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Mobile credentials are a hot topic at ASIS 2016

Published on 13 September, 2016

No doubt about it, the ASIS International show is smaller than in years past. And there is (the usual) grumbling about slow attendee traffic (and the also predictable counter-arguments about “the quality of the leads.”) Some of the security and safety technology being featured was introduced earlier at ISC West, but there is still plenty to see in the exhibit hall.

Growth of mobile credentials

Mobile credentials are a hot topic again, and Lenel has joined the growing number of companies supplying a mobile credentialing system to the market. Lenel’s Blue Diamond mobile credentials are based on technology developed by United Technologies sister company Supra. The use of a cell phone (by Supra) to open a real estate key box has already been adapted to the hospitality industry (with a deployment at Hilton Hotels), and now as an access control credential, part of Lenel’s OnGuard Version 7.3 release for the commercial and industrial security market.

The components of the system are a Bluetooth reader, a virtual credential provided through a smart phone app, a cloud-based credentialing portal, and integration with the latest version of OnGuard. Offering a full solution is simpler to implement, and Lenel even has an “in-line” Bluetooth reader that can be used to add Bluetooth capabilities to existing systems. It’s just one aspect of the OnGuard 7.3 release that also is “reinventing the OnGuard experience,” according to Ross McKay, Lenel Systems International’s Director of Project Management.

Future adoption

Mobile credentials are big talk at ASIS, but how long before they will be widely used? Estimates are all over the map, but research firm IMS has projected the percentage adoption of mobile credentialing at 19 percent by 2020 (according to McKay of Lenel).

"Our industry is slow to adopt, but
if you show mobile credentialing
to end users, they get it immediately,
anything you can give them on a
phone, they will use"

But Steve Van Till, president and CEO of Brivo, which launched its mobile credentialing system at last year’s ASIS, sees a range of possibilities in terms of adoption. Witnessing the fast adoption of smart phones as alternatives to perform a large number of daily tasks, some say mass adoption could only be a couple of years away. On the other hand, in our market, a lot of people are still using proximity cards (despite introductions of superior alternatives over the years). That legacy argues for slow adoption indeed. “Our industry is slow to adopt, but if you show mobile credentialing to end users, they get it immediately,” says Van Till. “Anything you can give them on a phone, they will use.”

Because ASIS is an end user show, exhibitors tend to reflect on the changing dynamic of selling to end users.

Changing purchasing dynamics

How end users buy products may be changing -- obviously the IT department is having a greater influence than ever before. But what hasn’t changed is the importance of creating a system that will keep end users satisfied as they use it day-to-day for years after the installation is complete. IT may be yielding more influence, but at the end of the day, it’s the security customers -- the attendees at ASIS -- who must be satisfied.

“While the IT infrastructure and personnel are involved in how decisions are made, security personnel are still heavily involved,” says Sharad Shekhar, CEO of Pelco by Schneider Electric. “On a day-to-day operations level, it’s the security user who either truly benefits or gets truly hurt by the product. We face IT challenges up front, but the day-to-day utility of our products in the market is judged by the security people, not the IT people.”

Shekhar says feedback from those day-to-day end users is one factor that makes a show like ASIS so important. “We need to get continuous feedback to guide our future product development,” says Shekhar. “The type of people who do security -- they like stability. They like certainty because it’s the nature of the business. They want to apply solutions that have been vetted, that are proven. Customers can’t afford to make a mistake.”

"The type of people who do
security - they like stability.
They like certainty because
it’s the nature of the business"

At ASIS, Pelco is showing its VideoXpert open video management system (VMS) platform, integrated with the Optera multi-sensor panoramic camera. The ability of the VMS to display a seamless multi-sensor image is getting good feedback from customers. Pelco’s core strategy is to focus on four major verticals -- gaming, city surveillance, oil and gas, and ports. They devote a range of resources to each of the major verticals, including multi-functional teams including research and development, engineering, product support and marketing personnel. A fifth core vertical in the United States is corrections, and Pelco also sells in secondary verticals such as education, healthcare, etc., although they are focusing more on the core verticals.

Education and training

Education is an important aspect of the ASIS show, there are rooms and rooms of educational sessions on a range of topics going on concurrently with the trade show. But education is also happening on the show floor, often in the form of presentations from vendors in theatre-like areas of their booths. Promise Technology, a manufacturer of storage systems, is a first-time ASIS exhibitor that is providing educational sessions in their presentation theatre in cooperation with VMS partners.

“There is a lot of information in education and training,” says John van den Elzen, Managing Director, Worldwide Surveillance Business Unit, Promise Technology. “End users like to know how a solution is working. They don’t want to hassle with it if it doesn’t work. We qualify all the VMS vendors before the product comes to market. We know it works. We have a good relationship with the VMS vendors and work together if there is a problem -- no finger-pointing.”

Promise provides RAID storage systems that are specifically targeted to the security market, and promote the products using security terms rather than IT terms. And they listen to feedback, whether at a trade show or at the many education events they have held globally to growing numbers of attendees. “This is very successful,” says van den Elzen. “People have a lack of knowledge and we look to fill in that gap.”

There’s more knowledge to be had, and more exhibitors to visit in the second day of ASIS.

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