S2 now available on Mercury panels

Network, web-based option now ready for retrofit market
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—S2 Security, an IP-based access control manufacturer, announced today its software now integrates with Mercury Security access control panels, those used by the likes of Lenel, RS2 and others on an OEM basis. This is the first time the S2 system can be installed without S2 hardware.

“My strategy has always been,” said S2 founder and CEO John Moss, “to enter a market that we’re entering for the first time, or with a first offering, with a product that won’t directly challenge the biggest established players. If you go after them, you get steamrolled ... So we started by introducing a low-end to mid-range system with the Netbox, and then grew it into Enterprise, and when we introduced it, it was 100 percent web-based, 100 percent network connected, and the mid-range product was solid state, so there were a bunch of new advantages that occurred as a result of the sea change in 2001/2002 when all this technology became available.”

Once IP became more widely accepted, “integrators and end users began to say to us that it would be great if we could port our software onto Mercury products, since they had such a big investment in that already, and that’s what drove this.”

However, Moss doesn’t intend to build his business off stealing other companies’ accounts. “I don’t like that business model,” he said. “It’s not a scalable business model to just wait for the other guy to screw up.”

Open Options is another company that has based itself on the Mercury panel since its inception in 1998. Director of marketing and communications Brent Doherty said, “we do benefit from unhappy customers of other manufacturers, but our core business is just new sales and putting new Mercury panels out there. But that’s the beauty of open architecture: If someone isn’t happy with their software, including us, there are options out there for changing without losing your hardware.”

Mercury CTO and founder Frank Gasztonyi said it’s important that those people who want the web-based, IP-focused model have a Mercury-based option. “There’s not a universal acceptance or demand for IP-based systems, but there are some sectors that are very eager to consume it,” he said. “I think IT-based deployments are going to be increasing, but not in extremely rapid fashion. At this point, it’s not a significant part of our sales.”

However, for those that want IP, they can’t be dissuaded. “Our integrators demanded that we have an IP option,” he said, “because they were losing some jobs because the customers they were approaching were looking for it. Maybe two years from now the market will understand it more, but the foundation of the traditional access control architecture is sound. I don’t see that going away.”

Doherty was more bullish on the IP conversion: “We’re starting to see a lot more interest in IP-based systems,” said Doherty, “the PoE, the everything IP to the door. I think we see very little of the traditional hardwiring all the way back to the computer. Maybe it’s just the panels on the network and it’s hardwired to the door, but we’re seeing it growing. A lot of people are interested in that.”