Installing Smart Systems
Creating new opportunities for security integrators
- By Jenny Lytle
- Jun 02, 2022
Many multi-family communities and single building owners are still using traditional telephone entry systems where information lives on localized hardware. This makes it more difficult for owners and managers to satisfy basic security needs when they are struggling to keep up with the entry/exit of permanent or part-time residents, renters, visitors, guests, deliveries and service providers.
Legacy entry systems will soon be obsolete as telecom companies begin to phase out the use of copper wiring. Security integrators who are serious about building their businesses should get in front of this inevitable transition to smart access control systems.
The Challenges of Community Access Management Using Legacy Technology
Community access management is a complex, time-consuming process. Regardless of the property type, there are multiple points of access to control and an ever-changing database of resident information to manage.
With legacy analog technologies, databases are kept at the entry unit itself. In some cases, the community manager/owner must be on site at the unit to make updates. Since it is such a time-consuming experience, many community managers and MDU owners tend to update their databases less often. This means that active access codes are available to former, unauthorized residents.
Smart Access Video Intercoms
Smart access video intercoms are rapidly replacing obsolete and unreliable telephone intercoms. Communities have two choices when faced with this inevitable change.
1. They can retrofit their existing hardware with a smart hub that connects their current set up to cloud-based access control software.
2. They can transition to smart video intercoms which come with embedded controllers that automatically connect with cloud access control software. It is the connectivity of the cloud that gives property owners and managers the flexibility to manage access from anywhere at any time. And a smart video intercom system supports both security, efficiency, and convenience.
Also, a smart video intercom system enables real-time, remote monitoring of access status. This is an opportunity for security professionals to offer monitoring services to owners/ managers, adding recurring monthly revenue as part of their service contracts.
What to Look for in a Smart Access Control System
The cloud and the connectivity of the Internet of Things has created the smart access control market and introduced a host of new products. Security integrators will be well served to partner with best-in-class access solution providers—providers who offer robust and scalable systems with seamless integration capabilities. Here are some things to consider when looking for a trusted partner.
Ease of use. This is typically the most important factor to take into consideration when looking to implement an access control system. A reliable cloud-based access control system should come with an intuitive interface for residents as well as easy programming capabilities that allow system integrators to add or update data from anywhere. Additionally, a system that installs software updates automatically ends the management of multiple software licenses running on different versions of the software. And the integrator doesn’t need to be onsite to download or install cloud software.
Customizable. It is important to select an access control system that aligns with a community’s needs. The system should be scalable and flexible to allow users to specify the level of control they need now and with the ability to add-on features later. Features like access control for elevators, parking structures and garages. The access control system should also come with robust diagnostics that can be customized to issue alerts and notifications that are relevant to the community’s needs.
Versatile. Selecting an access control system that plays nicely with other security systems allows dealers to enhance a community’s safety through a seamless over-arching solution tailored to specific needs. Also, security professionals who can integrate smart access control with other security solutions can build a stronger and proactive service relationship with customers.
The Future of Smart Access Control
Smart access control plays a big role in how secure a community is. And the need to control access points is a fundamental part of a community’s overall security solution.
Integrators who want to improve and expand their service offerings should consider the benefits of replacing a legacy system with a robust, a full-featured cloud access solution that delivers enhanced functionality and easy integration with other security solutions.
This article originally appeared in the May / June 2022 issue of Security Today.
About the Author
Jenny Lytle is the general manager, Commercial Emerging Business at Chamberlain Group