[ITW] Genetec’s Francesco Serra, the Big Data for Physical Security

From April 20 to 23, 2020, Genetec will host its ConnectDX virtual conference. On this occasion, we spoke with Francesco Serra, Genetec’s Vice President of European Sales. The opportunity to learn more about this company that combines physical security and Big Data…

Can you introduce Genetec?

Genetec is a Canadian company founded in 1997 by Pierre Racz who is still our president today. Like any good founder, he started his company in his garage.

Today we are world leader in unified security solutions : video surveillance, access control, license plate reading solutions… and many other solutions for more security and operational efficiency.

For protect on a daily basis and offer more operational intelligencewe use connected objects and sensors that allow us to aggregate data.

We are present in Europe with a European headquarters in Paris. We have more than 200 employees in Europe and 1600 worldwide.

The cornerstone of Genetec’s approach to security is versatile technology. Can you tell me more about it?

We offer a unified platform. It is based on the aggregation of different data and flows to enable operators to make decisions or automate processes. The objective is to be able to react as quickly as possible.

We encompass almost all sectors. For example, in the medical field, our technology can be used to track equipment or even Alzheimer’s patients thanks to bracelets.

In the construction sector, our Smart Building solutions can be used, for example, to optimise heating or air conditioning to save energy. We are also in transport and logistics.

On works with airports, including ADPThe Duty Free system can be used for example to facilitate the passage through the security gate for quicker access to the Duty Free or to react more quickly with alarms in case of stuck luggage.

All of these use cases are based on data collection and aggregation. This idea of versatility is be able to use this data for a multitude of application sectors.

You offer your services to multiple industries. How do you adapt to different industries with their specificities?

Unlike other players, who specialise in a single field, such as video surveillance or license plate reading, our platform already gathers these different modules.

Afterwards, we are able to add other modules. There are also many integrations via our SDK which allows the integration of other solutions.

For example, for example.., Azure Drone which markets security drones has integrated its technology into our platform. Any software or hardware module can be integrated into the solution.

Beyond data collection and aggregation, do you also offer data analysis?

L’data analysis and artificial intelligence strengthen our solutions and once again enable us to react more quickly in the event of a security problem.

They can be used for image analysis. For example, the analysis of images for the dumping of wild rubbish. In the industrial world, we are working on alarms for the protection of isolated workers (IWP), detection of fission of hydraulic dams in the energy sector .

It is also proposed that object detection or perimeter-crossing detection. In the world of retail, our solutions enable brands to count the number of customers or analyse the customer journey. This can also be used to manage a rapid evacuation procedure.

More and more analytical and AI solutions are being used. On is also buying up specialized companies. on these technologies, allowing us to add intelligence to our solutions.

However, what is important is to be able to offer the synthesis of these data analyses to enable the operator to make a decision, react or automate a sequence of operations that will be much faster than if a human operator had to read a crisis management manual in the middle of an emergency.

That’s what allows e.g. our Mission Control solution. It is very simple to use for operators, since it is a drag n drop interface that allows them to define different scenarios.

Do you only use your own proprietary sensors and technologies for data collection and analysis?

We of course work with the main market standards. We’re interoperable with most of the major players.

We work a lot with Microsoft, one of our key partners. Especially with its Cloud branch, Azure, since we also work a lot with actors in the Cloud world. This is what allows us to offer OPEX solutions. Many of our customers are indeed moving to the Cloud model, particularly in the banking sector.

Many experts are concerned about the use of technology for security purposes. Fears are developing, for example, about the use of facial recognition. What do you think about this?

Privacy and cyber security are ingrained in our DNA. The Compliance with the GDPR is a priority for Genetec.. Our chairman and the entire management team insist on this aspect.

We protect our customers’ data, e.g. with Blockchain solutions. In the case of video surveillance, we are the only actors to have implemented face blurring. Only the person with a letter of request will be able to deflower the image and access the data legally stored for 30 days.

The Facial recognition has many advantages, however for safety. In France, its use is currently prohibited and only experimental tests are authorized.

On our side, we don’t want to open the door to losing control of privacy. That’s why we offer this image blurring feature, while still allowing the police to view the images in an emergency such as a terrorist situation.

What are Genetec’s main strengths compared to the competition?

After a year in this company, I’d say that Genetec’s true strength is its ability to innovate…. As a software publisher, we adapt to business issues and we try to stick to market demands in terms of transformation.

For example, we have a strong presence in the Smart City sector. At a time when all major cities are transforming, we are working with mobility operators and police forces to provide security and to allow the development of more services. For example, allowing users to consult transport timetables or to geolocate a bus accurately.

We’re also working on other sectors where the role of technology is emergingsuch as the field of agriculture. We are always on the alert to respond to business issues.

Can you tell me more about the Connect’DX event?

It’s a virtual event, a world first. It takes place from April 20 to 23, 2020. There will be a lot of innovation topics, interesting keynotes and virtual stands to visit for all industrial sectors.

This is the ideal opportunity to discover our entire catalogue of solutions, and discover new technologies through the numerous announcements expected.

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