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."

Tech Support’s Perseverance Powers the Customer Solution

The customer called into Tech Support to find out how to migrate their DNA Server to Windows 10. It was a seemingly easy request with standard steps to follow. However, it was soon discovered the customer was using an older, unsupported operating system, Windows XP, and did not have a backup of their database. To make matters worse, they also only had corrupted data files. This was time for Open Options to get creative, pool all their knowledge and use what many deem as Tech Support’s “superpowers” to solve this complex customer issue.

“Without a backup of the database, the customer would have had to rebuild the entire system all over,” said Nic Robran, Technical Support Manager, at Open Options, which, like always, became determined to save the customer the hassle.

The first step was for Open Options to truly understand what was happening.  While a tech from Open Options was accessing the customer’s network remotely to get the new DNA Server installed and set up, a critical discovery was made: the files were corrupted. 

“In order to assist, our Tech Support professional recommended that they get with their IT department to get us remoted into the Windows XP machine, so we could attempt to retrieve the files without corrupting them,” explained Nic.  “When our team was able to remote into the XP machine, we discovered they’re running SQL Server 2000, which was beyond end of life.”

This big challenge would intimidate most other access control solution providers, but not Open Options.  The expertise of the senior technicians Lane and Ted was needed to assist in getting the customer’s data restored, making this another example of Lane and Ted’s excellent adventure to solve a complex problem. 

First, the team had to find an older version of SQL Server Management Studio, so they could get in and fix the data files. Lane and Ted both assisted with creating and running scripts to fix their database and allow us to extract the data and get it restored on their new server.

“Our brilliant senior techs were able to parse through multiple errors and edit multiple SQL scripts to finally get a usable backup to restore on their new Windows 10 DNA Server,” said Nic. 

“Without Lane and Ted, we would not have been able to assist the customer with getting their system online.  Considering the customer was using two Microsoft products that were no longer supported, Open Options was the only avenue for them to get their data restored.”

In the end, the customer did not have to go through the lengthy process of rebuilding the entire database to get DNA Fusion fully operational and their building secure. They were back online.

Open Options Supports New Security Education Lab for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Open Options’ commitment to support the security industry as a whole drove the efforts to help power the Security Lab that was recently opened at the Dayton, Ohio Joint Apprentice Training Center (JATC). 

The new hands-on security education lab provides trade education for the International brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 82. IBEW is a big, influential and strong organization, especially in the northern part of the United States.

To equip the security lab with best-in-class equipment and capabilities, Open Options provided both hardware and software. IBEW trusts Open Options. 

“I was fortunate to have attended the Open House of the new Security Lab at the Joint Apprentice Training Center on July 11th,” said Dennis Severance, President of Chapel-Romanoff Technologies. “Ultimately, the lab exceeded all expectations due to industry support from Open Options and others.”

This Security Lab at JATC Local 82 is similar to the lab that Open Options partnered with IBEW Local 58 (Detroit) to open two years ago. The Security Lab was envisioned by an Open Options certified installer, Kenny Smith, who developed and presented cost justification and needs analysis to multiple committees before receiving approval to proceed. 

“This state of the art, hands-on education facility enables the ability to provide familiarization and industry standard education to field personnel, ensuring set-up, programming and deployment training of many of our industries technologies, including equipment, software, communication and documentation, among other things,” added Severance. Through the Security Lab, a whole new generation of apprentice technicians and electricians will be exposed to the power and benefits of DNA Fusion. 

Training Heats Up with Custom System User Classes

Training comes in many different flavors, sizes and locations, including online.

Professional Services Supports Largest Installation of DNA Fusion and Isonas Devices

Allegion/Isonas introduced Open Options to a prospective customer in Louisiana that decided to deploy approximately 5,000 Isonas devices to secure over 150 schools. The end user wanted to do a pilot program first in two schools before the full deployment.  However, prior to Open Options getting involved, an issue arose that threatened to disrupt the whole project.

Isonas's cloud-based platform was supposed to control the devices, but after the end user outlined his expectations and evaluated the functionality of the platform, it was determined that a different platform was needed.  Subsequently, Open Options presented a solution that was more in line with what the end user customer was expecting.  DNA Fusion was chosen, and the installation was supported by Open Options’ Professional Services team.

The challenges to this project were just beginning, however. The timeline was tight for delivering proof of concept on required functionality at pilot sites. It was the end user’s first-ever access control system, so everything was new for him. Both system integrators were brand new and unfamiliar with Open Options’ DNA Fusion and the Allegion/Isonas solution. In addition, every device was an IP-based security device running on Power over Ethernet (PoE), which required the school district to deploy new networking equipment to support it.

“The summer break was fast approaching, and the system owner expected a functional pilot program for the two schools before the start of the next school year,” said William Murphey, Professional Services & Engineering Manager, at Open Options. “To provide a high-level of assurance that the deployment would go smoothly, our Professional Services team was tasked with assisting Southern Electronics Supply and Patriot Government Services to deploy the end user’s first access control system, with the Isonas hardware integrated into DNA Fusion.”

Murphey did the type of work that the Professional Services team does regularly to serve customers: going on site as well as working remotely with integrators for weeks to best represent the interests of the end user; working closely with the install technicians to explain how the devices and system work; providing tips for troubleshooting the hardware installation; and demonstrating the system to the end user customer to build confidence. 

Murphey worked to commission the first school, which consisted of 196 Isonas devices. In fact, this first school was designated as the proofing site the end user customer would evaluate. It was decision time!  Happily, the end user was pleased with the functionality and capabilities of the DNA Fusion solution and made the decision to move forward with the remaining 5,000-door deployment. Once complete, this will be the largest DNA Fusion and Isonas deployment.

Contact your area sales manager to get started on a professional services project today!

Visit our professional services page to learn more about our top offerings.

Customer Secured Mission-Critical, Open Options Platform Support, No Matter What

Technicians from one of Open Options’ channel partners were on site at a state government agency, converting an end-user customer’s legacy access control system to the state-of-the-art DNA Fusion platform, which ties together all security technologies in a unified, value-added approach. The technicians ran into an unexpected challenge; however, it was also an opportunity for Open Options to demonstrate its philosophy for platform support – fix the issue, no matter what.

“The dealer’s technicians encountered an issue of bringing panels online that were associated with the end-user’s critical security doors,” said Ben Vestal, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Open Options. “Both the dealer and the end-user customer were in a bind. It was discovered that they were missing a necessary license.”

Because the regional sales manager for the territory was on vacation and unavailable to authorize the right software license for the platform, the dealer placed a phone call to Open Options headquarters in Texas and was immediately directed to Ben for support. 

“Open Options' philosophy of ‘Fix the problem first and deal with any associated financial issues afterwards,’ combined with the policy of a live person always answering the phone, allowed the dealer to make contact, explain their situation and be connected with someone who could address the issue,” said Ben. “Many large competitors utilize automated phone trees that make it nearly impossible to address an issue if they do not specifically know whom it is that can assist.” 

Ben was able to quickly resolve the issue by authorizing the necessary license, which the Open Options Tech Support team subsequently provided.

“The dealer was able to complete the task at hand, minimizing downtime of the technicians that were on site, thus saving the dealer time and money. The end-user was able to secure the doors, ensuring proper access control for their environment.”    

Professional Services Marches Forward to Solve Complex Issues for the Customer

The Army Depot in Texas was looking for more than just service maintenance for its security system. This DNA Fusion customer, who has an installation of 300 doors to secure, needed strategic planning for an upgrade, complex problem-solving, integration best practice-based advice, and guidance on FIPS compliance issues. When Open Options’ Professional Services did a courtesy, on-site visit at this Army Depot recently, they did more than the customer even expected. 

“First, we were able to resolve an issue the customer was having with reporting by correcting the permissions on the account running reports,” said Roscoe Coffman, Vice President of Operations, Open Options. “Next, we were able to address some misconceptions regarding a perceived ‘latency’ issue with card reads.”

“The so-called ‘latency issue’ was simply the difference in processing time for a 26-bit Prox card that has no security and a Common Access Card (CAC) card,” he explained. “The Prox card granted access in less than one second, while the CAC card takes about four seconds. The best approach is the education of the cardholders as well as best practices in integration.” 

Furthermore, with the customer in the process of installing turnstiles around the perimeter of the facility, Professional Services took the opportunity to assist with a successful deployment.

“The best approach for this is to count card reads and turnstile rotations, allowing the turnstile ‘Free wheel’ until the last user has passed through. After reviewing their turnstile documentation, we determined that they do not have this feature implemented on the turnstiles. We advised them to contact the turnstile manufacturer to assist them in getting this installed. Because of previous experience with many turnstile installations, I was able to provide them with advice to best implement them with the access control system.” 

While also addressing an issue with a DNA Fusion / Ocularis integration, Professional Services was able to provide guidance for the customer on the path to FIPS 201-2 compliance. “Through the process, I was able to help them better understand the issues and limitations of becoming FIPS compliant, as they move forward with a large system expansion.  We also let the customer know that we are available on an ongoing basis to strategize for better integration and FIPS 201-2 compliance,” said Roscoe.

This customer is also a fan of Open Options Professional Services for the two-way communication. “The customer stated several times his appreciation for our asking for customer input for improvements.” 

Continuous improvement is part of the ‘DNA’ of Open Options to ensure that Professional Services, along with other strategic pillars of Open Options’ Connect Care, continues to be a valuable asset that customers can access anytime to connect to the solutions that solve their issues and challenges. 

Training Hit the Road to Enrich the DNA Fusion Customer Experience

Open Options’ Training team recently took their classroom on the road to train some system operators and technical staff on site at a major venture company. The company made a decision to invest in training their staff further on the use of DNA Fusion in order to get more out of their investment in the platform. They wanted the full Connect Care experience. 

“They wanted to learn more on the hardware configuration side of the system as well as train their system operators,” said Sherinda Barrow, Director of Education Services at Open Options. “We put together a custom agenda that allowed for two separate classes to make sure they received the training they needed.” 

Sherinda led the effort to set up a hands-on class in Michigan.  The first two days were centered around the hardware wiring and hardware configuration within DNA Fusion. “We had 11 students for the technical training to learn more about wiring hardware in the field, and they wanted to educate themselves on the hardware being deployed in the field, so they can be more self-reliant.” 

In addition, a number of the integrator's technicians joined the team to learn more about the product during this training conducted by Open Options. 

The third day was devoted to the five operators who manage DNA Fusion. “These operators have the day-to-day responsibility for the system, and they came with specific questions,” explained Sherinda.  “The operators had a number of pain points that we worked through with them in the middle of the training session and we helped them find the solutions they needed.”

The outcome of the three-day educational workshops was extremely positive for the customer. 

“The training for this customers staff allowed the operators to implement policies and procedures,” said Sherinda. “It also provided some clarification on the lock integration they have deployed. They were thrilled to see that DNA Fusion provided them the ability to copy access from one cardholder and apply that access to another cardholder with a few clicks. In the past, they had been taking a picture of the access on the desired card and referencing back to the picture when adding access to the new cardholder.”

She added, “I love those light bulb moments!” 

Tech Support Goes Above and Beyond for Bank Customer

It was a late Friday night in May, and the customer at a large regional bank called Open Options just before midnight to report that they were unable to launch DNA Fusion. This was business-critical for the bank, and, with the system down, it needed immediate attention. 

The after-hours, on-call tech ran through the normal steps and worked diligently to pinpoint the issue, but he was still having difficulty. The resolution wasn’t as easy as hoped, so he activated the after-hours escalation process to make sure the customer issue would be resolved. He rallied his colleagues in Tech Support to tackle the technical issue as a team.

Nic Robran, Technical Support Manager, was brought into the situation early on Saturday to assess why the bank customer was repeatedly getting messages that read: “License Stream is invalid or corrupt” on the server; and “C++ Library Error” on remote clients.

“This prevented them from accessing DNA Fusion,” explained Nic. “They were not able to receive alarms from the system or verify that locations were locking down on schedule. It’s typically a quick fix, but this was caused by a different issue, as they’re a multi-site customer.”

What unfolded next in this increasingly high-pressure situation demonstrated the best-in-class tech support capabilities of Open Options. “Upon remoting in on Saturday morning, it was discovered that there was a DNA Fusion Version mismatch between site 1 and site 2.  This caused site 2 to go into an error loop on the license.”

Nic guided the customer on the next steps. “The entire system had to be put on the same version of DNA to resolve.  They wanted to upgrade to the last version 6 release.  After the upgrade was completed, they had to run the upgrade on each remote client to resolve the C++ Library error. They then verified successful login on all clients.”

Taking the extra step, Nic verified that both sites were online and that all associated hardware was also online. However, just as it looked like all issues had been resolved, the customer reported that they had a few locations where the doors were not following schedules.  “ After investigating, I uncovered that they had several controllers that were an hour behind, so their doors were not locking on time. The controllers had to have the new daylight savings times entered manually due to an older version of DNA running. A couple had been missed, but with the upgrade to a newer version of DNA, the default dates had been updated and just needed to be refreshed and downloaded to the controller,” said Nic. “At the end of the call they were able to launch DNA Fusion and both sites were online. All controllers were showing the correct time, which resulted in all locations’ doors locking at the correct time.”