What's your flavor?

Managed services offer variety and flexibility

John A. Smith, senior marketing manager for Honeywell Access Systems in Oak Creek, Wis., said that technically all managed services are hosted. "We look at it as being comprised of three different levels:

Dealer does 100 percent of data and info; Second is shared; dealer does heavy lifting; end-users have some sort of access; Third is wholly customer-managed. Dealer is incurring the costs at the head end."

The typical installation? "It's all over the board and every dealer should decide or help the customer decide what's best for them," Smith said.

The ability to retrofit legacy systems and remotely manage the premises also makes managed services an attractive revenue stream for resellers.

According to Barry E. Walker, chief executive officer of CelAccess(tm) Systems Inc., Dallas, the company offers hardware devices and a software as a service program that controls remote gates and doors using the cellular network for data transport.

"We allow you to control the uncontrollable, for example something that you had padlocks on before. Cellular offers a solution that is available in a lot of locations. Anytime there is access control that requires managing, we provide a reliable and cost-effective alternative."
CelAccess offers three RMR share program participation levels to PSA Security and Integrator Support affiliates, depending on the integrator's preferred billing method and whether or not they want to private label the Automated Control Center (ACC), the Web-based software program. The CelAccess Systems solutions are comprised of two basic components: the cellular device that connects to any gate, door or lock and the ACC accessed by users via the Internet or any phone.

"The system is a unique combination of cellular plus Internet functionality," Walker said. "It's also perfect for implementation in remote locations, or locations where a customer wants to put access control on the remote perimeter of the premises but they don't want to trench to secure entry points."

The world of legacy access control and intrusion detection is also driving integration through managed services. According to Paul Pishal, vice president of Marketing for Lantronix, Irvine, Calif., the company's secure device services are communications protocol agnostic.

"We are providing the connection to devices through the Internet or corporate networks," Pishal continued. "We can touch more things that are part of the security industry because we are networking-enabling more than we ever could before."

Lantronix developed its ManageLinx(r) application platform to specifically address the needs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and managed service providers (MSPs) who wanted to create, expand or improve remote product service business offerings. Using Lantronix' Virtual Device Network (VDN) technology, ManageLinx enables users to create Virtual IP (VIP) connections between two points on the Internet without new network configurations or application software.

"This allows managed services on the network to go deeper into the security, such as panels and even devices hardwired and wireless," explained Pishal.

"When products are integrated, you can go back and do forensics like never before, with the ability to search and do time-stamping. Data can also be tied into the human resources system, for example. The more information the better if you can access it," he added.

Managed services are part of a new shift in the way resellers do business. Harnessed and properly implemented, they represent future profitability for all.

By Paul Smith

Systems integrators have long searched for a feasible way of incorporating recurring revenue into their business models-both to build a steady revenue stream for cash flow as well as to make their organizations more appealing to potential investors and buyers. Today, technology is enabling the addition of services that provide benefits to dealers and integrators and their customers by harnessing the capabilities of the Internet for hosted services-accessing the benefits of using a particular system without the headaches that can sometimes accompany system ownership and management.

Some manufacturers are beginning to offer integrators the platforms to provide hosted, managed video management system services to their customers. A hosted, managed video surveillance solution provides a network video management system, configured centrally by the integrator and hosted at an off-site location, that allows end-users to retain complete control and secure access to their video data.