Monday, October 22, 2012

Credential Overflow

Thousands of organizations struggle with a common door access security issue known as Credential Overflow. 

Credential Overflow occurs when the number of active credentials in the system outnumber, sometimes drastically, the number of active cardholders.  If a company's door access system is not equipped to handle the causes of this issue, they may face some serious security risks as a result. 

What causes Credential Overflow?  There are two primary causes: 

1. Lack of Database Communication

Often times, a company's active user database, such as their employee or HR database does not communicate with their access control system seamlessly.  If those two databases do not share information, then the process for activating and deactivating users and credentials usually involves two steps. 

Step One:  Enroll/Remove them from HR
Step Two: Enroll/Remove them from Access Control System

This is not very effective, as any time the second step is missed, cards remain active in the system long after the user has left. 

2. Badge Re-Issuance

Many times cardholders lose badges and ask for reprints, forgetting to have their old cards deactivated at that time.  If the system doesn't support automatic deactivation of old credentials as soon as a new one is printed, the old badge can stay active in the system forever, creating an imbalance in the number of active cards and cardholders. 

How do we fix it?

1. If the access control database can "sync" up with the customer's existing cardholder database, like Active Directory or HR, then this allows for more of a single-step activation and deactivation process.  Once a person has been enrolled or removed from the HR database, they will no longer have active access priviliges in the access control system either.  This is far easier for all parties involved - and much more secure. 

2. Look for door access systems that automatically deactivate old badges as soon as a new badge is printed.  This will help to eliminate the issue with users having numerous credentials associated with their record in the system. 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc. BadgePass manufactures cutting edge Door Access, Photo ID, and Visitor Tracking software. Visit for more information.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How Should I Badge My Visitors?

If you are thinking about ways to badge and identify visitors at your facility, congrats!  You have probably already considered solutions for properly registering and tracking your guests which means you are well on your way to a more secure facility!  By implementing an electronic visitor registration system at your organization, you can ensure that each visitor is properly identified and registered simply by scanning their state or federally issued ID.  Now, you just have to decide which visitor badging solution is best for you. 

There are several possible options to consider for visitor badging. 

Option One:  Temporary Adhesive Labels
This is by far the most popular solution for visitor badging!  Why?  Because badge designs can be customized not only with the company’s name, but also with pertinent visit information like visitor name, date, and person being visited.  You can even print photos on temporary labels!  Plus, you can do all of this at a relatively low price, since plain adhesive badges are fairly inexpensive. 
Things to consider when implementing temporary adhesive labels:
1.       How long will visitors be in the building?

-          The longer visitors are in your facility, the more likely they are to lose their adhesive badge.  For long-term visitors, pre-printed PVC badges may be a more effective solution.

2.       What information do you want to print on each badge?

-          The nice thing about adhesive badges is that they can be customized for each visitor!  Some of the most common things I see on visitor label designs include a company logo, the visitors name, the type of visitor (Vendor, Contractor, Volunteer, etc.), the date of the visit, and the location and/or person they are visiting. 

3.       How important are visitor photos?

-          If you are considering printing your visitors’ photos on badges, it might be a good idea to look into color label printers.  While they are more expensive, they greatly improve the image quality!

4.       Do you want labels to expire after a certain amount of time?

-          Though temporary labels can be easy and inexpensive, there is always a concern that visitors may try to reuse those badges to visit the facility at a later date/time without checking in.  Printing the date on the badge is one solution for this issue.  However, many customers look into time-expiring labels to prevent visitor badges from being reused.  These badges bleed through red and read VOID 24 hours after issuance, making it easy for employees to recognize if a visitor is trying to dodge the check-in process. 
Option Two:  Pre-Printed PVC Badges
Many customers prefer to use pre-printed badges for their visitors.  Each of these badges will be printed in advance on a color card printer, allowing you to print your company’s name and logo on the front, along with any other relevant information. 
Since these badges are printed in advance, they will not have visitor specific information on them.  However, they are much more durable than temporary labels and can be reused time and time again and assigned to a different visitor each time they are used.   Attach these badges to a lanyard or badge clip/reel and you can easily identify who is wearing a visitor badge in your facility.  Plus, you don’t have to worry as much about visitors losing their IDs as they walk around! 
So what is the answer?
Nobody knows your organization better than you do!  Which means you are the only one who knows what solution is the best fit for you. 
Though there are many options to consider, no matter whaat you choose will allow for an easier visitor identification process and help to improve your company's security! 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc. BadgePass manufactures cutting edge Visitor Management, Photo ID and Access Control software.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Granting Visitors Temporary Access to Your Facility

What Should My Policy Be?

Many organizations are beginning to electronically register and track visitors that come and go from the facility.  In order to do this, visitors are typically asked to present some type of ID upon arrival, thereby verifying they are who they say they are, and that ID is scanned upon check-in.  Then visitors can then be issued temporary visitor badges for the duration of their stay. 

Organizations typically handle the flow of visitors in their facility one of two ways:
1.       Guests are always escorted by an employee or host.
2.       Guests are allowed to access the facility without an escort.
The more secure the organization, the more concerned they typically are with guest access.  If guests and visitors are to be allowed access without an escort, they may require some level of integration with a door access system.  If this is the case, visitor badges may be printed on proximity or smartcards to grant visitors temporary access rights within the system. 
Why might you consider integrating your visitor management system with access control?
  • You want to give certain visitors access to particular doors in the building that may be locked in your door access system
  • To limit unauthorized guests and personnel from accessing restricted areas
  • In order to track the activity of everyone – even guests – who have entered the building.
Granting visitors temporary access rights is certainly not uncommon these days.  As more and more organizations incorporate access control and electronic visitor management systems in their facilities, they see the need to give visitors access to specific doors in the building for the duration of their visit. 
Things to consider when thinking about integrating your Visitor Management and Access Control systems:
1.       Which doors would you like visitors to have access to in the building?

2.       Would you like to create multiple visitor groups with different access privileges? (Ex: Contractors may be able to access different doors than Volunteers)

3.       Is there an easy way to deactivate visitor credentials if they accidently leave without returning their badge?
The easiest thing to do is implement a fully integrated Visitor Management and Access Control system from day one.  That way you can easily activate and deactivate visitor credentials from the same system, thereby eliminating the hassle of having to manage access rights from two seperate systems. 
Start thinking about how you’d like to implement both Visitor Management and Access Control within your facility in the future.  Taking every possible scenario into account when choosing which system to deploy at your organization will help you to be best prepared for the day when you do get ready to move forward. 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software solutions.  Learn more at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What are the Benefits of a Photo ID System?

Getting serious about your organization’s security?  Beyond offering visual identification, Photo ID badges can be used for a variety of applications from Electronic Door Access to Cafeteria Point of Sale Systems.  How can you utilize photo IDs to help increase security in your facility? 

Employee Morale
In larger companies and organizations, photo IDs often help to encourage familiarity among staff members.  Once a policy has been instituted mandating the wearing of Photo IDs at all times, employees often feel more secure and more confident approaching employees in other departments.  Photo IDs can instill a sense of community among employees and often encourage people to approach those in the building not wearing IDs to ensure they belong. 
Access Control
Sure, you may be printing Photo IDs for everyone right now, but have you considered using those IDs to access doors within your facility?  By printing badges on a smart or proximity cards, you can electronically control which doors certain employees have access to, thereby eliminating the need for manual key locks.  Without a valid credential, employees will not be granted access to those doors.  Further, you can restrict access to doors certain employees should not be in, like the IT or Server Room.  Best of all, if an employee loses an ID badge, you can deactivate that card’s privileges and print them another!  Without rekeying an entire facility, there is no way to “deactivate” a lost key. 
Visitor Safety
Once you’ve identified all of the employees within your building, it may be time to consider a visual form of ID for all of your visitors as well.  Visitor Management Systems that print temporary ID badges are an easy and effective way to check in visitors electronically while also printing them a badge that they can wear during their visit.  This helps to easily identify those who are guests and also helps employees to feel comfortable approaching visitors without badges and escorting them to the main check-in desk to be registered. 
Other Applications
Feel free to get creative with your photo ID!  Do you have a Time and Attendance system that requires a barcode or magnetic stripe for employees to clock in and out each day?  Are you thinking of instituting a Point of Sale system in your cafeteria that allows for employees to purchase meals with their ID card?  All of these things are entirely possible, depending on the card design and technology you choose to use with your badges.  Whenever you choose to purchase a Photo ID system, think of all the possible applications you may want to implement in the future and keep those in mind when designing your cards. 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass offers secure ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software.  For more information, visit 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is Your Current Two-Step Enrollment Process a Security Risk?

In recent news, it was announced that a 19 year old used his old ID badge from a program he took part in at AOL to gain access to the facility for two months after the program had ended!  He lived in the building day and night, using his old access credential to gain access to different areas on the campus.  It was nearly two months before a security guard caught him and kicked him out. 

Stories like this beg the question, "How could something like this have happened?" 

The reality is, this happens every single day!  We just don't always hear about it because these stories don't always take place at high profile locations like AOL Headquarters and don't usually involve two-month-long squatters.  But not deactivating security privileges in Card Access Control systems is a serious threat to an organization's security, and it gets overlooked all the time! 

Think about your own access control system.  How do you add and remove people from the system?  If you are like most customers that I talk to on a regular basis, you probably print your ID badges in one location and then employees are asked to take those new credentials to a seperate location, like Security, to have their access control privileges activated in that system.  It is typically a two-step process. 

The same thing happens when a person leaves the company.  The first database they are removed from is HR or Payroll.  (You and I both know that person isn't getting a paycheck anymore!)  Then, someone in HR sends an email to a person in security, notifying them to deactivate that person's access rights in the system.  Again, we are back to that two-step process. 

This works fine if your security personnel are always at work and constantly checking their emails.  But what happens when they go on vacation for a week and miss all of those emails?  Or when they are at lunch and overlook the email about the terminated employee when they return from their break?  Circumstances like those are the ones we often forget to account for when implementing security systems like Access Control, yet they play a critical role in our organizations' security! 

When choosing to implement a Door Access system, be sure to think about the way that credentials will be activated and deactivated in the system. Ask yourself a few simple questions:

- Is there an easy way to maintain the current database of active cardholders?
- Can you import new employees into the system easily? 
- If you deactivate someone in HR, is there a way for their credential to be automatically deactivated?

No matter what the size of your organization, security is always a concern. The more automated the credentialing process is at your facility, the less likely you are to have issues like the recent security breach at AOL. 

Read the full story about the AOL security breach here.

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc. BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tips for Printing Quality Photo IDs

When printing quality Photo IDs, it is important to know what information, and how much information, will be included on your Photo ID. The elements included on your Photo ID will help determine the features you should look for in your Photo ID System.

Basic Photo ID

Custom card design – Photo ID software will help you design a card from scratch using your own images, graphics and logos – creating a unique and custom card that best fits the needs of your organization.

Cardholder information – Easily add cardholder information to your ID cards! You can connect to your existing database information and/or choose to enroll users via Driver’s License Scanning.

Photo – Whether you are looking for high quality images or a simple webcam, adding a photo to your card design will ensure an extra level of security.

Barcode – Barcodes are a cost effective way to include data on your cards that can be scanned and used in other systems, such as time and attendance or cafeteria POS and vending.

Advanced Photo ID

Signature capture – A signature pad will allow you to electronically capture the signature of each cardholder for placement within the card design.

Smartcards – There are many types of technology cards, such as contactless smartcards, that can be store cardholder information for use in other systems, like Access Control.

Magnetic stripe – Magnetic strips are another way to include data on your cards that can be scanned and used in other systems.

Lamination – Laminating printers apply a thin film to the card with heat and pressure during printing to protect against wear.

The more secure you want your credentials to be, the more advanced your Photo ID software requirements will be.  Take all of these things into consideration when choosing which system to implement in your own organization. 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc. BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How Can I Streamline Enrollment into My Access Control System?

The biggest security risk in access control is dealing with a two-step process for the enrollment and/or removal of cards.  In most systems, cards are printed in one place and then cardholders must take their credential to another location to have their access rights granted before they have access to any doors in the facility.  The same two-step process occurs for deactivation of credentials.  The cardholder is removed from one database, but then an email notification or alert is sent to someone who then must manually remove them from a separate system before their credential is turned off in access control.  This two-step system is not only time consuming; it is putting thousands of organizations at risk for security breaches every day!

The best way to streamline the enrollment process is to start with badge issuance.  By integrating the assignment of access control rights and privileges into your badge issuance interface, you can eliminate the need for a second enrollment step.  Simply enroll a user’s information, capture a photo and print them a card.  While the card is printing, the smart card number can be read directly off the card during the print process and saved back to the database, preventing the user from having to manually enter that information.  Once the badge is printed, that credential, as well as the users’ access privileges, will be automatically activated in your access control system. 

Deactivation of badges can be simplified as well.  By tying your access control interface into your existing HR database, you can keep up to date with all of your currently active employees at any given time.  That way, as soon as an employee's information changes or new users are added/removed from the system, they will automatically be updated in your access control system.  This will keep you from manually having to go into your card access system to deactivate credentials whenever someone leaves or loses a badge.

Single-Step issuance.  It's really that easy!

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc. BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

5 Step Plan for Managing Campus Security

No matter what the campus or district size, schools nationwide always ask me, “What is the best place for me to start when putting together a safety and security plan for my district?”  At first, managing campus security can seem like a daunting task.  There are many critical components to keep in mind.  The school districts that I have worked with that have seen the best success have worked through these five steps toward managing their security. 

Step One: Establish a Visual Identification Policy
How are you currently identifying your students, faculty, staff and visitors?  If your campus does not have a visual ID for each one of these people currently, get a plan in place quickly.  Establishing a visual ID is the first step toward a more secure campus.  It offers everyone in the building a sense of security and community.  It also makes faculty feel more comfortable approaching those who aren’t wearing a badge and escorting them to the front office to a visitor check-in station where they can present ID and be assigned a visitor badge. 
Step Two: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Managing Visitors
Whatever you do, you should not underestimate the importance of identifying your visitors.  Visitors are a critical component to your campus security.  Unidentified visitors can pose a severe threat to any organization or campus and without a record of their name and the time they checked in, you can never account for them having been in your building should an incident ever occur.  By ensuring all visitors check in every time they show up on campus AND wear a visitor badge at all times, you can easily differentiate guests from faculty with just a quick glance at their ID.
Step Three: Conduct Random Assessments to Ensure Everyone is Wearing Their ID
Appoint someone in each school to randomly count how many staff and students they see that aren’t wearing their ID badges.  If the system is being utilized properly, that number should be zero.  I have seen many schools implement penalties for faculty and students seen not wearing their photo ID on school grounds (ex: fines, detentions, etc).  If you implement a badging system and never enforce it after the fact, it will inevitably fall by the wayside.  Random or quarterly assessments help ensure your investment is protected. 
Step Four: Start Thinking about Physical Security
When thinking about physical security, the best place to start is the perimeter.  Can you traffic all of your visitors to one main entry point?  Hopefully you can and all those guests are checking in at your visitor manager station(s).  If you have one main entry point, have you locked down all your other doors during the school day, thereby guaranteeing that you won’t have any unwarranted guests or visitors? 
In the event of an event of emergency, do you have a lockdown or evacuation plan in place?  At this point, you have already implemented student, faculty and visitor identification badges on campus.  Your visitor management system should offer you an accurate list of all of the visitors on campus at any given moment.  If you combine that list with your other credentials, you can come up with a fantastic plan for better managing your evacuation policy and procedures. 
Step Five:  Implement Other Applications that Use Your ID Badges
In this day and age there are so many things you can do with ID badges besides using them as a means for photo identification.  The opportunities are almost endless.  Take your ID card to the next level with applications like access control, vending, cafeteria solutions, mustering, single sign on, etc. 
There are hundreds of applications available to you!  Explore your options and discover new ways to secure your campus and ensure the safety of your students and faculty, keeping in mind that the more integrated the solutions you choose to implement are, the easier they will be to manage. 
There is no guaranteed way to manage campus safety, but following these steps will help to guide you to a safer and more secure district for both students and faculty. 

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software.  Visit for more information. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

What's Your Plan?

I was speaking at an Open House event hosted by one of my resellers this week, when I posed the following question to the attendees, "How many of you have an evacuation plan or procedure in place at your facility currently?" As I expected, nearly everyone in the room raised their hands.

I continued, "Fantastic! Now how many of those plans include a policy for managing visitors in the building at the time of the evacuation?" I watched as all of the raised hands slowly went down.

Sadly, this was not very surprising to me.  Many customers I talk to on a daily basis are extremely proud of their lockdown or evacuation plans, yet they almost always forget to include visitors in those plans.  Why is that? Visitors are just as important as the employees or students or patients or whoever else may be in the facility at the time.  And an organization is just as liable for those visitors as they are for their own employees! Yet somehow it is the visitors who always seem to get overlooked.

As a group, we discussed this problem for a few minutes and I watched as a few people started to realize just how serious of an issue this could be for them and their organization.  I asked one of them, "Let's say you were visiting my company and there was a fire and I didn't have a proper plan in place to account for you while you were visiting. You would be pretty upset, wouldn't you?" He quickly nodded his head in agreement.

Another attendee volunteered that they don't necessarily have a plan for visitors, but they do have a paper log that lists all of the visitors that have signed in that day.  If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, but visitor log books will never be able to accurately account for who is actually in your facility.  There are dozens of reasons why, but here are my top two.

1. Visitors are almost never asked to present ID when signing in a log book, so you can't validate that they are who they claim to be.  (What is to stop me from signing in as Dr. Pepper?)

2. Many visitors view log books as a privacy concern because they are open for anyone to flip through and read, so if they don't use a false name, they sign the log illegibly. This prevents you from going back through and using that list of names for any reporting later on.

There are so many fantastic electronic visitor management solutions available today that customers can easily remedy the problem.  Furthermore, by integrating electronic  management with an access control solution, they would be able to gain a real time list of everyone that is in the facility at any given moment - from visitors to contractors to employees - essentially anyone that they might need to track in the event of an emergency.

Now that is what I call having a plan.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Your Paper Log Book Says About Your Facility

Last week I visited a hospital to meet with a potential customer.  When I walked in, there were signs everywhere that read, “All visitors must sign in at Visitor Desk”.  Knowing what a potential risk unidentified visitors can pose to any facility, I was relieved to see that they had implemented a check in policy here. 

I followed the signs around the corner to the visitor check in station where I was greeted with a friendly smile and a paper log book.  A paper log?!  I couldn’t believe it.  Disappointed, I scribbled “Tinker Bell” in the log next to the time I arrived.  I told the woman behind the counter who I was here to meet with and she asked my name and called him to let him know I had arrived.  Not once did she ask to see my photo ID to verify I was who I claimed to be or did she check to ensure I signed in using that same name.  Once he was notified, she handed me a temporary visitor label that read VISITOR and asked me to take a seat in the waiting area.
While I waited for him to meet me, I silently watched similar interactions happen with the next five visitors.  Everyone who showed up was asked to sign in the paper log book, but not one person was asked to show any form of identification.  Once signed in, everyone was issued a generic visitor label and sent on their way to roam the hospital at their discretion. 

What are the biggest weaknesses of this system?
1.       Not once was there any validation of anyone’s ID

Without checking visitors' IDs and allowing them to simply sign the log as they please, you absolutely cannot guarantee an accurate record of who has been there.  I rarely use my real name in a log book.  If anything, I find paper logs to be an excellent opportunity to test my creative alter egos… Minnie Mouse, Doctor Pepper, Snow White… Whatever I choose, it certainly isn’t accurate.  And I guarantee I am not the only person doing this, which defeats the purpose of having the paper log in place to begin with!

2.       Anybody can read it

Why not just publish a list of everyone you do business with on your website for everyone to see?  A paper log is basically a public list of every person that has been in your building – vendors, contractors, parents, you name it… (Well those people using their real names anyway!)

3.       Log books are a hassle

What if an emergency or event ever happened and you actually had to rely on those logs for an accurate record of who was in your facility?  Going back through paper records manually to try to figure out who was in your building on a certain date at a certain time can be extremely frustrating, especially when compared to running an electronic report.   

Let’s face it; the paper log book is a completely antiquated way of managing visitor records.  Electronic visitor management offers a cost-effective method to securely track visitors, validate identities and run accurate reports, without the hassle!  The only downside is that as more and more facilities switch to electronic systems, I don’t get to make up as many fun names to sign in with anymore…

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software.  Visit for more information.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Say Goodbye to Duplicate Medical Records

Duplicate medical records.  Say those three words to an IT Director or a CFO at any hospital in the country and I guarantee they will instantly cringe at the thought.  Despite their reaction, it is an ongoing nightmare that they are struggling with every single day. 

Why?  When Joseph Smith shows up on October 1st, he is registered at Joseph Smith.  When he returns a month later for a different ailment, he is registered as Joe Smith.  He is clearly the same person, but now he is registered as two different “people” in the system.  Multiply that time millions of people times millions of hospitals.  We’re talking about a problem that is costing our hospitals billions of dollars every year. 
Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to simply scan Joe’s driver’s license the first time he showed up to the hospital and automatically populate his information into the system?  First name, Last name, Date of Birth, Address, Gender, Age… All of this information could be enrolled accurately and without any manual data entry errors.  Not to mention, extremely quickly!  Then, the next time he shows up at the same hospital, he can present his license again to search for his existing record to guarantee you don’t create a duplicate. 
Or here is an even better scenario.  What if you could create a loyalty card for Joe?  He could be issued a Patient ID card with his name and photo on it, along with a barcode so the next time he returned to the hospital, they could simply scan that card into the system to bring up his existing record.  Maybe that card could be used for special benefits in the hospital like discounts in the gift shop or a special line for faster patient registration.  Either way, it solves the issue of duplicate records and may even build some loyalty to your hospital or clinic. 
What are the biggest benefits of a Patient Loyalty solution?

1. It streamlines the enrollment process.
2. It reduces duplicate medical records.
3. It guarantees you pull up the correct patient record the moment they present their card.
4. It gives patients another reason to be loyal to your hospital or clinic. 

Hospitals all over the country are quickly adopting this Patient Loyalty solution.  The benefits drastically outweigh the costs.  Ask any IT Director to imagine his patient database without duplicate records.  Once he’s done chuckling, I guarantee he will smile…

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures identity and security software solutions including SmartReg, an Automated Enrollment application, as well as Identity Manager, Visitor Manager and Access Control. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Early Bird

Phillip King

Everyone is familiar with the old adage, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm.”  Well, the identification and security industry is no stranger to this claim.  My journey in this industry started as a high school student when I laughed at the notion that we couldn’t use our kitchen table to eat because my father was always testing new demo equipment on it.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but this would eventually define my core business values and fuel my desire to succeed.  Two years later, I started my career in the identification industry and the rest is history. 
As I take a look back on my career so far, the times that are most memorable are the years just following new innovations in our market.  Fortunately, those times generated some of the greatest profit and growth for our company.  There was the invention of the color ID printer, flat card printing in casinos, hospital wristband printing and first responder credentialing – just to name a few.  All of these events represent defining changes in our company’s history.  Yet, these changes were not so favorable for other companies.  So I have to ask myself, why did some companies, like ours, prosper in the years following these changes while others watched their market share slowly slip away?
To answer this question, we must first understand that all products in our industry go through the same lifecycle.  In my experience, products evolve through four stages: Innovation, Product Release, Market Acceptance, Stabilization and then back to Innovation.  Some stay in the Stabilization stage until they become a commodity and others make it back around to Innovation again for continued development.  Of the four stages, the Market Acceptance stage is where the most products are sold and the very best profits are made.  After all, that’s why companies invest so many millions of dollars in Innovation to ensure they have the best products available. 
The best way to ensure maximum success during the Market Acceptance stage is to get in the game BEFORE a product has reached this level.  If you can get on board with a product as soon as it is released and devote the resources necessary to really succeed with it, you can truly take off with it once it develops Market Acceptance.  As a company, we have not always gotten on board with products as early as we should have. 
For many years, we mastered the patient identification business in our region, providing more than 90% market share in desktop card embossing.  In the late 1990s, laser printed wristbands and labels began to slowly make an introduction into our hospital market.  Before you knew it, hospital customers were falling to laser generated forms like dominos.  At first, we hesitated to accept this drastic change in the way we did business.  Once we realized the market was most definitely heading that direction, we regrouped and found new vendors and products to align ourselves with and ensured that our sales and support staff were properly trained.  In that year alone, our company grew over $ 500,000 in revenue and company profits skyrocketed.  When I reflect on the scenario today, I wonder what those numbers would have looked like had we gotten involved at an earlier stage in the game. 
A better example of a time that we got involved very early on was in 1993 when Datacard first released the color photo ID system.  As a Datacard dealer, we were fortunate to have access to a product long before many people knew what it was or what it would mean to the industry.  As a company, we took a big leap of faith and invested a lot of money in demo equipment, training and staff to support this new product.  We even spun off a completely separate company to focus on this product alone.  The major investment ended up paying off for us, and being an early adopter of this technology ended up completely changing our company’s future.  It taught me that the earlier you get involved when a new technology comes out, the more profitable you will be over the lifecycle of that product. 
What is changing in our market today? Identity Convergence, Tablet PCs, Cloud Computing, Security Convergence, Smartcard Technology, NFC, Smart Devices, Windows 8, etc… The future is now!  What technologies are you and your company investing in?  Align yourself with industry leaders that are changing the game.  If you invest the resources necessary to succeed, you will win big in the long run. 

Phillip King is Vice President of ID Group, Inc., a local identification and security integrator in Mississippi and Louisiana and President of BadgePass, Inc., a developer of ground-breaking software solutions for the identity and security industry.

Connect with Phillip on LinkedIn