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Avigilon Alta vs. Genetec access control

When it comes to access control and security management, many businesses today require an all-in-one solution that can be seamlessly operated, often from anywhere in the world and through a single interface. Genetec access control offers a unified suite of cloud-ready access control and video surveillance systems, with features like automatic license plate recognition and video monitoring. In this Genetec access control review, we break down the pros and cons of the system and how Avigilon Alta and Avigilon Unity Access, formerly Access Control Manager (ACM), can offer a more comprehensive solution for businesses looking to streamline their operations without sacrificing security.

Quick look: key differences between Genetec and Avigilon Alta 


Avigilon Alta


Seamless integration

Genetec’s integrations with multiple platforms can slow down the system 

Compatible with Mercury hardware

Avigilon Unity Access and Genetec are approved Mercury OEM providers 

Automatic updates

Genetec’s updates for newer versions lack accessibility

Built-in camera

Avigilon offers built-in super high-definition camera

Touchless access

Convenient hands-free access is available with Avigilon

Complete access control system

Genetec requires users to purchase third-party hardware

The leading solution in access control

  • Multi-tech readers support mobile, PIN codes, key cards and fobs

  • Touchless and remote unlock backed by 99.9% reliability

  • Intuitive cloud software with real-time remote management

  • 5MP video and smart AI intercom with mobile monitoring

  • Open standards for frictionless integration across all systems

  • Scales to secure a single entry or entire enterprises with ease

  • Standard wiring and PoE options with easy snap-in installation

  • Automatic updates, offline sync and encryption at every level

Comprehensive Genetec access control system review

Established as a manufacturer of an IP-based video monitoring system in 1997, Genetec security has since evolved to become a major provider of unified access control and video surveillance systems. Offering an IP-based, cloud-ready access control software called Genetec Synergis, the hardware-agnostic Genetec software works seamlessly with other products in the larger Genetec Security Center family, like the Omnicast Genetec VMS. Genetec visitor management can be administered through the software, and convenient features like video monitoring and intruder detection are included. For video surveillance, the cloud-based Genetec Stratocast software offers multi-site enterprise-grade video monitoring. Although Genetec offers powerful security tools to increase safety, there are some drawbacks that could make security operations more complex compared to streamlined systems like Avigilon Alta and Unity Access. Some features like occupancy tracking are also unavailable with the Genetec system. 

Genetec pricing vs. Avigilon Alta pricing

Avigilon Alta’s complete access control solution comes with many built-in features, eliminating the need to purchase additional hardware and reducing the cost of installation to third-party systems. Users are able to purchase the entire system, including controller boards, readers and software from a single provider, without having to mix and match. The software is available in different packages to suit a wide range of security needs. With a scalable pricing model, Avigilon Alta helps keep overhead costs low, allowing businesses to easily scale and only pay for what they use.

An important element to note when it comes to Genetec pricing is that users are required to purchase third-party hardware, as Genetec does not offer any form of access control or video security hardware, except for the Streamvault server appliances. For large projects that require multiple devices, the cost can quickly snowball, depending on the needs of an establishment. 

Cloud-based access control system review

While Genetec is not a native cloud platform, they offer a Synergis Cloud Link product that supports integrations with a wide range of devices, including Mercury controllers. It is a cloud-ready platform with a single system for managing access control, video surveillance and other security applications. Management is streamlined, and the software gives users the ability to issue employee or visitor access, detect intruders and trigger emergency procedures, all from a single interface. The software works best with Genetec Security Center’s other systems, like the AutoVu license plate recognition program and Genetec video surveillance system. 

Despite Genetec’s easy management, the software is reported to have inadequate updates. The newest version at the time of this Genetec access control review lacks much of the functionality of older versions, which means that a lot of accessibility is lost with the update. Problems in updates can be massively inconvenient, as software updates take place regularly. Restoring the functionality of the software’s older version every time an update takes place leads to more time and resources spent on fixing errors, when they could be better focused on other areas. Additionally, other advanced features such as area tracking and intrusion detection are not easy to use and require intensive training, taking off points for the system’s user-friendliness. 

With Avigilon Alta, the system runs efficiently on a fully cloud-based system. Multiple systems and locations can easily be managed in a single easy-to-use interface. Admins can open doors from anywhere in the world and at any time with the remote unlock feature, as well as manage door schedules, user groups, deliveries and add or remove entries. When it comes to scalability, the system allows new users and locations to conveniently be added to a network with a few clicks on the dashboard, making it easier for businesses to scale up or back according to their needs. The Avigilon Alta system is updated automatically in the cloud, and every version gets the most advanced features with nothing lost in transition. 

Installation and integration

The Genetec system can easily be integrated with a wide range of access control and surveillance hardware, including readers, controllers, electronic locks and cameras. The system is hardware agnostic and can be integrated with almost any hardware, and Genetec device compatibility is generally adequate for integrations with other hardware and platforms. A large number of integrations, however, can significantly slow down the system, which is likely to disrupt business operations. As Genetec is commonly used in Fortune 500 enterprises, the large system requires upfront configuration that can be complex and expensive. 

When it comes to installing the Avigilon Alta system, the process is quick and simple. The system supports hybrid deployments with leading access control systems. Because Avigilon Alta is a complete solution, all installation and configuration is done with one provider. All Avigilon access control hardware uses standard wiring, so installers can easily replace existing systems with the advanced controllers and readers, with onsite configuration in the convenient Admin App. Avigilon Alta’s open API and mobile SDKs also makes integration with other hardware, software, apps and management platforms seamless. 

Advanced video security features

Many potential customers searching for Genetec cameras and Genetec camera reviews will be hard-pressed to find them, as the company does not offer any hardware, including cameras or intercoms. When potential customers are looking for Genetec CCTV or Genetec surveillance, it is worth noting that the cloud-based video surveillance software Genetec Stratocast can be integrated with other hardware to provide real-time or event-driven video monitoring from desktop or mobile devices. Although the system is hardware agnostic, Genetec does not support integrations with all security cameras. For example, Dahua and Hikvision cameras are not compatible with Genetec. 

In comparison to Genetec, Avigilon Alta also offers a number of advanced video management options. Users can instantly receive video alerts when an access event takes place, providing strengthened security with the ability to launch lockdown plans or unlock doors for authorized users, directly from the app. With the Avigilon Video Reader Pro or Video Intercom Reader Pro, the built-in super high-definition 5MP camera and wide viewing angle give the clearest visual verification of every access event. Plus, Avigilon Alta’s ONVIF Profile S and T compliant video platform makes integrations with video security providers easy, allowing security teams to view and analyze footage from Avigilon readers alongside leading security camera systems and video management providers. 

Secure access methods

In terms of access options, Genetec supports Genetec mobile app and HID card access. The system also offers access options based on different levels of authorities, time and area zoning, and event- and task-based access for visitors. Other access features, such as automated door schedules and group-based access, are also available. Although these options are commonly used for access and quite secure, physical HID cards could potentially pose security concerns, as they can be easily shared with unauthorized individuals. Plus, convenient access methods like touchless entry are unavailable. It is worth keeping in mind that Genetec is able to support these access methods from the Security Center, but the system requires third-party sensors and features to function. 

While Genetec provides adequate options when it comes to access, Avigilon Alta offers a wider variety of secure access methods. Mobile access is supported through an app that works with any mobile device. High- and low-frequency key card and fob access is also available for users who prefer physical credentials, with the most advanced encryption on the market. For visitors, temporary Guest Passes can be customized depending on the number of entries and time limit, accessible from a smartphone browser. Tenants can also grant temporary access to visitors through email, text messages or messaging apps like Slack. 

Avigilon Alta makes access frictionless, using advanced, patented Triple Unlock technology, which races Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals for fast access with 99.9% reliability. This technology grants users access at any time, even when the power is out or the internet is down. The hands-free Wave to Unlock feature allows users to open doors with a simple wave of the hand or phone to a reader without the need to open an app or have a phone active. The wide range of secure access methods are supported by award-winning multi-technology readers that can fit seamlessly into any space. Unlike Avigilon Alta, Genetec does not manufacture hardware, and Genetec customers are subjected to purchasing separate readers from third-party providers to get the full function of an access control system. 

Avigilon Alta vs. Genetec access control use cases

See how Avigilon Alta’s complete access control solution better serves the security needs for all types of functionalities, including commercial, residential, government and other high-security buildings: 


  • Genetec Synergis is an advanced system best suited for enterprises, factories, airports and other establishments that prioritize large-scale video surveillance.
  • When other hardware and platforms are integrated to the Genetec system to provide strengthened security, the system can work for high-security buildings like government, healthcare, and some educational facilities. 
  • The system is hardware agnostic and is suitable for establishments that want to keep existing access control systems and upgrade only some parts with more modern features. 
  • Due to the system’s advanced learning curve, Genetec may work for establishments with ample time and resources to train dedicated security administrators. 
  • Because of the lack of a touchless access option, the system may not work for labs and testing facilities that prioritize the prevention of contamination from contact. 

Avigilon Alta:

  • A versatile security system designed to support a wide range of buildings, from multisite enterprises, large commercial buildings, and government facilities to multi-unit residential complexes and offices. 
  • The wide variety of secure access options and flexible lockdown plans may also work for high-security buildings, hospitals and other controlled environments. 
  • Avigilon Alta’s open architecture makes it ideal for both buildings looking to install a security system for the first time and establishments with existing security systems.
  • The advanced built-in features in Avigilon Alta are best suited for buildings looking for a complete access control solution without additional installation and third-party hardware purchases.
  • The easy-to-use interface and streamlined management require little to no additional time or resources to train administrators.

The ultimate guide to access control

Learn everything you need to successfully future-proof your physical access control system with this buyer’s guide.

Alternatives to Genetec access control

If you find that Genetec might not be the best solution for your business, consider Avigilon Alta’s complete access control solution. The Avigilon Alta access control system’s advanced technologies make security more convenient and frictionless. Designed to fit into any space, Avigilon’s versatile, award-winning readers support a wide range of secure access options, including mobile, high-frequency key cards and fobs, and touchless Wave to Unlock. The Elevator Board allows users to secure access to specific floors with the use of the readers and mobile credentials, and all access can be managed from a single easy-to-use interface that allows remote access and different lockdown activation plans. Migrating to Avigilon Alta’s cloud-based system is a seamless process, with the built-in ACU functionality that makes Avigilon Alta compatible with any legacy system such as LenelS2. With seamless integration, innovative built-in features, easy-to-use interface, and infinite scaling capabilities, Avigilon Alta is a truly all-in-one access control solution that is flexible enough to suit all types of applications.

Another system that might work for customers looking for alternatives to Genetec is Avigilon Unity Access. Many who are considering access control systems are often thinking of migrating from a system that is compatible with their Mercury controllers to a more convenient software. Before making the Genetec Mercury switchover, reviewers should know that there are other more comprehensive and user-friendly solutions in the market that are also authentic Mercury OEM providers. Potential customers are most likely also reviewing systems like Unity Access and comparing Genetec vs. Avigilon. Unity Access may be a better solution if you are looking for a seamless unification of video security and access control. Customers are able to integrate Avigilon cameras with Unity Access products, and use the powerful Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software to provide next-level security with powerful visual verification. Plus, the browser-based solution offers the flexibility of remote management. Topping off the list of advanced features with alarm and identity management, Avigilon Unity Access is ideal for enterprises that prioritize robust security and clear visual identification, and prefer flexibility in management. 

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