Open More Revenue Doors With Access Control

The need to determine who goes where when continues to make access control one of the security industry’s most in-demand offerings. Pick up some soup-to-nuts pointers on how to improve your success from initial sale to deploying advanced capabilities.

This month, we explore some key areas of electronic access control. We will take a look at some of the basics often missed in the beginning of selling an access control solution, design and implementation considerations, new technologies and free resources you can add to your library.

Simple Steps to Engage End Users

When it comes to sales, technically proficient salespeople tend to initially provide too much technical detail. This can literally scare off your prospect as their primary concern is typically a simple, cost-effective and efficient access control solution. However, these end users often fail to grasp the extent of the benefits access control can provide. So it’s critical to strike the proper balance.

If a customer or prospect has a lock on their door, they understand fundamental access control. What you need to do is first listen. Then offer a suggested solution that will take their operation to the next level of access control. I have seen many elaborate access control system proposals through the years, but early on in the process it is important to cover a few basics to get your customer engaged. They are:

WHO are the people, or groups of people, you want to provide electronic access to?

WHAT are the assigned levels of access? This is important to clearly define early on.

WHERE can the people go? Define the areas that the personnel can access.

WHEN are they allowed to access this area? This is defined per system schedules.

WHY should they have access to this area? Further operational clarification and explanation helps and confirms previous security decisions.

HOW do they have access to certain areas? This can be certain technologies that match customers’ security level needs. Different levels of security may require certain combined technology such as a card swipe, PIN, mantrap, and/or biometrics.

Be Attuned to Radio Frequency ID

Some of you may remember the classic movie “The Graduate” in which Dustin Hoffman’s character receives a single word of advice for his future: “plastics.” Shift the scene to a dealer or integrator being advised about the future of access control and the likely and equally concise answer would be RFID.

I recently ran across an interesting RFID (radio frequency identification) application. Pete Martin, president of 1st Choice Security Solutions in Peachtree City, Ga., has a special application for airport security called the “Smart Airport.” The system’s purpose is to detect and notify in the event of aircraft theft and/or misuse.

As we all know, since 9/11, there has been a demand for keeping track of access to aircraft and airport runways. Martin has combined long-range RFID readers to work in conjunction with bio/RFID devices in the airplanes. Authorized pilots are identified by a built-in fingerprint reader and RFID transponder in the planes that communicates with the long-range airport runway RFID readers for authorized takeoff (see diagram). The system is encrypted and has a small tamper-resistant enclosure that can attach to metal or glass.

For more on RFID, a good free resource for your “Tech Talk” library is the 384-page reference book, “Designing and Deploying RFID Applications” ( While not pretending to be comprehensive, it does offer RFID insights, solutions and ideas. Its wide coverage is appropriate for novices, engineers, researchers, industry personnel, and just about anyone interested in the RFID domain.

Market Leader Promotes Wireless

Wireless was also high on the radar when I recently discussed access control products with industry veteran Peter Boriskin, currently ASSA ABLOY Americas director of product management, electronic access control. Here’s what he had to say …

What’s exciting or unique about some of your new products and applications?

Peter Boriskin: The Aperio wireless cabinet lock [see “Tool Top” box] is unique in that it can be configured for drawers and lockers without changing the base lock. It also fits the growing need in health care and other markets for increasing the oversight and audit ability of controlled substances and supplies out at the patient’s or customer’s location.

Aperio, as a family, is a little unique in that you have both a broad family of products that meet different installation requirements. These would include cabinets, drawers, lockers and doors. And then there are also a number of different ways to take advantage of the wireless products and integrate them into both retrofit and new ‘greenfield’ opportunities. These would include Wiegand, RS485 and open architected access control panels.

Do you have some tips for applying and installing these products?

Boriskin: One nice thing about the deployment of Aperio is we have designed the system for a much simpler pre-site check than other wireless systems. Our requirements are that you are within 45 feet of the hub and not going through more than two standard construction walls. That’s it. No need for complex and expensive wireless site surveys.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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