Diversifying Company Assets

Diversifying Company Assets

You’ve heard of IdentiSys, and its mission to supply identification and card solutions to end users in North America. Perhaps what you didn’t hear was that the Eden Prairie, Minn., company recently purchased all assets of LINSTAR, a full-fledged security integrator based in Buffalo, N.Y. At first glance, it seems like an odd marriage, but a closer inspection reveals the best of both worlds coming together to strengthen each organization. IdentiSys divides its time, about 70 percent to the ID and card solutions market; 30 percent to security and integration. LINSTAR is exactly the opposite. Most of its efforts are aimed at integration; a small portion focused on product development.

CHANGE IS GOOD

That business plan is about the change, so says Deb Ferril, president and general manager of the LINSTAR division. Ferril, who had been the president and COO of IdentiSys in Eden Prairie, has moved over to the New York operation to begin adopting the business of integration and product placement, along with product development.

“This acquisition for IndentiSys is very important because in order to grow in this industry, acquisitions and mergers must take place,” Ferril said. “Our goal is to replicate the LINSTAR business model for the staff at IdentiSys. We simply want a stronger and more recognizable footprint in the security market.”

IdentiSys is involved in the security market but not as much as company officials would like. There are numerous business opportunities for ID credentials outside of the security world; IdentiSys wants to position itself for success in both ID and security where LINSTAR is operating. In LINSTAR’s world, the company is a well-known name for security integration in New York and Pennsylvania, and is also dipping its toe south, into The City. The company has sales representatives in Upstate New York, in Rochester, Albany and the Lower Hudson Valley. Three more sales reps will soon be dispatched to New York City and Long Island.

“There is plenty of work statewide, but we also want to get into the business in New York City,” Ferril said. “We have an incredible sales team; only one of which comes from the security industry, but the others have learned the ins and outs of the industry from the corporate team, and talking to people in the field.

“We truly believe that the security industry is rich with opportunities, and that includes training for our partners, sales reps and customers,” Ferril said.

LEARNING THE BUSINESS

As part of Ferril’s view on the success of the company, she said new employees must have the desire to learn the business, not just products, in order to be effective and that’s why training is a priority. However, she said, security sales is a different animal. LINSTAR mainly uses access control products from Galaxy and Isonas. Their VMS products come from Video Insight and OnSSI, and cameras come from Pelco, Panasonic, Advidia and Axis.

As an integrator, LINSTAR excels in three major verticals: Campus and K-12 security, emergency management and law enforcement. The success that LINSTAR is finding in the these verticals is translating to success in the commercial sector. Law enforcement is a big deal for the Buffalo, N.Y., office. Sheriffs’ offices and police departments statewide are lining up to implement the companies body-worn cameras. No, it’s not the same as wiring and placing cameras in a facility, but lately, law enforcement body cameras have been in the news, and LINSTAR’s expertise with video management and law enforcement makes it a perfect match.

Law Enforcement officials rely on LINSTAR for help in securing and monitoring their facilities, as well as public spaces within their domain, recording of suspect interviews for evidentiary purposes, issuance of badges and credentials for sworn and civilian employees, identifying and tracking visitors.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is a public authority responsible for the oversight of public transportation in both Erie and Niagara Counties in New York. The NFTA, as an authority, oversees a number of subsidiaries, including the NFTA Metro bus and rail system, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport. The NFTA was expanding their Body Worn Camera program and wanted to test the newest available technologies before purchasing additional units.

The NFTA field tested and converted to Safety Vision Prima Facie cameras and Prima View software to improve video quality, durability and ease of use over the previous brand they had used.

“We have targeted the healthcare industry as a vertical we want to enter with ID credentials for both patient and provider, but mainly as an integrator,” Ferril said. “This is a key market for security solutions such as strong authentication for accessing record and digital signatures.

A DREAM COME TRUE

For Ferril, her new assignment in New York is almost like a dream come true. She said she has always had an interest in security, particularly the video side. She said it is fascinating, and there are a lot more opportunities with video surveillance. Ferril said she is a technogeek at heart. So in line with the old adage of: “If the shoe fits,” Ferril is going to wear it.

Ferril’s background fits perfectly in the security industry as she began in the computer industry, which led her to security, and then security management. She is insistent that doing a good job and taking care of the business has led her to the position as company president. Ferril said the LINSTAR sales staff is in a unique position as all of them are female, and are finding lots of success in the industry.

“When you get a foot in the door, especially a woman in this industry, you better know what you’re talking about,” Ferril said. “There is not one particular profile that works for all sales staff. Each person has developed their own style based on experience and knowledge.”

LINSTAR and Ferril bring an excellent integrator to the forefront. The customer base is phenomenal, and the dream is to have customers talking about the company’s core values, focus on the customer, quality of work and the ability to deliver what LINSTAR says they will deliver.

“Our relationships with the customer base would be enviable to any integrator,” Ferril said. “We hear customers speaking about our core values and delivering on promises made. Our work ethic is second to none.”

And, as far as Ferril is concerned, the LINSTAR experience is akin to being a kid in a candy store. The opportunities for growth fill every shelf of the corporate headquarters. With continued success, the plan is to take the security business model to IdentiSys, which is firmly entrenched in 28 states.

LINSTAR is the latest in a number of IdentiSys acquisitions. Moving around the security industry has been part of the business model, mostly to strengthen what the company already has in place, and bring new ideas and technologies to the long list of already satisfied customers.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.

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