April 29, 2019 - Bisnow Article
Not so long ago, security solutions for commercial buildings provided a simpler version of access control — unlocking doors for tenants when they showed up for work in the morning and locking them again when they went home at night. Today, expectations are far higher. Owners need security systems that monitor alarms, the front desk and the building perimeter 24/7/365; handle credentialing for tenants; provide comprehensive emergency management; and integrate the latest technology while staying user-friendly.
The standard model for security has struggled to keep up with these needs. As building owners review available stand-alone solutions versus more sophisticated managed and integrated solutions, they are finding something unexpected: Stand-alone solutions — ones that are not networked and which end users have to manage and operate themselves, with no customer support included — invariably lead to a pile of expenses and fees they didn’t foresee or budget for upfront.
“A lot of the security solutions available to buildings today are integrations of various components and software systems,” Datawatch Systems Senior Vice President of Business Growth and Development Ted Low said. “Customers buy these cobbled-together systems and then are on their own to manage and service them. Most customers have no idea about the hidden costs of ownership that lie ahead.”
Low said building owners are generally most concerned with the initial cost to purchase a building security system, but the long-term expenses — the cost of ownership — of stand-alone solutions can add up to far more than the cost of installation.
The Datawatch Systems program is designed to help building owners transition from a stand-alone system to a fully managed, cloud-based monitored system where costs are more predictable.
“A monthly operations and monitoring fee for a managed solution may seem like a bigger spend at the outset, but over five years — the typical lifespan of a stand-alone system — I can recall clients who spent unanticipated tens of thousands of dollars just to keep their system up to date and running smoothly, including required licensing fees and costly software upgrades and support fees,” Low said. “Simple services like on-site troubleshooting or pulling specialized data reports all came at extra costs. The monthly fee approach is easy to justify when clients assess costs that are eliminated when transitioning to a managed solution."
Low said managed solutions also drive efficiency and productivity, which impact profitability. For example, Datawatch Systems' in-house central monitoring and customer service staff complements a building's on-site guard staff and allows on-site staff to be more efficient.
"Based on Datawatch's customized plans, the building owner is aware of all costs upfront, including low, predictable monthly monitoring fees, while not sacrificing any previously purchased equipment," Low said. He said 24/7 monitoring staff are included in the managed solution.
"We’re monitoring the building constantly, so our clients can rest assured that any condition that breaches security, from a propped door to a forced entry, will be detected by Datawatch personnel and reported immediately to on-site officers or designated contacts.”
Low said the Datawatch Systems’ central monitoring staff and technology platform serve as a force multiplier for clients — a term used by military and law enforcement that refers to leveraging technology to increase output without increasing costs. The platform is designed to help clients use resources more efficiently and reduce costs without compromising security.
“Between access control and comprehensive emergency management solutions, system maintenance, training, support and all the other costs to keep a system up and running, stand-alone systems end up being more expensive, more labor-intensive for the client and virtually impossible to plan for,” Low said. “As technology pushes our expectations to higher levels for building security, the only cost-effective, comprehensive solution is an integrated, managed and monitored approach.”