Access Control Lines Gaining and Losing Ground

By Brian Rhodes, Published Dec 04, 2014, 12:00am EST

IPVM survey results of 100 integrators show which access control manufacturers are gaining and losing ground in 2014.

Integrators answered 2 questions:

"Added: This year, in 2014, what new product lines have you added? Why?"

"Dropped: This year, in 2014, what new product lines have you dropped? Why?"

They described what access product lines they are adding and dropping, including their reasons for their moves. We examine the results in this update.

Key Themes

Three distinct but common themes emerged for being the reason integrators dropped or added access lines:

  • Big Names Lost Ground: The strongest negative trend were integrators dropping incumbent brands due to poor service, stagnant product development

On the positive side, two big trends influenced which brands were added:

  • Hardware Agnostic: In many cases, integrators reported adding a Mercury Security or 3rd party controller based platform to gain flexibility in offering multiple management software without needing to replace existing hardware 
  • IP Based: Another common sentiment were integrators adding ethernet based and browser interfaced systems, often citing ease of installation and accessibility as a big reason.

'Slow' but seldom 'Stop'

For access, 'dropping' a line outright is less common that simply shifting focus to other brands. Unlike cameras, which tend to be a one-time purchase, access systems differ because they are expanded or maintained for many years - often decades. Several comments illustrated this:

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  • "No products have been permanently dropped, we never stop maintaining current systems."
  • "We have not dropped any access lines completely."
  • "We have made the decision to move [their] product to our secondary offerings."
  • "We don't drop lines, we just scale back on usage of products."

We detailed this in our Lifespan of Electronic Access Control Systems note, and even if dissatisfaction if high with a solution, many dealers resist moving away from it wholesale.

Big Losers: Big Names

While no one single incumbent brand was cited as being worse than others, 'big names' were cited as dropped more frequently than smaller ones, by a 3:1 margin or greater. The reasons varied, but most responses illustrate poor service, stagnant product development, or lack of support as key reasons:

  • "Lenel. We have a lot of Lenel/UTC Facility Commander large clients & this product is being talked about EOL & Lenel's customer NO service is horrible, which makes it very tough on us & our loyal customers."
  • "Less of the following: Lenel - Access and Video Amag - Access."
  • "We have slowed way down on Tyco. They act too big to care about us."
  • "For us, HID card readers are out."
  • "Cisco Access. We have decided to Not sell this product line anymore because Cisco is doing a horrible job of keeping up with today's standard technology & their customer service is terrible."
  • "Hirsch. Because it is an antiquated architecture and is only a "true" fit for the federal marketplace."
  • "S2 Access Control. The people were hard to work with, it matters to us."

Winners

Two themes emerged why certain brands were added.

Brand Agnosticism

The first group said they added 3rd Party hardware, or adopted other access platforms using that hardware to avoid locking in customers to a single platform should things go poorly:

  • "Open Options (Card access) We added this because we needed a solid Mercury based panel card access option & after a lot of research we felt that this was a much better option then Lenel On-guard & we have seen a lot of customer complaints on that system."
  • "The HID controller line lets us pick different platforms per customer needs."
  • "RS2 - Needed a line with Mercury Hardware."
  • "The Axis A1001 is a nice fit for Genetec or other systems if needed."
  • "Imron - largely hardware agnostic - works with approximately 75% of the existing hardware in the field."
  • "Axis Access Control Panel. Easy start-up and implementation. Later can be added in Genetec, Imron or Ccure"

IP Based

The second key was the appeal of IP based controllers and the availability or ready expandability of LANs in many sites. Several integrators noted that browser-based interfaces and management was a big reason for this, unlike traditional hardwired and client-based platforms:

  • "Isonas IP access control and Salto wireless lock line Reasons: flexibility, no need for a dedicated EAC server, less install labor, browser based administration."
  • "S2, wanted another high end browser-based access system. "
  • "Paxton Net2 for IP panels in an ethernet deployment."
  • "We have moved to AXIS IP panels and HID (R40) multiclass card readers."
  • "Infinias access control...we were looking for a truly pure IP solution to reduce cost and increase our ability to grant access wirelessly."
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