Expert Panel Explains How to Make Managed Access Pay Off

SSI‘s roundtable features four leading integrators who have deployed and found success delivering managed access control services. They detail the challenges, opportunities, types of services and growth potential of one of the industry’s most promising new recurring revenue offerings.

<p>SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine (right) leads the special roundtable discussion on managed access control at ISC West. Also pictured Steve Sharp (left) and Randy Brown (center).</p>Penson: We have multiple facilities of multidoors, but our main success has been that small to medium business with two or four exterior doors leading into the facility. That’s where we really tailored our clientele. Controlling a keyless environment and managing their staff, typically somewhere between 25-50 employees — it’s a great market for us. Additionally, one of our focus areas is going to be property management, anyone who wants to manage multiple facilities from one location. Your client can sit at home or at a restaurant with their family, have a call that a door needs to be locked or unlocked or get an E-mail that an employee just quit and needs to invalidate a card quickly, and then hop on the app on his iPhone, iPad or Android and simply login and do what needs to be done on the fly.

Sharp: Verticals we’ve seen positive movement include churches, daycare centers and businesses with multiple facilities. They’ve found it very attractive as they can basically login through one Web portal and easily manage cards and doors, unlock times and run reports. An important thing is for the user interface to be really simple, so the training curve is 10-15 minutes. That’s really important because these people have other jobs to do and the last thing they want to do is worry about mastering the access control software.

Brown: Our market is condominiums, which are a lot of fun because there are so many parts of the building to secure. They have move-ins and move-outs every month. Somebody’s got to update that panel with the new phone numbers and directories. We can do that remotely.

We’ve actually seen some of our largest sales in the lowest-quality built buildings in Calgary. They’re building what we call new slums. Half the people in there are destroying the place and the other half who care have to live in that stuff. We did a $160,000 installation in these two buildings with cameras and card access. Every door and every stairwell is locked, so if you hit a stairwell you have no choice; you have to go through the building. The parking garage is completely secure. You can’t get down there unless you belong there. If you do, there are cameras everywhere. The lower these places are built, the more investors are buying and renting to people who just destroy the buildings. It’s an awesome little m

What is the best way for an integrator to get started, to get their feet wet and get in the managed access control game?

Robison: For an integrator to get started, there’s infrastructure involved in terms of servers that are required, software, and then they would have to ramp up their marketing. Any dealers wanting to get into this had better get moving now. As mentioned, it’s taken a lot of trial and error to get where we’re at.

Brown: For small dealers, I recommend taking some technical training, taking a course. Then buy a small system and jump into it. That’s the only way they’re ever going to learn how it all works. Plug it in and it will work. It’s not that difficult.

Sharp: That’s if they build on their own managed access system. Most of us have brought on other dealers underneath us where we set up their own partition, they’re connected to our server and they sell to their own clients. We have no interaction whatsoever with it. They take the software interface, program the system and hang the panel on the wall. It’s very simple on their end, very low investment. And we can brand it to their company.

Penson: You’re going to see change in this industry in that if you’re not onboard you’re suddenly going to be behind the eight ball. Clients are going to ask, “Do you sell cloud-based services?” “No, we still put PCs on site and offer software with updates, and we can charge for every visit to come out and maintain your system.” With others offering leading-edge technology and service, if you don’t get with this you’re going to be left in the dust. People are holding on. There is some hesitation because they haven’t been threatened enough yet. They will be. When you’re looking for a TV you don’t say, “Excuse me, do you sell one of those old box-style round things that weights like 150 pounds?” This is the future.

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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