Access Control in the Cloud (S1:E10)

Humans in Tech | Access Control in the Cloud (S1:E10)

In this episode, Brandon Herd, Owner of Access Systems, and Greg Johnston, Vice President of Access Systems, join us to talk about the most prevalent trends in access control technology today. We cover access control and video surveillance in a single pane of glass and cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) with the ability to do everything from unlocking doors to viewing live video right on a phone.

Full Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:01):
You are listening to Humans in Tech. Our podcast explores today’s most transformative technology and the trends of tomorrow. Bringing together the brightest minds in and outside of our industry. We unpack what’s new in physical access, identity verification, cybersecurity, and IOT ecosystems. We reach beyond the physical world, discuss our digital transformation as a species, and dive into the emerging digital experience. Join us on our journey as we discover just how connected the future will be and how we will fit into that picture. Identiv is known in the industry as a deeply trusted global leader in security, digital identity, and IOT powered solutions, bringing 40 plus years of experience to the table. But the company’s success really depends on the mutual respect and long term loyalty built with a family of exceptional partners. Leigh Dow, VP of global marketing at Identiv, is here to talk with Brandon Herd, owner of Access Systems. For over 20 years, Access Systems has been an Identiv partner and Hirsh Dealer. One of Identiv’s foundational, most trusted access control brands. Greg Johnston, vice president.

Leigh Dow (01:20):
We have with us today Brandon Herd, who is the owner of Access Systems. And also Greg Johnston, who’s a Vice President with the company. For over 20 years, Access Systems has been an exceptional Identiv partner and Hirsch dealer, one of our foundational, most trusted access control brands. Thanks to both of you. We’re really glad to have you join us today. A 20 year partnership speaks volumes about Access Systems loyalty to Identiv and vice versa. I think it’s appropriate to say we wouldn’t be where we are today without partners like you guys. Access Systems is based out of, you said El Dorado Hills, close to Sacramento, California.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
Yes.

Leigh Dow (01:59):
And you service the county, the city airports, university campuses and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, is that correct?

Speaker 4 (01:59):
Yes.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
That’s correct.

Leigh Dow (02:08):
Yeah. Can you tell us a little bit about your customer base and what your day to day looks like?

Speaker 3 (02:15):
Yeah, our verticals are really a lot of government, state, local, federal, all that fun stuff. Do a fair amount of higher education, some big tech stuff out in the bay area, some pharmaceutical companies out in the bay area. We have a fairly decent breadth of what we do in terms of vertical markets. And I think that’s kind of led to the success of our company is being able to broaden our horizons and go into those different vertical markets.

Leigh Dow (02:53):
It’s definitely a diverse customer base.

Speaker 3 (02:55):
Absolutely.

Leigh Dow (02:56):
Access Systems has been, as I mentioned before, a very loyal partner with Identiv and has historically led with Hirsh, but now you are starting to support Velocity Vision, which is the video management system. Can you talk about that shift and what you are seeing out in the field and with your customers?

Speaker 3 (03:13):
Yeah, absolutely. I think there are several things that have changed over the years with what customers need from their video surveillance systems. And I think the simplicity of what video surveillance was, say 10, 15, 20 years ago, is no longer acceptable. And then users are in need of more from their surveillance systems. Simply viewing and recording video is no longer cutting it. They want to be able to utilize the analytics, the who, the what, the where, the when. And they want a seamless integration with an access control platform. One seamless pane of glass that they can access everything right in front of them. I think that the Vision platform and the integration with Velocity is a great thing, and it’s going to allow us to offer our customers even more.

Leigh Dow (04:16):
What customers are looking for today is so different, right, than 20 years ago. What are you hearing with respect to that unified end to end kind of video management system?

Speaker 3 (04:27):
We’re hearing that it’s basically a requirement in a lot of specs that we’re seeing. Customers don’t want to have two different quote unquote, softwares running anymore. That they’ve got all sorts of backend voodoo stuff going on to make them work together. They want one platform that works that they can access both their video and their access control from. They want more capabilities from the system, but they want it to be easier and more self explanatory, more user friendly. And I think the Vision platform with Velocity, it accomplishes just that.

Leigh Dow (05:04):
Can you talk a little bit more about that single pane of glass and what that really means for a customer?

Speaker 3 (05:09):
Yeah. Layman’s terms, just one window that they can click on and have their access control and their video surveillance right there in front of them. Instead of having to navigate two different systems, either maybe on two different machines or two different software bases on the same machine, it’s just click on one thing and you’ve got everything right there in front of you.

Speaker 5 (05:35):
Are there any other trends in 2021 that have begun to catch your eye?

Speaker 3 (05:40):
Yeah, there are a few. I think one being we’ve had several customers call in looking to do some sort of contact tracing report. Maybe an employee tested positive on a Wednesday so they want to know where that employee was for the last seven days so they can kind of quarantine off those areas. That’s definitely a big one.

Speaker 5 (06:05):
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 3 (06:07):
And then a need for greater cyber hardening. I mean, there are attacks happening every day in the cyber world. And I think Identiv does a great job of staying ahead of the curve in that regard. And then cloud based technology becoming more prevalent and more widely accepted, especially with the new Cirrus deployment. I guess it’s not technically new, but more and more of our government customers are moving to Cirrus and we’re deploying it on a fairly consistent basis now. And I think it’s awesome. Transitioning off of the cloud based platform there, the ease of use being bigger than ever. People want to be able to unlock doors from their phones. They want to be able to view live video and record a video from their phones.

Leigh Dow (07:00):
Speaking of cloud based solutions, what are you seeing with respect to access control as a service?

Speaker 3 (07:06):
I think the world of security and security integration is going to be moving that direction more and more in the very near future. Yeah. I think the last group to kind of get on board with the cloud technology is probably the government sector. Because they always looked at the cloud in the negative light because they viewed it as being less secure, but people are starting to realize that, Hey, even though it’s in the cloud, it’s still very secure. I think it’s a great thing that a lot of the government customers are now looking to move into the cloud and not have the labor of having an on-prem server and having people on staff that know how to build servers and stand up new servers and having SQL DBAs on staff and all that fun stuff where they can just technically outsource it to us and put it in the cloud.

Leigh Dow (08:03):
We know Access Systems is laser focused on customer service and also solving end user problems, which is so important in this industry. This is just one area where our companies are so tightly aligned. What are some of the big issues that are plaguing end users right now?

Speaker 3 (08:19):
Issue number one, from our perspective at Access Systems, is there’s still an abundance of antiquated prox technology still in use. 26 bit low frequency technology is still far and wide in use in every vertical market that’s out there. I mean, some government customers, some big tech, some pharma, some higher ed, not all of them, but it’s concerning because as you know, all that technology can be cloned relatively easily. Any of those cards can be taken down to a local Amazon kiosk and cloned. It’s very, very concerning. I would say that’s issue number one. Issue number two would be just general impacts of the COVID pandemic, constant curve balls there, but really, really the antiquated prox technology I would say is the biggest issue that we see.

Leigh Dow (09:22):
How can companies make it easier for you with respect to installations?

Speaker 3 (09:29):
That’s a good question. I think with respect to installations, I think that really falls on the integrator and having a staff that is knowledgeable about the products that we’re putting in. And that’s something that we take great pride in is every single one of our technicians is Identiv certified. Greg and myself are both Identiv certified. And I think it really stems from in-house training as well. I don’t know that it’s on the manufacturer to really assist in that regard. I think Identiv’s done everything that they can with the online learning portals and all that fun stuff. I think it’s just something that we, as the integrator, have to take the bull by the horns and sure our technicians are up to speed.

Leigh Dow (10:18):
We actually just hired a new director for training and she’s making some really exciting innovations in our training department. Stay tuned on that, but she’s been a great addition to the team.

Speaker 3 (10:33):
Excellent.

Leigh Dow (10:33):
Yeah. We’re very excited that she’s joined Identiv. I’ve just been on the periphery of seeing the changes that she’s making and the innovations that she’s putting in place. Like I said, stay tuned, but she’ll be rolling that out pretty soon here. We’re excited about that.

Speaker 3 (10:47):
Oh, likewise. We are too.

Leigh Dow (10:49):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (10:49):
We’ve got to see it.

Leigh Dow (10:52):
How can we help support partners like you?

Speaker 3 (10:55):
I think specifically with the issue of the antiquated prox technology, I think probably getting out to the consultants more would help us a lot because we see, specifically in the government sector, we’ll get a spec sent to us and say, Hey, here’s an RFQ, send me a price by Friday. And then you look through this RFQ and the technology that’s listed in it is 10 years out of date. And I don’t know that it’s a lack of education on it. I don’t really know what it is. I guess lack of education would be part of it. But I think getting out to the consultants would be a huge help to kind of update those specs that way. There’s kind of a universal understanding of, Hey, this technology is no longer okay.

Leigh Dow (11:43):
Gotcha. Anything else that you think end users are looking for in the near term?

Speaker 3 (11:53):
Another good question there. I would say probably more open integrations, and that’s a tough one because there’s so many different systems out there, but everybody’s got their own system that they’re in love with, right. Whether it be the video side or the intrusion detection side. I would say maybe more integrations with other video platforms and other intrusion systems.

Leigh Dow (12:19):
Gotcha. Well, thank you so much for just being such a great partner with Identiv and it’s always a joy to work with our amazing partners. We really appreciate your time and thank you so much for joining us on our podcast.

Speaker 3 (12:35):
Yeah, you got it. Thank you very much for having us.

Speaker 1 (12:37):
The problem isn’t security, it’s awareness. Velocity Vision is the future of visual surveillance, an intelligent video management solution that delivers real time situational awareness in an open security platform. Integrate with your existing systems, verify your environment in one pane of glass, and increase the efficiency of your security operation. Get full control of your environment when and where you need it. Learn more at identiv.com. Physical security, identity verification, the IOT. The hyper connectivity of our lives will only grow more pervasive as technology becomes more automated and experiences more augmented. It’s up to us to preserve our humanity and use new tools and trends for good. The only question is, are we up for the challenge?