Business Growth Opportunities + Training = Satisfied Customer

An integrator had a dilemma. As the increasing end-user demand for Open Options’ DNA Fusion platform created more and more growth opportunities for their business, they realized that they didn’t have enough of their personnel trained to help end-users from start to finish across hardware and software components. Open Options’ Training department came to the rescue. 

With several projects already calling for the use of DNA Fusion in the near future, the integrator needed an on-site facilitation of training on the popular Open Options platform. Interestingly, the half dozen participants came to class apprehensive, with preconceived notions about the “complexities” of what they thought DNA Fusion held in regard to programming panels and adding users. Soon after the class began, they were pleasantly surprised.

“After breaking down each section, ranging from adding hardware to personnel and more, there was a clear understanding of what DNA Fusion was capable of and how to use it to the benefit of their customers,” said Brittany Tate, Technical Trainer, Open Options. “At the end of the training, all of the participants said they were appreciative, not only of the training, but also of Open Options as a whole for making everything user-friendly.”

After learning the software from installation to completion, they left the three days of training better prepared to fulfill the responsibilities at hand as integrators of security solutions. Now, the company had enough team members certified to meet the growing demand and do the job.  They could start immediately applying in the field what they had learned in class.  Also, as a follow-up, they signed up for the new training portal offered by Open Options to assist with classes or WebEx sessions for their end-user customers in the future

“Investing in the training from Open Options provided a growth opportunity for the company,” said Tate. “We received positive feedback about the hands-on practice with real hardware, as well as our presenting clear solutions to serious protocols, such as creating a lockdown method.”

One participant wrote on the feedback form, "As a consulting engineer, I will be able to convey Open Options benefits to potential customers. This overview covers all the basics; I should be able to answer all their questions."

Another commented that he had "a much deeper understanding of the features and functions available" that can be used going forward for their customers. The company confirmed that the training was time well spent.

Large School District Opens Up about the Key to Improving Access Control

One of the 40 largest school districts in the United States has a five-year plan for expanding its use of access control technologies to accommodate growth and change, but it also had an existing, proprietary access control system that was complex, limiting and change-resistant. The answer: a non-proprietary, open approach to access control. 

This large school district in the southern part of the U.S. had the existing access control system in place supporting more than 500 doors.  Not only did the system have the drawback of being proprietary, but it also required multiple disparate instances of the same management software to accommodate the district’s large access control footprint. 

The school district’s challenge was to find a new enterprise-level access control solution to replace it and be able to easily accommodate the anticipated growth.  In addition, due to the size and complexity of the anticipated growth, the district recognized the need for a more robust support model, that would require the involvement of local certified integrators and the system manufacturer, as well as comprehensive educational program that would train operators and administrative staff on the software. 

Open Options, in conjunction with a local, certified dealer partner, worked directly with the school district to put together a system and support proposal, which included: replacement of the existing proprietary controllers/subcontrollers with non-proprietary, authentic Mercury technology; a software upgrade to Open Options' DNA Fusion; comprehensive user training; five years of Software Maintenance with Connect Care; and one week of Open Options' onsite Professional Services to assist with implementation of the software and associated integrations.  “We were able to put together a proposal that met the District's budget as well as its technology and support and service needs,” said Ben Vestal, the VP of Sales and Business Development at Open Options. “The non-proprietary and open nature of the Open Options solution set, combined with our Connect Care suite of offerings, led the school district to standardize on Open Options for access control moving forward.”

Badging Thousands of Students and Faculty Passes the Test with Open Options’ Professional Services

Creating 3,000+ student and faculty IDs at a school is always a challenge. But when the ID printers are using older technology, there are several things  that must be done to keep them operational. The ribbons must be changed every 250 cards and require cleaning after every batch, while they depend on unreliable data, printing ID cards put a K-12 school to the test. Extra help came from Open Options’ Professional Services.

During the initial configuration of OpenDX, the Open Options team created packages to import personal information of more than 3,000 faculty and students from the school’s Active Directory to populate the cardholder data, making it easier and more efficient for the school. 

However, when it was discovered that the information in the school’s directory was not as reliable as previously thought and would have a direct impact on possible mistakes being made with ID cards, Open Options’ Professional Services team removed all previously imported data and re-imported, using accurate information from CSV files.  Then the process of mass production of thousands of ID cards began. 

“This work was an involved exercise because the ribbons on the printers were only good for 250 cards and the printers required cleaning after every batch, but our Professional Services team addressed any and all issues that arose, expected and unexpected,” said William Murphey, a Professional Services representative at Open Options. 

After the import, the Professional Services team created custom badge templates. Once the badge templates were approved, the team prepared the system to use the Fusion Batch Printing module, which enables mass printing of credentials outside of DNA Fusion.

Because the school’s printers lacked any sort of reader/encoder to read the card number and populate it, Open Options’ Professional Services adapted to the unique needs of the school and created a workaround to avoid having the school pay any extra costs. Once batch printing was complete, Open Options loaded the records into a CSV file for the school to assign card numbers so that the database could be updated with the credential information from the printed card.  

“The process took a couple of days, but with the assistance of Open Options Professional Services, success was achieved,” added Murphey. The school’s ID badging office passed the “test” with flying colors.

Thumbs Up for Tech Support on Finger Scans

Just days before classes began at a private school, the thumb print scans via BioConnect software were not delivering the correct data from the reader, forcing them to leave all doors unlocked to allow access to the school. With nerves running high, the school called Open Options’ Tech Support after the BioConnect support team failed to solve the issue.

“As all finger scans were coming in as ‘access denied,’ we had to work with the BioConnect software integration to ensure that all personnel were linked in DNA Fusion correctly, and that we were receiving the correct data from their software,” said Nic Robran, Technical Support Manager at Open Options. “We care about the customer experience overall and are focused on solving the problem, even when the product is not our own. This particular customer needed assistance getting the security system squared away and back online to control access to the school.” 

Luis, one of the highly qualified Open Options technical professionals at the other end of the line, connected immediately with the school.  He analyzed the data and saw that they had conflicting formats for BioConnect.  He was quickly able to identify the issue as the reader was sending the correct ID, but it was not associating with the correct format. 

Solving the problem was just a matter of making some programming changes to the system. Luis got the formats sorted out on the controller, so the finger scans coming in from the reader were correctly associated to the correct format.  He verified that everything was operational and that the customer was able to get the entire campus secure. 

“The customer was ecstatic that the Open Options technical support team was able to get their system working and the campus secure before classes started, “said Robran. “They were so grateful for Luis’s help and personalized attention in solving the issue.  There exact words to us were "At Open Options you guys are just perfect. I have no complaints. You guys have always been spectacular."