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Using Software to Understand Environment Better

Alain Bissada - Genetec
Senior Director Canada & Mexico


Jan Hogewoning By Jan Hogewoning | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 10/01/2020 - 15:45

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Q: How does Genetec help clients improve their processes?

A: We produce only a few hardware components. Our main role is to filter the information that is collected by any type of IoT-device and then make that information actionable. Our unified platform can collect information from devices like video cameras, doors, audio sensors, radars, lighting systems or even chemical sensors. Anything that is IP-addressable is usable.

We help our customers make better decisions on what to do with office space, for example. Using a combination of in-office surveillance, as well as our license plate recognition tool, managers can see when people show up, which areas they use and when they leave. One of our customers saw that employees had too much office space and not enough parking space. As a result, they increased the size of their parking area and reduced their office areas.

In the case of retail clients, we help them to understand who their customers are, when they enter and leave and where they spend time in the store. We also work with airports, where our software tools help not only with security matters but also to optimize the flow of passengers, from the car park to the gate. This helps airports generate more revenue as people spend less time in line and have more opportunity to consume at restaurants or duty-free areas. In addition, we have a tool to optimize boarding and landing processes. This helps operators function optimally. We really help businesses to improve their primary activities.


Q: What is the added value of your Citigraf product?

Citigraf is a tool that helps different agencies share information and make the right decisions at the right time. For example, a city has the police, city workers, fire departments and an office for emergency response. They all have their own tools. However, during an event, like a parade or a riot, they need to collaborate. Citigraf can interconnect these areas so all the responders have access to the same information. Right now, agencies are often forced to make decisions without having sufficient information.


Q: Do you provide just the data or also trigger automated responses?

A: Both, depending on the customer’s requirements. With our collaborative-decision management system, Security Center Mission Control™, customers can create their own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide operator´s responses and configure automatic actions.These procedures are customizable as customers have different processes and incident response mechanisms. Some industries, such as oil and gas, are highly regulated and require unique responses. In others, such as retail, the client can decide how to respond with a bit more flexibility. A big part of what we are trying to do is to make responses as automated as possible. As a result, the person who is responding can spend time on things machines cannot do.


Q: How long have you been active in the Mexican market and where are your primary clients?

A: We have been in the country for 13 years. Mexico is a very interesting market for us and we have heavily invested in the country and intend to continue investing. We plan to open new offices, a training center for integrators of our systems and an experience center for both our partners and customers. We are active in 24 states. We have done particularly well in public safety, where we work primarily with state and municipal governments.

What is very popular in Mexico is what we call “Community Connect.” This is a collaborative effort where citizens can participate in ensuring safety. For example, a coffee shop or an auto repair garage can have cameras in their place of business or outside and the information that they collect is shared with law enforcement. This means there is real-time collaboration. The technology is cloud-based, so participants do not need to have their own server or operator; they can focus on their primary activities. As a general rule, the more participants in a community, the better the outcome for security. We want to leverage our success in public safety to broaden our presence in other verticals.


Q: In which verticals do you foresee the most opportunity?

A: There are three that are really top of mind. The first is what we call buildings and industrials. This is manufacturing, such as pharmaceuticals and food processing. It also includes oil and gas. The second area is retail and lastly, the transport sector. We have groups in Genetec that are solely dedicated to these individual sectors, so we can produce much more value for our customers.

In the case of the oil and gas industry, you have a highly regulated industry that stipulates how you should respond to an incident. Most systems will sound an alarm when someone climbs a fence. But what do you do when the alarm goes off? Our software can automatically direct all kinds of actions toward the emergency: dispatch security guards, call the police, take snapshots and send them to other organizations. We walk clients through every step. We can also automatically generate a report that is written in the way the authorities want it.


Q: What specific tools do you have for COVID-19-related needs?

A: We have had many customers come to us with ideas that they want to implement with our technology. We have been offering frictionless access control for a long time. You can use biometrics that do not require physical touch, like a handwave or face recognition. We are also helping companies to improve access to their offices and manage occupancy levels. They can block access to individuals and when too many people fill an area, they can receive an alert. All these applications require minimal changes to existing tech.

During the pandemic, we have also built tools for healthcare workers that allow them to interact with patients from a distance. We also developed tools that restricted access to PPE equipment when there were mass shortages at the beginning of crisis.



Genetec is a Canadian software company that specializes in IP security solutions for video surveillance, access control and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR).  Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Genetec also has offices in Mexico, Brazil, Dubai, France, Japan, Singapore, UK and the USA. Genetec security solutions are deployed throughout industries such as city-wide surveillance, education, gaming, government, law enforcement, parking enforcement, retail, transportation and many more.

Photo by:   Genetec

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