Going Behind the Scene
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Apr 01, 2016
Not long ago I had the opportunity to go behind
the scenes of the Québec City Jean Lesage
International Airport. Of course there
are the typical layers of security, but then there is also
the security you don’t see. Like the place where your
baggage goes to be sorted, searched (sometimes) and
spit out to your proper destination.
Passenger security can be a nightmare (Orlando,
for example), but it’s nothing like the adventure your
luggage will experience. In Quebec, luggage moves
through six layers of security. One of the steps, if necessary,
will be a manual search.
The Quebec airport is the 12th largest flight terminal
in Canada. It’s not big, but it is ultra-modern
and a pleasant experience as far as airports go. It
used to be managed by the government, but in 2000
it was privatized. That change has been so successful
that the airport staff is spending money ($277 million
in federal grant money) for expansion. In fact,
the terminal is expected to double in size by 2018,
and will add self-service technology. Airport officials
are also exploring the development of a U.S. Preclearance
For me, the tour was all about security. For areas
that are restricted, biometrics have been installed. The
airport has two active runways that are surrounded
by an 8-foot perimeter fence. An inside perimeter
roadway allows for consistent patrols and outside the
terminal; on the air side, the tarmac is restricted to
airplanes and authorized vehicles only. As far as security
staff, the airport employs about 200 officers, and
they are responsible for the operations control center,
terminal patrols and air-side patrols.
Officers that work in the dispatch office are aware
of all alarms and understand the proper officer to the
scene. You have to wonder how they stay on top of
and track everything, including the security we don’t
see. Genetec plays a big role in airport security. Integrators
that install the equipment are Genetec-approved
“We currently have 300 cameras at the airport,”
said Christian Labrosse, director of the security and
operational control center. “By 2018, we expect to
have 500 cameras installed that will provide a general
view of the entire airplane side of operations. The
cameras are networked with Genetec at the head end.”
While on the tour, Genetec president Pierre Racz
said that they sell their product to the integrator but
that this company plays a key role in getting the solution
placed on site.
“We see people using our solutions, using our tools to
do things we never imagined,” Racz said. “It is poetry.”
Racz has mentioned several stories about skeptics
he faced as he was building Genetec from scratch.
They laughed out loud as he showed them networked
video management, but as good things often happen,
Genetec became the vendor on record to the Montreal
Police Department. They are still a top customer,
and with that installation, Racz was in the race.
The Genetec VMS offers the hybridization model
(Stratocast), introduced in 2013 as a cloud-based
solution. The company recently partnered with Microsoft’s
Azure. Racz said today’s IT departments
are overwhelmed and this cloud solution eases their
burden, and is cost-effective overall. The integrator
comes out with a win because this establishes a recurring
Not finished with his cloud conversations, Racz
talked about hybridization as the final step to cloud.
His intent is for Genetec to make it seamless to the
end user. He also talked about vulnerability. Racz said
today’s cloud is well suited for locations using three
to four cameras, but that it is only a matter of time
before it is viable for larger applications.
Through older products, one from an acquisition,
Genetec believes that its Synergis IP access control
will unify with AutoVu (acquired in 2006) license
plate recognition. Racz said that his Security Center
can integrate with the majority of intrusion detection
solutions and with other types of security systems,
and work as a common platform. Genetec is searching
numerous vertical markets, such as education.
Genetec is big on educating the masses about
cloud and the promise of cloud. Christian Morin,
vice president of cloud services said when people are
educated, it makes implementation much easier. It
provides greater flexibility and it lowers the barrier to
entry to implement enterprise systems that customers
could not afford previously.
One of Genetec’s recently launched initiatives,
“citywise” allows for federation and openness to the
municipal level where the company can bring in city
leaders and educate them on the impact greater security
and safety play in the larger picture.
The initiative is how to work with world leaders
and build more meaningful cities. Andrew Elvish, vice
president of marketing and product management said
this leads to networks that are effective and provides
sustainable growth. The bottom line, “Cities drive our
business,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Security Today.