During ISC West 2012, SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine sat down with four industry experts to talk about their success with managed access control. The roundtable is featured in SSI’s June issue. The following is an extension of that conversation.
Please provide some general information about yourself, your business and your experience with managed access control.
Randy Brown: I’m with Fahrenheit 451 Fire and Security out of Calgary. We’ve been doing managed access seven years, which is about as long as we’ve been in business. It was before it was hattrix or Kantech was even involved, actually. We were doing it by modems in some of the old sites, doing it for a little while.
Steve Sharp: I'm with DigiCOM out of Cincinnati. We’ve been doing security since 2004, and specifically we’ve been doing the managed system since roughly 2009. We’re still working to move more into that market versus the capital project-type market.
Doug Penson: I’m with My Managed Security Inc. My Managed Security was created, actually, following the hattrix launch, as I owned another security company for 18 years called SECUR-U. Looking to obviously sell the managed platform, I saw definitely the need for our company and our clients that we would take it one step further and capture the dealer component. Now we’re launching live with active accounts in our portfolio for over a year now. It’s really fantastic.
Ken Robison: I’m with California Commercial Security. We’re based in San Diego, Calif. Our company’s been in business since the early 1990s, starting out with locking hardware, just securing buildings in terms of locking systems, keys, and so forth. We got into electronics in 1995. At that point we were mainly doing access control and alarm systems. Then in 2000 we started managed access, before it was really known as a hosted or managed-type solution, or a remote vendor solution. Since then, at this point I think we’re at about 138 accounts, and two years ago approximately Kantech developed the hattrix product, which we’re now very joyous about and it’s working out very well. At this point electronics and the managed-access site is about 80% of our business versus 20% locking hardware, which is a big flip from 100% hardware.
Could you specifically detail the types of services you have clients on contract for as well as those that you offer and hope to sell?
Brown: We offer obviously the managed-access component. We’re doing hosted video as well, fire and burg monitoring, way more fire than any other service. And you were saying 80% of your business, well 50% of our business is fire; the other 50% is security. We go into buildings like this and test the fire alarm system. It’s not necessarily recurring revenue, per se, but we’re in there every year doing that. It’s not really contract but they have to do it every year and we’re always there. That’s how we sell the most clients.
Sharp: We started up on a lot of enterprise systems: security, IT video, and a lot of CCTV and never really had a product, a niche to back fill into the small and medium size businesses. Too, our business was tilted toward capital projects and we kind of wanted to flat line that a bit and develop a reoccurring monthly stream that would help us get through the down times a bit when capital dollars are drying up.
When the recession hit in 2008, it really forced us to accelerate that thinking, because at that time we were 100% capital projects pretty much. It was a very tough time. We had to change our entire philosophy, the way we were viewing business. Now we’re roughly about 40% RMR with 60% capital projects. It was just a model that I don’t think was built for long term. That’s what really drove us to looking at this and heading down this path.
Penson: Our integration company focuses on a lot of card-access video and security, both residential and commercial. With having that clear understanding of that RMR model and the burglary side of things, when hattrix introduced the whole three-tiered plan hosted hybrid managed, I jumped all over it because selling Kantech access control for 18 years, you can certainly see where the pain points and challenges are with that platform, dealing with the infrastructure, the updates, keeping it current, the training with the clients. And there’s also that onsite need that needs to be required for assisting the client.
When I saw the capabilities and could foresee the future potential of the integration with the whole managed component, I was all over it. To me, it was something I’ve been waiting for, for many years. When it came out, it re-energized me in the industry. I was actually getting fueled by it. I could hardly sleep. I was totally ecstatic about this new technology and how it was going to help our business and grow our future as a company. It’s certainly all the right timing came into place, for sure.