This month Memoori spoke with Adam Stroud, Paxton Access Chief Executive, about the companies ambitions and the role of Access Control in a smart, connected building. Adam is responsible for overseeing the direction and strategy for all companies in the Paxton Group; Paxton Access Ltd, Gendis Ltd, Paxton Access Inc. and Paxton GmbH.
After intensifying their international expansion in recent years, Paxton now exports to over 60 countries and maintains a staff of over 270 employees between their 12 locations across the world. Paxton access control systems can now be found in a broad variety of mid-market establishments, including Manchester United, Graze, Michelin, and Cherbourg Airport.
Paxton has recently released its new building intelligence system, net10, perhaps I can start by asking you for an overview of the system and how it fits into your current portfolio?
At Paxton we’re committed to making things as simple as possible; it is in our company DNA. We have a history of distilling the useful elements of enterprise systems then simplifying those systems to make them relevant to buildings of all types, not just large projects.
Something was bothering us when looking at the current state of the industry. Everyone was talking about integrating different types of building systems, which is great as it simplifies the experience for the end customer by providing systems that talk to one another on a single interface. However, as far as the installer is concerned, it is quite a difficult job to install separate dedicated systems and then stitch them together.
Being resolutely focused on the mid-market (e.g. education, healthcare, retail, leisure, public sector commercial premises), we asked a few simple questions to 1,400 installers about particular Net2 sites they were working on. We asked, as well as Net2 access control does this building have an IP video management system – to which more than half of the participants said yes, access control and video management systems co-existed in the same building. Then we asked, how many have actually integrated Net2 with the video management system – interestingly, only 1.6% of those 1,400 installers had.
Did your survey go on to ask why integration wasn’t happening?
It did, and inevitably with that type of answer you get a variety of anecdotal responses, but it distilled down into – I might do it at some stage in the future, not sure how to do it, and the customer hasn’t asked for it. The integrated approach is absolutely fit for purpose for larger projects, but not for the mid-market. So we asked ourselves, how could we change this? We considered the phenomenal increase in processing power available. No longer do we need dedicated micro-processors to run complex video algorithms and trans-coding, it is possible to buy reasonably priced processors that can do that while also maintaining and running an access control system, among other functions. When we added all this together we arrived at net10 – a consolidated access control, video management and building automation system, in one.
How do you see the future of the integrated building functions developing? Who’ll be the masters and who’ll be the slaves, or what is the platform on which to drive all functions?
I believe the Internet of Things (IoT) is the obvious driver. The reason why building automation is one of the technology drivers that makes it more suitable for the mid-market, and therefore for us, is because of the standardisation of communicating between devices. The success of any building automation system is totally dependent on the ease with which you can control, or communicate with, the different systems in a building.
It is our job to make it simple and straightforward to streamline the management of buildings, and offer a good return on investment in energy savings, for the end users’ capital outlay of installing the system. Part of this is to quickly enable communication with systems within a building, whether that’s lighting or HVAC. This means supporting numerous standards in the current communication environment, which is fine because we already have the technology available to do that.
Have you seen strong signs of IoT adoption in the mid-market building sector?
The current environment is made up of early adopters who must specify that a device supports a certain protocol. As connectivity between devices becomes more common, we will then start to see the real opportunities created by the ability to control “things” without extra wiring or complex installation.
Whether there will be one dominant standard, or multiple standards, in the future remains to be seen. The current value of systems like net10 is the fact that they can communicate through multiple protocols, to all sorts of different devices, now.
Paxton holds a strong market position in the UK and has begun expanding internationally. Where do you see the most promise looking forward?
Most of our growth now comes internationally and we have worked very hard over the past five years or so to make that happen, launching in Germany, France, South Africa and UAE. Our highest growth market at the moment is the Americas, not only the US but also South America. The Middle East is also growing very well, and despite it already being a large part of our turnover, the UK continues to show very strong growth. Our aim is to be among the top three players in each of the markets in which we are represented. We have a long way to go but we see lots of potential.
Looking forward, if we were to speak to you again in five years from now what do you think would be the main topics of conversation in the industry at that stage?
I think a lot of security manufacturers are not yet recognising the massive impact that the IoT is going to have on the provision of services. People everywhere are waking up to the reality of what is possible with smart consumer electronics, and good connectivity, wherever you are.
It is my firm belief that it will bring about a step change in the provision of services. We will see a consolidation of the fragmented, currently very separate, parts of the security industry. A new set of companies will become dominant because when you have such a significant change as this, it is both a threat and an opportunity. History is littered with successful companies losing out when not adapting quickly, or astutely enough to major technological shifts.
I also see the provision of building automation coming from within the security industry. The reason I say that is because, essentially, what you’re doing is the same – you’re communicating with different devices. From an access control perspective we know where all the people are in a building, which is a fantastic foundation upon which to base a lot of other activity. You could argue that there is no better place to provide building automation from than access control.For more information on the State of the Global Security market buy our recent report - http://memoori.com/portfolio/physical-security-business-2015-access-control-video-surveillance/