Door access control is a crowded marketplace these days, with a mind-boggling range of independent door solutions from simple keys and locks to magnetic stripe, card and barcode systems.
But all these solutions have one thing in common: their components can’t communicate amongst themselves, and they can’t operate in conjunction with those of other manufacturers. This makes it harder and more expensive for companies to use door solutions across departments, facilities and locations.
HID Global and Abloy UK have teamed up to develop a fully managed door access control solution to tackle these longstanding access control issues: intelligent doors. Intelligent doors are streets ahead of their more basic peers in enabling all components to talk to each other and work together. The concept is based on two increasingly important themes in the access control industry: convergence and convenience. The increasing convergence of IT and physical security and mechanical and electronic solutions provided the inspiration for Hi-O’s use of an open platform.
Meanwhile, customer demands for greater convenience meant Hi-O had to allow remote monitoring and enable easy installation, administration and service; it also drove Hi-O’s simple integration with existing access control systems and credentials. And fewer wires mean faster installation time and lower labour requirements, therefore speeding up time to investment payback.
Over the course of 2010 and beyond, HID Global and Abloy UK will be holding a series of joint events and training sessions as part of the Abloy and HID Academy on HI-O, as well as continuing to engage with architects, consultants, specifiers and end-users to boost their knowledge and expertise. The future looks exciting for intelligent doors, and Hi-O is now well on its way to becoming the industry standard, with trials currently underway in Sweden and Australia. What are your thoughts about intelligent doors and their future?
If there is anything I have learned since I started working with customer understanding, it’s that it’s risky to assume you know what other people might like. It is so easy to place oneself as a spokesperson for others, thinking that everyone should prefer one solution over another.
More than once, though, I have been completely surprised about what the customer prefers. At the end of the day, it is the customer who chooses to buy or not to buy.
As director of the product development process, I am responsible for the Product Innovation Process on a Group level at ASSA ABLOY, parent company of HID Global, I have the privilege of working with all our companies to develop the way we work with innovation.. The process is designed to help us reach our vision of becoming leaders in innovation and providing solutions that give true added value to our customers.
At ASSA ABLOY, we often sell to integrators, wholesalers or installers. Their views and needs are very important to us, but we also need to complement this with a view of what our end users want. End users provide us feedback as to how they use our products, what they are trying to achieve, how they want them to work or look and what makes them unsatisfied with today’s solutions.
To get our hands, or rather our eyes and ears, on this information, visiting our customers in their daily environment is very good as you get an understanding of their entire situation. We also get the opportunity to observe what they do and ask questions like: ‘show me what you mean’?
Meeting online on the Internet can be useful too - particularly if customers are spread across the world, which is often the case for ASSA ABLOY and for HID Global.
In our online meeting place, (we call this the Future Lab) we can interact with our customers and our customers can meet each other.
Here, influential decision makers and end users in the security industry can find in depth articles on security topics, such as encryption, airport security, power harvesting and much more. But more importantly, we use the Future Lab to consult with the Lab members on trends, problems and opportunities they see in the industry. In addition we interact with the Lab members to test new product concepts.
We find that the more we learn about the problems our customers and end users face on a daily basis, the easier it gets to come up with innovative solutions.
Do you also wish to influence future products of the ASSA ABLOY Group? Make them fit your specific needs better? Visit the Future Lab at www.thefuturelab.com to have a look or sign up for your free membership.
I look forward to interacting more with you in the future.
How many of them will be doors? Telecommunications company Ericsson, envisions a future where there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020.
Whether true or false, connecting even a fraction of that many devices presents us with an opportunity for reflection: What does this mean for our business?
When we talk about door control or access control, we are usually referring doors that are connected to an access control system and the devices operating in this door’s environment; that is devices connected to the door, but not individually connected directly to the access control system. So what would it mean if each and every device were just that - connected to each other and to the access control system?
Let’s dive into the subject. ASSA ABLOY, parent company of HID Global, aims to be a leader in intelligent door opening solutions. We have worked towards this goal by creating intelligent door solutions that act on commands and provide information to their ‘masters’, i.e. access control systems, building management systems, etc. Now, with each door component, such as the reader, door opener and door closer being able to connect individually, you could actually say that this intelligence has moved to the door. ASSA ABLOY’s Hi-O technology makes this possible.
Hi-O is typically installed to secure perimeter doorway environments and other doors in need of high security and reliability. Communications between all Hi-O devices in a door solution - including handling access and identity control, code reading, and alarms through auto configuration technology - starts as soon they are installed and connected to each other.
For the customer this means that if a product fails or a Hi-O equipped door is not opening correctly, the Hi-O information communicated into the connected access control system tells the installer exactly which component needs replacing and where it’s located. This saves the installer a lot of time both on fixing the problem and on limiting obstructions in people’s convenience.
From a technical stand point, intelligence moving down into the door means that the value of system logic, (a large portion of the value) can in theory then be managed through cloud computing. This basically means that functions that are handled in the door environment today could be executed by software in the ‘cloud’ tomorrow. You will need knowledge about the domain; however I do believe that those involved in cloud computing and networking will learn pretty quickly, because they are good at that.
So if all devices were connected and mechanical key cuts were replaced by digital codes - and the value of the logic is moved out of the door - then you may wonder what is left. The answer is that the value of the codes, the key for access and security, are also the key for allowing product connectivity, which will take on the role of the enabler of the values in a system. Historically, in mechanical master key systems, the code or key has been handled by the OEM to ensure customer security and integrity. For readers today, HID Global provides a guarantee of secure generation, storage and distribution of customer credential codes, and this is becoming a business of its own.
Within the ASSA ABLOY Group, we have both the history and experience of mechanical keys from our cylinder companies, as well as the knowledge and technology for digital codes and secure identification from HID Global. And with HID implementing Hi-O technology into their readers, the circle becomes complete. We welcome a future where everything is connected.
Today’s solutions to security are in many ways substantially different than when I started out in the lock and security industry.
As CTO of ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions, I have the privilege of sharing the driver’s seat with many talented people on the fantastic ride we’re currently on, both as a company and as an industry.
Though ASSA ABLOY is a fairly young company, being in business for 15 years, the lock industry is one of the oldest in the world. Historically, people only needed mechanical locks and keys to secure their belongings and homes. A big, heavy and visible lock was a good thing, keeping thieves away by its very sight. Today, our security needs are still similar, yet very different. We travel more. We’re mobile. We’re online. We need more than just a lock and a key. We need security, safety and convenience. And today, these needs are converging with technology.
Technological convergence has become a reality thanks to the rapid developments taking place within the electronic industry, where processor speed, memory capacity and miniaturization has given us new opportunities. We all have cell phones that we use for things other than what the phone was originally intended for- giving someone a call. We manage our e-mail, we listen to music, we take photos of our friends and family and we Google for information or we find our location via GPS-apps.
Convergence is no longer a trend, it’s a fact. And it will take us further.
The new demands for converged solutions makes HID’s technologies and expertise the perfect match for ASSA ABLOY. Let me give you some examples. Locks are becoming more intelligent as reader technology becomes part of the lock. We have successfully used HID RFID technologies in Aperio, our wireless access control technology. Our Hospitality division also uses HID technology for their hotel solutions. But the key of the future is no longer necessarily mechanical or card-based; with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology the mobile phone can be your new key where electronic keys are sent over the air or via the Internet, which means increased security demand on the way we communicate. HID’s Secure Identity Infrastructure (SDI) and Trusted Identity Platform (TIP) are developed to take care of these increasing demands and are differentiating us from the competition.
The challenge is to use the technological opportunities in a smart way. We should always keep in mind that convergence should make life simpler for the customer. As the global leader in door opening solutions, we take on this challenge, creating new, intelligent solutions, beyond today’s locks and readers. The solution to our customers’ problems and demands is our focus.
As a member of HID Global Technical Service & Support team, I realize that customers strongly rely on and trust our support to resolve their field issues. In the other words, our timely response becomes one of the key successful factors for their business.
Implementation of a new customer relationship management system is one of the significant HID milestones to improve our quality of Technical Service today. In addition to a number of business improvements the system offers, it also simplifies customer service processing. This enables us to respond to the customers and resolve issues as quickly as possible
“Thanks for your support” is something we hear regularly from our customers and this motivates us to continually improve our service and enhance our quality of work.
Moving forward, we will adopt an interactive approach to our technical service process with the introduction of Self Service & Support. The Self Service & Support Portal will provide customers 24 x 7 web-based access, which he/she can search for, learn and obtain solutions from the Solution Knowledge Base when issues arise - no matter what time of the day or night. In fact, most customers prefer this approach as they can resolve the issues on their own timelines.
Additional benefits of the Self Service & Support feature includes saving customers time by not requiring them to place calls for commonly asked questions. Customers can now easily locate FAQs in the Self Service & Support tool. Secondly, with reduction of repetitive questions, inbound emails, and call volume, the Technical Service team will have more resources to focus on mission-critical, customized customer projects and overall increase our ongoing efforts to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
The Technical Service & Support team will always strive our best to make certain we deliver on HID’s ”Customers First” commitment, and the new process refinements are enabling us to do just that.