SIA New Member Profile: Inside Access Control

Inside Access Control logo
Lee Odess headshot
Lee Odess

New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Inside Access Control is a platform for critical thinking, conversation and innovation across the access control industry within Group337, a growth studio focused on business creation for small to large companies. Group337 and Inside Access Control are fully digital and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.

SIA spoke with Lee Odess, founder and CEO of Group337 and creator, editor and publisher of Inside Access Control, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.

Tell us the story of your company.

LO: After years of working within the security industry, I decided to go on my own and create a platform called Inside Access Control, for critical thinking, research, insights and thought-provoking conversation and to highlight innovation within and around the access control industry. Currently I write a long-form weekly newsletter, publish daily podcasts and videos where I interview subject matter experts and push out content that is relevant to where access control is today and is going in the future. The industry is in the midst of a phase change, becoming more mainstream, and needs a progressive platform to tell that story. I like to say, I’ve worked as an entrepreneur and an integrator (founded E+L+C) for a multinational billion-dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry (Allegion), as an executive of a startup who pioneered the Internet of Things (IoT)/smart lock/smart physical access control industry (UniKey), and as an executive with the first cloud-based physical access control manufacturer (Brivo). I put all those years together to form Inside Access Control focused on business creation in the CRETech, proptech and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control and IoT industry.

What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?

LO: We offer the security industry a media platform of different vehicles they can be proud of. I love this industry and want to love it back. I believe what we provide is a place where the industry can share thoughts and ideas, have a respectful discussion and celebrate what we do and the opportunity in front of us. I believe through storytelling we can celebrate the past, but instead of getting stuck in it, we can use it to bridge to tomorrow and the future. It is not a place where we replay press releases or talk about “innovation” that is really just iteration; we have an opinion, but we do it in a way that is respectful and thoughtful and avoids the negativity you find in most of the blogs on the internet. 

What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?

LO: We are bringing together different forms of communication to blend a platform that reaches you where you want to reached. Whether that is via podcasts, video, social media or long-form newsletters, we are working to bring you information that will help your business think, grow, react and lead.

What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?

LO: Our vision is to be the most trusted resource for information and conversation in and around the physical access control industry.

What are your predictions for the security in the short and long term?

LO: Specific to the physical access control industry but generally also impacting the security industry as a whole are a handful of phase changes that drive predictions of how the industry will be changed forever. For example:

  • The historical view that in order to have high security you need to sacrifice convenience is a thing of the past. The expectations have changed, and the end user expects the flexibility and ability to have security and convenience. It is our job to figure out how to deliver it, and those that do will win in the long run.
  • The industry is no longer a cottage industry controlled and disrupted by itself. We can no longer look to just the internal threats that shape the industry, but we need to start paying real attention to the external ones like Amazon, Google, Apple and Walmart as they are all starting to make impacts in both commercial and residential verticals. What will happen if we do not innovate and start getting real, strong point of views will be an arbitrage of value shifting away from our industry. We have a really good opportunity to leverage our past to define our future; we just need to wake up and start attacking it.
  • The rate of innovation versus historical iteration will continue to increase, and those that lead and participate will be in the game for the long run. There is a culling of the herd happening now, and it’s being driven by innovation: cloud, edge computing, mobile and identity versus credentialing, to name a few. It is not a negative thing – it’s business as usual. It just comes down to, which side of the culling will you be on?

What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?

LO: What SIA offers me that is most important is the network and the people. SIA a wonderful place that allows you to surround yourself with individuals who care, are deep subject matter experts and, from what I’ve experienced, are just all-around great people. This is still a people business, and SIA affords you the opportunities to make those important connections. I hope to have the opportunity to give back to SIA and the members a small percentage of what they’ve been able to give me already.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.