Ulrich Wydler of Kaba discusses how recent technological developments along with increasing demand for compatible components and total solutions, have led to the development of total channel management, which challenges the traditional supplier and distribution channels.
The markets for mechanical locks, electronic access control and data collection solutions have historically developed separately. This applies to suppliers as well as their distribution channels. Locking systems made by renowned manufacturers are usually installed and maintained by independent local locksmiths, electronic access control systems are supplied directly by the manufacturer or through specialised installers, while data collection solutions (for time and attendance, operational data) are the domain of software houses who offer total solutions in partnership with terminal manufacturers.
However, recent technological developments are upsetting the current supply arrangement. Lock makers now also develop mechatronic and digital access control systems, offering enhanced security and flexibility through compatibility with mechanical locking systems. These devices function with the same technology, based on a licensed contactless RFID (radio-frequency identification) medium with segmented memory space.
One application example is, a firm's employees can use the same identification device such as ID cards or mechatronic keys (smart keys) for authorisation to access offices, plants and storage rooms, to pay at canteens, vending machines and petrol stations, and to identify themselves for time-and-attendance and operational data collection purposes. The availability of the unlimited technological solutions and the ever rising cost of building maintenance and IT systems have led to an increasing demand for flexible access control products that are compatible with data collection solutions.
From a system administrator point of view, modern technology enables personnel data to be entered only once into the system and used for all authorisations. Moreover, all physical entrances and locks can be secured as part of the same access control system using the same application software. An integrated alarm management module manages all alarms with a single terminal, and the CCTV system corresponds with the access control systems automatically. The integration possibilities are endless. The increasing demand for compatible components and total solutions is the logical outcome of these developments.
But will customers forego the services of a local locksmith? Must they limit themselves to the supply spectrum of the total solution provider? And will they have to do without the customised software solution?
No. Customers can continue buying products and services through their preferred channels: The locking system through the local locksmith, the electronic access control system through the specialists and the software solution through software houses. Or they can buy the whole package directly from the total solution provider. The decision is with the customer.
The magic words ‘channel management' make this concept possible. A total solution provider that has mastered all applications technologically organises the distribution of compatible modules and solutions through the relevant channels. At the same time, the company offers integration services directly or through a third party integrator. Customers gain the maximum benefit with this concept: The all-embracing offering, the local service, the individual software solution and the competent integration service. Where in addition, the total solution provider guarantees future proofing and scalability / compatibility of associated products for retrofit as well as upgrade purposes, (Kaba calls this ‘horizontal compatibility'), the customer benefits from the ultimate investment protection.
Kaba, a leader in access control and data collection technologies has set up a distribution network that realises just this concept throughout Europe starting July 1, 2006.
Chief Operating Officer
Kaba, Access Systems Europe