Managing to Create New RMR

What do IP-based access controllers, automated video reports and protecting beluga caviar have in common? They all have a place in an evolving recurring revenue marketplace that is full of new potential beyond the traditional monitored mainstays of fire and intrusion alarms.

In a time when economic woes continue to pound some sectors of the security industry, and other recurring monthly revenue (RMR) streams near saturation, new technologies and open architecture are invigorating the business of monitoring. Steady cash flow can be realized by tapping into emerging, diversified service offerings such as personal emergency response systems or PERS (see sidebar), remote video monitoring, business management capabilities and even weather forecast alerts (see sidebar).

Manufacturers are designing software and hardware solutions that are opening the gates to an entirely new market where for the first time small business owners can consider an affordable access control solution — managed by the dealer or central station.

The picture may be rosy, but just like the machinations of any marketplace there are adoption hurdles to some of this new RMR-generating technology and services. For instance, third-party central stations and manufacturers are contending with some security contractors that are slow to appreciate the new opportunities before them. Still others are lagging because their businesses have always been project-based; the RMR model is well outside their comfort zone.

Access Control for Small Business

Attendees at this year’s annual dealer meeting hosted by third-party monitoring provider SentryNet received an in-depth analysis about managed access control and its virtues, an event that demonstrated the monitoring community’s excitement for the Web-based technology.

[IMAGE]11963[/IMAGE]Greenville, Miss.-based SentryNet provided its dealer partners a straightforward sales strategy based on HID Global’s VertX™ and Edge™ open architecture hardware platforms that operate with software by SecuriCo Inc. The solutions are tailor-made for small facilities with one to 16 doors to secure. A proverbial golden ticket? Maybe. Heretofore, much of the small business community has been priced out of the access control solution market. Now comes affordability and convenience. 

“It allows smaller facilities, smaller companies the opportunity to have access control at a reasonable price as opposed to the old days of installing proprietary access control for several thousand dollars in installation costs and ongoing software licenses,” says Michael Joseph, SentyNet’s vice president of operations. The potential for myriad customers include medical and dental offices, restaurants, multitenant business properties, small multifamily dwellings, an IT server room, and so on.

A managed access control solution does away with traditional installation methods such as installing readers through alarm panel connectors, the need to install a dedicated PC and software at the customer’s location, and offers dealers a new, value-add service to provide to their customers. HID’s IP-based Edge readers, for example, move the control panel infrastructure out of the closet and bring the controller to the door for access control decision-making and power over Ethernet (PoE) to power the door devices.

“A managed access service takes into account the day-to-day needs of the end user, who typically lacks the access control software expertise to manage the system. A Web browser-based managed service eliminates the head-end requirements and offers end users a choice of services based on their needs,” says Paul Iverson, director of networked access solutions for HID Global. “HID’s OEM software partners, along with Edge, enable a new model for access control and put into play a new field of doors never considered for access control because of cost and system management complexities.”

These integrated platforms allow alarm dealers to offer customers full featured access control that is managed and monitored at the central station. A second option allows dealers to be responsible for managing the Web-based card access and report functions for the end user on the central station server.

New RMR streams offered by managed access control are providing dealers a good opportunity to diversify their business in these uncertain economic times. To illustrate the RMR potential, Joseph says a typical pricing model for a facility with three readers and 50 cards could fetch roughly $1,000.

“A lot of the residential dealers, if they work predominately with new builders and developers, are feeling a hit. One way they can easily branch out to small commercial is through managed access,” he says. HID supports central stations and dealers as well by providing a comprehensive strategy document that encompasses marketing, promoting the dealer’s brand and their reputation in the market. For dealers especially, there is much to be concerned about and to prepare for this new kind of sell.

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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