IPVMU Certified | 03/25/15 09:40pm
If you will clarify the question you're asking, I'll take a run at answering it.
"Is this just open spin or are they really different?"
Are you asking from a technology or a business relationship/OEM prerogative?
"Open" doesn't always neccessarily mean that the product can be 100% replaced by another product.
Mercury is a hardware company in the access control market. In the context of that, they mean that the user has the flexibility to choose from multiple software products that support their hardware. You can deploy Mercury hardware, and if a better or different access control software platform comes along in the future you could use that software (provided that it supported Mercury).
If an access control software company says they are "Open", they would mean that their software works with multiple hardware platforms and that you did not have to buy specific hardware to go with the software.
There are some access control platforms that allow you to use multiple hardware brands on the same system (eg: Mercury and HID), which essentially makes the Mercury component swappable by virtue of the software giving you other options. It might not be a perfect one-for-one controller swap if you're using additional I/O points or stuff like that, but you would be able change hardware vendors.
Mercury has really changed the way access control is sold. There are many positives to their business model but there are potential limitations to a single source for hardware. For example; The situations when a customer requests a specific feature or function that requires a change to how the hardware operates. Can a single source manufacturer make these changes without effecting their other customers? Can they make the change in a timely manner? I don’t sell Mercury so I do not know the answer.
Companies that manufacture their own hardware can quickly accommodate these changes. Is this proprietary? Absolutely, just like buying a car. You choose the vehicle that best meets your needs. It is ridiculous to think that there is any one solution that is best. \
What Mercury has done is open up the access control world to some very good software companies. Many of these companies do not have the resources or talent to manufacture their own hardware and for many people that works.
To me the companies that set themselves apart are those that go the extra mile to support their customers. You cannot always accomplish that by being a "me too" company. In essence everything you sell is proprietary in some way it is just a matter of perspective. To me customer service is the key. If your customer is happy whether or not your hardware is proprietary will not matter.
I agree with Uc. As a designer, specifier and consultant, i like the Mercury business model. Although i believe it is somewhat proprietary, as has been noted, multiple AC manufacturer's support the Mercury panels.... unlike Software House, AMAG and Cardkey (Now Johnson Controls, Inc). It is noteworthy that JCI's P2000 system now supports the Mercury boards as well as the P2000 line of panels (Kudos for JCI!)
I believe the biggest reason an owner changes systems is because the he is dissatisfied with the integrator. If the integrator has a sales relationship with the Manufacturer of a proprietary system-- particularly if that relationship is exclusively regionalized-- the owner has to replace everything if he wants the integrator off the job. Another issue occurs when the integrator's relationship with the manufacture dissolves and he (the integrator) can no longer support the system installed. The owner may try to seek out a new integrator, but if the integrator is good, the owner’s loyalty lies with the integrator—not the system manufacture (in fact, most owners have no idea who built their system). Again, a rip and replace.
Until there is a better mousetrap, my vote is for Mercury, Axis and HID. Maybe this is the first step in truly an “open” architecture (whatever that is); but for now, its all we have, and it is now the only solution I will specify.