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.