Small Clients Call for Access Control Too

A largely untapped opportunity exists for providing access control to the small commercial marketplace. Web-based systems offer dealers a cost-effective solution for winning new market share.

From the facility manager of a large warehouse to the owner of a small corner gas station, the security and safety of property, employees and customers is paramount. For some dealers, however, it can be challenging to effectively meet the needs of all customers – especially smaller businesses – when it comes to access control.

Traditional access control systems are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. They tend to offer more than what many smaller customers actually need – particularly those with three or fewer doors to protect. Oftentimes these systems also tend to cost more than what the customers are willing to pay. Consequently, traditional alarm dealers who sell little to no access control leave this market largely untapped, preventing them from expanding their business in the small- to midsized market.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. The demand is there. Including, small end users with intrusion systems that are looking to economically make the leap to an access-based system that will enable easy tracking and reporting of who is coming and going.

Leveraging the Web for Growth

Web-based access control has emerged as a viable way to offer single-door applications. This will allow dealers to cost-effectively position themselves to grow with their customers.

Web-based systems provide the traditional access control capabilities customers are looking for, including the ability to secure doors, manage access and sites remotely, and pull reports to meet compliance requirements. Leveraging the Internet lets users manage the system from anywhere – without the need for dedicated PCs – and it also helps customers avoid expenses associated with servers and software licenses. Web-based systems also offer the necessary flexibility and scalability to accommodate smaller businesses while allowing for future growth.

If you are a dealer looking to grow your business with new access control opportunities, consider the following points when selling these systems to small businesses:

Design a system that can protect one door at a time – While it may seem obvious, designing a system for smaller-sized customers with three or fewer doors requires a shift in approach. Think in terms of both protecting and adding one door at a time. Choose for scalable architecture, such as a modular design enabled by the Web, which makes adding doors easy and affordable.

Also ensure the system has USB connectivity for easy setup diagnostics and local configuration. This will help ensure the customer isn’t left with more than what’s needed, and it helps adhere to the “one door at a time” premise by establishing a way to add additional single doors as needed.

Opt for cost-effective technology that’s easy to install and use – Since the objective is to penetrate the small- to midsized market, offer a solution that fits what smaller businesses are looking for: a system that makes access control simpler and more affordable than traditional systems on the market.

Small businesses lack the resources to dedicate large amounts of time to working on the system, so it should be easy to get up and running quickly, and also simple to operate and maintain. Plug-and-play installation and power over Ethernet (PoE) capability help keep the installation simple and less costly by enabling the system to tap into existing infrastructure and wiring. PoE is appealing because you don’t have to run separate power; instead, you only need one wire to the panel. The wire to the panel enables power for your strike, reader and input devices.

Keep technology options simple yet flexible – For single-door applications, the system should also have a small enclosure footprint. This allows for quick installation, especially when installing multiple units throughout a building. Along those same lines, consider offering enclosure material options other than metal. Traditional access control systems typically feature a metal enclosure, but that doesn’t have to be the only option. Instead, consider options that can mount at the door and are more aesthetically appealing.

For example, a plastic enclosure can be smaller and more compact than the traditional metal options. This is ideal when space is limited, a frequent circumstance for many small businesses. With traditional access control systems, the metal enclosure often resides in a storage room or closet space. Sometimes, though, this simply isn’t an option for customers with little extra space, and plastic enclosures offer an alternative due to their smaller size. This means the devices can be mounted in more convenient places, such as the very door they’re securing.

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