Integrators could stand to make some extra money by selling remote access control — if they can get their head around selling services and the concept of RMR (recurring monthly revenue), according to a panel of experts who spoke recently at a CANASA Ontario Chapter meeting.
By Neil Sutton
Remote managed access is a technology whose time has come, said Guido Dipilla, business development manager, North America, Kantech. The market was starting to come to fruition in 2010, but 2011 has so far seen “exponential growth,” with further gains expected until at least 2015. “That’s why we’ve invested heavily in this market,” he said.
The idea of selling services “in the cloud” is not a new one, said Shawn Gore, marketing manager, network solutions, Keyscan Access Control Systems, but the security industry typically lags behind the IT industry when it comes to such concepts. It’s important that security professionals realize that the remote managed access market is beginning to bloom.
“If we in the security industry don’t recognize that, other people will,” he said. “Get on board right now.”
The RMR potential is huge, added Gore. Customers will buy a monthly managed service from a provider so long as they can appreciate the advantages. “Your customer has probably heard of SaaS (Software as a Service) and is probably glad you’re bringing it to the table.”
The key points to hit when approaching a customer are: lower total cost of ownership; scalability; and peace of mind from having access control managed off site.
There’s no need for the customer to host their own software, said Doug Penson, president of My Managed Security Inc. “That’s a quantifiable amount. ‘I can save you X dollars a year.’” There are also potential savings to labour costs, he added. “The receptionist is not an access control expert; we are. That’s where part of the (sales) pitch goes.”
Integrators need to understand that they’re selling a service and not just a product, said Penson. “We’re no longer selling card readers and cards. The pitch has to change. The key is, how do we position what it is we’re trying to do? That’s where many integrators stumble and fail.” There are key differences between hardware and services. By understanding those, “that’s where the better integrators stand out from the crowd.”
Integrators need to add remote managed services as another arrow in their quiver, said Dipilla, and then make sure they are presenting the full suite of options to their potential clients. “How many sales have you lost because the customer didn’t know you offered it?” he said. A “true integrated solution” might include alarms, video monitoring, telephone entry and remote access.
The opportunities are there for the taking, but Dipilla said integrators need to exercise caution when picking product to go to market. “Be careful how you choose your partners. This is a business-level decision that has huge implications for you.”
The typical complications that arise with remote managed access are the provision of data security, encryption, appropriate back-ups and uptime guarantees, said Gore. Despite this, the integrator probably won’t incur won’t encounter liability or insurance issues above and beyond those for access control systems that are managed on site.