New Features in Access Control Technology
Fifty feature releases, 200+ customer insights, 8 new integrations. In 2021, Genea transformed the access control experience. From enterprises and retail businesses to educational and healthcare facilities, those looking for a modern security solution turned to Genea Access Control.
But, to us, success is more than just producing flashy tech. It’s about engaging in meaningful conversations with customers, listening to feedback, and incorporating that feedback into beneficial features. At Genea, customers steer technology. Read how our customers sparked innovations in Access Control and Visitor Management and our plans for 2022.
Best Security Features of 2021
Genea Product Director Matija Abicic began the webinar by recapping some of the most important releases of 2021:
- If/Then, I/O Rules
- On-demand Panel Sync
- Temporary Access
- Visitor Management Check-out Flows
Administrators can create custom If/Then rules for their access control system. For example, if a burglar alarm gets triggered in the IT room, then the IT room will automatically lock down. If the alarm is cleared, then the room will no longer be locked down. With this feature, specific plans can be designed for custom scenarios.
On-Demand Panel Sync
On-demand Panel Sync helps teams when a controller goes offline (e.g., in the case of a power outage). If the controller is out of sync with the cloud server, then problems with credentials may arise. Though previously provisioned key cards will continue to function as normal, the system may not recognize newly provisioned cards.
To remedy this problem, Genea created a hardware sync. For all Mercury customers, when a controller reappears online after a power outage, the controller and server will automatically reconnect and transfer any missing data. Ultimately, this reduces the time it takes to troubleshoot these scenarios.
Genea has also expanded how temporary access gets granted. Previously, IT and security teams could create badge presets with custom expiration dates. For example, if an internship typically lasts 90 days, admins could generate a preset in which all intern badges deactivate after 90 days. This feature could be adjusted by job title (e.g., contractors, interns, delivery people).
However, after hearing customer feedback, Genea decided to take this feature a step further. The customer wanted to grant temporary access to a highly restricted area during specific hours of the day.
“That was something hard to do because most access control systems operate on a day-to-day basis,” Abicic said.
He gave the example of an employee needing access between February 14 and 16 but being unable to specify the specific times during those dates.
The process used to be manual. An admin would grant access at a specific time and then record when that person left. With Temporary Access, this process gets accomplished automatically—access automatically activates and deactivates according to the programmed time.
Though the integration isn’t new, the Okta-Genea integration received a fresh addition. Okta is a popular identity management platform. It lets admins automatically add and remove users across offices.
While the integration has been working well when adding and removing individual users, changes at the group level remained a challenge. With the addition of this feature, Genea allows group syncing from Okta.
“When you change permissions of the whole group, you no longer need to make the same updates [for] every single individual user,” Abicic said.
Genea implemented two-factor authentication with a YubiKey. Many enterprises use advanced security for access to their computer systems. YubiKey allows administrators to enhance security and access to physical spaces.
Tenant Amenity Apps
Other integrations included the tenant amenity apps known as VTS-Rise and Lane. Tenant amenity apps have been growing in popularity. They unify the tenant experience by aggregating various technologies into a single smartphone app.
Genea does the “heavy lifting” – supplying the logic technology on the backend, while tenant amenity apps focus solely on the overall user experience.
For example, Jennine is an attorney at a law office in a high-rise building. Through a tenant amenity app, she can access the building’s gym, its conference rooms, pay for food in the cafeteria, and most of all, access the front door with a tap of her smartphone. Genea makes getting through the door possible, though all Jennine sees is the tenant amenity app.
System administrators add and remove access credentials within the Genea Access Control. In turn, these permissions get shared with the tenant amenity app from which the end user interacts.
“We are the integration piece between provisioning credentials from, let’s say, HID and passing those credentials on to the mobile app that the user has,” Matija said. “That’s just another benefit of having access control that is hardware agnostic, relies on open APIs, and enables all of our technology partners to integrate seamlessly…”
Splash is an event management platform. The integration with Genea Access Control was requested by a customer who wanted to add guests for a specific event and automatically remove them at the end of the event. In addition, as guests departed from the event, the customer wanted to distribute a mobile survey to collect opinions about how the event went and improve their service.
Youcanbook.me is an app developer that helps schedule meetings occurring within a physical space (rather than online). If Joe schedules a meeting with Rob, then Rob’s access credentials will activate allowing him access to Joe’s office for a specific period.
The future of security is the cloud – there’s no getting around it. Luckily, cloud-based security systems make it possible to quickly connect multiple portions of a security system. The Genea Access Control and Rhombus Systems integration is the perfect example.
With the use of a single API token, a Rhombus video management system will link in the Genea Global Dashboard. What does this mean? If an unauthorized person breaches a door, armed with Genea Access Control, Rhombus will stream video footage of the incident right into the Genea platform.
Other features include:
- Door mapping- Map doors to video cameras
- Live feeds- Live video is delivered directly to the Genea Global Dashboard
- Facial Recognition Bookmarks- The cameras tag people when a door access event occurs
- Anti-passback and Tailgating- The cameras match faces to the access credential being used
With these integrations, Genea can quickly and seamlessly bring top-tier technology to its customers. Curious about the other Genea releases from 2021, including Badge Printing and Visitor Checkout Flows? Check out the webinar, below!
What Access Control Features are Coming in 2022?
“We are prioritizing items based on what our customers are telling us, what their pain points are, and what we hear from some of our prospects in the field,” Abicic said.
One of the most requested items was Automated Reporting. Though Genea Access Control already provides a user-friendly way of accessing data, many customers wanted to save a view of the report and have it delivered to their inbox. For instance, if administrators are interested in learning about the attendance within a suite or building, then they will be able to generate an attendance report and have it sent to their email inbox.
Also coming in 2022 is Custom Lockdown Plans. Currently, admins can lock down their entire facility. However, Genea will release a feature in which admins can group specific access points. This feature lets admins define which doors they want to lock. With this addition comes Lockdown Exceptions. In case of an emergency, certain personnel like police, firefighters and security teams can override the lockdown plan.
“The way we look at delivering products and features is by asking the question: how do we make our product better in the context of serving our customers? How do we address the real pain points and not just deliver a cool technology that may or may not be useful to anybody?” Matija said. “Any feedback, we’ll happily take it all in.”
Learn more about Genea Access Control and Visitor Management.