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Ask the Expert: How Can I improve revenue with an access control installation?

When customers come looking for a way to control access to their facility, they may be thinking only of access cards or key fobs, readers, and software that lets them set time schedules and permissions. However, access control technology has come a long way from these types of basic capabilities, and it is to your benefit to educate the customer on the more comprehensive solutions that are available today.

February 17, 2010  By Jim Kasperek

If customers come to you with a specific system in mind, ask them a few questions to get them thinking in a new way about their needs. For example, ask if there are areas within their facility or specific doors that are higher risk or require extra security. These areas may present you with up-selling opportunities.

If the customer appears open to the advanced capabilities of access control systems, ask additional questions that will lead them toward video integration – a powerful way to add an extra layer of security for their facility. For example, ask if they’d like to be able to see the person presenting the credential before granting access to high-risk areas or a visual log of who entered the facility after hours.

With video integration, customers gain greater overall control of their facility, the means to investigate access events through live or recorded video, and the ability to respond faster to security risks.

For example, alarm verification instantly displays live video images from nearby cameras when there is an alarm event at a door — such as when a person presents an unauthorized credential or when a door is forced open. This level of instant response can improve the overall performance of a customer’s security staff. Security personnel do not need to go to the site of an event to look into an alarm. They can view video of the event from their workstations and positively identify the cause — only going to the alarm location when follow-up is necessary. This reduces the amount of time security personnel spend away from their workstations and better prepares them with an understanding of the situation when they do need to visit the location.


Access events can also trigger cameras or recording settings to change without operator intervention. For example, an access event can prompt a PTZ camera to move into a pre-set position or it can cause a DVR to record at a higher frame rate to capture more details of the event. Prompting higher-quality recordings ensures the video resolution is sufficient for thorough investigation of access events.

In addition, video can become a more proactive tool and give security personnel better situational awareness through verification of access requests. When a reader is set for video verification, and a person requests access, the cardholder’s image stored in the access database and multiple live camera views automatically appear on the screen and can be simultaneously recorded on a digital video recorder. A front view camera allows for facial comparisons between the live camera and the static database image. At the same time, an overview camera can help the operator determine that no other threats exist at the door. If all appears normal, the operator can manually open the door from his workstation to grant the cardholder access. This capability allows the immediate identification of threats, like the use of stolen credentials or tailgating, and helps ensure only authorized people are granted access to the facility or sensitive area within the building.

Tying together access and video was previously the job of the integrator. However, manufacturers have made this simpler with built-in integration through logical control over an IP network. Logical integration eliminates the need for multiple software platform and interfaces — resulting in fewer complications, greater event-driven functionality, reduced installation time and costs, and simplified configuration. With built-in video integration, the system’s capabilities can easily advance in the future if your customer isn’t ready for or doesn’t have the budget for video integration at the time of the initial installation.

Overall, integrating video is an effective way to up-sell access control to your customers. Even if the customer isn’t ready for this step now, choosing a system that offers video integration capabilities gives you upgrade options for the future. And, when the time comes, your customer will be familiar and comfortable with the system — only needing to learn some additional functionality, which will make for a smooth transition.

James Kasperek is the product marketing manager for access control systems for Bosch Security Systems, Inc. He has more than 13 years experience in the security industry and can be reached at


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