Mixed-Use Integration Enhanced with Partnership

A Grandville, Michigan integrator leveraged ASSA ABLOY Professional Services to fulfill the end user's selection of SARGENT IN120 WiFi access control locks.

Grand Valley Automation in Grandville, Michigan takes integration to the next level in terms of smart technologies, interoperable systems and simplicity for clients. The company, operating just south of Grand Rapids for nearly 35 years, is a prime example of the new era in security integration – where systems are combined in a way that are not just automated, but nearly autonomous.

Cory Tate, Security Team Leader at the company, says the approach is largely driven by the new demand of consumers who understand the true promise of integration.

“We look at security integration as full building integration,” Tate says.“Access control, HVAC, fire, security monitoring, you name it and we will not only do it but also tie it all together. In the end, we want to give the customer a single solution because that is what the customer has come to expect.”

The promise of smart technologies and the Internet of Things has long been that these devices will make the life of a building owner – or building occupant –not only more technologically advanced butbetter through quality of life improvements.

Because of the demand for these new devices, technologies and solutions, integrators can no longer afford to focus solely on robust security solutions. That isn’t to say the security and safety of a building ispushed to the side – rather, these core systems are now used as cornerstones in the new era of security integration.

Tate offers an example of what his company provides: “We still install the quality doors and door hardware. But with new access control capabilities,we can really bring the systems together. You use your Bluetooth credential on your phone to access a building after hours and the security camera picks you up. The system now knows you’re in the building. The lights come on where you need them to be on. The temperature may adjust depending on the weather and your location. The building may be tracking your Bluetooth signal so it can adapt to your needs in real time. And with the building’s knowledge of who you are and where you are, if there is an emergency it can report to first responders who is in the building. This goes down to the little details – like checking the pressure in fire extinguishers– but the resultis that when all systems work together you have a safer and more secure facility All of that begins with making sure your access control points and credentials are technologically advanced and work with your other systems.”

To achieve this goal requires not only an advanced product, but also comprehensive understanding of complex technologies. Installation and setup of these network devices can be cumbersome in the field. Ensuring multiple building systems are interoperable is critical for the system to work as intended. Further, it is important to help the new users understand the operation of the technologies – and that learning curve can be steep at first approach. 

“That’s why I was really excited to hear about an offering like ASSA ABLOY’s Professional Services,” Tate said.“Access control is a core component of these cutting-edge automation integrations. When the ASSA ABLOY team actually comes out to the installation, that means I know itis going to run on the first try and it is going to run correctly.”

In-person partnerships

ASSA ABLOY Professional Services sends applications engineers to project sites to help both design and deploy systems within these complex environments. The service includes product selection and system design, as well as testing of wireless encryption and authentication methods, credential verification and middleware deployment and testing. The engineers also recommend best practices in strategies such as batch programming and alias naming conventions.

“ASSA ABLOY Professional Services are designed to support certified integrators on IP-enabled deployments using WiFi and Power-over-Ethernet locks,” says Spiros Pantazis, Applications Engineer for ASSA ABLOY. “We help undertake tasks such as determining wireless encryption and authentication methods, validating credential selection, and middleware deployment and testing. Much of the initial coordination is done remotely, however we’re always on site during system commissioning to ensure a successful deployment.”

The goal of the Professional Services program is to reduce the complexity of IP deployments by coordinating with multiple stakeholders throughout the process. This includes the end user’s security and safety, IT, facilities departments, consultants, and others.

Approaching the process in this way ensures network communications, credential migration, and interoperability concerns are sorted out well before the installation begins.It also provides a well-versed staff member on site to troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

The result: reduced risk, time and cost in all deployments – no matter how complex or remote.

Cutting-edge buildings

Of course, the service also means implementing some of the most sophisticated and impressive integrations available on the market today. One example: 234 Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan – a mixed-use building for commercial and residential in the quickly developing Centra lBusiness District of the city. The five-story building with 235 apartment units, four live/work units, and 30,000 square feet of retail and office space opened in July 2018 and is one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the region. 

“We looked at this as a building that was going to be very appealing to young professionals,” said David Emdin, Chief Operating Officer at Maplegrove Property Management, the group overseeing 234 Market. “This is a really impressive area of town stil lundergoing development. It’s in an entertainment district and it is seeing a lot of new business, bars and restaurants coming in. Knowing the clients will have evolving needs for years to come, we wanted to make sure everything we installed would take us into the future.

”One system Emdin saw in high demand: the ability to provide access control through mobile devices.“

A cool, new product or offering like that can really differentiate your building,” Emdin said.

Working with Tate at Grand Valley Automation, Emdin and the Maplegrove Property Management team made the choice to use the versatile SARGENT IN120 WiFi Access Control locks, which support multiple credential technologies.

Tate also offered ASSA ABLOY IP Professional Services to the property management team, pitching it as a type of insurance that all would go according to plan with the deployment.

“One worry that all integrators have is that you’ll have something not work very well and then the excitement is lost,” Tate said. “For me, I want to make sure that never happens. I don’t want anything to ever look bad, especially when I know it is a quality product. Using Professional Services, you get a system tha tworks right from moment one.

”With the 234 Market project,the ASSA ABLOY ProfessionalServices teamr eviewed all plans and system designs before deployment, helped write database queries between third-party building management systems, and went out to the site for three days to ensure all the devices were working correctly both on the network and with other systems.

The result: a quality integration that worked correctly the first time.

“This service is worth every dime because it saves you time and really streamlines the process,” Tate said. “It ensures you aren’t getting call backs about things not working quite right. It helps you and your team build upyour skills for the future. And, it also makes the products look really good because they are very, very impressive.”