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9.4.20 – SSI – Steve Van Till

Along with helping end users mitigate safety challenges due to COVID-19, access control subscription services can provide RMR to technology partners.

Six months into the global pandemic, COVID-19 has impacted nearly every industry in some way. As businesses slowly reopen, security is playing a key role in keeping everyone safe from an invisible threat. From college campuses, retail stores, factories and warehouses, office buildings, and even large multifamily buildings, the pandemic has confirmed that security is an essential service.

Due to concerns about staff safety — or student safety in the case of college campuses — human resources has been brought to the decision-making table with the physical and IT security domains in a new way.

Companies have to invest in security systems to avoid the possible corporate liability related to the return-to-work effort. But the pandemic has disrupted revenue streams and many businesses in pursuit of better security are struggling to implement solutions due to the high upfront cost.

There is a solution that benefits both end customers as well as resellers: a scalable subscription model that eases the cost burden and allows customers to manage their payments on a monthly basis.

Holistic Cloud Subscription Solution

Any new technology requires a budget. When implementing any new technology solution, there needs to be alignment throughout an organization in order to get the appropriate buy-in. It’s important to prove that the new investment will drive positive ROI for the business, so that the money spent is worth the effort.

In Brivo’s 2019 survey of more than 500 security professionals, we found that 42% say that lack of budget is the major barrier to the adoption of new physical security technology like smart locks, visitor entry applications and resident management systems. Due to the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the upfront cost of a new security technology solution can seem like a barrier to entry for many businesses struggling to control budgets.

However, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) models of many Cloud-based platforms, security purchased as a subscription reduces upfront costs and spreads payments across each month with a flat, predictable monthly subscription fee. Security can now be an operational investment that is managed on a monthly basis.

Just like direct-to-consumer subscription models, there are benefits of a SaaS subscription model for both the end user and the channel partners who sell and install these access control solutions.

End users can afford a much-needed upgrade to an outdated system or a new, more reliable way to implement a more modern, keyless, hands-free or touchless door access control solution without the large upfront cost. They can implement their security needs now and pay for it monthly. Because the lifecycle of hardware in today’s IT ecosystem is short, maintaining legacy on-premise security systems can cost businesses more money over time.

Research shows hardware is more prone to failure after three years. As staff turnover naturally happens over time and these hardware systems age, businesses have to consider the knowledge of new technical staff and ensure they understand how to maintain these aging systems.

A Cloud-based solution is continually updated, so hardware system age and lost maintenance knowledge is not a factor. Cloud-based solutions also give the end user remote access to their security platform to provide access when the unexpected happens — hurricane, flood, fires, pandemics — and plan for the future.

Expand Your Client Base

For reseller partners and solution integrators, the biggest benefit of a subscription model is that it allows them to serve a much broader audience of customers than they could otherwise. In marketing speak, we call this increasing the total addressable market. The associated financing models for the reseller can provide a cash-out option that shortens typical customer payment cycles, freeing them from having to effectively finance each job for 60-90 days, or even longer. Ultimately, it gives them a steady stream of monthly recurring revenue.

As we all work to determine how to reopen businesses and shared spaces in a safe manner, we have to consider germs spread through surface contact, social distancing and how to manage work in a remote world. Physical security and access for both commercial and residential buildings has become a necessity to keep people safe.

We can implement many of the lessons learned from the direct-to-consumer subscription model used by retail and software companies alike to create a better system — an access control system as a service — that benefits both the customer and the technology partners who install and manage these systems.

Steve Van Till is President and CEO of Brivo Systems and a SSI Industry Hall of Fame inductee.