In today’s selling environment, a successful integrator must go beyond the original customer request when creating and specifying an access control system to ensure a proposal stands out against the competition. Going “above and beyond” isn’t about the “bells and whistles” — but instead about solid return on investment.
In many companies, the decision to implement, upgrade or extend electronic access control will be driven by solutions that deliver a reliable return on investment, so including an ROI metric in your proposal could very well mean the difference between receiving and losing the order.
The good news is this is easier than you think. There are many elements that can generate ROI. Designing an open platform system is a good first step to showing ROI. This provides the end-user with many options now and in the future, rather than locking them into proprietary technology that forces them into a specific product or brand — and another significant investment if they want to upgrade over time. Wireless solutions often enable end-users to expand the number of openings that can be secured within the same cost parameters as a wired solution because eliminating the need to run wires to each opening dramatically reduces labor costs.
Open Platforms: Making it Easy to be Smarter
Open architecture platforms provide flexible, adaptable and scalable solutions that maximize ROI. For starters, open platform hardware works with popular industry-leading access control systems to provide the broadest set of features and capabilities. Besides access control, open architecture can extend the solution to support various applications such as biometric templates and cashless payments, secure printing and more —enabling the end-user to leverage the investment for better productivity.
Locking systems that combine the electrified lock, reader, door position and REX switches together into one device are another effective means to leverage an end-user’s overall investment. Combined locking systems simplify installation as well as the connection to the access control panel.
Many open platform readers also work with a variety of credential technologies, including PINs, proximity or smart cards, and mobile credentials. If you recommend a combined lock/reader that is modular, then making future upgrades from one credential to another or from a wireless to a network system will simply be a matter of replacing components. This provides another way to pre-engineer and minimize future expenditures.
The Soon-To-Be Credential of Choice
Smart cards are quickly becoming the credential of choice. If your customer currently uses magnetic stripe or proximity cards, upgrading them to a smart credential — at approximately the same price as a proximity card — provides a higher level of security.
Smart credentials are more secure because of advanced data encryption that makes duplication nearly impossible. They can be used to not only access physical locations but also an organization’s computer networks and logical access control system, making them convenient for payments at the cafeteria or vending machines. Companies can gain efficiencies through consolidated platforms that allow credentials to do double and triple duty, making them more important and less likely to misplace, and reducing the requirement for maintenance.
As Near Field Communications (NFC) technology comes of age and becomes resident on smartphones, more end-users will be able to leverage the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, having their users deploy their own smartphones as their credentials for access control, payment and more. It is reported that more than 285 million NFC-enabled smartphones were sold in 2013 and more than half the phones sold in 2015 will be NFC-capable.