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?

5 reports cite this report:

Dahua and Hikvision Entering Access Control on Sep 05, 2017
Until now, Chinese video giants Hikvision and Dahua have held back releasing access internationally. Both companies have now pulled the trigger,...
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

PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial on Jan 19, 2018
Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.  However, access requires more power than cameras, and the...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
This High Schooler Is Excited About His Future Security Career on Jan 15, 2018
A common lament is that smart, young people have little interest in surveillance systems. In fact, discussions like Should Talented Young People...
"First Of Its Kind" Stove Knob Alarm Sensor (2GIG) on Jan 15, 2018
At CES 2018, 2Gig/Nortek announced the Stove & Grill Guard, a "first of its kind" sensor in the security industry, allowing users to be...
CES 2018 Show Final Report on Jan 12, 2018
This is IPVM's final edition of our 2018 CES show report. Below are already numerous images and commentary, with more coming tomorrow.   CES is...
Security Integrator Project Management Certifications on Jan 10, 2018
Certifications are a common option for technology professionals looking to improve skills and gain validation. But how about for project...
The Interceptor Aims To Fix Vulnerability In Millions of Alarm Systems on Jan 08, 2018
Security executive Jeffery Zwirn claims a 'catastrophic' flaw exists in 'millions of alarm systems', and dealers could be liable if not fixed. The...
Multicasting Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 04, 2018
Network bandwidth can be a concern for some surveillance systems. While improvements in video codecs, such as smart codecs for H.264 and H.265,...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Jan 04, 2018
Learn more below about the Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course. Register here. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the...
Cabling Best Practices Guide on Jan 03, 2018
Surveillance cabling can be a major problem. Poorly installed and maintained networks are often costly, lengthy, frustrating ordeals to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial on Jan 19, 2018
Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.  However, access requires more power than cameras, and the...
If You Have 4 Cameras, You Can Throw Them Away, If You Have 400, They Throw You Away on Jan 19, 2018
Do users care about anything but price? Do user care about cybersecurity? Do users care about trusting their supplier? These have become...
Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Vivint Streety Video Strengthens Door Knocking on Jan 17, 2018
Vivint is famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) for mastering large scale door to door selling. The company has skyrocketed from a...
Axis: "It’s A Question Of Trust And Who You Want To Be Associated With" on Jan 17, 2018
Who do you trust? Who do you want to be associated with? Axis is raising hard questions to start 2018. In this note, we examine these questions,...
Software House Vulnerability Allows Inside Attacker To Open Doors on Jan 17, 2018
A vulnerability in Software House IP-ACM modules allows an attacker to potentially unlock doors, or perform other actions, on affected systems....
'Defiant' Hikvision 'Strikes Back' At WSJ And US on Jan 16, 2018
The fight is on. Hikvision and their owner, the Chinese government, 'strikes back' against the Wall Street Journal and US politicians raising...
The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...

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