What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—or so the saying goes. But the adage couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to ISC West 2022.
The security extravaganza played host to end users, integrators and manufacturers alike, all flocking to the City of Sin for a taste of the hottest up-and-coming technology. Genea was among the manufacturers in attendance. At our 30×30 booth, Genea showcased its cloud access control solution, which runs on non-proprietary hardware, offers many out-of-the-box integrations and is backed by live 24/7/365 support. During the event, we hosted two cocktail hours and an e-bike giveaway. Alex Alb, Vice President of Technology at GMSC Security, was the lucky recipient of the Specialized e-bike.
In the last two years, ISC West had been hampered by COVID-19. However, 2022 marked a return to normalcy, as the event hosted over 400 vendors and over 20,000 attendees. I caught up with Genea President and CEO Michael Wong, Director of Access Control Mike Maxsenti and Alex Alb to discuss their impressions and key takeaways from the event.
General Impressions: Migration to the Cloud
One theme stole the show at ISC West — cloud-based security.
“I’ve been noticing a fair bit of frustration when it comes to on-prem access control solutions,” Wong said. “More so than ever, that frustration seems to be reaching new levels, and it’s causing people to consider the advantages of the cloud.”
Evidence of this paradigm shift exists by the sheer number of cloud-based security companies looking to gain a foothold among end users. In addition to access control, other technologies have been transitioning to the cloud. Alb noted that cloud vendors at ISC West ranged from video management to device management companies.
“There is a level of excitement about cloud-based and non-proprietary technologies in the industry I’ve never seen before.” Maxsenti said. “The cloud is finally the expected solution, not the alternative.”
Finding Hardware Amid Supply Chain Challenges
Another common theme I noticed pertained to the difficulties sourcing hardware because of the supply chain slowdown. HID Global, the most predominate manufacturer of door card readers in North America, has had significant setbacks with their shipping. Consequently, new installations have been delayed.
“When it comes to hardware providers, everyone is trying to make sure they have alternatives,” Wong said. “There are companies on the hardware side of access control that are going to benefit from those trends.”
In other words, lesser-known companies are expanding their reach — and their pocketbooks are benefiting. One of these companies is STid who also attended ISC West and is a Genea hardware partner. The France-based manufacturer hopes to capitalize on the challenges companies like HID are experiencing.
But for those looking to upgrade their access control to the cloud, there is an alternative to buying new hardware. Instead, some access control providers can simply reconfigure already installed hardware.
Cloud-based providers, like Genea, can reconfigure some existing hardware to convert an entire system to the cloud. Ultimately, this gives end users conveniences they wouldn’t have otherwise.
The Future Forecast
The future forecast looks cloudy—but not in an “it’s-raining-cats-and-dogs” sense. Alb predicts that the industry will eventually become completely cloud-based and that mobile and biometric credentialing will drive the adoption of the cloud.
“Being able to do everything from your phone is the new norm, and (the cloud) will expand to offer more services from your handheld device,” Alb stated. “Another outlook is that with deeper integrations everything can be done from a single pane of glass.”
Already, we’ve seen companies integrate access control with identity and video management, elevators, visitor management and more. However, one of the hurdles with which cloud companies must contend is successfully relaying information about cloud security to potential end users like schools, enterprises, healthcare facilities and others. (Though, IT teams are the most willing to adopt cloud-based access control, because they already use the cloud in their tech stack.)
There are a variety of ways those thinking of adopting cloud solutions can learn.
“(They can) attend events and webinars, subscribe to various technology and security related publications,” Alb stated. “Also, discuss new technologies with your current integrator and IT teams, and always be testing new technologies whether it be hardware related or software related.”
Genea plans to continue cultivating the relationships we formed at ISC West 2022. These will help build brand awareness and earn the right to do more.
“This year’s show was about cementing our brand in the industry and taking our channel partner program to the next level,” Maxsenti said. “I think both were achieved and we are set up for many years of success, as long as we stay true to our product quality standards and commitment to customer service.”
Wong agreed and added:
“It’s like anything else we do as a company,” Wong said. “We want to prove ourselves and earn the right to do more. That’s how we established the other products at Genea, and that’s what we’re going to do here.”