Looking at the field of electronic access control — and the ability to install an access control system in a new construction or to upgrade a building to networked locks and openings —the opportunities and challenges can viewed as two sides of the same coin.
On one side is that ability to offer a customer an array of options for nearly every building and every opening within. On the other side are the implications an access control upgrade will have on the actual network, on the staff that maintains the network, and on the individuals who use the doors on a day-to-day basis.
For security integrators, the opportunity to present a diverse offering of solutions to customers has never been greater. But how do you make sure customers are presented with appropriate options without being overwhelmed? More importantly, how do you ensure they are utilizing technologies that make their building safe and secure, as well as comfortable, efficient and effective?
Because of all these options, and all these new concerns, a balance must be struck. And that is where the consultative approach to electronic access control by security salespeople and integrators becomes critical.
Listening: A Key Element of the Access Control Upgrade
If a customer can tell you their story about what they want to protect or secure in their access control upgrade, then you can take the next steps to making that happen. This also gives you a chance to walk through their process and offer them more options.
For example, emergency rooms have a central cabinet of medications that need to be secured. We can do that. But wouldn’t it be great if they could keep certain medications inside an examination room under lock while still maintaining an audit trail? Well, we can do that, too. And maybe that approach can be used for other places in the facility, such as records storage or computer rooms.
Taking these first steps in the consultative approach to the access control system upgrade means listening first, and then bringing the right solutions to the fold. For the customer, this typically results in a more friendly solution, and helps introduce them to new approaches, best practices and solutions they may not have considered.
Breaking Electronic Access Control Upgrade Expectations
Say a building is something akin to an office space. A building owner may have a preconceived notion of what will be enough security to meet the need. But if you are protecting computers, it might be important to ask what is on those computers. Different businesses deal in different types of information — some far more valuable than others.
That said, not every office needs to be locked down all day long. Full, online access control at every opening is likely unnecessary in most work environments. Too much security can severely hamper the user experience and create more struggle than it is worth. Further, we need to consider the cost of infrastructure required to support the security and locking hardware.
With the exception of some government spaces, the reality is that very few entities can afford to deploy completely separate networks for security. That means, for most, data will be stored and transferred on existing networks.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that security systems are secure enough to run on a mixed network and that they are lean enough not to disrupt the day-to-day flow of business data on the same wire.
Using a modern electronic access control system means managing data as it is collected and transmitted, as it is transferred along the network, and on the server side. That requires someone at the site to manage cybersecurity, digital certificates and troubleshoot issues if something goes wrong.
Not everyone is going to have that capability. And if they don’t have the capability, do you?
Long gone are the days of just selling products. We sell solutions. And part of that might be to train staff at an installation, provide support in the future, and working with partner companies as troubleshooters or access control system managers. To do this, integrators and salespeople need to make sure they themselves are trained on the technologies and that their own staff are trained.
As this boom in technology continues, salespeople and integrators will need to develop a broad understanding of offerings, a diverse technical skill set to keep up with the competition, and the ability to approach each project with a consultative mindset.
Peter Boriskin is Vice President of Commercial Product Management for ASSA ABLOY Americas.