Why Genetec is going "cloud first"

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02/10/2016

Unified security solution provider Genetec is going with a “cloud-first strategy,” Genetec’s Christian Morin said this week.

“The bulk of our innovation will be delivered [as a] cloud-based product first,” Morin said.

Popularized a few years ago when in 2011 the U.S. government mandated that federal agencies consider a cloud-based IT systems, the term “cloud first” is heard more, and talked about more favorably in the business community over the past couple of years.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for example, announced the company’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” strategy in 2014.

As VP Cloud Services at Genetec, Morin has been a vocal evangelist for cloud-based systems. Here’s a link to a story about cloud from TechSec 2015.

The world is moving to the cloud for sound business reasons, Morin said this week. "The marketplace in changing. Integrators are realizing that they need to adapt. If they don’t, they’ll be left behind,” Morin said.

Morin shared several impressive percentages—triple digit growth—related to the company’s Stratocast and other cloud products. Admittedly, it’s hard to know what those figures really represent when there are no revenue figures attached. (The private company declined to share actual revenue figures.) However, Morin shared stories of customers who are using Genetec’s cloud products. Suffice it to say, they are big customers and there are a number of them.

Morin discussed Genetec’s work with the LAPD at the Special Olympics in July, interconnecting a number of different entities such as universities, the convention center and the Staples Center into one command center.

He also described a project with an unnamed big box retailer where Genetec was used to federate 800 stores, each with 50 to 80 cameras.

Customers are looking for Genetec’s access control as a service product, which is currently in beta, he said. “Not a week goes by that a customer doesn’t ask. There’s tremendous market demand especially among large customers who want central access control across many different facilities,” Morin said.

Genetec is having a lot of success with cloud in city surveillance applications—its “Project Green light” in Detroit is a notable example—and Genetec is actively working with groups of stakeholders in many different U.S. cities to pull together similar projects.

Genetec is also in discussion with telecom companies to bundle its commercial cloud services with the telecom’s traditional services. It’s a model that might work very well with city surveillance. The telecom would bring “brand power, network and billing mechanisms” to the plate. How would that work with integrators? Would the telecom be stepping on their business? Unlikely, Morin says. The telecoms don’t want to get involved with fulfillment, he said.

Morin said there are four reasons customers want cloud: you pay as you go; upgrades are the responsibility of Genetec, lessoning the burden on internal IT; simple and easy for integrators; scalability and elasticity.

The two main challenges Genetec faces with cloud is the reluctance of customers to “not see my server anymore” and customers and integrators getting used to the subscription model.

To get integrators and end users accustomed to the subscription model, Genetec will begin offering its on-premises platform Omnicast as a subscription model. The platform will still be the same, it’s just a different payment option.

While Morin is convinced that the move to the cloud will inevitably become a stampede, he said Genetec believes in a hybrid cloud model. “There are many good reasons why some customers don’t want to move everything to the cloud,” he said.  They may want a little cloud or a lot of cloud and they may want the transition to be very slow, he said.

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