Ponder for a moment the tools and services available today for protecting a facility and it becomes apparent access control has evolved into one of the security industry’s most vital disciplines.
Technological and system integration advances, leveraging the cloud to innovate new business efficiencies, adopting government standards in commercial markets, and tapping the possibilities of wireless infrastructures … these capabilities, among others, are driving market opportunities for installing security contractors as cost-conscious end users strive to meet their security requirements and organizational demands.
To find out more about the current access control landscape and what’s just over the horizon, SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION contacted several leading innovators in the market. Find out where you fit in and where prospects exist.
Web-Based Services Aplenty
There are several converging factors drawing systems integrators and their enterprise customers to physical access control “as a service.” Enterprises are demanding greater pricing and scaling flexibility beyond what traditional legacy access control models can deliver due to budget constraints, says Bill Moran, vice president of sales for Sterling, Va.-based RedCloud, a provider of Web-based, physical access control systems. Organizations are increasingly unwilling to invest significantly in expensive servers and IT infrastructure up front, and then get saddled with recurring costs associated with managing this IT infrastructure.
Systems integrators are seeking ways to bring the benefits to access control to new customers that could not previously budget for these services, while generating the recurring monthly revenue (RMR) that managed service fees can deliver. Access control as a service significantly lowers the barrier to entry for security and IT systems integrators to deliver cloud-based access control as a hosted or managed service, and offers several key benefits to the integrator as follow:
More flexibility and options for customers — Integrators can gain a competitive advantage through an enhanced ability to deliver more options to customers. The managed service model provides a greater degree of flexibility so that, if the customer chooses, the integrator can host all of the servers and equipment.
By doing so, enterprise customers are not required to make up-front capital outlays to stand-up servers at their facilities. Conversely, if a customer wants to manage the IT infrastructure itself and maintain their own facility access privileges, this hosted option, and others, can be easily delivered.
Immediate revenue generation — Access control as a service, and in particular as a managed service, can unlock new RMR opportunities for integrators and resellers, as they can benefit from a more predictable revenue stream via monthly managed service fees.
“In an access control-as-a-service model, the channel owns the appliance that is operating in the cloud and therefore owns the account,” Moran says. “Thus, resellers can achieve profitability for the head-end on day one, instead of having to purchase the head-end and manage the financing.”
Ability to offer cloud-based, mobile access control — As yet, many integrators and resellers question whether they can provide cloud-based access control as a hosted or managed service, and if so, how quickly these services can be launched.
“The fact is that integrators that already sell access control are fully prepared to offer cloud services,” Moran says. “At the same time, customer demand for greater mobility for access control users and administrators offers yet another opportunity for security integrators to differentiate their offering with cloud-enabled, Web-based access control.”
Web-based access control enables security and facility managers to interact with and manage employee and visitor access privileges quickly and easily from any location without being tied to a dedicated client workstation or paying for software licenses per user. With a browser-based Web application, customers can securely manage access privileges from a broad range of devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) and from any location.
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