As I mentioned earlier we do lock hardware services which means we also handle electronic hardware. That really complements on us the card-access side because we don’t have to sub anything out. Also if there are any issues we can take care of everything for the customer. There’s no third parties involved, so we really feel that’s a big plus for us as a company.
We also do intrusion detection, CCTV. We also do fire control as well. Across all those different products we offer service agreements, as well as extended service agreements and warranties. To differentiate, one is more of a maintenance agreement, similar to test and inspect that we do on the fire side of things. But on the other side, we do maintenance agreements that are the same thing as a test and inspect, but we also cover that with an extended service warranty.
All those things are very valuable in our industry, of course, because recurring revenue is what builds the value of your company almost completely, so it’s very important to also be able to track that as both on your growth side of things as well as attrition, so you have that to show what the real value of your company is.
Right now, I am extremely excited about the access side of things which is why we started it so long ago. But now what’s really got me excited is the hosted video. So that’s something we’re looking at very carefully right now to find who we’re going to be able to partner with to really get into that very heavily, particularly on the false alarm reduction side of things, dealing with burg systems. If we can do video verification of an incident, or maybe it’s not actually an incident, thereby not having to dispatch the police department, so there’s really huge value in that and I think we’re going to see a lot of growth in that area.
One of the interesting things about systems-integration business in general is how many value-adds a lot of the integrators bring and they’re not getting all the financial rewards for that all the time. They want to do such a good job, but sometimes you leave money on the table.
Brown: Even talking to some IT guys, we did an upgrade special edition system a little while ago and it was a cheap software but talking to the IT guys, “For a couple of dollars a month I could just manage this for you, and you never have to worry about it again.” He says, “Really?” He takes it to his boss and he didn’t go for it but Canadian Freightways would love to get that offsite and not have to worry about keeping their computers current and all that. But talking to IT guys they can justify it like that.
Penson: One of the things I really love about this is we’re now being proactive instead of reactive. So now we’re not dealing with problems, we’re dealing with these issues as they’re arising because we’re on top of it, aware of it, managing it rather than being reactive when they’ve lost their computer onsite, they’ve lost their hard drive, they’ve lost their thousand users. Now we’re delivering a service confidently that is encrypted, secure, protected, in a protective environment, managed, and we can really assist our clients which is what I love.
I had a hosted client on the phone the other day and they were wanting to change an access group and asking some questions about it. I actually logged into their account and was asking them questions as I was changing the account. He said, “You know Doug, when can I expect that?” I said, “It’s done.” He got off the phone, went and swiped it, and I E-mailed him and said, “What’s wrong; you didn’t believe me?” It’s instantaneous and customers aren’t used to that level of service. They’re usually waiting for delays, waiting for service technicians. We live in a demanding world. It’s a now society. Everyone wants things now. They don’t want it later.
If you’re not delivering on the now, you’ve lost that client. So the managed side of things is a phenomenal way of doing business. It’s improved our relationship with our clients, which is great.
Sharp: I think they’re more open with it, to have discussions like which way they should go with technology or if they’re having problems because it’s much more tight-knit, whereas they don’t look at you like you’re trying to make a buck off them, they’re looking at you more the way partners would. I’ve noticed that, definitely.
Robison: You’re always touching one another and it builds that trust between you.
Sharp: They become very open with you.
Robison: It opens the door for you to make many more offerings and network with other technologies that they may need.
Penson: One of the things that I love is that when we’re speaking to a client now we can actually provide them with solutions. Give you a perfect example: we have a small multitenant facility where their doors are on unlock schedules and let’s say tenant B needs to have that door unlocked until 9:00 because they’re expecting clients but then the client doesn’t show up. Now they’ve been paying staff to be there onsite for that additional hour, rather than being able to lock the door and off they go. Now, with the Web station, and we give them access as a hosted customer, to literally log in and lock the door. It’s powerful. It’s a small thing but it provides a lot of power. You can’t do that with traditional platforms. It’s changed the way we do business, really.
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