Access Control: 5 Minutes With Genea's Mike Maxsenti
SSc: How is the corporate industry changing with COVID and beyond?
We predominantly serve enterprise customers and commercial office buildings, we do serve other verticals of course but those are the majority of our customer base. In the last two years, we've seen some incredible changes, but the common themes are that one: our enterprise customers are eager to get back into the office and they are using technology to enable a new style of work that's more dynamic for their employees. We're doing a lot of integrations with third-party service providers and software platforms that enable that and we provide the ultimate access to the doors. Another big trend that we are seeing is companies opening more smaller locations in more cities and reducing their large behemoth offices. This is because a lot of their employees are starting to disperse around the country. Then when it comes to our commercial office customers, I think the pandemic finally unlocked their desire to invest in technology and now cheques are being written.
SSc: So the pandemic expanded your market opportunities?
Yeah and I think integrators are seeing that too right? The integrators, their customers who are using an old, 'on prem' mercury-based access control system are realising they need to upgrade. And so a lot of our integrator partners are coming to us saying 'hey this customer has XYZ system, it's mercury-based, can you take it over?' and so integrators are unlocking a lot of opportunities with customers that have been dormant for a while, just sitting with their original system, maybe buying some cards or adding a door here and there but not making any real changes. Now those customers are coming to them and saying 'hey what can I do to get into the cloud?'.
SSc: What technology enhancements make your systems amenable to this new climate of corporate real estate?
The most obvious one is mobile access, so we have HID Origo built completely into our platform so when you are issuing a mobile key from Genea, the backend of that is all HID Origo so it's still non-proprietary but the user experience is so much better compared to what you would have to do with any other system because we have gone the extra mile to build the full Origo API into our backend. So when you hit send mobile key, it's one click, you don't have to copy and paste anything, no dual logins, nothing like that. Then the end-user gets an email, they download our app and that HID key goes into our app and they just hit the activate button, so the provisioning process for the end-user is so much cleaner. Now as a Security Manager or IT Director for a company that has 5-10 offices around the country, I can set up automation through Genea, using Okta or Azure as your active directory to automatically provision mobile keys, to deactivate those keys across the globe. We have customers in over 20 different countries today and a lot of that international expansion has been from customers based in the US, who have international offices, who needed international control through a cloud-based access control system.
SSc: What challenges are there still to overcome in access control?
I would say education and the ability to pitch value is still the biggest gap that we see in the industry. Most of what I do these days is helping educate integrators on the ground, helping them hone their pitches for when they get customers asking them for a cloud-based access control system. Talking about what are the key pain points to identify with the customer, how can a cloud-based access control system solve those pain points. How do you differentiate between the different providers, because there are a lot of cloud-based access control systems out there now. I think that is still the biggest hurdle for the industry, is to get with the modern messaging and how to pitch the value of these new systems.
SSc: What feedback are you hearing from customers?
I am obviously biased, I hear a lot of great things, but the biggest trend that is not completely Genea-centric is that when customers make the move to a modern access control system after using a legacy access control system for 10-15 years, they go 'oh my gosh I didn't know it could be this easy, I didn't know you could do these integrations in a matter of days rather than months. It's sort of like they are finally coming into this new world of technology. You know the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed.
SSc: A lightbulb moment for the industry?
Yeah, especially people who have been dealing with legacy access control systems for a decade-plus, this is just a whole new world for them.