California Commerical Security managing access for customers, and smaller dealers as well

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

SAN DIEGO—California Commercial Security, a systems integrator based here, began as a door hardware company 14 years ago. It still provides those services, but has developed into a full service systems integrator with a specialty in access control, and it likes the business so well, that it’s preparing to become a third-party provider of managed access control to smaller dealers.

The company's managed access control business “really grew out of a perceived need in the marketplace,” said CCS president Charlie Baker. And it’s morphed into a nice way to augment his security integration business, he said, “to get away from the break-fix mentality,” and to add RMR.

CCS is a $4 million systems integrator. About 65 percent of its business is card access, the balance is CCTV, custom applications, fire, mass notification. Baker has owned the business for 14 years and he has 26 employees.

CCS had been doing its own version of managed card access for a number of years.

“A common problem after the installation [of a non-managed system] is two, three or six years later, the person who managed the system moved away, and the day before Thanksgiving, no one knows how to the close the door ... or the computer with the access control died and there’s no backup.” Fixing these kinds of problems can cost a company $3,000 to $5,000, considerably more than the cost of outsourcing the management of its access control to CCS.

Even if there are no problems with an access control system, it’s expensive for businesses to manage access control in house. “It’s a quick calculation,” said David Ito, product manager for Kantech MAC. “If someone spends two hours per week managing the system, over the course of one year, it can add up to a few thousand dollars.”

About three years ago, CCS started using Kantech’s managed access control platform. Its customers can opt for hosted access (they control their access using a web browser) or managed access (CCS manages the system for them).

“Right now we have well over 100 accounts and we manage more than 700 doors,” Baker said. “We’ve never lost an account.”

The process of working with his managed access customers actually helps with customer retention. “It cements the relationship [of CCS] with the customer,” he said.

In the last year Baker rolled out a program where customers can update their access rights via a secure [CCS branded] web site from anywhere in the world.

CCS will soon provide hosted and managed access control for other smaller dealers, who don’t have the infrastructure to provide this service to their customers on their own. This will enable smaller dealers to create an RMR stream, and increase CCS’s RMR stream as well.

Guido DiPilla, VP business development, Kantech MAC, North America, noted that smaller dealers who partner with CCS will have their own branding on the access control systems. “If ABC company uses CCS as a third party provider, ABC gets an ABC-branded web site [for its customers to use]. So it looks to the customer like an ABC service.” The branding becomes an important marketing tool.

DiPilla said a number integrators around the country are third-party providers of this service, such as Digicom in Ohio, M6 in Vancouver, Dunbar Security Systems in Maryland, and API in Toronto.