State of the Market: Access Control 2017
This year’s story on access control is one of disruptors, drivers and deciders.
It was a good year — for many even a great one. But more and more, when it comes to access control it is a tale of two markets: the small business and small-medium enterprise SMB/SME market and the large Enterprise. Many exciting changes, trends and opportunities are presenting themselves at all levels for access control (and integrated systems) customers, but the challenge is getting them to move off the dime.
“2016 was pretty good; we saw pickup,” says Bill Bozeman, CPP, president and CEO, PSA Security Network, Denver, Colo. “It wasn’t incredible growth, but good, solid, steady, predictable growth. We are a good barometer for the integration channel…. Basically on the access control side, we saw the traditional 6 percent to 8 percent growth. We had some that had double-digit growth — I know one that had 25 percent growth.”
This is right in line with IHS Markit research, which predicts a 6.8 percent growth rate for 2017, representing a $4.2 billion market. SDM’s own Forecast Study, conducted in November 2016, found that 81 percent of respondents reported their access control control sales were good or excellent in 2016, with “good” and “very good/excellent” nearly evenly split at 41/40 percent respectively.
Still, access control may have a bit of an image problem. For years it has been a stable and stalwart technology that opens and closes doors electronically — not exactly the kind of thing that gets buyers excited for change. Many disruptive technologies have tried, and often failed, to move the market along at a faster pace — how long did we talk about smart cards before they became a real market force?
This can produce some frustration. “For this industry things may be moving more quickly than normal,” says Mitchell Kane, president, Vanderbilt, Parsippany, N.J. “But generally speaking it is abysmal the pace it moves.”
However, with compelling market changes occurring in sister security technologies such as alarms and video surveillance, and integration becoming much more common at all market levels, how far behind can the access control market really be? Unlike video and security alarms, which have had significant outside pressure to change, from the IP revolution to consumer electronic trends, access control has been largely insulated, particularly in the entrenched enterprise. The industry has moved at its own pace, yet now finds itself with a wide range of options and possibilities of where to go from here. More excitingly, end users are finally showing more signs of being ready to accept — and pay for — them.
“The access control industry performed very well in 2016,” says Denis Hebert, president, Feenics, Ottawa, Ontario. “[But] the growth amongst various manufacturers was not evenly spread, as interest and benefits associated with alternative approaches to access control varied. Companies focused on the traditional client/server model of physical access control were outperformed by those offering cloud-based ACaaS models,” Hebert believes. Feenics’ subscription base grew more than 400 percent in 2016, Hebert reports.
But looking at the market as a whole can be misleading, Bozeman cautions. “Just saying ‘access control grew at X rate’ isn’t accurate. We do a lot of enterprise work and that growth rate is lower, but the dollar amount is much higher because the systems are so much larger. From a percentage perspective, managed services is higher because it is new growth.”
This is in part a reflection of a market that is more polarized than ever, says Brandon Arcement, director, product marketing, physical access control, HID Global, Austin,Texas. “From the enterprise perspective they do act differently than SMB customers. In years past they had similar needs and now they are further apart. SMB is looking for an outcome but doesn’t care how the sausage is made. The enterprise wants their hand in the technologies.”
Compliance, unification and open platforms are more strongly driving the trends at the top end, while newer entrants and technologies are lowering the barrier to entry at the SMB level.
Some security integrators get the best of both worlds. “2016 was phenomenal compared to 2015 and 2017 is looking to be a great year,” says Wally Carriero, manager of the Buffalo office, Casco Security Systems, Rochester, N.Y. (featured on this month’s cover). “We offer the hosted, managed and conventional access control systems. We have positioned ourselves to be a one-stop shop for those looking to do access control.”
Envision Technology Group, Lenexa, Kan., is another integrator that reported strong growth, according to Security Division Manager Chuck Engelmann. Founded in 2000 as an IP-centric structured cabling provider, the company entered the physical security space just three years ago and has grown by almost 60 percent, he says. “For 2017 we already have business scheduled through the first half of the year that will put us equal to 2016. We are expecting a greater amount of growth.”
$4.2 BILLION The global access control market in 2017 – Source:IHS Markit
Security integrators focused more at the top end of the market note that change is slower, but more apparent than even a few years ago, driven by a more standardized, open and unified approach to doing things.
“2016 was a really good year,” says Robert Hile, general manager, Florida, for Dallas-based Securadyne Systems (SDM’s 2016 Systems Integrator of the Year). “We had growth across all the segments but I think when you look at the enterprise the needle is hard to move. [Even] if it is flat, we are still maintaining those systems. I think our biggest growth there was from unified systems, integrated access and video.”
Mark Schweitzer, engineering manager at G4S Secure Integration, Omaha, Neb., says a rebounding economy was a boon at the top of the market. “It was a banner year for us. We are seeing a large number of new construction projects, which pretty much guarantees access control.”
The distance between the top and bottom of the market may be getting larger, but some trends transcend the gap. One of the most notable of those is the desire of all security integrators to increase their recurring monthly revenue. While managed services may be most prolific at the SMB end, larger integrators are also looking for and finding new ways of bumping up their service revenue.
“Cloud RMR is the future of every business,” says Kurt Takahashi, president, AMAG Technologies, Torrance, Calif. “What market isn’t trying to grow its recurring revenue at this point? The reason is mostly economics. It allows you to provide services in an operational model rather than a capital expenditure. It’s a natural move.”
In addition to several companies that have entered the market to specialize in cloud access solutions, including Brivo, Feenics and BluBØX, many other access control manufacturers have recently joined in (or plan to in the very near future). Vanderbilt, Genetec, and AMAG are all planning on releasing cloud or hosted/managed options in 2017, for example.
“I think cloud will definitely be the new way of doing things, not just because of access control but it is how we see the market overall,” says Francois Brouillet, product manager for Montreal-based Genetec. “If you look at how the enterprise is consuming technology, they are more and more using subscription solutions.” Genetec describes its solution, which is aimed at the enterprise market, as a hybrid cloud solution.
“We expect in 2017 to see even higher growth than in 2016 for several reasons,” says Steve Van Till, president and CEO, Brivo, Bethesda, Md. “First there is a secular shift to cloud computing that provides us with a tailwind for everything we do…. It’s all about shifting market share from traditional security to cloud-based. Since we have been preparing for that for years, our dealers are growing at a tremendous rate.”
$2.3 BILLION The total installed base of access control readers, panels, credentials and electronic locks in 2016 – Source: IHS Markit
Hebert adds, “2017 will see an even greater acceleration of the ACaaS trend, as adoption of this service approach to physical access control becomes more mainstream. The overall industry will continue to grow, which adds buoyancy to the need, but our prediction is that access control as a service will experience the greatest growth, and we are seeing this already as the new year begins.”
According to a recent report from Markets and Markets, the ACaaS market, the global market is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 26.82 percent. The report found that hosted services led the segment in 2015, and that the ACaaS market in North America is expected to represent the largest market share between 2016 and 2022.
A separate report from IHS Markit, released last April, found that managed security services overall will grow at a 10.9 percent CAGR from $16 billion in 2015 to $26.9 billion in 2020. “Software-defined network deployments in cloud and hosting environments will help providers build more scalable, flexible and profitable hosted and cloud security services,” the company stated in a press release.
Other manufacturers report an upswing in security integrators putting their traditional systems on the cloud and offering it as a service to the end customer. “One of the biggest things in access control is using software as a service, which is really growing in popularity,” says David Barnard, director of dealer development for RS2 Technologies, Munster, Ind. “Three or four years ago we had two or three dealers providing that. Now we are up to almost 10 using our software in the cloud but managing it for their clients.”
While many integrators report that cloud and hosted services are currently a small percentage of their sales, almost all of those interviewed for this article reported a similar goal: to get to 20 percent to 25 percent RMR within one to five years.
“As cloud services become more and more prevalent our hosted and managed services have increased tremendously,” Carriero says. “We would like to increase our RMR on our access control systems by 20 percent this year. I think that is very doable.”
81% SDM respondents who said 2016 was a good to excellent year in access control – Source: SDM 2017 Industry Forecast Study
Engelmann says his company just launched a managed access service six months ago. “We are really just getting started. It is at less than 1 percent right now, but I think it will be substantial for us. We would like it to be 25 percent of our overall business within three to five years.”
While many larger integrators are adding RMR-based services to go after the SMB/SME market, some like Securadyne are also aiming it at the enterprise. “When you think about enterprise access control it is all capital; they have to pay to rip and replace,” Hile says. “If you go to the RMR model it is operational. Think about how IT guys buy. A lot of them have outsourced that. Hosted/managed follows that path and is being more and more accepted in the enterprise world.
“Technology has caught up now with lots of hosted and managed offerings that are secure, robust and ready for prime time.”
At the large integrator level, services also extend to much more than cloud and hosted options, says G4S’s Schweitzer. “We can act as an outside SOC. Our service center is set up to proactively manage services and we are doing preventative maintenance as well as providing a high level of response to customers.” G4S currently sits at about 25 percent RMR, he says, with a goal to get it to around 40 percent.
Another common thread is the increasing move to integration at all levels. The SDM Forecast demonstrates this, with a 7 percentage point jump in non-residential integrated systems from last year’s study. (See chart, above.)
“The majority of even small eight-door systems are almost always integrated with video or intercom,” Bozeman says. “It is just logical. I took my car in this morning to have the tires redone and they had a card reader, a camera and an intercom. There is very little standalone.”
Barnard has seen a shift within the last three years or so. “We didn’t really see any but our larger clients doing integrations to the HR systems, but now even on what I would call mid-sized systems, maybe a company with one large location or a couple of physical locations, we are seeing much more interest and people actually doing integration with other outside systems.”
Integration is here to stay, says Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. general sales manager, Aiphone Corp., Redmond, Wash. “Standalone systems no longer fit today’s security model. Within the access control segment, components now work together — as they should. Industrywide, access control, video and intrusion complement one another to create higher levels of protection. This makes integrators’ jobs easier as they can provide products and systems end users want and need.”
While access control as a technology offering has been luckier than many in the security space in that it has yet to be commoditized, integrators of all sizes nevertheless feel the pressure to differentiate themselves, whether by service offerings or the level or types of choices they can offer.
For many security integrators this means carrying more lines than before, even if that is just two (one for the enterprise and a cloud offering for SMB).
“I did an informal survey last year and the average integrator was supporting over five access control products,” says Matt Barnette, president, Mercury Security, Long Beach, Calif. “The market has moved from one or two 10 years ago.”
This means different skillsets, says Peter Boriskin, vice president of commercial product management, ASSA ABLOY, New Haven, Conn. “There is a big shift in understanding and troubleshooting data-related issues versus hardware and serial data. Technicians need to have much better skillsets than in the past. For many systems integrators there has not been a lot of difference between installers and service technicians. Now there is. You just can’t troubleshoot with a screwdriver and a meter anymore.”
63% SDM respondents who said their non-residential integration spending will increase in 2017– Source: SDM 2017 Industry Forecast Study
Enrique Olivares, vice president of finance, APL Access & Security, Gilbert, Ariz., says as more and more systems involve the IT network he has tried to hire staff with IT backgrounds and teach the security portion. “It is easier to teach an IT person security than the other way around,” he says.
In fact, while SDM 2017 Industry Forecast Study respondents were not limited to systems integrators or even commercial security, when asked about their biggest challenges for 2017, “finding and retaining employees” jumped a whopping 10 percentage points from 8 to 18 percent, and from 7th to 2nd on the list, behind increasing sales.
In addition to macro trends of cloud and integration, there are a number of technologies, both emerging and existing, that also have the potential to impact all ends of the access control space. From wireless integrated locksets, to mobile credentials and a sudden renaissance in the biometric space, opportunities to excite the customer abound, Boriskin adds.
“Wireless at the door, tying back to systems that are cloud-based and being able to manage those as an operating expense instead of a large capital expense eases the discussion. Now we have credentials where you have the same one to get in the door, onto the network, for vending/dining, etc. And if you can do that, maybe you can share budget with IT or the one card office or parking management agency. All of a sudden everything that was harder to do is just a little bit easier in every facet and is helping to accelerate us an industry.”
But an influx of technologies can also complicate things, adds Richard Goldsobel, vice president for Continental Access at Napco Security Technologies Inc., Amityville, N.Y. “Wireless locking solutions are now broadening among manufacturers. There is so much cross connectivity it is almost getting exponentially more difficult when you go to quote a solution. Offerings have become so numerous that compatibility issues get even wider in terms of existing cards and credentials or phone apps. The background knowledge basis is becoming extraordinary.”
Unlike ACaaS, which is starting out much stronger in the SMB space (see below), these technologies could apply at all levels and it’s anyone’s guess whether they will have a greater impact at the top or bottom, or will penetrate the whole market simultaneously.
SMB/SME DRIVERS FROM ALL SIDES
Hosted and managed access control so far has its best adoption at the smaller end of the market, where it is easier to deploy. But there are challenges that have hindered its acceptance by integrators that may take a little more time to get past.
“There is a huge market for hosted and managed in the smaller systems, of which there are many,” Bozeman says. “An enterprise-level system is not scary to an HP or Coca-Cola, but it would be for a guy with 20 grocery stores, or someone that just needs 10 doors and 10 cameras. That is ideal for the managed services model and good for the integrator to develop the RMR they need to survive these days.”
However, Bozeman points to a catch in the system that his organization and others are actively trying to address: financing. “I do believe there is more opportunity to create this RMR business model that the alarm company has enjoyed for 30 years now…. But why is it that now that they have all these [opportunities], they won’t do it? They can’t cash flow the business model.... The managed services model is different. You don’t get the money up front. How do the burglar alarm guys do it? It is the cost of the equipment. Systems integration is not cheap.”
Financial lending institutions traditionally lend on RMR potential, which is trickier for the traditional systems integrator to show, Bozeman says.
“The way we structure 90 percent of our loans is based off a multiple of RMR,” explains John Robuck, managing director, security financing group, Capital One, McClean, Va. “That RMR has to have a secondary market to it that enables it to have a collateral feature.”
While not all lending facilities “get” the managed security model, that is starting to change, he says. “Managed services definitely has a secondary market. As that continues to develop there will be more standardization around contract terms and the solutions that are being provided…. If you are focused on RMR you don’t have to give away the system, but if you can get enough up front, if you can show more ongoing value proposition versus just installing a system there is long-term value and a perception of worth.”
Increasingly, it seems that integrators of all sizes are getting the message.
“Cloud is becoming a bigger part of my sales model because it is an easy sell,” says Steven Pharis, CEO, Tutela, Brunswick, Ga. “Whether it is real estate with a multi-tenant building or a small mom and pop business that wants the resources of a large corporation but can’t afford it, this gives them the ability to do that through a portal as opposed to having to put in a server and maintain it. We manage both video and access control remotely. It is a huge RMR model for us.”
Gareth O’Hara, chief sales officer, Paxton Access Inc., Greenville, S.C., adds, “Cloud-based solutions offer smaller sites the same features and security an access control system can provide without the burden of local staff to support complex networks, servers and software.”
Brent Blankinship, vice president and general manager, United Fire Suppression, Cabot, Ark., says his company has started to use its RS2 system as an RMR model. “We have a server here and are collecting the revenues.”
Cloud is a very disruptive force, Van Till says. “If you look at the traditional technology adoption curve of innovators, early adopters, early majority and late majority cloud is not to early majority but it is definitely in the early adopter phase.
“The interest is there on the part of a lot of banks that finance the alarm industry. They are working to figure out how to make that happen and it will be a huge driver.”
As more financial institutions, integrators and manufacturers get on board in some way, it could lead to some major changes. For example, at press time Brivo was set to announce support for a major legacy access control panel manufacturer used in a significant number of installations that will significantly ease the transition path, Van Till says.
Traditional standalone and smaller integrated access control has also experienced greater growth, due to more attractive technologies and pricing.
“Over the last two or three years we have hit the tipping point where even small businesses that might only have three or four doors are now adding access control when they already have intrusion and may have a camera or two,” Boriskin says. “We are starting to see an interest in tying all of those things together.
“What kept folks like that out before was the cost of integration, because a lot of it was bespoke, where you had to get an integrator to tie them together. It was too heavy a lift. Now the barrier to entry has greatly dropped, really only within the last 24 months.”
When it comes to SMB the traditional influencers have been top-down from the enterprise; but increasingly a new wave from the residential smart home market is also influencing the types of features SMB customers are looking for.
“We aren’t seeing lifestyle trends in business today, but we can see where the trend is heading,” Carriero says. “That is part of the growth in the access control industry. Whereas small businesses never really looked at having card readers, now they are rationalizing that product and bringing it in and when you look at the Internet of Things and smart homes and folding all that into the small business market, it will all converge together.”
$1.7 BILLION The global ACaaS market by 2022 – Source: Markets and Markets
Brian Casey, general manager, SMB solutions, Honeywell Security and Fire, Melville, N.Y., adds, “I think we are at an inflection point at this stage of the game. My sense based on looking at the products we are selling today is they are probably still a bit more standalone with remote connectivity, and integration is a strong but emerging trend. It is not the 800-pound gorilla yet, but I not only anticipate it will change; I am doing everything I can to change that through the integrated platforms we have.”
Manufacturers that have traditionally played in the video or intrusion space are also now paying attention to the SMB access control market.
Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass., introduced its first access control just three years ago, says Bruce Stewart, business development manager for new solutions. “We are very, very pleased with the progress we have seen. The PoE controller can be used for standalone access control systems up to 400 users, or, increasingly, used with partner solutions that can turn it into an integrated solution that will run all the way up to the enterprise-level,” Stewart explains.
SHIFTING PRIORITIES AT THE TOP
Like a big ship, the enterprise customer doesn’t turn quickly — when it comes to access control technology it is not at all uncommon to find legacy systems that are 10, 15 or 20+ years old. But this year, both manufacturers and security integrators are noting a slight shift in the wind, and a few trends that are making some inroads for change.
Much like enterprise and SMB have grown further apart, Schweitzer says he would even segment the enterprise itself into two categories. “The old stalwarts like the big manufacturing companies — they tend to still have a traditional, conservative outlook. The driver there has been the obsolescence of equipment such as Casi Rusco. There were several large customers where we got involved because they were orphaned. On the other side, there is the tech space. Companies that are doing social media [for example] tend to be a little more adaptive. Their staff is younger and more used to technology. They are driving evolution towards newer technology across the board. Everyone has adopted IP, but we are seeing more tech customers driving us towards OSDP, more readers at the edge and new reader technology like BLE.”
Many point to an increasing number of upgrades and system refreshes recently, perhaps in part because of IT concerns. “There are a lot of aging systems out there that manufacturers have either disappeared or have stopped supporting the legacy systems,” Carriero says. “There is great opportunity there to do some refresh and bring them up to current technology.
“People understand lifecycles better than they used to,” he adds. “Years ago you bought a refrigerator and it lasted for 20 years. Now it is eight years. With the software industry becoming so much more involved with our industry it allows people to say, ‘I do need this new technology and want to change that system out because I need these features.’”
While this has been much more of a factor on the video side, where changeouts are typically easier and far more frequent, there are more compelling reasons than ever for the enterprise to look at their access control systems with a critical eye. For one, cybersecurity needs are shining the light on all security components that have been added to the network in the past. And the most ubiquitous access control card technology out there is known to be unsecure — a quick YouTube search will net you a wealth of videos that show you how to copy a simple proximity card, for example.
For those that can afford it or are investing in a bigger change, some of the new architectures and ways of approaching security are also starting to look attractive, Engelmann says. “We have seen the enterprise world starting to move away from legacy systems because the total cost of ownership is becoming a drag and it is impacting the IT divisions. The migration path from legacy to newer technology is much easier now because we aren’t talking about having to do a forklift upgrade on a number of systems. We can utilize as much as 80 percent of the existing equipment.”
Another option that enterprise customers are increasingly looking at is the unified platform, which natively integrates, typically, access control with video surveillance. “We are seeing more and more of those unified platforms available,” Hile says. “Pretty much all the major players have some level of unification in their platform, or at least deeper integration.”
As one of the pioneers of unified systems, Genetec has definitely seen a ramp-up, particularly in the last three years, Brouillet says. “In terms of year-over-year growth, we have seen a growth of about 45 percent. Why? I think the message of unified platform and openness resonates with the type of customers we are dealing with.”
Derek Arcuri, product marketing manager for Genetec sees this as a larger outgrowth of the enterprise centralizing and standardizing security in general. “There has been a mass migration from proprietary solutions to open and also there is the notion of cybersecurity that is a new criteria end users are looking for.” (See sidebar, page 78).
Hile also points to openness being a critical component to the enterprise today. “Our customers are telling us they really want an open solution where if they decide to change horses on the access control side, the boards are reusable.”
Some customers are starting to even request Mercury by name. Barnette comments that “it is a bit like saying Intel Inside. Although they don’t change out systems very often, when they are looking for a new system and they are given a proposal that says it is using Mercury they get that [same] level of comfort.”
The Intel analogy is apt, Schweitzer adds. “IT is a lot more involved in access control procurements and projects and when you come from that world everything is open standards and it is hard to fathom getting locked into a proprietary system.”
Compliance is another huge driver for enterprise, and access control systems are the natural base for that, with the types and quantity of data they collect. “The trend that is continuing is integration with data — corporate data, premises data, third party data, peripheral data. They want to be able to analyze and either drive automated processes or decisions,” Kane says. “It was always important but now it is becoming more and more critical, and tied more into workflow applications.”
The question becomes what to do with all that data, Bozeman says. “There is a huge upside. Manufacturers who are able to provide products and take advantage of this will be a shot in the arm for the enterprise-level system. There really isn’t anything else out there that comes remotely close to providing all this data.”
Integrators can also take advantage of this by creating or providing “dashboards” that aggregate a lot of this data for the end user. (See “Dashboards Deepen Value Proposition” on page 87.)
Unlike SMB’s, which more often than not know who all their employees are and what they look like, many enterprise customers are becoming more interested in identity management — being sure that the person with the card or credential is the correct person, that they truly have access to that location or computer, and even that they have the proper certifications and training to be in a certain area.
“Whenever you have a small group of employees it is easier to authenticate them and know who is where and doing what; but when you take that to the enterprise with thousands of visitors and employees it is a more significant issue. Identity management solutions that can scale and are automated are really important,” HID’s Arcement says.
“The convergence of identity and the impact of managing identity for business is huge,” says Jason Ouellette, product line director, access control, Tyco Security Products, Westford, Mass. “The physical part of access control plays a key role in this. As innovation and trends change how that identity is managed, if we are not watching, that could be a threat to traditional access as we know it today.”
One other change of note in the enterprise is an increasing desire to work, or at least have discussions, directly with the manufacturer.
“What we are seeing more and more are these big companies like multi-nationals that want to talk to the vendor,” says Stuart Tucker, vice president of enterprise solutions for AMAG Technology. “They understand they are not buying from the vendor, but when it comes to setting up complex, redundant VMware for a server, that is the kind of thing those customers and IT are way more comfortable dealing with us directly on how to configure.”
He adds this is a recent shift. “My whole division didn’t exist a year ago,” he says. What’s more, APIs are more important than ever before, addressing the whole openness discussion from a different angle. “IT is so protocol-based. The first thing you do when you build something is say, ‘How am I going to talk to this?’ The security world was a fortress. We have learned over the years we can give you an API that lets you talk to a certain thing. We are much better at becoming an IT product and we are continuing that.”
7 Average number of access control lines integrators are selling or supporting. – Source: Mercury Security
With as much going on in the enterprise space, change is just beginning to happen, says Phil Aronson, president and CEO of Aronson Security Group (ASG), Renton, Wash. “The traditional access control vendors are moving into the information management business. They want to be the hub of that architecture incorporating video, identity management, mobile, critical communications, etc. You will see that evolve more rapidly in 2017 and beyond.”
For integrators, this means changing their thinking as well. “It’s no longer only a debate over proximity versus smart card or key fob versus card,” says Scott Lindley, president, Farpointe Data, Sunnyvale, Calif. “In 2017, integrators must truly appreciate and then sell how the installation that they are proposing meets the needs of both the enterprise security and network computer system. Will their products integrate with all of the customer’s systems? Can the solution grow? And are they providing the cybersecurity that the customer requires?”
At all levels the winds of change are blowing in the access control space. They may not yet be gale force, but some areas are stronger than others and they can be felt all around. No one can predict how long any one trend will take to become entrenched, but as so much technology in other areas moves at a faster and faster pace, we can expect that to affect even the most conservative and traditional of customers, eventually.
“I do think we are seeing great strides in and around the access control world,” AMAG’s Takahashi says. “Unlocking and locking doors isn’t sexy. But how you do it and how you operationalize it, that is.”
For integrators the challenge may be maintaining the balancing act of old meets new for quite a few more years, however. “While many integrators are still installing older technology, in order to maintain their existing business and grow it for the future, they must learn and develop skills in newer, more secure technologies,” says David Cronk, technical director-physical security, Anixter, Glenview, Ill. “Their customers will require it to keep assets secure. The integrator that can deliver on these new technologies will be the integrator that grows their business and profits.”
‘When you come from the IT world everything is open standards and it is hard to fathom getting locked into a proprietary system.’ — Mark Schweitzer, G4S Secure Integration
With more end users open to upgrade opportunities, ASSA ABLOY’s Boriskin says the integrator is in a better position today. “There are always opportunities if you know where to look. If you stay up to date on what is available from manufacturers, it is not that difficult to create opportunity. It is just a matter of showing the end user, ‘We put this in eight years ago and it is working great, but we can offer this now.’ That could be functionality they didn’t have before, or integration to peripherals. You have to educate the end users.”
As the new kids on the block, BluBØX sees big changes ahead. “We see the combination of six key technologies driving the security market for the next 15 years — cloud, mobile, unified, biometrics, open and smart,” says Patrick Barry, CEO, BluBØX Security Inc., Andover, Mass. “We see a general shift from selling products and services to selling physical security as a service just like many of the other industries. We also see video as a service taking hold, along with digital credentials, and direct-to-cloud wireless and PoE integrated lock readers.”
Bozeman is extremely optimistic about 2017. “A lot of it has to do with our guys being open-minded about cybersecurity. They are not going to let that destroy their business and they are open about providing new services and the need to diversify. I feel better. I am the most optimistic I have been in quite some time from a business perspective.”
That outlook is shared by Napco’s Goldsobel. “In some ways there is a brighter outlook to access control right now than in the past two or three decades…. Almost every way you turn in terms of software, hosting, cloud, etc., you can either find a niche or expand what you are currently doing in access control.”