The Power of Access Control in Healthcare

Masonicare is Connecticut’s most extensive not-for-profit integrated senior care continuum. With residential living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, senior hospital, home health care, homemaker companion, and hospice and palliative care, Masonicare cares for thousands of patients and residents every day. 

Masonicare was in need of a new access control solution to secure their facility and ensure the safety of its residents, patients, and nearly 2,300 employees. A few of their access control necessities consisted of: 

  • Preventing residents in wheelchairs from being able to open the door to a stairwell, where they would be at risk of serious injury.
  • Keeping patients with memory loss or other cognitive impairments safe and in one area.
  • Having pharmacy doors locked down to prevent misuse of narcotics.
  • Making certain that facilities are locked at night and opened in the morning. Consequently, access control is at the heart of its security measures. 

The Challenge

Masonicare had 145 Isonas readers installed that controlled the door access throughout the buildings on campus. While the readers themselves were functioning, the legacy software that was managing the readers was creating major headaches for the organization. “Doors always went down, costing us hours of work because we drove from one location to another to get a door back online,” said Tyler Timek, IT Security Engineer at Masonicare. “The root cause was the legacy software. We needed to find the right access control software to manage the readers at our doors.” When any door went down and could not be locked, the heightened risk threatened the safety of residents, patients, and employees. 

One door going offline could result in a resident in a wheelchair falling downstairs or a patient with Alzheimer’s wandering out of the building and onto the street at night. “The software is so easy to use that we were able to grant HR users the ability to add users and give access as well as remove access. This takes some of the burden off IT and equips HR with the ability to move faster and be more efficient in their processes to onboard and offboard employees,” said Timek. Furthermore, in two of the buildings, a lockdown feature is used, so control of all the doors is imperative to ensure a complete lockdown in case of an emergency.

 In order to decide which access control solution to use, Masonicare consulted with its integrator, A+ Technology, and Security Solutions. The integrator knew that the legacy software would no longer be supported by its manufacturer, which left Masonicare in a bad spot.

We came in, looked at the future more strategically and suggested that Masonicare look at Open Options because of their support of Isonas,” said Jeffrey Sweeney, Sales Manager at A+ Technology and Security Solutions. “Knowing how well Open Options approaches software development, we were confident that they would continue to support Masonicare well into the future, without the need for a forklift upgrade that other access control solution providers would painfully require.

The Solution

Masonicare selected Open Options’ DNA Fusion as its new software platform to manage its access control. DNA Fusion was able to integrate with its Isonas readers, which were all kept in place; therefore, no forklift upgrade was needed, saving costs. “DNA Fusion software is very easy to use,” said Timek. “Installation of this software from Open Options was quick, and it’s easy to add readers to the platform. The process to move over each reader took only about two weeks, exceeding our expectations.” The end result of the solution delighted the customer. “Readers do not randomly go down anymore,” added Timek. “It’s a very different experience from when we were using the legacy software.”

The legacy software used to take hours to update the devices at all the sites, particularly pushing out permissions for new employees. With Open Options software, it now takes less than one minute for all sites to be updated with the latest security information. “The performance improvement was an immediate benefit for Masonicare,” said Sweeney, whose company assisted with migrating to the new software platform. “Expandability, namely the ability to add wireless locks where it made more sense than rewiring for readers, was another benefit, as well as Masonicare taking advantage of the integrations that come along with Open Options.” 

The enhanced capabilities of the more robust system, DNA Fusion, also enable Masonicare to confidently use lockdown buttons at two locations, controlling access levels to different areas. The new platform increased the reliability of using time schedules on specific doors and enhanced the overall efficiency of operations. DNA Fusion was installed in the IT department and the Human Resources department at Masonicare, and brought much-needed security streamlining to the Masonicare infrastructure.

“The software is so easy to use that we were able to give our HR employees the ability to add users for access onsite as well as remote,” Timek explained. “This takes some of the burden off IT and equips HR with the ability to move faster and be more efficient in their processes to onboard and offboard employees.”

Supporting the customer with its next-level Connect Care services, Open Options provided access that connected Masonicare to its ultimate goals to protect and enrich lives, from door to door, with the most advanced open platform access control solution on the market today.

Integrator Spotlight: Security Control Integrators

When it comes to precision and reliability, Security Control Integrators (SCI) has it in the bag. Open Options Vanderbilt is proud to work side-by-side with SCI because of their dependability, careful attention to detail, and knowledge and expertise in the field.

SCI and Open Options Vanderbilt recently teamed up when a large healthcare organization needed a new solution to replace its existing access control system. SCI turned to ACRE brands, Open Options, and Vanderbilt Industries to supply an open platform system and upgraded hardware that would better fit the updated needs of the organization.

“SCI has been a trusted partner from the beginning,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options. “We know that when we partner with them, they will work quickly and efficiently to support the end-user's needs. No matter how small or large the request is, we trust SCI to handle our access control solution with the utmost precision and care.”

In the course of a weekend, SCI installation teams removed the existing hardware at the large healthcare organization, replaced everything with the updated system, and meticulously checked each new server and card reader for proper operation. Employees arriving early for their Monday morning shift discovered the new system up and running with no problems.

“The system we installed was proven easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective,” said Trevor Stewart, President, Security Control Integrators. “We truly value the ACRE brands as partners, and we’re excited about their further expansion into the hosted solutions arena. We know partnering with them will serve the end-user customers and us well for many years to come.”

About Security Control Integrators

Founded in 2006, Security Control Integrators (SCI) is a world-class provider of integrated security solutions, including on-premise and cloud-based hosted systems. SCI develops and delivers comprehensive security solutions that fulfill the unique needs of businesses of varying sizes and industries. SCI believes that flexibility is the fundamental component in the seamless integration of access control, intrusion, and video surveillance.

Introducing Fusion X

In case you’ve missed it, it’s been an eventful few weeks here at Open Options. We recently had two major announcements consisting of our new web-based access control software, Fusion X, and the highly anticipated 8.0 DNA Fusion update! Today, we will be diving into Fusion X and highlighting a few of the unique features it offers. 

So, what exactly is Fusion X? Our new web-based system provides a secure way to remotely manage the DNA Fusion access control system from any supported web browser, and also allows current users to search, view, edit personnel, and control the system hardware from that same web browser. With Fusion X, alarms and events can be viewed, acknowledged, and cleared, and administers the ability to access the system remotely in order to manage or respond to specific situations, such as granting access after hours or controlling doors remotely. 

How Fusion X Empowers Our Customers

This new built-in web server includes all the benefits of the robust DNA Fusion platform while additionally allowing programming and maintenance from any web browser. With Fusion X, you can benefit from a thin client solution that eliminates the need for running full versions of DNA Fusion on multiple PCs throughout the location.

“Customers are constantly looking for solutions that increase workplace productivity and value,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options.  “With Fusion X,  security and IT leaders do not need to resolve issues at the end-user desktop location. Rather, they can maintain the system remotely using any device that can access a web browser. This seamless and streamlined process empowers organizations with a higher level of usability and management, allowing users to benefit from a reduction in expenses, and an increase of security and productivity.”

Fusion X was designed for ease of use and to foster simplicity in accomplishing a variety of common tasks in DNA Fusion without having to resort to a thick client solution. This powerful web application is the perfect solution for the remote management of your access control system, and Open Options is dedicated to supporting you all along the way.

DNA Fusion 8.0 is required to run Fusion X, and both are available for immediate release. To learn more about these solutions, visit our website. 

The Value of Connect Care

For those unfamiliar with the world of access control, when introduced it can often be a little overwhelming. Customers who are interested in strengthening and streamlining their security infrastructure will find that access control is typically one of the first upgrades to be considered, and depending on the product chosen, ultimately will determine how effective it proves to be for their business. When questions or concerns arise about access control products or services, there can often be a disconnect or a delay in between the customer and the integrator as the integrator may be occupied with other customers or may need to refer to the manufacturer for specific information, thus creating a gap.  Open Options does things a little differently. Enter, Connect Care. 

Connect Care creates the most connected experience in the security market, going above and beyond to connect customers with best-in-class technical capabilities, personalized services, and the most advanced open platform access control solution on the market today. Trusted for its market-leading services and support, Open Options has invested significantly in Connect Care to provide customers with a unique, 360-degree experience, always advancing them forward. 

“Connect Care represents the next level of customer care, and is responsible for bringing valuable info pertaining to our cloud-based access control solution, DNA Fusion,  directly to our customers as efficiently as possible,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options. “Connect Care spans across our four company-wide pillars to bring unparalleled service that empowers our customers to have what they need when they need it.” 

The Four Pillars of Connect Care 

Open Options operates in regard to four main customer-oriented pillars: technical support, platform support, professional services, and training. We believe that providing these options for our customers better equips them with the knowledge and expertise of DNA Fusion, and their access control system as a whole. 

Technical Support 

This service connects customers directly to a team of experts in the technical profession for a quick resolution of challenges or issues – with a qualified, experienced professional at the other end of the line. Tech support is a core competency of Open Options, having invested heavily in assembling a team of the most qualified and most talented technical support professionals in the physical access control industry. By providing a direct connection with those that understand the ins-and-outs of our technology, it empowers us to be a true partner, not just a provider. 

Platform Support 

This service connects customers to Open Options' flagship access control platform, DNA Fusion, interfacing seamlessly with leading security technologies and providing end-to-end platform support. Our annual software maintenance service provides significant ongoing value to our customers at a fraction of the original purchase price, and also supplies exclusive access to the rich resources on Open Options’ secure web portal, including value-added downloads and advanced ‘how-to’ videos for system users.

Professional Services 

This service connects customers to Open Options professional services for help with complex IT-related tasks, tapping into on-site services, remote support, redundancy services, custom reports and database services. It also augments the reporting functionality of DNA Fusion with add-on custom report creation capabilities to fulfil specialized reporting requirements

Training 

Training is one of our core missions. It connects customers and partners with the most extensive education tools to empower you to take full advantage of your investments. . Our training program is state-of-the-art, highly respected, and provides methodologies available both online and on-site. Continuous learning is at the heart of Open Options’ commitment to training users on the latest innovations, new fixes to existing problems, and more efficient, time saving ways to connect all aspects of an end-to-end security solution. 

Connect Care Mobile

Open Options also recently created the Connect Care app as a direct connection for customers who are seeking information about Open Options products and solutions for use while working in the field daily. The application will provide the user with immediate access to documentation, education, support, media, and live chat with Open Options.

Before an organization commits to an access control product or integrator, it’s vital to ensure that the  product will be able to scale as the business grows, and that the provider will be knowledgeable and dependable when customers have questions or concerns regarding their access control system. Customer support needs to be at the forefront of the relationship if the partnership is to be successful, and Open Options is dedicated to providing a robust, and scalable access control solution, while keeping customer service at the heart of our operations.

Integrator Spotlight: American Security Group

Pictured: Left, Chuck O'Leary, President Open Options. Right, Anthony Sparks, President American Security Group

American Security Group (ASG) and Open Options both agree that forging and maintaining strong client relationships is the key to a successful business. This is a crucial component in the security industry, as customers now place resources, assets, and even their lives in the hands of security manufacturers and integrators. It’s vital for organizations to have flexibility with their solutions in order to keep up with the growing demand for streamlined security infrastructures.

This shared understanding is a main factor in the partnership of ASG and Open Options. “We are grateful for the opportunity to strategically grow with ASG,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options. “We passionately believe in building meaningful, long-lasting relationships with our partners and working diligently to make it easy to do business with Open Options.”

The adoption of the DNA Fusion access control platform allows unlimited flexibility for ASG’s customers and ensures the longevity of infrastructure via Mercury hardware. DNA Fusion also provides the highest level of support, and allows ASG peace of mind knowing they have chosen the highest quality solution possible to offer their customers.

“Open Options has provided a solution that has a core philosophy parallel to ours,” said ASG President, Anthony Sparks. “We both agree that the future of security involves becoming a solution provider to the customer and not a proprietary system that doesn't allow for change. We have chosen Open Options as we believe wholeheartedly in utilizing open source technology and agree that Open Options has the highest level of performance available today. As there continue to be changes in the industry,  we know that through Open Options our customers’ investments are protected because the hardware is capable of being maintained through software iterations.”

About American Security Group

Founded in 1991, American Security Group understands that the most important aspect of their business is to create and maintain relationships with customers. ASG is a full service security system integrator that provides access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection and prevention as well as critical communication and emergency response systems. They offer solutions to a multitude of verticals and support their customers with a dedicated service department, in-house engineering team, project management team and many account representatives. Every aspect of their design, sales and implementation workflow is created to educate their customers, and they have successfully designed a system that is tailored to meet customers needs while ensuring continued support for the years to come.

Integrator Spotlight: FSG Technology

Pictured: (Left) Scot Sturges, Regional Sales Manager at Open Options & (Right) Greg Thornbury, Director of Security at FSG Technology

Reliability is the first order of business for FSG Technology and Open Options, working effectively together as integrator and access control solution manufacturer.  For end-user customers, not only is the technology reliable but so is the service and support. 

This combo of reliability made the difference recently when FSG brought in Open Option’s market-leading DNA Fusion access control platform to displace a proprietary implementation with a multi-faceted, open approach at an end-user site in the southwestern region of the U.S. 

“Open Options has been a reliable partner of ours from the beginning,” said Greg Thornbury, Director of Security at FSG Technology. “They provide us with a reliable platform that works well for small implementations as well as our largest clients. No matter the request, we always know we can trust Open Options to have the features and performance our clients require for access control.”

Greg Thornbury, Director of Security at FSG Technology

When FSG and Open Options presented together to the end-user, the product differentiation of DNA Fusion stood out, along with the commitment to ongoing service and support. But there is more to the story. Underlining the success of their collaboration and mutual reliability is a common culture, which is ultra-customer-centric, proactive, relentless, and solution-oriented. 

“The culture of Open Options is a strong fit to our own culture,” added Thornbury. “That has strengthened our relationship as we’ve grown.”

About FSG Technology

FSG was founded in 1982 on the guiding principle that hard work, dedication to excellence, and continual learning will always yield a positive result for everyone involved. Since then, FSG has grown from a small lighting distributor in San Antonio Texas, to one of the nation's largest lighting distributors and electrical contractors.

Today, FSG employs more than 2,000 employees nationwide and works with more than a thousand affiliate vendors from all four corners of the nation. FSG's customer list includes every type of business from top name multisite consumer brands to general contractors, to local neighborhood businesses. FSG's “Around the Nation, Around the Corner” philosophy, combines the resources of a national service provider with the heart of local business.

DNA Fusion 7.9 Release Ensures Continuity in Software Maintenance License

Now organizations will be notified of Software Maintenance expiration by a pop-up banner in DNA Fusion. The notification will help users avoid a contract lapse with the new “Software Maintenance Refresh” feature in the DNA Fusion 7.9 release. Renewing your software has never been easier!

The new feature begins with alert messages starting within 30 days and continues until you have renewed.  All you need to do is click on the notification, and it will take you to contact information that will aid you in the renewal process.

The proactive contract renewal reminders help prevent compliance gaps and interruption in the software maintenance agreement.

When the SWM is about to expire, you get a pop-up banner warning that the SWM is about to expire:

It will continue to alert you even after it expires:

Once you renew, it will reset until the next renewal period.

Integrator Spotlight

Genesis Datacom

Pictured: (Left) Zach Wirges, President & (Right) Robert Bandy, Vice President

Open Options and Genesis Datacom, a top-tier integrator, are working together to help an increasing number of end-users transition from proprietary, limited, and complex access control systems to an open, easier-to-use, scalable security solution.

Teaming up has allowed them to solve real-world security issues by combining Open Options’ best-in-class access control solution with Genesis Datacom’s technical expertise and integration services. 

“I chose Open Options as our premium access control solution based on the breadth of integrations and limitless configuration options. Open Options is truly an access technology, not just an access control system,” said Zach Wirges, President, Genesis Datacom. “Their design allows us to take the solution to any environment, whether it is a takeover or a new installation, and integrate all of their security resources. The efficient and proactive platform brings increased value for our customers.”

Zach Wirges, President, Genesis Datacom

One example of a joint end-user customer is the Little Rock School District, stuck under a proprietary system that was extremely difficult to manage.  The project consisted of 56 locations and 689 total doors. Open Options’ flagship solution, DNA Fusion, provided the largest school district in Arkansas with a non-proprietary, user-friendly access control system that was flexible and scalable. 

Since project completion in Q4 of 2020, the district has been very pleased with its new system. Open Options met their immediate needs with DNA Fusion and offered more options to manage the school district.   

“The Open Options team is forward-thinking, and their strong technical foundation aligns with how Genesis Datacom does business. We are proud to be a top-tier integrator with Open Options, and we genuinely value the strength of our partnership," added Wirges.

About Genesis Datacom

Established in 2011, Genesis Datacom has grown to be Arkansas' leading commercial integrator of security, datacom and fire systems, installing best-in-tech solutions with unrivaled expertise and service. Genesis Datacom is headquartered in Little Rock, AR and has a new, second office located in Springdale, AR. In March 2021, Genesis Datacom will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Customer Support Planning for 2021

2020 brought on new challenges that all evolved due to the Pandemic. As a result, we had to provide our customers support remotely.  This re-iterated the need for us to increase and improve our knowledge base materials across the board.   

Thus, our goal in 2021 will be to work on building our knowledge-based library to better assist our customers with the tools they need to be successful.  

Here are just a few new tools Open Options plans to roll out in Q1 2021: 
  1. A new LMS system will be our first order of business, and will include several self-paced courses, including a method to re-certify and maintain DNA Fusion certification.   
  1. Software Maintenance Agreement – added benefits that will include 1 hour bi-annually of one-to-one custom training to aid our customers in better understanding their DNA Fusion Access Control System.  Virtual DNA certification courses, as well as one-to-one custom courses, will have more availability in 2021 as we understand the health concerns with face-to-face classes as well as the additional financial cost to our customers that are incurred with travel.    
  1. Quick Guides to cover specific topics, more tech bulletins on high priority issue items, and more videos to cover common trouble areas.   
Other improvements: 

The success and growth of the company have continued to see an increase in calls to Support this past year.  We drastically reduced the number of calls that went to voicemail in 2020 by right at 80%.  The Support team’s increased experience and knowledge led to shorter call times which allowed our customers to have faster resolutions when they needed assistance.  This also opened more phone availability to prevent calls from rolling to voicemail and forcing our customers to wait on a call back for an issue resolution.  To further tackle this issue, we expanded our available support by introducing support chat as well as a new tracking system for email support.  We know reaching our voicemail is not ideal and that the demand for support is high when the customer is on-site ready to tackle an issue or project.  In 2021 we will be introducing the ability to schedule time with Support during regular business hours to assist our customers when they are on a scheduled trouble call or project.     

2020 did not allow the opportunity to have in-house training sessions with our integration partners, but we did manage to complete a couple remote sessions.  We will continue to work with our integration partners in 2021 to build our knowledge on integrated products as well as strengthen the relationship with our partners to better support our mutual customers. 

2021 will be the year that the Customer Service Team explores new and innovative ways to provide support to our customers as well as to continue to improve the overall customer experience.   

Nic Roban 
Vice President, Open Options Customer Support 

Professional Services Planning for 2021

Although 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year that most people with whom I spoke were glad to see the end, one of the positive things that came out of it was how it caused everyone to learn to be more like water – more fluid. It compelled everyone to stretch to a new level of adaptability to work and home life.  Bringing this enhanced adaptability into 2021 is advantageous for us all.

As I look ahead in 2021, I’m excited about Open Options’ plan for a cloud-based deployment model using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the infrastructure host.  We will begin onboarding the first customers later this month.  This shift to the cloud is expected to gain momentum quickly, as more people become aware of it and adopt it.  More details about the new offering will be available in the near future.

I believe that 2021 will be a catalyst for Open Options to evolve even more into a solution/service provider, expanding our technology landscape as well as the resources to manage it all.  The new year will bring new business, learning, and partnership opportunities that I believe are truly exciting. 


William Murphey Headshot

William Murphey
Professional Services & Engineering Manager, Open Options