Manufacturer 1-on-1: Getting the Secret Out

Nov. 1, 2013
Q&A with Galaxy Control Systems president Robert Laughlin

Galaxy Control Systems has been around for nearly 40 years, but as one company official told me, they have been the “best kept secret in the industry” — which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. It turns out that recent changes at the company are aimed at getting the secret out.

I sat down with Galaxy president Robert Laughlin to discuss these changes to his company’s profile, as well as new products launched at the ASIS show. To request more information about the company, visit

How has Galaxy changed the way it brings products to market — and how will those changes benefit the dealers and integrators that you work with?

Satisfying the needs of customers with superior performance, support and cost-efficiency has been our first priority for over 30 years, and although we really haven’t changed the way we bring products to market, we have continued to refine and improve the process. One of the most significant contributors to our continued growth and success is the manner in which we communicate with and support our dealers. As far as we are aware, Galaxy Systems is the only access control manufacturer to offer free certification training to its reseller partners. These training sessions are conducted monthly at our headquarters in Walkersville, Md., and run for a full five days with a certification exercise conducted on the last day of the session. Attendance at these training events is typically very high and the program has been instrumental in helping us cultivate new relationships with resellers around the world.

With respect to our product offering, Galaxy access control and video surveillance solutions are designed to deliver the highest performance and functionality for today’s needs, tomorrow’s growth and scalability, and with legacy systems. This enables our customers, and users with competitive systems, to deploy the latest access and video surveillance control solutions without having to rip and replace all of their hardware. This approach to product development has proven to deliver the highest levels of cost-efficiency for our growing base of customers.

At ASIS, Galaxy announced a new access control interface — what are the product’s benefits for installers and integrators, especially when it comes to upgrading legacy systems?

The new 635 Dual Serial Interface (DSI) for our 635 Series Controller ( is engineered to improve third-party integration, enhancing user convenience and ensuring interoperability with a multitude of manufacturers’ current and legacy hardware. It’s another example of our commitment to provide technology solutions that deliver superior performance while protecting customers’ investments over time. By enabling customers to build on their legacy access control infrastructure with the latest technologies, it benefits both end-users and installing dealers.

Designed as a third-party integration solution for access control devices utilizing 485 protocol, the new 635 DSI board includes two 485 ports to support 485 devices in a single or multi-drop configuration. The board supports wireless reader technology, relay controls, LCD displays and Galaxy 485 Remote DPI modules. With added support for multi-drops, the board allows more power connections and enhancements to be added to legacy systems.

Is this part of a specific company strategy to address dealers/integrators who are servicing and upgrading the many legacy systems out there — not just Galaxy’s, but others as well?

By embracing the needs of the industry as a whole vs. just legacy Galaxy users, we continue to effectively expand our potential user base to include virtually all access control users. This makes the engineering challenge a bit more intense on our end, but our design team continues to meet the challenge with smart, cost-effective solutions.

In addition to the focus on legacy systems, what is Galaxy’s strategy when it comes to IP, mobile and other software-based technologies?

We are continually evaluating new technologies and developing new solutions in our engineering labs. Some of these materialize into products and software enhancements that we actually plug into our roadmap for future introductions, and others wind up getting shelved based on trends and feedback from the field. The migration to networked backbones and mobile solutions are both areas we continue to monitor and explore for future development. 

How large has Galaxy’s certified dealer network grown, and how do you go about recruiting new dealers?

We have been fortunate over the years in the sense that resellers actually seek us out. This holds true of both small installing dealers and large systems integrators. The reasons are twofold: we offer superior training and certification programs for free to qualified resellers, and our innovative solutions are consistently being specified into high profile jobs.

With the rise of IP-based and mobile technologies, will there come a time when physical access credentials and keys become a “thing of the past”?

I think that this is a feasible prediction as new technologies continue to develop and come to market at accelerated rates, but I don’t foresee this happening in the near future until better encryption technologies are developed that ensure better identity management. There is a delicate balance that needs to be achieved relative to physical access credentials and identity management that are still too vulnerable for exclusive IP and mobile driven solutions.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at