How an Interruption Sparked an Industry Trend
Key management systems developed to store, track sensitive keys
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Mar 01, 2015
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.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.