Smart Integrators Should Lead With Access Control

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 10, 2015

3 years ago, we asked "Should Smart Integrators Lead with Access Control?" pointing out some of the relative strengths of access control and emerging challenges of the video surveillance business.

Now, we more firmly make the case that smart integrators should lead with access control, looking at the relative trends and the advantages that access control provides going into 2016.

Advantages Access Control

Access control has proven impervious to the DIY / trunk slammer trend and has held its pricing. Moreover, access control innovation level is now close to, if not better than video's, with wireless locks, hosted access and mobile credentials all on the upswing.

  • Wireless: The biggest advantage in wireless locks is that access control is expanding to more doors. The cost of running network cabling to doors and installing discrete hardware components has traditionally limited budgets to controlling perimeter openings, but reducing the cost by using wireless or even wifi locks has freed up project budgets and scopes to include more openings. Indeed, the segment shows up as a strong growth area in a recent survey, and we expect the trend to continue as new wireless products (ie: Schlage's NDE) are released.
  • Hosted Systems: Unlike video surveillance hosting that requires high performing internet connections and recording servers, access control is much less bandwidth intensive and easier to port to the cloud. The added benefit of avoiding expensive local server costs and instead offering remote central management of even remote sites through the web allow access a fit where before offerings were too costly. Over the past year, new hosted offerings (like BluB0XFeenics) and acquisition deals (ie: Brivo Bought Out by Drako for $50 Million) have sent clear signs that the hosted access market is heating up.
  • Mobile Credentials: Finally, although to a lesser extent, mobile device based credential use is driving new development. While early offerings like HID-backed NFC has not taken off, other mediums like Bluetooth Low Energy and browser based override controls have gained acceptance. While traditional SmartCards are not going away soon, the flexibility of using smartphones as credentials are attracting new looks toward access control in an otherwise stale physical security market.

Barriers to Entry in Access Control

The access control market is not easy to get into, requiring special knowledge and experience in order to become profitable. This is a challenge to get in but once in it provides barriers to trunk slammers and DIY users.

Stepping into EAC is not a casual decision and venturing into doors and hardware requires atypical skill for most integrators. Some of the risks to consider are:

  • Code Knowledge: Because access control can significantly influence Building Egress, it is subject to many safety and building codes. Familiarity with these codes, and how they practically translate into design and operation of EAC is mandatory and failure to comply is subject to punitive actions.
  • Mechanical Knowledge: The interaction of doors, frames, and hardware is deceptively complex. Understanding how all these components interface, and then modifying that interaction with EAC equipment has no common ground with traditional video surveillance work.
  • Craft Knowledge: Finally, installing and servicing EAC commonly require trade skills not shared with Video Surveillance. Modifying doors and frames to support electrified locking hardware require uncommon tools and training. Good 'surveillance technicians' do not always double as good 'EAC technicians'.

Disadvantages Video Surveillance

More and more people are selling and installing video surveillance for less and less money.  The overall shift to low-price Chinese products has had a significant impact to lower profit margins, and the trend of direct online sales has increased with even national distributors (ie: ADI W Box Accelerates Race To the Bottom) and consumer retailers (Can Amazon Become The Next ADT?Amazon Launches Camera Installation Service) entering the market and eroding thin video margins even further.

Limitations of Access Control Market

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

While access may represent more lucrative and sustaining projects, the market comes with notable limitations as well:

  • Low System Turn Over: A leading drawback of access is that new projects simply do not pop up often, even among existing users. Rather, our survey stats and experience show those users tend to hold onto and maintain existing systems for decades, only upgrading/spending additional money when absolutely forced by obsolescence.
  • Dealer Protected Areas: Another factor is that unlike video, many access manufacturers tightly control which dealers are able to perform work or make sales in a particular area or market vertical. While this may work in favor of established dealers, it may be a significant issue for a new dealer trying to break into crowded markets. While not all access brands are strictly protected, many of the biggest brands (ie: Lenel, Software House) are, leaving less established brands with weaker market positions to be taken up by ambitious installers.
  • Faking It Harder / More Dangerous: Lots of people off the street can fake doing video surveillance systems and the worst that happens is a poor performing system. With access control, there are legal issues and obscure technical elements involved and a broken access system means people getting locked out or robbed (depending on how it breaks), both coming with severe complications.

Recommendations

For existing access dealers, the smart move is to lean harder on your access offerings and skills.  For them, the expansion of ongoing maintenance offerings and contract agreements to include doors and locks is new money beyond cameras and recording servers.  

For new and existing installers alike, adding wireless locks, hosted access, and mobile credential solutions differentiate from incumbent providers and may increase appeals among previously untapped customers.

Resources to Learn Access Control

IPVM has the world's best resources to learn access control. Review the following:

Vote

What do you think?

4 reports cite this report:

Cisco Surrenders Access Control on Apr 11, 2016
After a history of errors, Cisco has finally raised the white flag in access. But in a smart move, they have partnered with a veteran access...
Milestone XProtect Access 2016 Release - New Features, Major Price Drop on Dec 15, 2015
With continued video surveillance price pressure, access is getting more attention, as shown in 2016 Top Security Expansion Targets and argued in...
2016 Top Security Expansion Targets Disclosed on Nov 17, 2015
100+ integrators told IPVM what products, technologies and manufacturers are their top expansion targets for 2016. There's been a lot of hype for...
The Biggest Surprises in the Video Surveillance Industry 2015 on Nov 13, 2015
100+ integrators told us what the biggest surprise in the video surveillance industry in 2015 was for them. Inside, we share dozens of comments...
Comments (16): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Milestone: "Easy Money Days Are Over" on Feb 17, 2017
Contrary to IPVM's criticisms, Milestone has reaffirmed that glory days remain. But they admit that they 'easy money days are over': Are the...
Directory of Alarm Panel Manufacturers on Feb 16, 2017
Alarm panels are the central controller of intrusion systems. The following is a list of manufacturers of alarm panels. This directory only covers...
Customized Access Control Cans (Altronix Trove) on Feb 14, 2017
Access control installs typically require hanging at least two or three different enclosure cans, each holding individual parts.  Open wall space...
Integrator's Top Selling Cameras 2017 on Feb 13, 2017
8 manufacturers accounted for 80% of the top selling camera lines for ~150 integrator responses. This report demonstrates which brands integrators...
Lenel Favorability Results 2017 on Feb 09, 2017
At this point, it is not surprising that Lenel is one of the most disliked security manufacturers. From stories like Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel...
Hitachi Taking On Security Industry on Feb 09, 2017
Hitachi, bigger than Sony and Panasonic overall, with $89 billion USD 2016 total revenue, is expanding into the security industry. They are...
Alarm Panels - Canned vs Integrated on Feb 07, 2017
Alarm control panels generally come in one of two types: Integrated alarm controllers, with controls and the keypad in the same...
VPNs for Video Surveillance on Feb 07, 2017
Remote access in surveillance networks is a key cyber security and usability issue. With cyber attacks rising, how can users ensure their systems...
Sony Favorability Results on Feb 06, 2017
Sony is one of the largest brands in the world and a long term provider of both video surveillance imagers and cameras. But, like all incumbents,...
Boycott Anixter, Says 82% Integrators on Feb 05, 2017
82% of 130 145 integrator respondents say integrators should boycott Anixter, in response to Anixter / Bosch Sells Direct to Amazon. This is the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Leads Multi-Manufacturer Sales Promo on Feb 21, 2017
Earlier this month, Hikvision launched new 'super value' kits, with 40% discounts, and now Hikvision is offering another promo, but this time they...
Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment on Feb 21, 2017
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017. Two immediate questions were: Whose...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...
Lenel Improving Customer Support on Feb 21, 2017
Lenel has faced significant criticism recently (see Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel Does Not Care, Worst Access Control 2016, Lenel Favorability...
'Dirty': Hikvision Attacks Genetec on Feb 20, 2017
Hikvision is angry at the growing public awareness that Hikvision is owned by the Chinese government. They took aim at Genetec,...
Directory of Alarm Company Brokers on Feb 20, 2017
Selling an RMR based business, such as alarm company, can be highly profitable, with acquisition prices of 36 to 48x RMR (equivalent to 3 to 4x...
Hikvision Hiring 50, Direct Out of College, Sales People on Feb 20, 2017
Hikvision is hiring 50, direct out of college, field sales people across the country. This is the next major expansion for the Chinese...
Simplisafe is 'Blowing The Doors Off' on Feb 17, 2017
The company alarm dealers love to hate, Simplisafe, is 'blowing the doors off' according to Michael Barnes, one of the top financial advisors in...
Hikvision OEM DDNS Devices To 'Lose Remote Access' on Feb 17, 2017
The fallout of Hikvision's DDNS discontinuation is expanding, this time hitting OEM partner Supercircuits, who reports that on June 30th: The...
Milestone: "Easy Money Days Are Over" on Feb 17, 2017
Contrary to IPVM's criticisms, Milestone has reaffirmed that glory days remain. But they admit that they 'easy money days are over': Are the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact