Worst Access Control 2016

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Oct 19, 2016

Two access control providers stood out as being the worst to work with for integrators.

In this report, we analyze the answers to:

"** *** **** ****, what ** *** ***** access ******* ********** ********/****** you **** ***** ****? Why?"

* ****** ***** *******: two ********** *** ****** significant ******* **** ******* and ***** ****** ********* may *** ** *** behind.

[********:** *********** *********** ** ******* *** any **** *********, ********* these *******. ****** ****** any ********** *********** ** info@ipvm.com.]

Top ***

*** * ******* **** the **** ***** ****:

  • *****
  • *********

*********, *** ***** **** popular ****** *** '****', an ****** **** ********** a *********** ********** ** access ******* ****** ***** security ******** **** ******* and ***. ** ******* those *******, **** ***** commentary *****.

Lenel *******

*** ****** ***** ********* most ********** ** *****: Lenel.

****** ** *** ******* rash ** *****'* ******** issues ******** ** ******** ******** *****, ***** Does *** ********, ** ** ***** from ********* *** ******** are **** **** **** business *************. *** ********'* dated *********, **** *******, and ******** ******* **** cause ******* ** ****.

*******, ********** ******* *****'* VARs *** ********* **** are ***********, *** ***** volume ** ******** ***** is * ********** ** the *******'* **** *********. Indeed, ***** ******** * sizeable ****** ** '******** brand' ***** ** ****. However, **** ** ***** divulged **** ***** ***** VAR ****** ****** ********** with '***** *******', ****** OnGuard **** *** ******* 'favorite', ****** ****, ******.

**** *** ********** **** the *****:

  • "*****. * **** * strong ****** *** *****, having ****** **** ** for *** ****. **'* clunky, ******* ******** **** randomly ******* (******* *.*), costs *** **** ** license **** *** *** little **** *** ***, and *** ******* ***'* that *****."
  • "***** *** **** *** worst **********. ********** ***** government **** *** **** deciding **** ** **** to ** ** *** federal ***** ***, *** another, ******. ****, ***** had **** *** ****. Hands ****. **** ***** the ****. ***** ** now **** ******* ****** that ***** **** ******* boards. ***** ******* *** has *** *****. ***** innovation ** ****. *** when ** **** * problem, ******* *** ***** resolved ** ****** **********. Example- *** ***'* ******* out ** *** ***."
  • "***** *** ** **** through ***** ** ******* and *************** ******* ***** and ***** ** **** time *** ******* *** reputation. **** ******* ** it ***** **** * weeks ** ******* * DOA ****. **** ** find *** **** ******* source **** *** **** they *** * *** batch ** ****** (******* story) *** *** ******* to ******* ******* *** boards. **** ** ********** Lenel *** ** *** was *** ******."
  • "*****. *** *********. ********** software. ******* ******* ** difficult ** **** ****."
  • "*****. **** *******. *** sales *******. ******** ********."
  • "***** ***** *** **** down **** *** *** good ****** ***** **** with ****** ** ******."
  • "*****, *** *********** ** us ** * ***."
  • "***** ***** *** ****. Services *** ******* ********. Nearly *** ******** ** user ********* *************, **** to ******* ***********."
  • "******* **** ****** (*****). Hideous, ********** *********."
  • "***** - **** ** get ********** **** *** train ********* **. **** they *** *******, ** seems ** **** **, but ******* ***** ** a ****."

Honeywell ******

******* ******** ******** ****** platforms, ********* ******** ******** and ******* ********** *** all ** ****. ********* access ******** **** '****' distribution (********* ****** *******) *** '******' ******-**** brands (********* ***-***** *******), *** ********** ***** either *** **** **** clearly *****.

** ***** ** *********, Honeywell *** **** * widespread ************ *** ********* channel *** ***** *****, and *** ******** * sizable ********* **** *** either. *******, ** *** negative ****, ********* ***** to **** *** ******* to **** ***** **** product ***********, **** *******, and ******:

  • "********* ******/******** ********. ********* amalgam ** ********/********."
  • "********* ********. **'* *** too ********* *** ******* for **** ****** ** does ****. **** ********* video, ********."
  • "*** ***** ****** ******* system ** **** ***** with ** ********* ******. The **** ********* ***** very *****, *** ** lacks *** ******** ******** and **** ************ **** we ****** (********* ****** limitations ** ****** ****** like ******* ** ********* in ******** ******* **** each **** ** *** clocks ** *** ****** control ***** ******** *** off)."
  • "******, ****, ****** *********, system *** ** ****** out **** ** *** to ******* **** ** the ******** ********** ******* disappears."
  • "*********. *** **** ********* is ********** *** *** user ********."
  • "********* ******."
  • "********* - *** **** talk *** ** ******. treat ******* **** **** don't **** **** *** support ** **** ****."
  • "********* ****** - *** based ***** ****** ********* compared ** ***** ************* integrated *** ***** ******."
  • "********* ***-***. ********** *********. Not **** ********. ******* features ** * **** fledged ********** ********."

No '*****' *****

* ******* ******** ** integrators *** ** ***** access **********. *** **** installers, ****** *********** *** limited ** *** ** two ******, *** *********** ****** ************* *********** *** ************* ********* * ******* ********** may ****** ******** ***** brands ** * ****** job, ****** ******* ** generally ******* ** **** one ** *** ****** vetted *********:

  • "*/*. ******* ******** ****** us ** ******** ******. All **** ********."
  • "*********** **** *** ***** with ***."
  • "****, ******* ** ****** use ***** ****** ******* management ****** ********"
  • "** **** *** *********** any **** ** ***** say *** ********."
  • "** ***** ******** ******** so ** *** ******** we **** ***."
  • "**** *** ********. ***** support ** ** **, but **** *** ****"
  • "** **** ******* *** system ******* ** ***'* really ****** ****. (*** Access)"
  • "****. * **** **** used **** *** ******* and **** *** ***** good"
  • "**** ** **** ** answer. *** ** *** systems ** **** **** decent ********."

Many ************ ********

* ******* ******** ** integrators ********* ***** ****** that ******** ************* ***, but ** **** ******* criticisms. ***** ** ***** brands **** ***** **** than *** ** ***** times, **** ***** *********** better *****, ***********, ** marketed *****. ***** '******' included:

  • "******* - *** ***********, only ******** **, ** web ** *** (** - ********* *** ****** but ** ******** *** you ***** **** * PC ******)"
  • "****, ***** ************ ******* and ****** ** *** enterprise ***********, *** *** some ******* ******. ******** bugs, ***** ******* *** even ********* ********** **** made ** ********* ** remain ********* ** *** solution."
  • "******** *****. ***** *** tech ******* ** ********. We *** * *** fallout **** **** *** to *** ********* ** our ***."
  • "********. **** **** ****** improvised *** ****** ******* software ***** ***** *********** of *** *****."
  • "**. ** ****** ** up ** * **** because ** *** **** wanted ** ** *** then **** *** **** decided ** **** ***** S2 *********** *** ** bid. ***** ***** *** four ********* ********** *********** that ** ** ** our *****, **** ***** up ***** **** "*********" than **, **** ****** we *** **** ********** them *** ** ******."
  • "********. **'* **** ********* interface ** **** ****. Support ** ******* ** they *** * ******* operation."
  • "******* *********. ** ** not **** ******** *** it's *** ********* ******** ActiveX ******* ***** **** many **** ***********. ** relies ** .*** ********* and ********* **** ****** when * .*** ***** is *******."
  • "**** *******. **** *******. Not * **** ****** system."
  • "********* *** *** ******* customer *******."
  • "******** *******. ** ******, everything ******* ** *** server. ** *** ******* is ****, ** *** all *** *****. *** very ********."
  • "******. ***** ******* *** me **** **** *** customers. **** **** * month *** **** * Net2 ******* ******* *** Paxton-Ievo *********** **********. *** proposed *** ** ****** was '***** **** ******* with * *** ***** databse'"

Access '*********' ****

*******, ** **** ******* our ********* '******** ******' results, ***** ** ***** the **** ****** ****: "What ** **** ******** access ******* ********** ********/******? Why?"

Geographic ********** - ***** *******

** **** ******, ~**% of *********** **** **** North *******, ** *** results *** ******* ****** to *** ***** ******** market. ** *** *** outside **** ******, * different *** ** ****** may **** * ****** regional ********, *** **** that ** ****.

Comments (36)

I am amazed to see this type of results, but then again I am an end user so do not see all the struggles between VARs and Vendor. I was privileged to data presented by IHS Technology that shows UTC is on top for Hardware and Software revenue. So are integrators simply just complaining about the way they are treated, the market results seem to show that the products are being sold nonetheless.

Revenue is a lagging, not a leading indicator of performance.

Take Arecont as an example. When the first 2011 integrator worst IP camera results had them in a landslide, there was similar types of counterargument (i.e., look at their revenue in MP, look at their huge growth, etc.). Now, Arecont is obviously far behind the market leaders in MP and a niche player.

UTC benefits from a large incumbent base of customers, brands, channel structure, etc. So that helps revenue tremendously, especially in access control where migrations are hard and substantial revenue in ongoing maintenance is commonplace.

We have seen, over the years, that a vendor's 'success' in these surveys is highly indicative of future financial performance.

Now, UTC / Lenel may turn it around, indeed they are well aware of their issues and trying to fix them. But in terms of buying products, I would take far more stock in integrator survey results that revenue rankings.

Understood, I am not opposed to the comments, but am a bit surprised. Although once a company is entrenched in a particular platform, its difficult to simply fire a company and hire a new one. But that is another discussion which has already done some rounds on IPVM.

[IPVM Mod Note: Poster is an RS2, S2, Vanderbilt, and Millennium dealer.]

Actually. Any customer that has the Mercury Hardware platform in place with systems like Lenel, Red Cloud (Avigilon), Open Options, and such can be easily replaced with a strong competitor like RS2, or S2 without replacing any hardware. Both of these companies can handle the higher end events, maps, and other features that are normally found in systems like Lenel. RS2 themselves have an option to directly convert a Lenel database to it's platform making the conversion near effortless.

It has been my experience after working with all of the major brands that RS2's support is 2nd to none. Just my two pennies worth.

Are you an RS2 dealer?

Yes we are. RS2, S2, Vanderbilt, and Millennium.

Thanks. In general, disclosing that is required before making a strong 'pro' statement like this. I added that to your original comment so other readers are aware.

Not a problem, good to know for future posts.

Thank you.

I'd have thought the "it's been my experience" line covered that, but what do I know?

Hello. Is something confusing about our disclosure policy?

Honestly, a little. I'm not trying to be snarky, so excuse me if it comes off that way, but he posted using his name and gave an accounting of his experience with a product. It seems fairly superfluous to insert the disclaimer. I don't even see as a huge "endorsement", just an offering of personal experience with a product. If is was "undisclosed manufacturer" making claims then I can absolutely see the need, but again this just seems a bit like mothering.

I'll freely admit though, I'm not having a great day so I may be putting more thought into than is necessary. I'm sitting in my office on a beautiful SW Florida day, and that would make anyone crazy!

I was privileged to data presented by IHS Technology that shows UTC is on top for Hardware and Software revenue.

Possibly related? IHS Sells Credibility To Manufacturer Sponsorships

Help me understand why anyone installs Honeywell access or video. I have never heard any positive comments from current customers. It is the "name recognition" or locking in customers that is most attractive for dealers?

0 Down Lease with option to buy, perhaps throw in a free hammer, an iris scanner along with some discontinued locking hardware. Some end users are used to a completely overhauled Sales Team And New Lease Each Year.

I uses it for small jobs. I don't think we've installed it on more than 2 doors, and while clients aren't raving they aren't complaining either, particularly at the price.

Good to know. Just met with a customer that has a NetAXS system which was installed less than 6 months ago and they want to replace it already. We are currently in the process of replacing 3 other Honeywell Access and Video solutions.

You'll get no argument from me on Honeywell Video, ugh. For further clarification, the clients we use NetAXS for are typically under our managed services umbrella, so they aren't making changes to it anyway. All that being said, I am currently ripping out a multi site Avigilon install at a client's request. Even the best system can be a burden if poorly installed or demonstrated.

Agreed. In my experience, 90% of integrators try to be everything to everyone which they then barely understand how their product works. We have taken a different approach and by sticking with 1 or 2 lines and learning the product better anyone else.

Most of the time when we take over other systems it is not the software or cameras fault but the lack of knowledge from the sales and install team from the company that installed it.

We are a Lenel, Avigilon, RS2, DSX, and Honeywell dealer. I want to echo the comments above about RS2 and their support. Awesome guys over there from sales to the tech support to the training level and they are very responsive. They have Lenel and Prowatch migration packages that makes switching pretty easy. Their product is also pretty solid and has been our go to for Mercury migrations for small to larger customers who are coming off of Lenel/Honeywell.

Avigilon would be a good solution end to end if they didn't price gouge dealers on merc boards and like the others said would upgrade their product beyond Red Cloud v1.1.

[Disclosure: I was an original Honeywell Pro-Watch developer, and also wrote Mercury firmware for a while]

It is not all that surprising that the large players would have negative rankings. An industry heavyweight once told me:

"Access Control is, at its best, invisible. At its worst, an annoyance. It is very difficult to get above zero in this business."

Hence it is no surprise that any company in this business with some market success is going to be disliked. It's just a function of the numbers.

That said, there are players in the industry that do a remarkable job in a tough environment.

Avigilon would be a good solution end to end if they didn't price gouge dealers on merc boards and like the others said would upgrade their product beyond Red Cloud v1.1.

From what you have seen which manufacturer offers the best pricing on Mercury boards?

Beating a dead horse, but RS2.

I just checked my newest pricing again. From cheapest to lowest it's: RS2--Honeywell--Avigilon--Lenel. Honeywell and Avigilon could trade places based on dealer level since they are close. Lenel is way above obviously. So I will walk back my previous comment somewhat since it looks like latest pricing has cheaper controllers and last year they were Lenel level spendy. Lenel boards are roughly 42% higher than RS2 dealer cost.

So if you factor in that Avigilon has NO support or upgrade fees compared to the others you listed there pricing is not bad at all right? I am assuming RS2 has support or upgrade fees.

Actually RS2 does not charge any fee to support their integrators that have customers with software versions that are less than two major releases back. If the customer wants to upgrade to the latest version, the cost is very minimal compared to the industry. The new "major" revisions are spaced out 18-24 months, yet they send out minor "patches" quite often adding smaller features throughout that time (E.g. lock integrations) at no cost.

I know i am a bit biased here because i have had such great luck with RS2. But, in my opinion they are a very strong company in this industry. The best part is, if they were to go out of business, as long as you use the Mercury hardware, there are plenty of other systems out there that can take it's place. That is a big plus in my book.

[Disclosure: RS2 Dealer]

I'm sorry if I'm reading this wrong, but how does a scale work "from cheapest to lowest?"

Poor support seems to be a constant theme, with the complexity of access control I'm not surprised. We struggle with this constantly as I'm sure other manufacturers do, finding good support staff that can range from understanding how to support hardware they may have never seen configured in some unique way, to IIS installation issues all while delivering a good customer experience is not easy.

Cloud offerings will help this because it removes software installation and setup from the equation and puts the manufacturer in a position where they can easily gain access to troubleshoot and fix an issue.

  • "S2. We picked it up as a line because an end user wanted us to and then that end user decided to send their S2 maintenance out to bid. Since there are four bajillion electrical contractors that do S2 in our state, they ended up being more "qualified" than us, even though we had been supporting them for 18 months."

Correct me if I'm wrong but this one seems like it's not a compliant against S2 but is rather a complaint against the end user that pushed them to pick it up as a line but then went with another company for the maintenance contract. The complaint says nothing about the quality of S2's equipment, software or support. Maybe the complaint is that S2's sales channel is not limited enough?

(I'm a consultant, not an integrator, so my company does not sell any equipment)

Two access control providers stood out as being the worst to work with for integrators.

I don't understand the point you are trying to make. I know the comment is coming from an integrator. My point is that this integrator is complaining about the end user, not S2.

Sounds like the integrator didn't know that there were ~4 bajilion other S2 dealers out there. Maybe they would have steered the end-user to a more exclusive line had they realized.

I took this to be a complaint that S2 doesn't aggressively enforce their channel, and this dealer felt like his work was poached by someone else rather easily.

That was my though too. The irony of that is, if S2 did aggressively enforce their channel and the end user really wanted S2, this integrator would not have been able to pick up the line and never would have gotten the original sale/install, making the ongoing maintenance contract a moot point.

In any case, I do enjoy these integrator surveys (best of and worst of). Since these integrators are the guys that have to install these systems, get them working properly and deal with ongoing maintenance issues, it's good to know what they think of different manufacturer's offerings.

I had a very difficult time working with WINPAK. The tech support was very helpful and thorough, but I must admit that I'd be pretty helpless if it wasn't for six hours on that phone.

It works well, but it's just a pain to upgrade (To add one board, I had to upgrade from 2.0 to 4.0) The communication interface on some of the boards is also very dated...

I'm sure I'm one of very few millenials who's had to work with the technological marvels that are rs-485 and rs-232.

In my best Yoda voice: "No.....there is another".

Tis true that few under-30 folks know the black art of serial comm, but those that do can write their own ticket in this industry. I was on a project recently with a kid from HID. When his HID office closed this summer, I helped him find another PACS job. He was out of work for maybe 3 minutes.

RS-232 and RS-485 are easy to use and understand with the correct training.

Look at the Black Box RS-485 lesson, it's very complete.

The trouble with RS-485, is most people & engineers fail to include a reference ground signal between the panels. They simply show 2 wires from panel to panel. This is very bad and might cause a lot of trouble. If you only have a shielded 2 conductor, it is better to ground the shield at both ends, which forfeits the shielding property but gains a common ground. The ideal would be a properly (single sided) grounded shield with a 3rd conductor for ground. The use of shielded com wires for RS-485 is not always required, some will say yes, others will say no. On short hauls, it doesn't matter, on long hauls, the shield might add too much capacitance and degrade the signal. Every installation is unique.

Josh Bensadon

Toronto

In my years working with WinPak, I have found two serious bugs. I brought them to Honeywell's attention and they did not take my reports seriously. One bug, I had to fix myself after 40 hours of reverse engineering their firmware. The other bug still exists and I've seen many reports of it through "Loss of History Data". You cannot rely on this product to record card transactions, they can and have gotten lost along the way. Should I say, Something (not so) funny happened on the way to the hard drive.

Josh Bensadon,

Toronto

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