How an Interruption Sparked an Industry Trend - Key management systems developed to store, track sensitive keys

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How an Interruption Sparked an Industry Trend

Key management systems developed to store, track sensitive keys

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of selfhelp sales books on the market offering advice for everyone from the beginner through to the seasoned sales veteran. The books cover topics that range from the sales basics to comedic experiences to tried and true formulated sales strategies. A primary concept behind all of them is how best to get a foot in the door in order to pitch your product and show how this product will help solve the customer’s problem.

For Fernando Pires, vice president of sales and marketing at Morse Watchmans, the issue was not getting in the door to talk about the company’s solutions. Nor, was the issue convincing customers that the product being demonstrated, the popular Guard Tour system, would solve the longstanding issue of incomplete guard tour reports and track stations that were facing security management. In fact, the Guard Tour system has been totally embraced by security managers, and within just a few years of its introduction in 1987, more than 20,000 facilities around the world were using the system.

The problem that Fernando and sales staff were running into were the all too often disruptions during presentations and follow-up meetings on the Guard Tour solution. Security guards, security department staff and other office personnel frequently had to interrupt discussions in order to retrieve building keys that were held in the manager’s office, or ask about their whereabouts. Then, it was a matter of searching through drawers or removing a particular key from a bundle of keys on a chain or removing the key from a peg board. Nowhere in any self-help sales books was there a practical solution or advice for this issue.

Designing innovative products that meet customers’ needs was a foundational way of thinking at Morse Watchmans. And when combined with the feedback from their customers about security and financial problems due to lost keys and inaccurate log books, they quickly realized the need for an automated key management system. In 1993, Morse Watchmans released the KeyWatcher™ _ the first stand-alone key management system that electronically releases keys to authorized users. This system allowed keys to be stored in a smart storage cabinet that accounts for each user by access code, time and date. Keys are physically locked in place and only released to authorized users. No more interrupting a meeting to request a key or look for a log book to find a key.

From this initial introduction, the KeyWatcher system has been continually upgraded and enhanced to meet the changing market requirements. Based on customer requests, many new components have been added and the system has been expanded to accommodate more key locations and users. System flexibility and versatility however have remained key benefits of Morse Watchmans key control and asset management systems. A system can be configured to the exact needs of the facility with custom solutions that include multiple key modules, lockers, biometric access (i.e. hand readers, iris recognition) and versatile installation options. And, the system can be easily expanded or reconfigured as needs change—even on a networked platform to accommodate multiple locations.

Through on-going product enhancements, key management systems can optimize access control solutions through system integration. Today, the most advanced key management solutions can be integrated with networked security systems. Open protocols enable connectivity to access control and other systems provided by a range of integration partners for multiple levels of security and control. Integration of multiple locations, with common usage of databases and programming; real time information; local and remote access; computerized reporting; specialized alert notifications and ease of use also elevate key management and access control to the next level.

Customer feedback plays an important role in product evolution. As an example, today’s work force no longer sits primarily in a cubicle at a desk. By integrating mobile devices with key control and asset management systems, security personnel or other authorized users can see a wide range of live information and can interact remotely with the KeyWatcher key control system. Management can maintain optimum control of building keys at any time of the day or night or when away from the primary place of business.

Increasingly, environmental concerns are taken into consideration when new technology solutions are adopted and key control systems are no exception. For example, bike sharing programs at universities as well as corporate and commercial locations use keys that are controlled and stored in an automated key management system. Additionally, multi-site networked systems allow users to return keys to any cabinet location. Advanced systems provide the location of each key in the system so time and energy are not wasted in looking for keys.

Today’s key control and asset management systems offer efficient management of key control and storage across a broad range of applications. Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control systems are found in end-user market locations such as casino and gaming facilities, correctional facilities, healthcare institutions, hospitality businesses, multi-family buildings and educational facilities.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Security Today.

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