These days, nearly everyone knows about “the cloud.” Most people think of it as a convenient place for storing digital music or a free email service. Businesses have been using cloud-based services for years to reduce operational costs and streamline processes.
While hosting a security system in the cloud is a relatively new concept, the trend is growing. Security offerings, like hosted access control, provide convenience and cost savings to the end-user, and an opportunity for dealers to secure new business and recurring revenue.
The expectation for a connected lifestyle has put pressure on the security industry to offer solutions that enable instant access to information and remove complexity — without sacrificing security. Dealers who understand the benefits of hosted solutions are best equipped to provide customers with complete connectivity and the ease-of-use they desire.
Mobility, Instant Notification and Cost Savings
The main end-user benefit of a hosted system is the ability to access information from anywhere. Many systems include downloadable apps with a simple log-in that offers complete system control. The dealer can also notify a customer if the system goes offline or if an incident occurs. Remote access helps end-users rest easy knowing if a security event happens — such as a door being held or forced open — they can quickly access the information necessary to determine the threat and take action.
Most hosted services do not require a steep investment in infrastructure and support. Manufacturers host the services that dealers and users access over the web. Installation is easier because there is no software to install and dealers no longer have to face system or OS compatibility issues. Control panel hardware is easy to set-up because most connect automatically to the cloud with minimal configuration.
An ongoing goal for manufacturers is to develop hosted technologies that enable a system to scale a number of doors and extend to multiple locations without driving up cost. Additionally, many hosted access systems that stretch across locations can be managed from one interface using a single login. This feature appeals to smaller companies that need to secure several doors, or franchises with more than one store or location.
The cloud eliminates the need for setting up disparate systems and brings control over all access points to one system — saving the end-user time and money.
Connecting Business to Lifestyle
By adding technologies that promote a connected lifestyle to their portfolio, security dealers can also benefit. The cloud provides an opportunity for dealers to win new business and revenue streams; however, they should ensure they are positioning hosted technologies in a way that relates to how users engage with personal devices to ensure that the system’s features and benefits resonate. Here are three tips that can serve as the foundation to putting together a sales pitch on hosted access control systems.
1. End-users will embrace technology that removes complexity. Dealers must tout the features of a hosted system that achieve simplicity for customers. Every consumer understands remote access because this capability is already deeply rooted in their interaction with smartphones, tablets and other devices. This should be the number-one customer benefit highlighted in a sales pitch.
2. End-users expect technology to improve their lifestyle. This expectation is no longer just limited to technology at home — hosted security systems deliver the same convenience at work. Thanks to instant access to information, automatic software updates and instant alerts when potential incidents occur, customers will feel in-control of their system.
3. Hosted systems can save end-users money. Consumers expect all of the bells and whistles, without breaking the bank. The technology available via the cloud is helping make hosted systems ideal for protecting the bottom line. These systems can be managed in-house and are simple and affordable to install, making the cost savings aspect an important selling point for smaller institutions with a limited security budget.
By keeping these tips in mind, dealers can be successful with every pitch. As always, it is important to understand a customer’s individual need when recommending any system or solution. Hosted systems that provide convenience, cost savings and quality security are a great option for delivering a connected lifestyle to a new customer, replacing a legacy system and to continue building relationships with existing customers.
Case in Point
Given the simplicity that the cloud introduces to security, it is important that dealers understand which end-users will benefit from a hosted system. Customers without dedicated IT staff are ideal because a hosted system allows them to focus on running their business, not managing security.
As an example, St. Eugene’s, a private school in Wisconsin, recently benefited by implementing a hosted access control system. The facility, which is home to an elementary school, a Catholic parish and funeral home, was tasked with increasing student safety and focused on securing entry points as a first step. With help from a local dealer, Munger Technical, the school installed a Honeywell system at several doors that also serve as shared entry points for other facilities and staff.
St. Eugene’s administrators have the ability to control the system remotely and opted to limit access to the school section of the building. Key cards were issued to authorized staff and parents. Parents only have access to the school during drop-off and pick-up times, Monday through Friday. If there is a special event, administrators can manually override door schedules to open up access to the public.
School administrators can quickly access the system via web-based interface to monitor system health and change settings. This includes issuing key cards or deactivating individual cards, when necessary. This is one example of an affordable hosted application that is easily installed and effectively controlled by the end-user. The school has increased student safety, and is saving money by managing the system without expensive dedicated PCs or software. The cloud-based technology is flexible so the school can extend the system to include more doors in the future.
John Smith is Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Honeywell Security. To request more info about Honeywell, please visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10213896.