Vanderbilt Prez Lays Out Makings of Strong Integrator Partnerships, More
Mitchell Kane discusses several topics surrounding the access control market, plus key points behind successful partnerships with dealers and integrators.
Access Control Related Enterprises’ (ACRE) raised more than a few eyebrows with its decision to divest the venerable Mercury Security brand in September. The move allows ACRE to concentrate on maximizing synergies between its remaining core assets ComNet, a provider of transmission and networking equipment, and Vanderbilt, which resulted from ACRE’s 2012 purchase of Ingersoll-Rand’s Schlage Electronic Security.
In the following discussion, Mitchell Kane, president of Vanderbilt, addresses topics related to the Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) market, what makes for a strong integrator partnership and more.
In the context of a sales conversation with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), what are key touchpoints that dealers/integrators should focus on when discussing an ACaaS solution?
There are a host of benefits for SMEs to shift to a Cloud-based approach for access control, including the ability to manage multiple sites remotely, reduce infrastructure costs and scale the system as needed, making it appealing to a wide range of end users.
Most importantly, however, is the shift from access control as a capital investment to a more operational expenditure through the ACaaS model. Many of these companies lack the IT infrastructure to support a networked access control option, but really want to implement a comprehensive security solution. ACaaS can become the solution for many of these customers, which is a huge selling point.
What are you looking for in a dealer/integrator partner to successfully sell, install and service an ACaaS solution? What are the necessary skills sets and back office support?
I often preach this, but there are a lot of access control products out there, and many of them have similar feature sets and the ability to deliver the kind of results that end users need. The difference is in the delivery of the systems in customer service, sales and technical support.
When we look at integrator partners, it’s important to form a relationship with partners that have that kind of dedication and commitment in mind when working directly with end users. Additionally, we want an open dialogue and conversation with our partners, and we also want customers to be able to reach us directly to let us know the features they like or have trouble with, ideas for new ways to deliver value and general feedback. Open communication is critical in a partnership with a dealer or integrator partner.
With regard to support, we want a partner who is dedicated to attending our certification courses, continuing education on the platforms we offer and finding ways to help us improve the technology.
Vanderbilt officially unveiled its new Cloud offering, ACT365, at ASIS 2017. The solution has been piloted in several applications. What key insights have you learned from these trials?
There are still quite a few SMEs working under a lock-and-key set up, which may not be feasible if company size grows or there are high turnover rates. In one pilot program, the company shifted from a traditional lock-and-key set up to a Cloud-based solution and the reception has been positive. The company is now able to have an audit trail of who is coming and going within the facility, along with coordinated camera footage, so if an incident occurs there is evidence to share with investigators.
The majority of Vanderbilt’s product offerings from European-based acquisitions are still only available to the company’s European customers. Is there a plan to bring more of Vanderbilt’s portfolio to the U.S., in particular an end-to-end solution?
The U.S. and European markets are very different, requiring varied approaches in how products are delivered and marketed. In Europe, Vanderbilt has a large presence in the intrusion market, while the U.S. market is more saturated with regard to intrusion systems, so it wouldn’t make sense to introduce another product set to the market.
With regard to Cloud-based access control and video management, there is a real opportunity to reach a new sector of the market, which is why ACT365 will work well here to serve small- to medium-sized businesses. While I won’t say it’s not a possibility to bring more products to the market here, we’re looking to focus on our current product set and our new Cloud solution over the coming months.
With increasing awareness of threats from data breaches, what are you telling dealer/ integrator partners about their need to become knowledgeable, trusted partners in the cybersecurity realm?
As manufacturers, we test our products for security vulnerabilities from the beginning of the development of a product. Testing becomes critical in the overall process. When engaging in a partnership with a dealer or integrator partner, it’s important to continue the dedication to cybersecurity by implementing some best practices for securing the products being introduced to a client, including encryption, changing factory setting passwords and using trusted Cloud partners that have tested and retested products in the Cloud.
Additionally, it’s important for our integrator partners to have knowledge of the IT infrastructure and be able to support a fully network-based platform. We are at a point in this industry where network security cannot be ignored at any step in the process of implementing a security solution.
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