Wireless locks offer specific advantages for access control end users and integrators, and some of their value has yet to be realised in the market. Wireless locks expand the range of applications for electronic locks to complement traditional wired systems. They offer flexibility and scalability. They save on integrators’ labour costs. They even provide opportunities for integrators to earn recurring monthly revenue (RMR).
A recent Allegion panel discussion highlighted the value, opportunities and untapped potential of wireless locks. Allegion panellists elaborated on some of the many advantages of wireless locks, including the following:
Providing more system flexibility
It’s a time of change in corporate and institutional environments. Customers are trying to manage a smaller operating budget with more people and more multi-use applications. Building applications are changing more frequently. Wireless locks can be used to convert more mechanical applications to electronic, but they are not necessarily real-time and/or monitored applications.Customers are trying to manage a smaller operating budget with more people and more multi-use applications
For example, a wireless lock could be installed on a seldom-used door, such as a storage closet, to avoid the need to manage keys. The flexibility of wireless locks also would allow that same door to be transitioned to communicate with a network via WiFi, or it could be used for real-time communication in a monitored system.
“It’s much more flexible if one product can do about six different things,” says Brad Aikin, Allegion’s Channel Led Business Leader, Integrator Channel. New product approaches enable intelligence to be added after the fact to existing wireless locks, thus further increasing flexibility.
Designing systems that are scalable
“We now have products that can start from very basic applications, and then build capabilities through systems and integrations all within one device,” says Mark Jenner, Allegion Market Development Director.
Offering a useful complement to wired systems
Once you understand how to deploy the wireless technology, the efficiencies of it from a labour perspective are pretty amazing”
Wireless is not a “silver bullet” – not for every application, says Aikin. “I think it is an incremental opportunity,” he says, and more likely to drive conversion of existing mechanical locks than to transition wired electronic systems. “You’re just looking to get a more efficient credential, and to get rid of that master key system, or to dramatically shrink it down,” he adds.
“Wireless is an example of how the integrator can do more, not just differently, but have more conversations and help their end users. They are not things the end-users are going to ask for inherently; these are latent needs. They are not going to bring it up.”
Allegion panellists elaborated on some of the many advantages of wireless locks
Less labour involved in installations
“Once you understand how to deploy the wireless technology, the efficiencies of it from a labour perspective are pretty amazing,” says Robert Gaulden, Allegion Project Based Business Leader, Electronic Access Control. “Integrators can deploy two additional jobs in a day because they are on and off jobs more quickly. There are huge benefits, depending on what environment you are in.”
Labour is a significant cost for integrators – finding, retaining and training good employees. Any new efficiencies in terms of labour – such as the simplified installation of wireless locking systems – is a saving grace for integrators.Providing remote firmware updates is another way to provide ongoing service without being invasive or disruptive to the end user environment
“We see a lot more adoption from our customer base once they become comfortable with how to use the wireless technology,” says Gaulden.
New opportunities for RMR
There is a shift among integrators away from one-time installations and toward a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) model in which the integrator manages all aspects of the system over time for a monthly fee. Wireless systems can help to simplify that transition by lowering costs.
Managing interior doors and locks can add value and incremental revenue, says Jenner. Providing remote firmware updates is another way to provide ongoing service without being invasive or disruptive to the end user environment.
“We support that from the product perspective, but developers and software companies need to take advantage of it,” says Devin Love, Allegion Market Development Manager. “It’s an important feature for the end user, but we are still navigating through the world of wireless adoption.”
“No one wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘I am going to buy a lock today,’” says Aikin. “We need to ensure we are having conversations about security needs, but also about how to deploy the technology to make it easier to manage and have more flexibility,” says Aikin.