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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.

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<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 market.

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.

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Article Topics
Business Management · Access Control · Features · hattrix · Kantech · Managed Access Control · Managed Access Roundtable · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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