It’s hard to get integrators to jump on the bandwagon for just any technology. They’re a smart lot and want to know exactly what the benefits will be to the end-user because that’s how they sell it. In access control, IP technology is something they can’t seem to curb their enthusiasm over.
Access control systems (ACS) that reside on the network with an appliance or server, or those which are hosted or Software as a Service (SaaS), provide tangible savings in deployment and total cost of ownership (TCO). For the user, there’s the familiarity of the Internet to access and manage the facility, from anywhere the network is present or accessible. For the integrator, Web-based access control brings additional recurring revenue from maintenance, service and technical and managed services support.
When you put access control on the network, you open a world of possibilities, according to John Moss, chief executive officer of S2 Security Corp., Framingham, Mass. “There’s a huge savings in TCO, especially in an enterprise application, when you can eliminate wires and also, use Web-browser-based software. You can manage any asset from anywhere the network is available. Once you’re on the network, you can use power over Ethernet to operate electric strikes and more. One thing we know is that the end-user is driving the IP access control market and smart integrators find it quite cost effective to install,” he said. S2’s NetBox is an integrated physical security management system which uses network appliance architecture. The system provides credential-based access control, event and alarm monitoring, video surveillance, analog temperature monitoring and VoIP communications. Control is through a network appliance that delivers a user interface using only a traditional Web browser.
“The system operates like a common Web site, so users adapt to its sophisticated features with minimal training,” Moss said.
There’s more to this story. The migration to IP continues to play a huge role in the evolution of security dealer to systems integrator and now, value-added reseller.
Tim Feury, president of Altec Systems Inc. in Marietta, Ga., has been offering Web-based access control for several years, with positive results.
“I look at it as a great way to garner additional RMR,” he said. “I can bundle software, support and upgrades in a monthly charge.” The end-user, he said, is familiar with these monthly fees and generally welcomes them so as not to burden the IT staff. Altec Systems uses several products, including Connect ONE™ from Connected™ Technologies, a Web-Hosted Security and Energy Management System which can interface with DMP panels, and the suite of SaaS and server-based products available from Brivo Systems LLC. With the DMP backbone, he not only bundles browser-based access control but energy management with an IP thermostat control that his customers “just love because it offers big savings on HVAC costs,” Feury said.
As far as which variety of Web-based access control is best, he said it depends on the customer. “With hosted services, you don’t need VPN access and that makes it flexible to manage. On some applications based on servers at the network, the VPN must be used and it may not be readily accessible.”
Connected Technologies, Crystal Lake, Ill., and their Connect ONE product is the brainchild of a father-son company that believes strongly its 35 years in security—and now integration—gave it the right insights to create the perfect software for the end-user. Mike Simon, who is the marketing director of the company, has 35 years in the trenches and operates Stand Guard Inc. in Crystal Lake. He and his son, Dan Simon, technical director, started Connected Technologies over one year ago and wrote the new software-based hosted server solution that allows the integrator to manage the system for the end-user.