Opportunities within reach

Access control for small businesses means big benefits

Attention systems integrators. You may be missing significant sales opportunities: access control for small businesses.
For the most part, access control systems and small businesses have long been considered mutually exclusive. Traditional access control systems are not a "one-size-fits-all" solution. They tend to offer more than what many smaller customers need-particularly those with three or fewer doors to protect-and they're often too expensive. Consequently, many dealers sell little to no entry level access control, leaving a market largely untapped and missing a chance to expand their business.

Web-based access control is changing this perception and has emerged as a viable way to serve a new market. For dealers-including intrusion dealers selling little access control-it answers the call for single-door applications. It also empowers dealers to cost-effectively expand into the small- to mid-sized market and position themselves to grow with their customers.

Web-based systems provide the standard access control capabilities-including securing doors and managing access remotely. However, by leveraging the Internet, users manage the system without a dedicated PC and avoid expenses associated with servers and software licenses. And, Web-based systems can scale up with the customer for future growth.

To pursue these new access control opportunities, dealers should consider the following:

- Protect one door at a time. Think of protecting and adding one door at a time and opt for scalable architecture, like a modular design enabled by the Web, which makes adding doors easy and affordable. Also critical: USB connectivity for easy setup diagnostics and local configuration.

- Choose cost-effective technology that's easy to install and use. The system should be quick and easy to get up and running. Necessary features for this include simple hardware installation (e.g. captive mounting hardware and/or terminal blocks) and power over Ethernet. The PoE feature allows the system to leverage existing infrastructure and wiring. And, dealers will only need one wire to the panel that provides power for the strike, reader and input devices.

- Provide simple and flexible technology options. For single-door applications, the system should also have a small enclosure footprint. A plastic enclosure can be smaller and more compact than the traditional metal options and plastic enclosures offer an alternative due to their smaller size. They're simpler than traditional options and can be mounted in more convenient places-like right at the very door they're securing. Also, the system should be flexible for the user. Web-based configuration, including a browser interface, makes using the system easy by letting customers tailor it to meet their needs.

- Plan for growth. A Web-based system is an ideal entry-level access control solution, but it's also scalable and flexible enough to grow with a customer's business and easily accommodates the addition of more doors. Systems should have add-on boards that mount directly on top of a control panel via a board-to-board connector. They don't require extra wires or cables to connect. If a customer wants to add a door, it won't entail re-wiring the system and changing out the enclosure-it simply means adding on to what the customer already has in place.

Rick Anderson is product manager for Honeywell Access Systems.