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How open collaboration opened up access control

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What started as an integration project for camera encoders has blossomed into a 20+ year partnership between Axis and Genetec. Axis Powered by Genetec is the latest of over 500 collaborative integrations based on open-IP standards. Together, the two companies are raising the bar for access control systems.

Axis Powered by Genetec

Several Axis and Genetec employees recently met in Lund to mark the ten-year anniversary of our access control journey and discuss our latest team sprint to launch Axis Powered by Genetec. You can watch and hear more in our recent video interview here. The team includes:

Axis powered by Genetec team

Bottom row, left to right:

  • Lolita Olesen, Axis
  • Roxana Ghavami, Genetec
  • Francois Brouillet, Genetec
  • Derek Wang, Axis
          
  • Despina Stamatelos, Genetec
  • Martin Andersen, Axis
  • Mikael Jönsson, Axis
  • Pernilla Andersson, Axis
  • Louis-Martin Cote, Genetec
          

 Top row, left to right:

  • Joe Danielson, Axis
  • Ernst Westerhoff, Axis
  • Thibaut Lovet, Genetec
  • Naishi Meng Lidé, Axis

Collaboration fosters innovation. Whether it’s sparking new ideas or unifying solutions, there is real value in finding partners that share the same vision as you.

Back in the early 2000s, technology built on open IP was novel in the video surveillance industry. Suppliers mostly offered proprietary systems that lead to vendor and software lock-in. Axis was different: we provided open ended IP-based video cameras. This ethos is what initially drew many end customers and channel partners to connect us with Genetec.

While Axis was pioneering video hardware, Genetec was doing the same with software. Together, we would provide the best-of-breed interoperability end customers and channel partners all over the world were looking for. We were both early disruptors that shared a vision to use open technology and collaboration to drive real, long-term value to the market.

Francois Brouillet, Product Line Manager, Access Control, Genetec, describes how “it was natural for our companies to collaborate and start working together. We had the same vision and that went beyond just the product – each company’s culture is aligned.”

Moving beyond video into access control

About a decade into our partnership, Axis identified a market demand for easily connecting access control with video surveillance solutions. Access control would be new technology and territory for us, and so we knew we would need strong software partners to connect to our door controllers. So, in 2013, when we launched our first access control solution, the AXIS A1001 Network Door Controller, we offered it with an access control industry first: open APIs to integrate access control software integration.

Derek Wang, Global Product Manager, Axis, recalls those days, “We went to an event in Chicago to introduce the AXIS A1001 to partners. At the time, I was the global access control partner specialist, so I worked with onboarding new access control software technology partners – especially Genetec.”

That’s because Genetec was already producing its Security Center Synergis™ access control software, also built using open standards. Francois adds that the “timing was superb. We had something that with just a few adjustments could work with our software, and it answered both our vision of staying true to open architectures.”

In 2018, the launch of AXIS A1601 Network Door Controller would mark the second iteration of our joint access control solution. A year later, we marked a pivotal moment in our partnership, agreeing to a new partner relationship that would allow Genetec to resell Axis door controllers.

Thibaut Louvet, Product Group Director, Access Control, Genetec, explains, “this gave us greater ability to manage the supply chain for the product. It was also a means to collaborate on how best to advance our long-term vision and commitment to sell unified offerings in access control.”

Recent collaboration to embed first access control ACAP onto an Axis door controller

Fast forward to June 2021 in Montréal. Genetec research and development teams begin pushing the boundaries of possibilities of access control. The goal: remove friction involved with integrating hardware and software through open IP standards. The tactic: use AXIS Camera Application Platform to embed Genetec’s access control software directly onto the top Axis door controller at that time, A1601. The idea was potential dynamite in its power to disrupt what is still a very proprietary access control world.

Francois outlined how, “ACAP (Axis Camera Application Platform) was an obvious choice for putting our software onto a door controller.”  

Louis-Martin Cote, Senior Development Manager, Access Control, Genetec, noted, “We started doing proof-of-concepts in Montreal from June to August of 2021. The early results were promising but business required us to postpone development a bit. We restarted the R&D work again with support from Axis in January 2022.”

Roxana Ghavami, Software Development Manager, Access Control, Genetec, added, “We were really excited by the potential and the proof-concept led to a working prototype running on AXIS A1601 by mid-March of 2022.” But Genetec needed more than a prototype and turned to us at Axis with their idea.

Co-creation powers product from prototype

Pernilla Andersson, R&D Director, Access control, Axis, recalls, “Again, perfect timing. We had a new architecture and enhanced cybersecurity features — like OSDP Secure channel encryption keys stored in the onboard EAL6+ Certified compute module — to talk to them about. It is an ideal combination for embedding access control software onto our new generation AXIS A1210 and A1610 Network Door Controllers.”

Lolita Olesen, Project Manager, New Business, Axis, chimes in, “We knew making their idea real would require intensive co-creation. We first hosted Genetec and Axis access control in Lund for a week at the end of March. The aim was to turn their prototype into a real beta product on our new generation door controllers.”

Axis and Genetec team

Naishi Meng Lidé, Global Partner Manager, New Business, Axis, adds, “It was very creative and stimulating. Axis and Genetec teams working close together and bouncing ideas around. The result of the first March hackathon in Lund was that Genetec had its first Synergis Softwire ACAP version for on-prem deployments basically working. A great result for one week of working together.”

But more was needed for Genetec’s full product concept. Despina Stamatelos, Senior Commercial Manager, Access Control, Genetec, states, “It proved we could get an all-in-one unit: hardware pre-loaded with our access control software. This offers our system integrators an easy-to-acquire, easy-to-deploy and easy-to-maintain solution. But we also wanted to support more deployment options.”

Roxana adds, “That led to a second co-creation hackathon taking place between the teams in June in Montréal in 2022. Successful outcome of this co-creation showed our Synergis Softwire ACAP would also work for hybrid or full cloud deployments as well as on-prem deployments.”

A global launch with regional implementation brings firsts

In the months from September 2022 to March 2023, joint Axis and Genetec teams entered full launch mode, spanning contractual, legal, product development training, marketing and launch aspects. The aim was to release the solution at ISC West in March of 2023. The all-in-one solution needed a name — Axis Powered by Genetec was born. It was agreed that both Axis and Genetec logos would be visible on the product: a first for both companies.

Joe Danielson, Global Strategic Alliances Manager, Axis, says, “We knew we had a lot to get done in a really short time. Final testing of the final embedded Synergis Softwire ACAP on new AXIS A1210 and A1610 network door controllers needed to be performed. Product certification and documentation needed updating. New distribution, operations and support contracts and routines needed to be signed between Axis and Genetec for the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. Importantly, Axis Powered by Genetec is only globally available exclusively through Genetec Certified Channel Partners. A lot of that was entirely new ground for our two companies to manoeuvre over together.” 

Axis Powered by Genetec was not only launched in March at ISC West — it created a wow factor. Despina says, “We had a constant flow of good conversations taking place with both channel partners and end customers both before ISC West and during the show. The number of sales meetings, pre-orders and orders demonstrate the high interest for Axis Powered by Genetec from the market.”

Francois reflects on the full development process, “it wasn’t easy, but we trusted each other and had a common vision to get to where we are today.” He continues, “we prefer to give the option to our customers to choose whether or not they want to stay with us because of the amount of innovation or business outcome we're bringing to them, not because they’ve made an investment they can’t get out of.”

Roxanna adds, “all this has led to version one of Axis Powered by Genetec. Now, just a month or so after the launch, our two teams are meeting again and planning for new features to add into the next version”.

Naishi and Roxanna claim, “More is coming soon.”

Global alliances

This is where we at Axis are bringing the most value to the to the market – by combining our solutions with key partners like Genetec that give end users the openness they’re looking for. With a shared ambition to deliver creative solutions that meet customer needs, both now and in the future, we are excited to continue collaborating on new solutions.

For more information about Axis Powered by Genetec