6 Reasons to Deep-Six Wires
3.7.19- SSI – Brad Aikin
Depending on the application, a wireless option may be the best access control solution. Discover the value wireless can add for both security integrators and their customers.
THE PACE AT WHICH technology is changing means new products are constantly entering the market. It’s up to security integrators to stay ahead of the evolving technological landscape. As you know, clients depend on you to choose the best solutions that will not only meet today’s needs but tomorrow’s as well.
Wireless access control is not new, but the breadth of options has expanded. And those who’ve adopted the technology — both end users and integrators — have experienced its benefits. Wireless electronic access control enhances the user experience for customers. And as more adopt wireless, businesses like yours reap
the benefits of more connected openings.
Unfortunately, some customers are being underserved by security integrators that aren’t comfortable navigating the selection and deployment of wireless access control technologies. Since your greatest opportunities are serving the needs of your end users and anticipating the needs they may have in the future, consider how weaving wireless into your approach could further those relationships. To be successful, it’s essential to first understand the value wireless electronic access control offers them.
Wireless solutions do much more to offer value beyond security. Of course, upgrading a mechanical door to electronic access control enhances security. It provides greater control over the opening by offering end users access to audit trails, reports and alerts. Using electronic credentials allows users to manage access rights immediately, which is more secure than using mechanical keys. That said, there’s additional value in the flexibility, convenience and operational efficiency of wireless solutions.
Wireless Access Key to Keyless Efficiency
One of the best use scenarios for selling the return on investment (ROI) value of a wireless access control solution is streamlining or adding efficiencies to operations. A language center in New York that was experiencing an issue with high key turnover serves as a case in point. The facility operates similar to a university, with students staying in residence halls on campus. But it lacks the routine schedule of a traditional school. Depending on their chosen courses, students may only be with the school for a few weeks at a time. Having students arrive and depart on a weekly basis made it difficult to recoup all of the mechanical keys. The school was turning over more than 100 keys a week, which was a cost burden and headache for the staff. To overcome these challenges, the campus upgraded its mechanical doors in the residence halls to wireless locks with electronic credentials and adopted a one-card solution across campus. The school reported that the transition significantly improved efficiency and security.
1. Flexible Control
The economy is good and businesses are growing. Companies are moving into new buildings, while others are revisiting how to best utilize their existing offices. As the sharing economy becomes mainstream, a growing number of facilities are rethinking how and when their space is used.
Security systems play a major role in facilitating all of these efforts, particularly when dealing with a constantly changing office floor plan.
If the existing security system is not able to be reconfigured easily and effectively, a company may not be able to adapt without costly modifications to their security solutions. Wireless solutions allow for greater flexibility in how a space is used.
Because they are less invasive, they can be easily introduced on new openings compared to hardwired options.
Versatility also enables end users to upgrade their systems over time. Many choose to introduce wireless at a small scale, then upgrade more doors down the road. Consider helping customers start this transition from mechanical to electronic with a trial program, which introduces the benefits of electronic access control with low risk and minimal investment.
2. Operational Efficiencies
End users might feel comfortable with the current security of their facility, but it’s likely that they’re looking for help reducing costs to manage their environments. They might not realize access control is an opportunity to improve these costs and create more capacity within their resources.
Wireless gives end users a means of expanding the adoption of electronic access control within their facility as an economical option in comparison to traditional wired solutions. More connected devices present the ability to automate administrative and service processes, allowing them to get more done in less time. One of the most common areas of productivity is related to key management.
Time and costs associated with mechanical key turnover are greatly reduced, improving operational efficiency. With mechanical locks, the creation of keys can be time consuming and once a key is lost, there’s no control over who can gain access. To overcome security threats, rekeying must take place. But with electronic credentials, rights can be deactivated immediately and new credentials issued in seconds.
3. Convenient Security
Electronic access control is similar to the automotive evolution. For those with keyless ignition systems in their cars, the concept of needing to locate a key and present it mechanically in the vehicle to start the engine seems outdated. It may seem minimal to someone who has not yet experienced any different behavior, but once a person has this experience, few prefer to accept anything less going forward. It’s the same as someone handing out a mechanical key. It already feels outdated in many commercial buildings because we have come to expect the convenience of the electronic key.
When electronic access control is implemented throughout a facility, a single credential can provide a frictionless experience while users move from one space to the next with ease. This experience is attractive to the tenants and others who have come to expect convenience where they live, learn and work. Wireless solutions help make this possible.
This is increasingly relevant in multifamily properties, particularly those targeting Millennials. Many have grown up with technology and used electronic credentials to access their neighborhood recreation centers, college residence halls and academic buildings. As they make choices on where to live and work, why would they want to receive a mechanical key for access when it’s much more convenient to use an electronic card or phone?
Assisted living facilities have also benefitted from adopting wireless solutions throughout the property, including resident doors. Access control is more convenient for their elderly residents. It’s easier to track as well as ergonomically use as it eliminates the need for them to twist the key, which can be hard or painful for some residents.
While electronic access control can do more than grant access to a space it’s still expected to do its primary purpose — provide security. If that isn’t there, the additional benefits won’t matter. So it’s important to be aware of these types of solutions that enable your business to deliver convenience and efficiency without compromising security.
4. Business Impact
Organic growth with existing customers is earned through your connection with their needs. Inherently, the more you learn about your customers’ buildings and overall operational needs, the better provider you’re going to be to them. If you are only serving the perimeter, you’re limiting your visibility.
Wireless technologies present opportunities for more conversations to occur. As a business leader, you want to understand how your end user manages the facility beyond the main door. By using wireless to learn more about the customer’s access control needs, you might find that the user also has unmet needs for video, telecom, IT and more.
Dialogue with customers around their resource management and mechanical key control processes fosters the conversation early. Don’t wait to react to growth demands from your customers; you need to be proactive.
5. Sustaining Hardware
Of course, for your business, each connected opening is a living, dynamic access point in the ecosystem that requires sustaining management. Your company delivers value in supporting and growing these environments. So you should embrace the fact that firmware changes and cybersecurity are constantly evolving. It’s
not just updating IT routers and servers. You’ve got to be thinking about how to sustain the IT door hardware as well.
The idea that these connected openings are constantly living nodes on the network could be daunting to the end users at first. In the past they had mechanical hardware, and now they’ve added 10 electronic locks with service contracts. But this is a positive to them as well.
They’re getting information about what’s going on at that point of access that enables them to make more informed decisions on how their assets are deployed and managed. Information from those nodes provides the company with the “who, what, when and where” that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
6. Future Growth
Wireless is going to aid the growth of overall access control. It allows us to expose customers to new experiences, and to connect openings we couldn’t have justified to wire before. Hopefully, wireless is used as a conversation starter to grow applications. As adoption progresses, those in the security industry need to be comfortable capturing customer insights to articulate which applications should be wireless. It’s up to you to be that strong resource to your customers. The industry has seen for years that access control is an ecosystem that has continuous growth. Consider how to best anticipate customers’ needs and recommend products that are easy to adopt. Solutions that can be deployed in an economical and prompt manner will open the door to future opportunities. The goal is to get in the door and continue to deliver value in new ways to your customers. SSI
Offer a Trial Run They Can’t Refuse
Proactively showing customers ways to experience new value is a great opportunity to enhance your engagement. Wireless access control is terrific in the fact that it allows dealers to give end users a trial experience in an economical way. It’s noninvasive so there’s no need to compromise the door or make a huge financial investment. A trial, or try-me program, shows the user how simple it is to adopt. Then once they begin using that opening, they experience the convenience and efficiency. Putting a wireless lock on a storage closet, or another noninvasive area, could be a good place to start. It is a secure way to control access to that opening and it introduces the customer to the convenience of access control. There’s no need to worry about a mechanical key being passed around. Instead everything is controlled through electronic credentials. If the goal is to introduce the users to convenience, the lock can even initially be implemented as an offline electronic lock. Consider manually loading existing credentials into the device so the building occupants experience the simplicity of accessing the door with one key that’s electronic versus mechanical. If you want to show the customer how the lock improves operational efficiencies, it might be beneficial to connect the lock to the facility’s physical access control system. This can help with key management, especially in facilities that need greater control due to high turnover. It’s also beneficial on more secure rooms, like executive meeting rooms. Before, the end user’s mechanical door was basically stagnant. They missed out on all of the value electronic access control offers. Now that opening is part of a connected ecosystem. After the users have had time to interact with the opening, they enjoy the new experience and hopefully realize the benefits could be extended to a greater number of doors.
BRAD AIKIN is Channel Business Leader, Integrators, for Allegion.