Vanderbilt prepares to launch new product in North America

Company to bring newly acquired cloud-based access control system to North America
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WIESBADEN, Germany—Vanderbilt acquired ACT—Access Control Technology, based in Dublin—in November 2016; Mitchell Kane, company president, talked with Security Systems News about Vanderbilt’s expectations for introducing its first cloud-based access control technology in the U.S.

ACT 365 is Vanderbilt’s new cloud-based access control technology, gained through its acquisition of ACT. The company officially plans to launch ACT 365 later this year, around ASIS 2017, and “the heavy activity will be throughout 2018,” Kane said.

“Although the product was designed initially for the U.K. market, it should be relevant in the States—we believe it is,” he said. “We want to do some test pods in vertical markets that we actually work in locally [in North America], find out if there are any specific shortcomings … that have to be taken care of prior to the formal launch.”

There are several steps necessary leading up to the formal launch in North America. In the United States, Vanderbilt has more than 300 dealers across all 50 states, Kane noted. The company will be testing in small commercial, retail, healthcare and financial markets.

Product pilots also give the company the opportunity to train and develop its technical support and identify certification requirements for the system, Kane said. “We have to create all new documentation for this product with the Vanderbilt name on it as well as using the North American English vernacular, versus the U.K. vernacular—words are spelled differently and, in some cases, there’s slight differences in meanings,” he noted.

“We have to put together installation manuals, drawings, AA specs for specifiers and take images because it’s going to be packaged here a little bit different than it was packaged [outside North America],” Kane said.

“For the trade shows, we’re redoing our booth. So, it’ll highlight that product and add the messaging and the kiosks to support the demonstrations,” said Kane.

Vanderbilt also needs to redefine the revenue model around this offering, Kane pointed out. “This is an RMR application that is a new addition to our portfolio. We’re putting different models together for pricing options, whether it's outright purchase of the hardware and then monthly costs associated with the software and the licensing, or maybe it's a lease program where the entry costs becomes much lower, the monthly cost may be a little bit higher.”

He continued, “Some of our integration partners are very, very in tune with this type of technology and business model, so, those will be the initial group that we roll this out to.”

After this phase, the company’s “regional sales management team is going to be going out and putting together a campaign working with our other integration partners to try to vet out the groups that are interested in moving forward [with] this type of technology and basically training them on how to sell it and how to manage the business.”

Vanderbilt can also offer back-office support throughout the process, according to Kane. “In many cases they’ll be able to actually leverage our infrastructure to help support their business endeavors.”

What does he expect could be some challenges with bringing a cloud-based solution like this to market? “Educating a lot of the integration partners to give them … the capability to actually educate their potential end users on the concept of a hosted solution versus an owned, [self-managed] solution.”

Kane also expects initial hesitations around the RMR model, particularly in regard to managing the sales and compensating salespeople.