Leaders In Access Control

An Exlusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Susan Brady: With all the features offered in access control systems, one growing trend among dealer integrators is customizing a system for each client's needs. How would you suggest that dealer integrators approach a system design to make sure they are addressing all the client's access control needs?

Steven Van Till, President and COO, Brivo Systems: All system design begins with user requirements. There are many methods for collecting such requirements—from classic, top-down systems engineering approaches to the more modern, iterative techniques practiced by adherents of the ‘agile' development movement. All of them work to varying degrees. For the integrator, the two most important things to focus on are the understanding that end user requirements are constantly evolving. Select a design method that fits your own and the client's corporate culture.

In terms of specific technologies, the integrator should select vendors who provide the types of platforms that readily lend themselves to customization and adaptation. Web-based technologies come immediately to mind, because these vendors can update code on their servers and provide new features to their integrators' customers without the need to release a new product or install new software at customers' sites. Such a level of flexibility meets the real world demand to adapt to continually changing end user requirements.

Vineet Nargolwala , Director, Strategic Marketing, Honeywell Access Systems: I t begins with the dealer integrator understanding the problem that the customer is trying to solve. Different customers have different needs, particularly across different vertical markets. So for example, a customer in the pharma industry may want his system to comply with 21CFR part 11 while a financial customer may want his system to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

Another customer might be motivated by preserving an installed base of legacy systems. Once you understand the problem, the system requirements can be bounded according to the customer needs and you can start to design the solution. Solutions in turn may require integration to new hardware or existing video solutions (DVR, NVR, etc.) or a brand new development effort—such as an auditing or tracking tool. Or you may be required to go beyond the traditional security solution and integrate to an HR system. The bottom line is that all of the pieces fall into place better when you start with understanding your customer's needs.

Leon Chlimper, Vice President Systems, Bosch Security Systems, Inc.: The process for designing an access control system does not differ from the process for any other type of system and it begins with the sales process. From a conceptual standpoint it is in the sales process that you begin to capture the information that is required for a good system design. Though there are a variety of reasons an end user requests a quote or system design there is one single underlying reason and that is “they are looking for a solution to something.”

You can not effectively design a system if you do not understand what this reason is. There are many cases where the customer does not know how to provide the information, It is up to you to ask the right questions to capture the true needs of the organization requesting the quote.

Access control systems have grown; they are no longer used to keep people out. In today's integrated world they do much more. These added capabilities carry a cost associated with them—explain the true power of the system. When designing a system, look at: business continuity, integration to subsystems and more important integration to business systems (like HR programs) as today's systems are extremely efficient in gathering information. When you understand the needs and evaluate the options, you begin a complete design of a system.

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