The access control market is one of the more stable areas of the physical security industry, and with good reason: Access control is a necessity for customers in nearly every vertical, from healthcare and education to finance, manufacturing and retail.
For end users, access control helps to ensure secure access for authorized individuals, while helping to keep unauthorized people at bay. For value-added resellers, access control technology represents a fantastic business opportunity.
If you strive to become a specialist in the area of access control, it’s important to develop several qualities. Here are four hallmarks of a true access control specialist:
1. A strong understanding of the industry.
Of course, it’s vital to have a strong understanding of the access control industry, including the technology, new innovations, common challenges for end users, best practices for design and installation, and the major manufacturers. This knowledge will help to establish yourself as an expert in the field of access control—and a reliable, effective VAR.
Get to know the physical security industry by subscribing to trade publications and websites such as SecurityInfoWatch, Security Products, Security Systems News and SourceSecurity. Join industry organizations, including the Security Industry Association and ASIS. Finally, consider partnering with a technology distributor to help learn the ropes of this fast-evolving market.
2. Attention to detail.
Physical security systems require careful cabling, networking, placement and set-up. A single project can include hundreds of devices and thousands of feet of cabling. Here’s where a patient attitude and careful attention to detail come in handy.
Plan each design and installation thoroughly. Once the install is underway, be sure to document every device, cable and connection. That way, you’ll know exactly where everything is, and any updates or changes can be completed quickly and easily.
This may seem like a strange trait for a technology expert to have, but creativity can go a long way in system design. Once you know the access control basics, feel free to get a bit creative. Each facility and each customer is different, so flex your design prowess to create a system that works specifically for them—and fits their budget.
Think outside of the box on access control technology and placement. Consider how the system might integrate with other devices, such as video surveillance, to improve security even more. Work with your customer to discover their ultimate goals, and then get creative when designing the right solution for them.
4. A focus on the future.
Like any VAR, it’s important for an access control specialist to look beyond the current project, with a goal of forming a lifelong customer. He or she should seek out technology that will serve the client for a long time and is easily upgradeable and scalable, if the facility’s needs change. It’s also important to find access control systems that are based on open architecture; this ensures that each device is easily integratable with others and the customer doesn’t get locked into a proprietary relationship with one manufacturer.
What other qualities would you say are important in an access control specialist? What are some of your go-to resources for new access control technologies and innovations?