Bill Hogan Joins Security-Net, Provides Representation for Systems Integrator D/A Central

Exton, Pa. – December 18, 2014 – Security-Net, Inc., a global provider of security system services, announced today that it voted to approve the membership of Bill Hogan as the Security-Net member representative for D/A Central in Oak Pak, Mich.

Hogan has served as President of D/A Central since 2013. The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Market Basket Rewards Inc., a comprehensive loyalty marketing and data analytics platform as a service for retailers, Hogan was hired to join D/A Central by Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dave Shelton.

Shelton had been an active member of Security-Net for 21 years and joined the group in 1993 when there were only six members. He has previously served as Treasurer and Vice President of the Security-Net Board of Directors and led the initiative to create Security-Net’s SalesNet program, which today brings together sales leaders from member companies to collaborate on national accounts strategy, project management and lead generation.

Hogan applied for membership status with Security-Net in in the Fall of 2014 to replace Shelton, who recently reduced his work schedule to enter semi-retirement. After a thorough application and review process, Security-Net’s 18 members accepted Hogan as a member, representing D/A Central.

“Security-Net is excited to have Bill Hogan as the newest member of our organization,” said Jim Coleman, President of the Board of Directors of Security-Net and President of Operational Security Systems, a systems integration company in Atlanta. “Bill brings to Security-Net a wealth of experience in marketing and customer loyalty programs and within a short period of time has become extremely knowledgeable about the security systems industry.”

Hogan has accepted a position on the Security-Net marketing committee where he recently managed a web site redesign project on behalf of Security-Net and its web site

D/A Central is a full-service systems integration company providing the design and installation of access control, video surveillance and commercial intrusion systems to companies throughout the Detroit area.

Security-Net Focuses on Operational Efficiency

 Exton, Pa. – September 22, 2014 – Security-Net, Inc., a global provider of security system services, announced today that it has formed a new committee within its organization called OPS-Net to provide greater support to clients and improve customer satisfaction.

The goal of OPS-Net is to enhance communication between project managers and to ensure customer satisfaction in the completion of security system installations. OPS-Net joins two existing groups, Tech-Net and Sales-Net. Tech-Net brings together the top technical experts from each company to share information about the latest security products and to trouble shoot technology problems, while Sales-Net is focused on national accounts strategy, project management and lead generation.

“With OPS-Net, we can ensure that when the operations piece of Security-Net takes over on a nationwide or global security systems integration project that the process is efficient for the client,” said Michael Jobrey, chairman of OPS-Net and Vice President of Operations for The Protection Bureau, a Security-Net member company. “We want to make sure that a project is completed to the highest level of satisfaction of the client.”

Members of OPS-Net will include members from Security-Net whose focus is on business operations. OPS-Net will develop programs for optimized fulfillment, the implementation of a policy of best practices within the Security-Net organization and enhanced communication among project managers. Its inaugural project has been to collect information on how well and in what capacity Security-Net members are currently collaborating.

OPS-Net’s other goals include enhancing project start-up times, streamlining material fulfillment of projects from beginning to end, and improving and streamlining internal communications. The group intends also to develop a system for measuring its own success.

OPS-Net and Security-Net members will be in attendance at the 60th Annual ASIS International Conference and Trade Show September 29 to October 2 in Atlanta to further develop the initiative. Security-Net will be exhibiting at booth 2437 at the conference.

Do the Math: Why & How Integrators Can Succeed in Building Automation

Security integrators can gain revenue opportunities and deepen customer relationships when integrating security systems with building automation systems. But there’s a learning curve. Read how leading integrators successfully offer the solution.
By Heather Klotz-Young, SDM Senior Editor September 15, 2014

The equation 1+1=2 is simple. It is one of the first concepts learned in math. But it is not as straightforward as it would seem, really. The proof for 1+1=2 is more than 300 pages long and it wasn’t conclusively proven until the 20th century by Bertrand Russell. Likewise, building automation systems (BAS) are a very complex manifestation of a simple principle: control. Mastering that complexity takes time, planning and intention for integrators choosing to offer BAS. SDM spoke with several leading integrators about their experiences with BAS, asking about how they are finding success, any stumbling blocks to avoid, resources needed, profit opportunities and more.

Although the concept of building automation has been in existence for a long time, growing awareness, new technologies, and a demand for energy-efficient buildings and enhanced security are driving the BAS market forward and creating new opportunities for integrators.

“Customers and engineers are starting to see the benefits of truly integrated building solutions. Anyone can plug disparate control panels into the same network switch, but few can provide a holistically integrated solution that leverages the individual capabilities of those disparate control panels to build a system that secures a facility and protects its occupants — but also keeps them comfortable while saving energy at the same time,” observes Steven Turney, security program manager at Carrollton, Texas-based Schneider Electric. Customers benefit from reduced installation and support costs as well as an increased flow of information that allows them to make more informed decisions, he adds.

By managing various building systems, the automation system ensures the operational performance of the facility as well as the comfort and safety of building occupants. But it takes time and training to design, install and maintain such a complex system.

Every integrator offering BAS has taken a different path to get there, whether through partnerships, acquisition, staff hiring/training, or another route. There is no silver bullet, and every integrator must carefully weigh what works for his or her unique company. Advantech Inc., located in Dover, Del., forged into BAS about eight years ago when it recognized that there was not a suitable product for its end users to easily manage and control the security systems for large facilities. This was especially true for facilities management and custodial staff, who didn’t have access to control rooms or security equipment, shares Eric Schaeffer, the company’s president and this month’s cover subject.

Today, Advantech has developed its own customer GUIs and command stations that serve as an intuitive interface for building and facility management. The company is also a Honeywell Integrated Security (HIS) National Dealer of the Year for 2008, 2010 and 2011, utilizing the Pro-Watch Integration Program, enables integrators and end users of the program to integrate security with building, industrial or enterprise systems, using an open architecture platform.

For its first project, the company worked with a high school to develop a customer touch screen controlled graphical user interface (GUI), multiple system integration, and more. But it used the expertise of its current staff, who Schaeffer says had the drive to be successful in developing new solutions for the customer’s challenges.

The initial team included Dave Sweeney, director of sales, and John Gampp, director of system support.

“Their focus on testing and validating in our test lab prior to customer deployment has made our projects move smoothly and successfully,” Schaeffer says. “Since then we have trained additional existing employees and have also added staff with strong networking and IT skills. A little over a year ago we also hired a sales engineer, Frank Yoder, with more than 20 years in the BAS industry.”

“After this initial project we started adding more functionality into the GUIs. We also started deploying these solutions in other vertical markets,” Schaeffer shares. “Initially, the primary focus was on security, but as the capabilities increased these solutions became more and more valuable for operations and facility management.

The interfaces Advantech designs greatly simplify control of multiple systems and functions creating significant efficiencies, which greatly reduce man-hours. Schaeffer estimates the efficiencies Avantech offers with its BAS often save customers 100 man-hours a month or more, a huge savings of time and resources. “In many applications the pay back can be achieved in a matter of months,” he says.

Other integrators use acquisitions to enter the field. It worked best for Draper, Utah-based Utah Yamas Controls, which acquired a local BAS integrator (see related article on page 67) and Chicago-based System Development Integration LLC (SDI), which acquired i-sys, Charleston, S.C., a veteran BAS provider.

In addition to acquisitions, establishing relationships with the key vendors and providing training opportunities to the staff to educate them about the products, capabilities and features is a key to success, advises Denny Stover, executive vice president, San Diego and Northern California, Universal Protection Security Systems, Santa Ana, Calif. “It takes patience and finding the right partners and the right products to create the right solution, he adds. “You can’t take any shortcuts in this industry,” he told SDM.


Operational costs savings and energy efficiency are major drivers of BAS installations and retrofits. Industry surveys have determined that building owners and managers are realizing the many
financial benefits of intelligent technologies, such as lower energy costs, lower maintenance costs and lower repair and replacement costs, says Rawlson O’Neil King, communications director, Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, an international not-for- profit industry association with more than 400 members dedicated to the advancement of intelligent home and intelligent building technologies.

“Energy costs represent about 30 percent of an office building’s total operating costs, providing enormous opportunity for building owners not only to reduce operating costs, but also to make significant improvements in the overall environmental performance of their properties. By changing energy management practices and instituting intelligent building technologies that enhance energy efficiency, building owners and managers can reduce energy consumption by up to 35 percent,” King estimates.

The ability to demonstrate the savings grabs end users’ interest more quickly.

“If you look at security in many phases, there are intangible benefits. Security systems meet insurance requirements, they provide protection for possible events, and the value, while real, is less tangible on what you get back from a building automation system that brings in some very measurable benefits. When the HVAC system is turned off or the lights are turned out after everyone has left for the day, you save a measurable amount of money,” explains Chris Koetsier, director, product marketing, Honeywell Security, Melville, N.Y. “You can show the savings. But one of the challenges for integrators actually is that building automation is a different sale. You are talking about a very objective model.”

In addition to the different sales model, there are regulations to master. Building automation is driven by regulation, especially in Europe and Japan, and this is growing in the United States. “While regulation is lower in North America right now due to the nature of our economy and the way the free market trumps government directives, this is changing. You will start to see more and more regulations grow that demand an increase in energy efficiency,” King says.


The awareness and expectation for automation in general is growing, making building managers more receptive to BAS.

It’s important to remember that facility managers are consumers like the rest of us, says Alan Stoddard, senior director, marketing at Honeywell Security. “They go home and manage their lives with their smartphones. If they see that adding a smart thermostat to a security system saves money on their home electrical bills, then it would stand to reason they would want the same benefits and intuitive user experience for their buildings as well,” he adds.

Integrators are able to succeed in building automation by capitalizing on commercial property owners’ needs, empowering business owners to take control of their building systems, and helping commercial end users optimize their systems to save the most money over time, Stoddard says. “Much like we’re seeing in the connected home space, security technology is ideal to serve as the core for these types of building systems because it knows when the building is occupied, who is in the building, and where they are within the facility.”


Between rising energy costs, looming regulations and automation awareness, the numbers predicted for BAS growth are impressive, making the efforts of mastering the offering easier to accept.

The U.S. market for building automation equipment is set to grow by more than 40 percent within a five-year period ending in 2017, spurred by the need in commercial buildings for more efficient energy consumption, according to a report from IHS Inc. released in late 2013. Solid growth ranging from 7 to 9 percent is expected in the next four years, with industry revenue forecast to hit $2.24 billion by 2017, equivalent to a 43 percent increase from 2012.

Research and Markets predicts that the market for global intelligent building automation technologies will increase to $74.8 billion by 2019. Among all the technologies discussed, energy
management technologies are registering a high growth rate followed by emergency response and commercial lighting control. North America is leading the global intelligent building automation technologies market with a share of more than 40 percent in 2014, followed by Europe.

The spiraling cost of electricity is a major factor in the operational efficiency of a commercial building structure, which explains why building automation systems could play an important role.

“With budgets cut and many large companies struggling to grow at more than 5 percent on an annual basis, the higher cost of electricity could prove to be a major headache for commercial and government building owners,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for the Building Technologies group at IHS. “Making buildings as efficient as possible is crucial to driving down energy consumption. And one way to increase energy efficiency is to install an integrated building automation system,” he says.

BAS solves myriad end user needs, which attracts more integrators to it in order to provide a comprehensive, needs-focused solution. Also, while the integration and control possibilities do continue to grow more complex, technology developments such as wireless and auto-discovery IP devices are providing a counterbalance, allowing more companies into the arena.

BAS knowledge once seemed to be the exclusive domain of the ‘wizard-behind-the-curtain,’ but those days are long gone,” says Kevin McKeegan, building operations manager, SDI. More integrators are successfully learning what really makes 1+1=2.

SDM speaks with Advantech’s BAS Team

How did your company gain the needed skills and knowledge for selling into this market?

ERIC SCHAEFFER: Advantech has and continues to do small- to medium-sized projects that include lighting control and other energy management control such as temperature. This background provided a baseline skill set, making the transition to more sophisticated BMS easier. From the beginning our core technical staff already had strong IT skill sets as well as experience in mapping and writing integration between security systems. We also had experience in automatic data transfer between systems. We developed manufacturer relationships and the certifications and training in products required to provide automation solutions. This includes InduSoft and their InduSoft Web studio software, and Omron and its PLC products. These provide the interface for mechanical and electronic automation.

Please describe the revenue and profit opportunities.

FRANK YODER: We have a large untapped, existing customer database that can realize additional ROI. When you refer to professional services, the design, programming and implementation of a system that offers a qualified and visible ROI, you can negotiate rather than bid. When designing applications that can constantly evolve to provide additional efficiencies it is important not to have a static view of the current needs and operation. The bid world boxes bidders into that mindset, as cost is the deciding factor, not the return on investment.

What are some of the pitfalls when entering this market?

DAVE SWEENEY: Our sales and engineering staff have had to account for significantly more pre-engineering and programming of projects. It is not uncommon for multiple weeks of pre-programming to be required for these projects. In fact, the largest learning curve for Advantech has been understanding and properly estimating required professional services and labor. We have also experienced a few challenges integrating into different systems that we have not typically integrated with.

Please describe a recent project.

JOHN GAMP: A BAS project by Advantech at the Port of Wilmington integrates camera call up for more than 200 cameras, along with salvo control and automatic salvo switching with Maxpro VMS. The system integrates alarm information from perimeter fence detection and video analytics, while a custom GUI (shown at right) built on a map view of the port [which is 300 acres] provides the opportunity for users such as Gerardo Hernandez, security supervisor for the Port of Wilmington to “drill down” into buildings and warehouses.

Donated fire system plays critical role in fire tech training

Silent Knight and Delaware life safety company team up to ensure technical college has latest real-world fire equipment
by: Tess Nacelewicz, Security Systems News – Monday, August 25, 2014

DOVER, Del.—The recent donation of a Farenhyt fire alarm and ECS system and the free installation that local company Advantech provided to Delaware Technical Community College’s Fire Protection Engineering Technology program benefits not only the college but also the industry, according to Advantech.

Eric Schaeffer, president of Advantech, a life safety and integration firm based here, said it’s imperative that future fire protection employees get the experience that working with the latest in real-world equipment will provide.

“When we look at trying to hire people out of a school with no or little field experience, having that knowledge is important, so it certainly helps us and our industry,” Schaeffer told Security Systems News. “It’s the largest college in the state and they put out a lot of people in the work force every year.”

Silent Knight by Honeywell donated a Farenhyt alarm and emergency communications system to the community college’s professional fire education training lab, the company said in August. The Farenhyt IFP-1000ECS fire alarm and emergency communication system was installed free-of-charge by Advantech.

The donations will allow students receive hands-on training in fire system design, maintenance and programming, a news release said. Also, the new system ties into various suppression systems so the college can train students on suppression technologies as well.

Schaeffer told SSN that cross training is essential. “In the fire alarm industry,” he said, “there’s always been that lack of understanding from the sprinkler guys to the alarm guys, ‘Exactly what do you do and how does what I do [fit in]?’ … [Having] that level of understanding helps troubleshooting skills tremendously.”

Schaeffer said Advantech, a 15-year-old company with 42 employees, donated labor, professional services and additional equipment to the college. That’s partly because the college, which has four campuses throughout the state, is one of Advantech’s largest customers. Also, Advantech hires many of its technicians from the college and Schaeffer considers Delaware Tech’s training lab an “awesome facility.” He said, “I’ve not seen anything like it anywhere.”

Delaware Tech’s program stands out as one of the few engineering technology programs in the country that specifically focuses on fire protection, according to the news release.

Schaeffer said that the installation was initially scheduled to take two days, but it took about two weeks on site and another two months to answer all the college’s questions and finalize the installation. “But the finished project is awesome,” he said.

The additional time was needed because the company’s technicians came up with solutions that made the project even better, he said. “We have some pretty talented technical people and we assigned a few of them to it, and from the original scope to what the finished product was, it changed a fair amount and provided additional functionality,” Schaeffer said.

For example, he said, lead technician John Gampp came up with the idea of making “a custom panel to control the different [nine sprinkler] risers [in the lab]. … We also put lights above each riser so when the active riser was on, the light would light up above the active riser so students in the classroom could quickly understand [which riser the lesson was on that day].”

Advantech this year became a member of Security-Net, a provider of security integration services.

Read the original article at Security Systems News.

Integrator Roundtable: The benefits and challenges of selling hosted, managed security services

Industry execs offer their opinions on how the technology has evolved and the increasing tech savviness of end users
By Joel Griffin – August 6, 2014

Hosted and managed security services, be it access control or video surveillance, have been around for a number of years. Although there are differences between managed offerings (systems operated and maintained by a third-party provider) and hosted services (leased infrastructure controlled by the customer), they both offer tremendous advantages to end users and security integrators.

One of the primary benefits of either a managed or hosted access control or video platform is that it enables end users to reduce the footprint of their security infrastructure, such as the numerous servers and recorders that are typically required to run a large-scale security system. It also simplifies the service and maintenance process for users, shifting the burden of things like software updates to the service provider.

For integrators, hosted and managed services provides them with an opportunity to establish a recurring revenue model. Of course, there are still a number of challenges involved in providing these services, not the least of which can include reassuring skeptical customers of the security of managed and hosted platforms given the ever-increasing number of high-profile data breaches. SIW recently caught up with executives from several systems integration firms across the country to get their take on the current landscape of hosted and managed security offerings.

SIW-STE: How has technology evolved in the hosted and managed security services space and how have end users come to embrace it?

Chris Wetzel, executive vice president and founder, Intertech Security: End users are getting much more comfortable with a hosted platform, whether it is access or video. It allows end users to take a system and have a lot of the same functionality that you would have with an enterprise solution. They can also move into that platform starting from scratch with their first card reader having the functionality. As the system grows, they have the flexibility to manage that platform in-house. With this approach end users haven’t lost any of their investment and they still have all of the functionality they want. If they are trying to figure out how to migrate from an existing system away from it, the hosted platform might give them a way to migrate using this different technology on an enterprise platform. Over time they can then assess the approach they want to take to replace their existing system by having some exposure on a small scale without a lot of cost on a hosted or managed application.

Brad Wilson, president and COO, RFI Communications & Security Systems: I think the end users are pretty savvy today. End users are used to trusting the cloud and depending on those types of support services. They are also very aware, especially as younger professionals move into our industry, that there are a lot of disparate systems out there. All of sudden they’ve got this security network or systems to deal with and they’re really looking for convenience and simplification and we, as an industry, tend to make things very hard and complicated.

John Nowak, senior vice president, VTI Security: I would agree that these types of services are a more readily acceptable business model today than they were a few years ago, but they’re still kind of a challenge on the sales front, discussing the business value and showing the customers exactly how these services raise profits and lower costs. Coming from the advanced integration side of the business, we see some of these services fall down at a certain level, so there are some things that you just can’t accomplish in a cloud environment today that I’m sure will be addressed as products and solutions evolve in the future – making these things easier and more readily attainable off of a network device.

SIW-STE: Are there still those who are a little leery about using hosted or managed services and what are some of their chief concerns?

Wetzel: The network connectivity, so opening up ports and giving us access onto a network can be a concern. Customers are concerned about how well we can secure the network with the right firewall to make sure that only certain ports are open. This sometimes can be a challenge and can take a little while to get comfortable with the approach. At times, we’ll put a separate DSL line in to communicate, so we’re not on their network but still give them what they are looking for with a hosted system. The other concern is where is the information going? Where is it stored? Is it on the cloud somewhere? That’s not an issue because it is in a secured environment in our central station with everything locked down.

Wilson: Identity and authentication because everyone hears about security penetrations and hacks. Some of these are operational risks and some are organizational risks and that’s how I’ve always classified them. Operationally, this could be bad and someone could take this or take that – trade secrets, etc.. On the organizational side, you get into a penetration where someone has hacked through R&D or credit cards and you start that whole financial element and no one is immune from that. That drops the value of a company significantly or could and it kind of burns into peoples’ brains.

SIW-STE: Do you believe that the industry still needs to do a better job of educating the market or do end users pretty much understand these offerings now?

Wetzel: My guess is there are a lot of companies in the security industry that aren’t offering these services and there are a lot of customers, end users that aren’t educated on it primarily because their security system providers do not offer the solution. We feel it is an advantage to our clients and our customers because we give them an option. We are taking the time to educate them on a breadth of access control and surveillance solutions available in the market. There are still a large percentage of integrators and end users that are not educated on the use of this technology and service.

Nowak: I think there is always a place for education, especially in this area. If I’m hosting video or I’m able to pull video from the cloud at two-frames-per-second in VGA quality, that’s not exactly usable video from a security perspective in a lot of cases, so you typically have to augment that with onsite servers if you want forensic information you can pull from an incident. There’s a lot of education that needs to go on and it’s about expectations. If my expectations are that I’m going to be getting a certain level of quality of video and, through my cloud services, I’m somehow falling short of that then that’s an expectation and it goes back to that frontend conversation and education to not only to the end client community, but also those managed service providers.

SIW-STE: Are the traditional benefits of these services still the biggest selling point to customers or are there additional advantages that have caught on in recent years?

Wetzel: From an access control standpoint, those benefits are still in place. Some of the new benefits are they don’t need the hardware. If I have somebody trained who is the one person responsible for the system and that person is not available – either on vacation or it’s an off hour – then we’ve got the ability to make that change, add a card or delete a card in-house and ensure it’s done in a timely manner. That’s a huge advantage. We have the ability to manage badging remotely and provide credentials with a photo, the company logo and name without the customer having to make the investment in the software and printer.

From a video side, with better quality imaging thanks to megapixel technology and video analytics, we’re offering services that we couldn’t offer before because the camera is much more intelligent and is providing us much more reliable information that we can respond to.

Wilson: If you’re in that space and you’re working in that space, there are many more value propositions and takeaways and part of that is, as you get into more of a XML and somewhat open APIs, I can really start to talk to other types of systems and that’s a great takeaway. All these things are possible and they all come at a cost and value and there’s a cost-value price proposition that goes on there.

SIW-STE: What kind of impact have hosted and managed services had on your business as a security integrator?

Wetzel: It’s been a positive impact because it has allowed us to continue to grow our recurring revenue and our service model. As with any integrator, the more you can grow that side of your business and become less dependent on the project revenue, the more stable your organization becomes.

Wilson: It’s allowed us to go into different markets that we typically don’t go into in terms of that medium commercial market. Saying all of that, it starts to drive more recurring revenue which is the glaring, no-brainer answer.

Read the original article on Security Info Watch.

SDM’s 2014 Top Systems Integrators Report

While challenges persist, great improvement was seen between 2012 and 2013, and it continues into 2014.
By Laura Stepanek – July 15, 2014

SDM’s Top Systems Integrators — a report that ranks companies by their North American Systems integration revenue — collectively grew revenue by 17 percent in 2013 to reach $7.36 billion. This marks the first year for positive growth since 2009. While some of the growth can be attributed to upward estimates for several of the largest integrators (Tyco Integrated Security and Stanley Security), the rest stems from the fact that almost every single integrator in the top 25, as well as many lower-ranked integrators, moved forward. Some improved significantly: Convergint Technologies, for example, grew from $278 million in 2012 to $328 million in 2013.

“The petrochemical market continues to be strong, along with the healthcare market. Data centers also continue to be a strong growing market for us,” describes Convergint, ranked No. 6. The company added, however, that K-12 education and state colleges and universities exhibited slower growth last year.

Systems integrators largely described the 2013 market as strong. The rebounding of new construction, the expansion of businesses, and a continued awareness of the need for protecting people and property were the major growth factors.

“The markets TSI serves created a strong year for 2013 security volumes. We participated in many new projects as well as long-term system upgrades and systems remediation,” comments Tech Systems Inc., No. 18.

MidCo Inc., No. 34, noticed more opportunities. “Companies are spending more for new projects and new buildings,” the company observes.

“We found the market just a little stronger than average. Corporate spending loosened up and money was budgeted for security upgrades at some Corporate 100 sites,” notes Koorsen Security Technology, ranked No. 40.

In addition to a higher level of new construction market and business expansion observed by the integrators, another prime factor continues to be the push from analog to IP, and convergence. According to No. 19, SDI, “We see a few things driving the demand: Certainly, the slow migration from analog to IP for video and access controls is continuing to move along. More meaningfully, however, we see a significant increase in the convergence of the traditional IT and physical security worlds — adding project scope.”

Revenue classified as North American systems integration revenue rose from $6.29 billion in 2012 to $7.36 billion in 2013 — even though seven fewer companies are included in the report. However, for comparison purposes, SDMmeasures the top 100 companies’ 2012 integration revenue ($6.25 billion) against the top 100’s 2013 integration revenue ($7.33 billion). Several larger-sized systems integrators did not report their earnings this year and were omitted from the report; including BCI Technologies, Northland Control Systems, and Securityhunter. However, the report has been re-energized by the addition of several dynamic systems integrators that are new to the report this year, including ISI Security, Universal Protection Security Systems LP, Dakota Security Systems Inc., Electric Guard Dog, TRL Systems, Utah Yamas Controls, and several others.

“We saw just under 10 percent growth in 2013,” reports Dakota Security Systems, ranked No. 23. “We cover a number of geographies and saw broad economic recovery across all of our customer demographics.”

Within certain vertical sectors, the Top Systems Integrators noticed varying degrees of opportunity. Noted growth areas were transportation, energy, warehouses, industrial/manufacturing, education, healthcare, financial institutions, construction/equipment rental, and even government.

The integrators were divided about two of three top market sectors in 2013: education and healthcare. On the one hand, “healthcare exhibited growth through a need to enhance the patient experience and reduce the number of hospital-acquired infectious disease re-admissions,” shares Johnson Controls Inc., No. 5. On the other hand, “the healthcare market is showing caution over the Affordable Care Act,” notes Universal Protection Security Systems, ranked No. 21.

The challenges that systems integrators face continue to be greater competition and tighter profit margins. “We found significantly more work in the security sphere in 2013 versus 2012, though the margins were tighter,” reports No. 113, Protex Central Inc.

“There was an increased competitive profile due to more entries into the market from the IT side of the business,” observes No. 31-ranked Genesis Security Systems.

And while most integrators found video surveillance to be the strongest technology in demand, others are seeing video turning softer due to a bigger supply of integrators. “The camera business has slowed down due to technology companies entering the market,” notes Habitec Security, No. 109.

While challenges persist, there is no doubt that great improvement was seen between 2012 and 2013, and it continues into 2014. “We started to see companies release planned budgets in 2013 that were pent up in 2012 due to weaker financial markets,” relates Protection 1, ranked No. 9.

“The general market for security was marginally improved over 2012. The lack of economic growth kept us from seeing larger improvements, but overall the market seems favorable,” says Electric Guard Dog, ranked No. 28.

Among SDM’s Top Systems Integrators, 80 percent expect revenues to increase in 2014 compared with last year.

How to Read the Top Systems Integrators Report

The 2014 Top Systems Integrators Report ranks North American companies by their security systems integration revenue. This ranking is based on data provided to or, in a few cases, estimated by SDM. Ranked companies were asked to submit either an audited or reviewed financial statement, or a copy of their income tax return showing total gross receipts for the stated period. The vast majority of the firms ranked are privately held.

The main table, which begins on page 62, ranks 117 companies by their North American revenue in 2013 from their security system integration projects. Integration includes solutions such as design, project management, product, installation, programming, start-up, training, and time-and-materials-based service sold directly to an end-user customer or through a tier of contractors. This includes revenue related to security, such as: access control, ID/badging, video surveillance/analytics, intrusion alarms, perimeter security, electronic gate entry, intercom/communications, fire protection, etc. It does not include recurring revenue, as that is counted towards ranking on the SDM 100 Report.

Note: an e following the figure indicates it is an SDM estimate.

More from the Report

To gain additional information beyond that published in this issue and online, the complete SDM Top Systems Integrators Report and Database is available in Excel format. Included are contact names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, website URLs, targeted vertical markets, branch office locations, and much more. SDM’s Top Systems Integrators Report and Database contains the information needed to target products and services to the systems integration market.

The cost of the report is $595. It may be ordered by contacting Heidi Fusaro at 630-518-5470 or by emailing

Read the original article at SDM Magazine.

Best Practices for Service and Maintenance Contracts

Integrators share practical advice on how to avoid potential issues with customers down the road
By Joel Griffin – July 9, 2014

It’s an all too familiar story across the country – city leaders and police officials devote a substantial amount of time, energy and resources into deploying a surveillance camera network hoping to replicate the success other municipalities have had with using the technology as a force multiplier and valuable evidence gathering tool. There’s just one problem; they allow the system to fall into a state of disrepair by failing to enter into a comprehensive maintenance and service agreement with the systems integrator that installed the network.

In some cases, however, the integrator is forced to stop performing maintenance on the cameras because the city fails to compensate them for their work. That’s exactly what happened earlier this year in Pittsburgh when the company that was contracted to service a portion of the city’s camera network went unpaid for a year. In fact, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that between one-fifth and one-fourth of the city’s cameras were offline at the beginning of the year because of this.

Security integrators say many of these types of problems can be addressed well ahead of time by simply sitting down with clients and laying out everything upfront so that there aren’t any surprises down the road.

“We feel the most important part of developing a preventative maintenance agreement is to provide coverage on what’s important to our customer. Specifically, we address this subject almost from the start when we’re developing a relationship with a customer if we are asked to put a proposal together to upgrade or replace an access control system, IP video system or any of the products that we’re working with,” explained John Krumme, CPP, president of Cam-Dex Security Corp. “Preventative maintenance is always discussed in that initial call so that the customer knows how important it is to us as an integrator and that we’re developing a long-term relationship with that customer.”

Joseph Liguori, executive vice president of Access Control Technologies, Inc., said he believes that integrators also need to set the level of expectations in the beginning, as well as cover things that could become sticking points in the future.

“It’s very important to identify the internal processes – who is the contact, how do you get in touch with that person, is it cellphone or an office phone, what is the anticipated response time, where can the technician park, are ladders available on premises if necessary- so you don’t have any unexpected issues the first time you get a service call,” Liguori said.

Whether a customer is a government agency, an enterprise or a small-to-mid-sized business owner, Krumme believes it’s paramount for integrators to have the ability to provide adequate service to their clients regardless of their size.

“The most important thing is to ensure that, as an integrator, you have the capability to take care of that customer and their product – that you have access to all the product that would be covered under a service contract or a planned maintenance agreement and that you have trained and certified staff capable of servicing and responding to that customer’s needs once that contract is in place. That starts even during the warranty period, ensuring that you have loaner product in place so that if the piece of equipment can’t be repaired in the field that you’ve got loaner equipment as a backup to put into service for that customer,” Krumme said.

Liguori added that integrators need to cover in detail with their clients exactly what is and is not covered under the service and maintenance contract.

“Some customers have a tendency of anticipating that once they sign an agreement that everything is covered because it is a maintenance agreement. Typically, you get onsite and you discover that it is a disposable that is not covered or, in some instances, there are specialized items that are not provided by the integrator – they have an X-ray machine guarding the entrance that was supplied by others – so again, it is comprehensive understanding of what the coverage is versus what you’re providing,” he said.

f course, advances in technology have also aided the ability of integrators to provide an even greater level of service to customers than they could in the past. Things such as remote diagnostics give technicians access to a customer’s system without requiring them to be on-site, reducing truck rolls and saving time and money for both the integrator and the end user.

“By being able to remote-in to their software we can diagnose, troubleshoot and many times correct a problem extremely quickly; eliminating the downtime that that customer was suffering or if it was some kind of training issue, helping them understand what it is that we did or what box we checked to correct the problem,” added Krumme. “Often, those are self-inflicted issues where someone goes in and makes a change in the software that causes a problem for them and we can correct those very, very quickly.”

From an integrator’s perspective, when it comes to avoiding some of the common pitfalls associated with service and maintenance agreements, integrators say it is important to understand the language of the contract and what the customer’s objectives are.

“Asking questions to make sure that what we think is important or what we think the customer is interested in accomplishing through that service contract is indeed truly what the customer wants. It’s not about us as the integrator, it’s about that customer and making sure that we’re fully aware and on top of their needs,” Krumme said.

Although pitfalls can vary by client, Liguori believes that one of biggest traps integrators fall into, in general, is that of overselling.

“Understanding the complexities of the client’s operation and developing a level of service that best meets the requirements combining an understanding of the needs and coupling that with price considerations (is the best approach), because usually what a client is concerned about when they talk about maintenance is, ‘how much is this going to cost me?’ explained Liguori. “We try to stay away from the cost factor until we understand what is it that you have, what’s the age of the equipment and what’s the level of expectation with regard to keeping the system working? An example of a pitfall is 24/7 service, an all-inclusive service. We have a number of clients that think they need that level of service only to find a year later that it is seldom, if ever, utilized and the cost of it is exponential with respect to the coverage because we’re covering the system for three times the amount of hours.”

Performing preventative service and maintenance is not only important for end users that want to ensure the reliability of their systems, it can also be crucial for security integrators who want to preserve relationships with existing clients and win future business.

“Performing preventative maintenance to ensure that the equipment is fully operational, you’re attempting to diagnose potential problems before they occur,” said Krumme. “In the case of battery backup, you’re testing loads on batteries and you’re replacing batteries in advance of those batteries failing, for instance, that might be tied to an access control system. When it comes to electric door strikes and access control systems, physically checking those strikes for mechanical issues so that if something has become loose, the technician can correct that and eliminate that problem before it ever occurs. Once the problem occurs, then obviously it causes an issue for your customer, creating downtime and it’s a cost – not only to the customer but to the integrator to respond because it needs to be taken care of immediately.”

“Maintenance contracts cannot be reactive in that the integrator can’t wait for a call that something is wrong,” said Liguori. “It needs to be a proactive, ongoing evaluation of the system that encompasses preventive maintenance of the hardware, system site checks when a technician is on a call and this often helps to identify minor problems… that can be properly secured.”

The bottom line, according to Krumme, is that integrators need to be able to deliver on what they promise to their customers. “As simple as that sounds, that can be a problem for some from time-to-time,” said Krumme.

“Communication is the key and honesty is the virtue,” said Liguori. “You need to understand what the customer wants and expects and then you price your services accordingly. You need to be candid in explaining what things you think they need, what things will work and what things are necessary.”

Read the original article on Security Info Watch.

Walking The Line

Integrators share how they successfully blend old and new access control technologies and “walk the line” between the two during installations.
By Karyn Hodgson, SDM Contributing Writer – June 17, 2014

When it comes to security, the adage “leading edge not bleeding edge” is often cited. Integrators need to walk the line between the two, making sure to future-proof their end users, but without sacrificing performance and security.

A stroll around recent tradeshows revealed some of the hottest reader technologies today: wireless, NFC (or Bluetooth) and biometrics. The process of introducing these technologies to end users and implementing them in real-world projects are where many integrators find themselves today. And they are walking that leading/bleeding line carefully, finding the best fit for the new and blending with the old where possible.

“I consider the cost of the credentials and the security level of my customer,” says Gregory Cope, owner, AddTech Controls, South Jordan, Utah. “I am very in tune with putting in equipment that is going to be future proof. At the same time I don’t want to sell my customer a $300 reader when I can sell them a $125 reader that would be fine for their needs.”

Today’s customers are more savvy when it comes to technology and what they want, adds Michael Elkin, sales and marketing manager, Marcomm Systems Group Inc. (MSGI), Ottawa, Canada. “In 2014 you have to provide the customer exactly what they want regardless of how you do it. We are seeing customers who are more educated and actually have an idea of what they want.” SDM spoke with a variety of integrators, who shared their most recent or ongoing projects that feature the latest reader technologies.


When it comes to the newer reader technologies, wireless is definitely the success story. While it has been around for several years in stand-alone form, advancing to the point where it can be an online, fully integrated system has allowed it to really blossom.

“Wireless is opening up a market that integrators haven’t seen in the past, which is interior doors,” says David Alessandrini, vice president, Pasek Corp., Boston, Mass. “We always protect perimeter doors, but only do about 5 to 10 percent of the doors. Now that the other 80 or 90 percent is open to us, including IT closets, classrooms, etc. They are very easy to install as long as you have WiFi.” Wireless is very strong in the college and university market for dormitory doors, he adds. “It is an economical way to have a high concentration of access control readers on a lot of doors for a third of the cost of wired.”

While many integrators are using wireless as a complement to a wired system where they install a few wireless readers in difficult to reach areas, other integrators working in the wireless realm are starting to do bigger and bigger projects.

Alessandrini is working on a couple of large projects, including one university that is using 8,000 wireless locks.

Elkin was brought on board by his company specifically to sell wireless products. One market he is tapping successfully is condominium developers. “I am only pitching wireless solutions to my customers. When I am dealing with condo buildings they typically only secure perimeter doors with hardwired access. I am going in and pitching doing the entire building with wireless. It effectively turns a condo building into a hotel-style system, which is extremely attractive to them because it marries functionality with marketing. They can sell that.”

Elkin is currently working on the planned Brigil 460 building in Ottawa, Canada, a 13-story luxury condo getting ready to break ground. The project will employ 232 Salto wireless locks, using full integration with Genetec. “Builders are really excited about wireless because they don’t need to run conduit to a door,” he shares.

Cope uses wireless almost 70 percent of the time now. “I know there are integrators out there that don’t trust it, but I love it. The more doors I can do, the better for my bottom line. Every time I can use it and the customer feels comfortable with it, I do it.”

One such customer was the screen protector company, Zagg, who has corporate offices in Salt Lake City. “They are a technology company so they wanted to get in the swing of the 21st century,” Cope says. Even so, they took it one step at a time, first doing about five doors that were single door controllers using ZigBee chips from ProdataKey.

“Everything was close together and we probably could have wired it, but knowing their future expansion plans we tried to future-proof things,” Cope says. Sure enough after about 60 days the CEO loved having the credential so much he started expanding it to executive areas and customer service areas. Zagg now has 55 wireless doors. Another selling point to wireless locks is the ability to use them on non-traditional openings, a feature that helped Todd Jackson, access control division manager, Tull Brothers, Jackson, Miss., with a project at the Biloxi Public Works facility.

“We are in the process of completing a project for them using ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio locks. It was a new construction project and the owner was very interested in doing it wirelessly to keep his cabling down. They are in a hurricane-rated zone on the coast of Mississippi and realized after Katrina that putting their servers on higher floors was necessary to prevent future damage from water. After meeting with the owner, he was also excited to put in some of the cabinet locks. He liked the idea they could expand to non-traditional openings like data racks, file cabinets and cash drawers.”


Manufacturers, integrators and end users alike are excited by the prospect of being able to use the cell phone as the credential, implementing technology built into the phone either through NFC or Bluetooth.

“We are seeing the use of the cell phone as credential whether with NFC or increasingly Bluetooth,” Ladd says. He is working on a project for Chester County Emergency Services at their cell towers using Bluetooth card readers from EcKey.

“More and more manufacturers, particularly smaller ones, are coming out with technology to use their reader for Bluetooth,” he says. Larger manufacturers are getting on board, too .

The seeming reluctance on Apple’s part to add NFC to its phones is hindering that technology’s adoption into the market, but Bluetooth is universal in most if not all current devices.

“Bluetooth is a good technology for now,” Ladd says. “It is a little lower cost. In the long run it will be interesting to see how it goes.”

On the cell tower site, Ladd won that project because of the Bluetooth technology. “The site isn’t the easiest to get to and they had no network communications between the towers. With some of the other technologies, if they had to add or delete someone they would have to send a person out to each site to program it locally. There isn’t even a phone line. The way the Bluetooth works is the reader accepts any valid code that is programmed. They are doing it offline. All they have to do is get a phone, download the app, load in the individual number and it works on the reader it is associated to work with.”

Despite its lack of universality, many integrators do report interest in NFC.

“In today’s world where everyone has a cell phone in their pocket it is ‘gadgety’ to be able to go up to the door and use your phone,” Elkin says. “Our job is to manage expectations. But there is definitely a lot of interest in NFC.”

Matt Buydos, director of sales for identification solutions, Elliott Data Systems, Chesterfield, Mo., says the job of educating the end user about NFC is up to the dealer right now. One market he has had success with is emergency services, particularly those with volunteer or part-time staff.

“We did an ambulance district in a county just south of St. Louis. There have been five houses we have put access in over the past few years. They are innovators as far as technology. We approached them and demonstrated the NFC technology about six months ago. From a convenience standpoint, they have a lot of staff that have other jobs who can be called spontaneously and may not have their access card with them. But they always have their smartphone.” For them, NFC using Allegion’s AptiQmobile was a good fit.

Another logical fit for cell phones is the college and university market, with student populations who grew up on cell phones and are demanding to
do more with their smartphones.

“I personally think it will be the college student body that will really drive the smartphone opening the doors,” Jackson says. “That is where we are seeing the bulk of our access control right now. Dorms are putting in hundreds of locks at a time.” Adding the NFC or Bluetooth capability to that is a logical next step.

“I do believe NFC is going to be a big deal,” says Kevin Baker, founder and chief engineer for Entry-Master LLC, Baltimore. We are involved with a project for a world-renowned university and they are pushing for NFC. They already have an interface to a mobile app that will freeze and unfreeze the campus card if the student loses it. Now they want to get away from the card to use NFC to do all these transactions including getting into the dorm room, buying a coke, or whatever.

While biometrics are not “new” they always have been and still are considered cutting-edge technology. And what is new is a dramatic decrease in cost for certain types of readers, opening them up to greater potential as a widely used technology.

“They are still a specialty product,” Ladd says. “However, we are finding that because prices have dropped they are being seen more and more as a viable option.”

Retina and other ‘non-touch’ biometrics are especially popular in certain scenarios — either for perceived sanitary concerns or because they need to be hands-free.

David Chritton, president Microbiz Security Company, San Francisco is talking to a local apartment building about using facial recognition systems for its tenants. “The building has high-end tenants who park in the basement and own upper floors. They do not want to carry badges. They want to walk up to a security point carrying packages and not have to stop and set them down.”

Healthcare is another logical market for biometrics. “One healthcare project we won using retina scans,” Ladd says. “Doctors wanted to be able to get into clean rooms without having to touch the doors. They always have their eyes with them and all they have to do is look in the reader. The pricing of these readers has dropped so far that it is viable now for these situations. In the past you could spend $30,000 for a retina reader, but that is now in the $3,000-$4,000 range.”

Marc-Andre Dergeron, head project manager, MSGI, was involved in a large project at the new Coroner’s Complex in Toronto. Housing a courthouse, jail and full autopsy lab, the building wanted high-tech security. Dergeron fully integrated LG iris scanners into the security system to allow or deny entry to the building.

Fingerprint biometrics is another technology finding its place lately.

Jackson recently did a project for South Sunflower County Hospital using Bioscrypt from MorphoTrak fingerprint readers on the medical records and prescription drug areas. “We used RS2 as a means for the templates to be stored. There is an enrollment reader and we assign it to a card so when they walk up and present the card it activates the Bioscrypt reader.”

Texas A&M University is planning for a biometric project using fingerprint scanners, says Mark Ring, director of integration services, Xentry Systems Integration, Miamisburg, Ohio.

“Most of the people I talk to like the fingerprint readers. They are easier to maintain. We are working with the university to start migrating the campus over from just proximity to a mix of proximity, dual prox and biometrics.”

Following recent tragedies involving school shootings, Baker worked with Crystal City Children’s Center, a daycare in Crystal City, Va., to install a man-trap style portal with a MorphoTrak biometric to ensure the safety of parents and children. “We used one of their readers that has a keypad and fingerprint reader. Each parent is enrolled and has to use the fingerprint to get in.”

Whatever “cutting-edge” is these days, that is bound to change in the next year, or three or five. Some of these technologies are on the fast track and others more like a slow march. But they are all getting there. Opinions vary on “how,” though.

“I think the biggest thing that will enhance and grow all these types of technologies be it wireless or biometrics or phones is as manufacturers of access control systems are able to integrate the technology directly into their software,” Ladd says. “On the retina scans, for example, you have to use a separate Wiegand output database and software to enroll. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could do that all through the system?”

Those continuous upgrades will help integrators successfully walk the line between leading and bleeding edge technologies, providing the best systems for their customers.

State of the Market: Access Control

Cloud-based services, integration with the hot video market, IT- and legacy-friendly options and more are expected to give integrators reason to celebrate in the 2014 access control market.
By Heather Klotz-Young – April 24, 2014

Someone once suggested that to get an invitation to a party you really wanted to attend you should offer to contribute something to the party. If the video market’s predicted strong year in 2014 (Read “State of the Market: Video” on for reasons why) is the kind of “party” access control is hoping to attend, then the market has tapped into that principle, contributing a strong argument for security systems that integrate both video and access control. That integration is influencing the expectations for the access control market in 2014.

“A key development for the coming year will be the expansion of video and the ability to host video information and tie it to the access control solution,” says Chris Gilbert, president, Security Pros Inc., Jeffersonville, Ind., a Brivo dealer who expects his company’s access control division to grow approximately 60 percent this year after experiencing 45 percent growth in 2013. Across the industry, integrators reported a strong 2013 (see “Integrators’ Market Ratings Hit a High Note in 2013” on page 48) and they have even better expectations for 2014. See “Integrators Have High Expectations for Access Control in 2014,” to the left, where the percentage of integrators expecting a very good or excellent year rose to 36 percent, up 15 percentage points from last year.

Not only are access control projects expected to grow organically because of their integration with video, but cloud-based access control products and services, more IT-friendly systems, broadened IP offerings and high interest from end-users will be reasons to celebrate, according to the many industry professionals that SDM spoke with, including Jay Hunt, president of Allied Fire & Security, Spokane, Wash., a Honeywell First Alert dealer for 10 years.

Hunt, featured on this month’s cover, added managed access services last year, choosing to place the hardware on location utilizing an in-house IT department to maintain the servers. He developed his own business model and capitalized on manufacturer consultations when setting up the service.

Hunt, a 27-year veteran in the industry, has seen many changes come and go, but managed access and cloud-related services are like a “freight train” that integrators will need to reckon with, he predicts. Following the successful implementation, his company is now analyzing its sales practices.

“We have our offering in place, so this year the goal is to bring it to the end users. Without a strong sales effort, it will be like throwing a party without letting anyone know where it is and what it is. You can’t be surprised if no one comes when you take that approach,” he observes.

Allied Fire & Security is considering restructuring its sales program to specifically reward the sales of managed services. “We find that our traditional salespeople are accustomed to selling the server. Your compensation plan drives where you want the people to go,”

A good sign for cloud-based access sales? Small businesses, a key vertical market in 2014, show none of the “cloud reluctance” often seen in the security industry, according to Steve Van Till, president and CEO, Brivo Systems LLC, Bethesda, Md.

“They want solutions as easy to use as the technology they use at home, and we owe it to them to deliver it. Since small businesses make up a large portion of the overall business community, they will continue to motivate this push towards the cloud. From a consumer behavior perspective, many access control users are driven by the ‘pay-as-you-go’ model in their own lives as well as by applications at their workplace,” Van Till says. That same behavior will continue to fuel access control buying practices, he foresees.

In 2014, many integrators will work on modifying their sales approach from proprietary access control solutions to a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) model, including Access Control Technologies, Clifton, N.J.

“That modification in strategy will prove challenging to those who do not possess a managed services mentality until they come to the realization that this approach is entirely diverse from the conventional sales approach,” warns Joseph Liguori, executive vice president, Access Control Technologies.

Video & Access

Access Control Technologies anticipates moderate growth in its access control business in 2014 and “robust” growth in video that will come mostly from large existing customers who will be catching up from years of project suspension, Liguori reports.

Linking access to video is a major request from end users and a powerful driver for the industry. Everyone, from end users to integrators to manufacturers, is paying attention.

“Any technology that you can apply to allow a security system operator to have situational awareness that will make them more likely to make the right decision in how to respond has tremendous value. Video is one of those. Even smaller systems, 16 doors or less, have video somewhere. It’s quite a valuable change,” says Chris Sincock, vice president – Security Business, DAQ Electronics LLC, Piscataway, N.J.

“At DAQ we see that as a big driver and source of revenue going forward. We’ve added an optional video module for EntroWatch, our entry- and mid-level access control solution. Starwatch also has a number of video integrations happening,” Sincock details.

Another manufacturer, WatchNET Inc USA, Tonawanda, N.Y., has been in video for 14 years, but five years ago it went into development of its own access control offering that could seamlessly integrate with its video offering.

Integrated security management is what people are looking for today — and two key parts of that are video and access, reports Cory Whitfield, vice president of sales and marketing, WatchNET Inc USA, Tonawanda, N.Y.

“In the last couple years we have seen the demand for access control integration with our video surveillance products grow so dramatically we went from integrating with third-party access control to developing and launching our own separate division of WatchNET Access products,” he says. “As video surveillance has migrated to IP over the last several years so, too, has access control. With both video and access control now being on the same network protocol (TCP/IP) it is easier to integrate the two,” Whitfield says.

Ray Gilley, CFE, president and CEO, ISI Security, San Antonio, believes access control and video have overtaken intrusion as the major drivers in the market. “You need both — you need to be able to prevent something (through access control) and know what happened (through video),” he describes.

Today’s events (shootings, workplace violence, theft, terrorist threats) continue to force employers to either follow regulations or take a proactive approach to protecting their employees, facilities, and business.

“You can’t have a free-moving facility all the time. We have to put up rings of perimeters and make it harder for things to happen to facilities, especially critical infrastructure. The access control — fences, gates, access control in parking lots, access control in entranceways and within buildings — make it harder for something to happen. Then video shows you the information you need to know while something is happening or afterwards,” Gilley explains.

He predicts his company will grow a sold 12 to 15 percent this year. Before installing systems in everything from petrochemical and critical infrastructure locations, to medical, correctional, and transportation projects, ISI will build, program and test a system before ever setting foot on the customer’s property to implement it. “When our customers get to come and view the customization and sign off on the system, it creates a high level of trust,” Gilley says.

Integration Rules

Integrating access control with video (or any system an end user needs) creates actionable information that compels end users to commit and buy systems. This is just as true in the small and medium-sized (SMB) market as it is in the enterprise-level market. An added bonus? “As smaller, independent, businesses see the benefits and efficiencies they can achieve with integrated access control and security systems, the opportunities will grow for small to mid-sized dealers,” says Duane Paulson, Linear, senior vice president product and market development, Linear LLC, Carlsbad, Calif.

For example, Paulson cites a recent analyst report that states nursing homes/assisted living/daycare and churches/temples/worship centers appeared for the first time in the report analyzing the number of access control installations, representing 9 percent, and that number will only grow.

“The integration of video surveillance and access control will have greater penetration in the market this year, and there continues to be incredible growth opportunities for access control in the education market,” says Michael Flink, president, ADI Americas, Melville, N.Y. For more on the education vertical, turn to page 48. “The increased interest in protecting schools and universities in 2013 will expand to additional public venues as more awareness around security and an overall broader acceptance of access control solutions grows,” he says.

Wayne Jared, infinias, Indianapolis, president and CEO, observes a changing definition of “integration.”

“Not long ago, ‘integration’ referred to the ability to watch video in an access control solution — or the ability of an access control system to trigger alarm recording in a video system. Today, integration is being redefined to include a common management interface and approach. For example, in the corporate version of the infinias access control software, you are able to organize your zones into an unlimited depth hierarchy and grant users login abilities tied to any of those levels — limiting what they can see geographically. The ability of a system to share information between video and access control will have a much larger influence on market preference for security solutions in the very near future,” Jared explains.

RS2 Technologies LLC, Munster, Ind., reports a growing number of small- to mid-sized organizations are asking for more from their systems. What once were typically enterprise-level requests — database integration to human resources, student management, contractor management and other personal databases to accommodate single point of entry for cardholders into their access control systems — are now being sought out by smaller organizations who want information, shares David Barnard, director of dealer development for RS2 Technologies.

More complete and in-depth integrations are a definite trend because of a universal push towards information, says Mark Walters, chairman, Z-Wave Alliance, Milpitas, Calif., a consortium of global companies that oversees an interoperable ecosystem for wireless monitoring, control products, and services.

“When we first started doing Z-Wave access control, it really was about remotely controlling the lock. What we see happening in the last year and more in 2014 is the door lock functioning more as an input device. Rather than something you talk to and say lock or unlock, it is now used to trigger an entire scene. That action of opening the door lock is an intelligent occupant-detection mechanism,” Walters describes.

Whether commercial or residential, there is a growing anticipation that people can have access to information everywhere, whether through mobile access, a Web browser, and more,” confirms Marcus Logan, senior manager product marketing, Honeywell Security, Louisville, Ky.

“Integrating different systems together to drive value-added features like arming and disarming through card swipes, controlling energy management through activity based on occupancy, pulling up video associated with different events — and just making the system more meaningful — will have a powerful impact on sales,” Logan says.

End user education is happening very rapidly now and ramping up expectations for integration, advises Keith Brandon, director of sales and marketing for residential access solutions, Kwikset Corp., Lake Forest, Calif., which offers a Bluetooth-enabled lockset and a Home Connect product that interacts with other devices such as lighting and HVAC controls. “Dealers are walking in to a very different end user that is being educated on a national level — and others are converging into the market for the same space. Access control presents unique challenges as more dealers master connected door locks and control, status capabilities, and user code management, but while some dealers are not always prepared to offer those services, they should be because local, traditional security companies can win with their customer service and one-to-one relationships,” Brandon predicts.

The landscape has changed from being focused on alarm signals to more granular accountability tracking, which integration helps provide, mentions Mike Roth, president, National Technology Management Principal, Managed Technology Solutions by MA2 LLC, Southfield, Mich., a Brivo dealer. “Clients want to know who did what, not just that something happened. Integration of video with events and central monitoring by non-security personnel is powerful. Our clients have shifted from plant manager to HR director because the granular data and reporting [that] integrated systems provide gives a great picture of true employee performance. It’s the employees that cause problems for our clients as the intruders are locked out,” Roth says.

IT & Networking

“People are asking for many different things, but at a high level, many businesses haven’t invested in their access control systems in recent years, so we see customers paying significant attention to upgrading and conversions,” says Dan Schroeder, vice president of sales, North America, Tyco Integrated Security, Boca Raton, Fla. “Our partnership with world-class brands such as Software House and our newest addition, Lenel, will prove essential as we help propel our customers’ technologies into the future over the coming years. In addition, our customers are asking for help in planning for the longer term, so we are seeing requests for standardization of access control systems as well as solutions for identity management that integrate with their IT systems.”

Systems will need to be even more IT-friendly in 2014 — even small systems, expects Sincock. “It is really surprising in the small systems market how sophisticated the end users’ IT departments are. Integrators still have to meet all the requirements of the end users’ systems. One of DAQ’s dealers finished a 14-door job with 150 users, but they were looking for database back up and more sophisticated features,” he describes.

It spotlights the continuing evolution of the importance of IT relative to security. That evolution will speed up as open architecture and standards continue to be developed.

“The caveat to having great technology is that it becomes a hindrance when it’s not working in unison with other critical technologies. Access control platforms with an open architecture that allow the integration of outside brands and systems, even older ones, will emerge. The big idea in 2014 is that everything is coming together,” Paulson says.

Legacy Compatibility Is A Must

In 2014, integrators are challenged with modernizing customers’ security without having to completely replace older access control systems that have been in place for many years.

Biometrics is one “newer” technology that must wrestle with working on old systems. One provider, Zwipe, Oslo, Norway, which offers a wirelessly powered card that is based on a near field communication (NFC) platform, is exploring eliminating any external database containing sensitive information (the fingerprint data is only stored inside the Zwipe card) to open better legacy opportunities. “By placing the biometric reader on the smart card itself, we can use legacy smart card readers to read it. This provides an affordable way to use biometrics to authenticate the card holder without having to replace already-installed readers and equipment,” shares Kim Kristian Humborstad, CEO of Zwipe.

Biometrics is being requested more and more according to John Smith, senior channel marketing manager, Honeywell Security, Louisville, Ky.

“We have noticed an increase in requests for biometrics and an interest in near field communication,” says Chris Diguardi, president, Key-Rite Security, Denver, a Brivo dealer.

Biometrics for access control versus cards or PINs are on the rise, Smith believes. On the near horizon, he sees the ability to use a phone as credential rather than a card as gaining momentum in 2014. “Biometrics is acceptable for access to data. iPhones are driving greater market acceptance with the biometric thumbprint. Something previously reserved for spy movies is now being requested more frequently in the commercial space — from small business up to the enterprise level,” Smith says.

Whether it is biometrics, analytics, video or any other new technology end users are requesting, manufacturers are focused on providing products that allow usage with legacy systems. For example, Honeywell announced a drop-in board replacement for use with its Pro-Watch® Security Management System that allows integrators to easily migrate third-party legacy systems.

The Pro-Watch M-5 Conversion with the new Honeywell M-5 Intelligent Controller and Modules eliminates the need to replace hardware, wiring, input/output devices, cards, and card readers, according to the company. These field devices and accessory items remain in place while the new controller technology communicates with the Pro-Watch platform. Pro-Watch integrates intrusion, video and access control systems — including non-Honeywell systems — to bring end user control of all security systems under a single, common interface.

“It’s to the benefit of both users and system integrators that these new technologies are also capable of maintaining legacy support and providing enhancements to pre-existing systems,” says Robert Laughlin, president, Galaxy Control Systems, Walkersville, Md.

The new access control and security management technologies on the market today promise dramatic improvements in performance and efficiency, whether upgrading legacy systems or installing new ones. Add the potential of the cloud and the power of video integration, and you have a party with plenty of reasons to attend in 2014.

Read the original article at SDM Magazine.

A Snapshot of Sustainability in the Security Industry: 2014