Readers and Credentials

More Than Just Readers and Credentials, a True RFID Partner Delivers Value to EAC Systems Manufacturers

By Francisco Alcala

As the West Coast Sales Manager at Farpointe Data, I've found that electronic access control (EAC) system manufacturers have a lot to consider when evaluating a potential RFID partner. While similar in that they all offer reader and credential solutions, each potential partner may offer advantages unique to its own business. During the evaluation process, system manufacturers will want to focus on their key needs, really identifying what's important to them, then look for an RFID partner with the unique product and service mix that adds value, not just to their business, but also to the business of their channel partners.

Within any EAC system manufacturer, experience has shown that there may be multiple stakeholders involved in overseeing the reader and credential needs of the business. An experienced RFID partner will seek to identify the right people-whether in management, sales, engineering, operations, or some combination of these areas-and establish relationships that effectively address the system manufacturer's RFID product needs. Understanding these needs requires a partner that takes the time to learn and understand the system manufacturer's business model, often involving complex sales channels, supplier networks, market segments and more. Only after conducting a careful analysis of the business, can a potential RFID partner offer appropriate reader and credential solutions.

A large part of any RFID solution will undoubtedly consist of quality products at competitive prices. However, some RFID suppliers may simply rely on price to obtain a business transaction-but a true partner will dig deeper to uncover opportunities to deliver real value to a manufacturer's business. For example, technology, applications, and go-to-market strategies can be real value drivers. Let's look at some examples of how an EAC system manufacturer can benefit from a RFID partner that strives to bring value to the relationship.

In access control today, 125-kHz proximity makes up the bulk of the reader and credential market. However, while low-cost options are in abundance, that alone certainly does not qualify as a best-in-class solution. System manufacturers can benefit from an RFID partner with a broad offering:

  • Proximity solutions that support multiple card and reader protocols;
  • Contactless smart card solutions featuring MIFARE® DESFire® EV1 and EV2 support for enhanced-security applications;
  • Long-range solutions for parking facilities, gated communities, marinas, and more;
  • Rugged, vandal-resistant readers for high-demand applications that could result in damage to conventional readers;
  • Mobile-ready products making possible the use of an end user's smartphone as an access credential.

The right RFID partner gives the EAC system manufacturer the ability to provide its integrator customers with readers for nearly every electronic access control application.

A measurement I'd recommend all EAC system manufacturers take a look at is their reader-to-reader-port ratio. This ratio will allow a manufacturer to understand the reader and credential sales they may be losing, as well as the number their panel sales are enabling. In an effort to help boost the system manufacturer's revenue and profit, an experienced RFID partner can help them capture more of those sales with specialized product strategies and business tactics, such as custom branding and ID tracking, among others.

Relationships are built on trust and in the EAC business, that's no exception. Few things are more frustrating than quoting a complete access control system only to lose the component business to a distributor or to a component manufacturer itself. A true partner will maintain channel integrity rather than competing with a system manufacturer for its reader and credential business. This again, helps the manufacturer capture more revenue, further strengthening the manufacturer/RFID partner relationship.

Purchase orders and invoices don't make a partnership. Rather, I've learned that partnerships take time, commitment, support and open understanding. These attributes, coupled with best-in-class solutions and broad offerings, are critical to success. The right RFID partner identifies ways to add value, helping EAC system manufacturers grow their revenues and profits.

Francisco AlcalaFrancisco Alcala

West Coast Sales Manager