Integrator Spotlight: i.e. Smart Systems

Pictured: (Left) Matthew Key, RCDD, CTS-D Vice President – Preconstruction, at i.e. Smart Systems & (Right) Scot Sturges, Director of Business Development, at Open Options

Access control is “cool” when an integrator combines their knowledge and skills with Open Options’ DNA Fusion to outfit an entertainment center. This is exactly what the experienced integrator i.e. Smart Systems did to the building that boasted a rich history in a major Texas city.

i.e. Smart Systems has a 20+ year history of successful installations of building security, audio/visual systems and structured cabling. They have consistently aimed to redefine the way technology infrastructure is delivered with simplified, yet feature-rich solutions and the highest levels of service.

When this integrator worked on a high rise – with upscale amenities, sophisticated concierge services, and greenscaped terrace roof decks – it was not only working on a building that needed easy-to-manage, flexible solutions, but it was also working on a building that has significance, poised to bridge a major Texas city’s bustling central business district, stately historic district, and culture-rich theater district. Only a state-of-the-art solution was going to be acceptable.

“As a technology company, we strive to provide our customers with best-in-class solutions that are reliable, scalable, and easy to use. Thanks to Open Options’ flexible and customizable platform, we can address the needs of our customers and ensure they are ready to tackle today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Matthew Key, RCDD, CTS-D Vice President – Preconstruction, at i.e. Smart Systems

About i.e. Smart Systems

i.e. Smart Systems design and install user-friendly systems such as video conferencing, room scheduling, digital signage, interactive displays and other practical technologies that help customers keep their businesses engaged and running efficiently.

In today’s fast-paced business world that demands constant connectivity and engagement through technology, i.e. Smart Systems takes the complexity out of technology by providing easy-to-use interfaces and support after the installation. Using its in-house programming team with the latest in audio-video technology solutions, i.e. Smart Systems elevates its customers’ business communications experience by providing relevant solutions with future-reading scaling.

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

Open Options 2021 Outlook

On behalf of the Open Options Team, we wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Despite the unprecedented challenges last year has brought, there are many things to be thankful for and look forward to in the upcoming year.  Open Options has continued to diligently support our customers and strategic partners throughout the pandemic and will continue to stay proactive in providing the relevant technology to support your business needs.

I would like to take this time to share with you some new and exciting things we are planning in 2021 at Open Options.

Starting this year, Open Options and Vanderbilt Technologies will be teaming up to expand our global reach as we combine our sales teams to better support our growing integrator base. Our company has made great advances both domestically and internationally with ACRE as our parent company and joining our strategic sales efforts, will ensure that our business continuity will strengthen yours.

To successfully move forward in 2021, Open Options will be releasing the following enhancements:
  1. Fusion X – One of the key features in the release of DNA Fusion 8.0 is Fusion X. Fusion X provides customers with a new web client experience. It enables customers to manage access rights, print ID access badges, run access reports, execute operational commands, and monitor the health of their environment all within one web interface.
  2. Cloud-hosted DNA Fusion software – Fusion Cloud is a hosted solution that removes the need for customers to purchase an on-premise server, maintain server hardware, and perform system upgrades. With Fusion Cloud, customers can take advantage of a worry-free hosted environment that leverages the integration platform of DNA Fusion.
  3. New Licensing Tool Application - Designed to help Dealers, Integrators, and Consultants to understand how Open Options licensing works when either upgrading an existing DNA Fusion system or a new project using DNA Fusion.
  4. New Monthly Newsletter – starting next month (Febuary 2021), we have redesigned our “Connection” newsletter to include product highlights, new releases, Training guides, videos, and helpful tips, and, a new section to “Highlight” our Integrators and Dealers as they share with us some DNA Fusion success stories.  

I am excited and very optimistic in the coming year and I want to express our gratitude to our all of our customers and partners for their continued business. 

Again, wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!


Charles (Chuck) O’Leary
President, Open Options

Top 7 DNA Fusion Features for Version 7.9

DNA Fusion 7.9 brings many exciting improvements. Today we will highlight the most notable additions. To view all 84 improvements and new features view the change log here.

For customers interested in upgrading to DNA 7.9 contact your Integrator or email us at insidesales@ooaccess.com and we will connect you with someone who can help.

1. Salient DVR and Event Integration

DNA Fusion events are now able to be shown in the Salient CompleteView 20/20 platform. These integrations bring DNA Fusion up to the current SDK.

Salient CompleteView2020

2. Mitsubishi Elevator Integration

Comfortable elevator operation and ride under ever-changing usage conditions – that's the concept realized with the ΣAI-2200C group control system from Mitsubishi Electric. Incorporating the latest advancements in fuzzy-logic, this system utilizes intuitive control to provide smooth operation and a stress-free ride. The moment a hall call button is pressed, the optimal car to respond to the call is selected based on factors such as waiting time, travel time, current car occupancy and energy consumption, and the Immediate Prediction Indication feature is simultaneously activated to reduce user irritation generated when waiting for the car to arrive.

3. Milestone Integration

Updated to latest .NET integration to support new Milestone servers release that will be available in May.

4. Expiring Software Maintenance Pop Up

Pop up to inform users when their SWM is expiring. Speaking of do you need to update your SWM? Do you already know about this pop-up, and you want to clear it? Check out this technical bulletin to do just that.

5. Updated/New UI for various Control Dialogs

Check out the below video (no audio) for a visual of the new control dialogs.

6. Dark Mode

Fonts, and colors updated in DNA Fusion to increase visibility while using dark mode.

DNA Fusion Dark Mode

7. Added support for Mercury SIO Encryption

To further extended end to end security.

COVID-related Changes Lead to Need for More Training

Because of COVID-related changes that shifted responsibilities, an end-user customer became increasingly responsible for being more hands-on with managing his organization’s access control solution: DNA Fusion. He knew the basics but, if he was going to be successful, he knew he needed a better understanding of the correlation between hardware and software. He immediately signed up for an in-person training class at Open Options to learn what he needed to know.

To his delight, Open Options customized the training for him. “Our direct support customer came to class with a list of questions and issues that his company was having and left with solutions and resources to use in the future,” said Brittany Tate, Technical Trainer at Open Options. “Instead of making the class cookie-cutter, we adjusted the course to link his list of questions with the topics we were discussing.”

He first attended a one-day wiring class and then the traditional three-day “Essentials” training.  An example of the type of questions the customer brought to class is: "My door always gives me false alarms when we have to replace the door contact. Honestly, I don’t really know what that is or how it’s used in the software.”

In the class, Brittany wired up a door with the customer, explained where the door contact is added in the DNA Fusion software, and demonstrated how to momentarily disarm any door forced/door held alarms until the door is fixed. This hands-on approach helped solidify the concepts for the participant.

The customer stated, “I really feel like we’re building from the ground up,”. The training broke down everything into repeatable tasks of good habits as well as troubleshooting techniques. The sessions covered common scenarios that occur in the field, including situations with dipswitch settings and various jumper settings.

“The customer left with a firm understanding of the big picture of both the software and the hardware,” explained Brittany. “He mentioned how having all of the resources and physical hardware at his workstation allowed him to make mistakes and troubleshoot in a controlled environment. Towards the end, he mentioned, “I’m excited to go back to my office and finally understand how everything is connected together.”

Through the Open Options training, the customer was equipped to anticipate and be able to fix problems before they even occur.

A Secret to Tech Support’s Success: Attention to Detail

A customer was having a significant issue with his access control system. It was crashing immediately every time he launched it, rendering DNA Fusion unusable. He was not able to create badges or edit personnel. The customer could not figure it out on his own. Therefore, he called Technical Support at Open Options, trusting their reputation for resolving complex issues.

Zack Davis, the Tech Support Supervisor, dug into the issue by checking the DNA Driver logs. He discovered that the logs were showing a massive amount of controller functions but did not point to any specific controller. The error logs were indicating the driver was getting overwhelmed with commands, which was causing it to crash. 

He implemented a SQL script that disabled all the controllers, allowing the driver to start back up and for DNA Fusion to launch without issues. Then he started to enable the controllers one by one.  While enabling the second controller, the error appeared, and he was able to isolate it. 

“A host-based macro had been programmed in DNA with a loop condition on a camera call up function,” explained Nic Robran, Vice President of Customer Support at Open Options.  “Zack verified this with a report and found 30,000 pages of that event being executed before the driver crashed. Once he found the problem, he removed the host-based macro that was causing the issue and enabled the remaining controllers.” 

Subsequently, DNA Fusion remained stable and all the controllers came back online without issue.  He verified that the system was 100% back online and operational. 

“The customer was extremely happy that their system was back online,” added Robran. “And they were able to once again create badges and edit personnel.”