Raefield joins Viscount

Completes $600K round, touts product’s simplicity and low cost
 - 
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BURNABY, British Columbia—Industry veteran Dennis Raefield is now COO of Viscount Systems, an access control provider known for eliminating panels from access control systems.

Founded about 20 years ago, Viscount has been a “$4 [million] to $5 million company. … Now as they start to grow, they need to build the technical support, software development and sales management infrastructure to take it to the next level,” Raefield told Security Systems News.

That’s where Raefield, who has served on the company’s board, comes in. Viscount recently raised some capital. “We just finished a round of about $600,000, and we have regular private placements to raise additional funding to expand growth,” he said. The $600,000 will “mostly go toward sales force development.”

Viscount, which staged a “wake” for access control panels at the ASIS show in 2007, makes access control products that “do not require traditional panels, [eliminating] the heavy cost of the panel and panel installation,” Raefield said.

On a basic level, the product “connects the card reader and door strike through the Internet,” Raefield said, thus eliminating the need for a panel.

Viscount’s system uses Microsoft’s Active Directory—the program used inside the many corporate networks to grant users logical access to files—to grant physical access.

“Security may approve [a user’s] physical access, but there’s not a separate security database or separate access control,” Raefield said. That saves time for security and HR and “makes the software simpler and easier to maintain,” he said. 

Viscount is gaining attention from government entities that “like the fact that we don't have separate databases and separate infrastructure [for physical security] that can be hacked. Our system is as secure as the IT department,” Raefield said.

In addition, Viscount in November filed a patent for eliminating card readers from doors and allowing the use of smartphones to open doors. The technology turns the smartphone into a reader. The phone reads a bar code or computer chip on the door using either a QR bar code, a Microsoft tag, or NFC.

“Simplicity and breaking cost barriers—that’s our sizzle,” Raefield said.

He predicts this technology will proliferate, fast, and that if “access control breaks the $500 per door barrier … you can put access control on every office door.”

Raefield was most recently with Mace Security. Before that he was president of Honeywell Access Systems.