company and a consultant. 

Specific to security professionals hoping to enter the cannabis niche, the following advice was offered by each speaker: 

Rodriguez: “Be a leader by offering leading technologies. To do this, dealers must understand the cannabis industry and come to the table with specific solutions designed specifically for this niche.” 

Elkin: “Most [cannabis] suppliers are totally focused on compliance; they don’t even think about facility security.” To grab their attention, “ROI must be identified, showing them how much your security solution will save them.” 

Sutton: “Integrators should partner with consultants within the cannabis industry; the security consultant should write the RFP; and the integrator should become the equipment specialist, keeping the technology up to date, teaching the end user how it works, etc.”

ALPR and the role of parking in cities: As cities are becoming smarter, as is the way in which they offer parking. “Smart parking” is evolving by digitizing the experience with frictionless parking that consists of gateless, free-flow, cashless payments. 

“Cities are mapping streets for automated parking logic,” Stephan Kaiser, AutoVu general manager, Genetec, said. “Pay by the plate is an option in which payments are made through a mobile app, no pay stations needed, and in Europe, text payment is available.” 

Parking helps improve city life for citizens as well as traffic flow, but according to Kaiser, enforcement is key using license plate recognition (LPR) and pay by plate technology. “The goal should be improving compliance by changing people’s behavior, not ticket revenues,” said Kaiser. 

After all these insightful discussions, the group headed down to the Genetec Experience Center, where each of their solutions are mounted on the wall and their platform with all their solutions are connected in a simulated control room to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities. This gave us a little taste as to what was to come the following day: a field trip to Casino de Montreal to witness security in action! 

Stay tuned for more about the Montreal casino experience!