New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Openpath is a leader in touchless, modern access control and workplace safety automation. The company is headquartered in Culver City, California, with an additional office in Fishers, Indiana, and more than 750,000 users globally.
SIA spoke with James Segil, president and co-founder of Openpath, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
Tell us the story of your company.
James Segil: Openpath was founded by a team of five serial entrepreneurs who were frustrated users of key cards, the friction they create within the workplace and the inherent lack of security they present. Key cards are easy to clone and easy to lose, and no one was prioritizing the user experience or taking advantage of current technology – and, more specifically, smartphones – to transform access control with more simplicity and security Today, Openpath is a technology used by hundreds of thousands of people every day to unlock doors, turnstiles and elevators for the buildings they live, work and learn in. Where before, the only credential options available were keys, key cards and PIN codes, Openpath offers the mobile phone as a secure, convenient alternative (even if it stays in your pocket, even if the app’s not running), a user can just wave their hand in front of a reader to unlock their doors. We’ve expanded well beyond office buildings and are currently deployed across a wide range of sectors, including enterprise, commercial real estate, schools, places of worship, retail, multifamily residential, gyms, manufacturing and more.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
JS: The core of our business is to create innovative, mobile and touchless access control solutions that prioritize the user experience and accommodate the ever-evolving security needs of commercial buildings and businesses. For the organization that doesn’t want to compromise ease for security, Openpath is an innovative, intelligent access control system that automates your security infrastructure, so you can focus on managing your business.
Openpath offers touchless, mobile access control solutions that allow anyone to use their mobile phone to open an authorized door with the wave of their hand, without needing the phone unlocked or app open. Openpath’s patented Triple Unlock technology delivers 99.9% reliability for a secure, frictionless and fast entry experience. With a robust cloud solution, Openpath provides a comprehensive suite of enterprise cloud capabilities, allowing for infinite integrations with other technologies, remote monitoring and real time data, future-proofing the needs of the built environment. The company has introduced innovative Tailgating and Lockdown solutions providing the ability to lock/unlock any door, zone or building in an emergency from a mobile device.
What is something we might not know about your company – or something new you are doing in security?
JS: Another challenge that Openpath helps solve is the vulnerability of IT systems to physical security breaches. Cybersecurity and IT teams need to focus more energy on mitigating physical security vulnerabilities, and Openpath’s integrations and partnerships with Okta, the industry leader in digital identity management, give IT and security teams the tools they need to do so.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
JS: Our mission has always been to improve the quality and safety of the modern building and, through technology, reduce friction for the end user. As we continue to serve the needs of customers across a variety of industries, we are introducing more products, features and integrations that not only equip businesses with best-in-class access control, but also with solutions that create a safer, more flexible and frictionless space for employees, end users, and system administrators – far beyond just the front door.
Last year we introduced safety and wellness solutions that make workplace safety procedures such as wellness attestation, temperature screening and occupancy management to accommodate social distancing within offices and conference rooms. More recently, we introduced a partnership with Cisco Meraki that marries our technology with their video management system all in one dashboard, and we see continuous demand for these types of comprehensive solutions.
Additionally, so much of the workforce is now reassessing the office model with hybrid work schedules, and with a significant amount of the workforce having moved to different cities or states during the pandemic, Openpath’s frictionless technology, remote management and flexible scheduling capabilities have driven lots of demand from new customers. We are uniquely focused on making sure that we’re continuing to deliver solutions that meet both current security needs and the needs of the future, regardless of what those may be.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
JS: Real estate, health and safety were put under unprecedented scrutiny during the pandemic, but the rate of technology adoption and digitalization in the real estate industry accelerated greatly as the need for safety, adaptability and remote flexibility became paramount. This accelerated adoption has introduced so much opportunity in the security industry as companies now look to invest in automated, cloud-based solutions that can be easily integrated with a host of various tools for a uniform, comprehensive security posture.
Commercial access control, as an example, can’t just mean a key and lock on a perimeter door anymore. Touchless solutions, health and wellness integrations, occupancy management and remote capabilities have expanded the breadth of the access control category. The opportunity is in creating solutions that meet anybody and everybody’s current and future needs, regardless of how their business may change. A “one size fits all” approach is no longer viable. This means scalable management of users, schedules and access permissions for all locations, in one simple interface; customizable settings and notifications; remote management capabilities; integrations with VMS systems; a la carte features; and more.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
JS: It’s clear to us that the market for cloud-based security solutions that offer flexibility, remote management and scalability will prevail as companies adjust to a “new normal” and an ever-evolving security landscape. What we have all learned over the past year through an influx of more remote workers, ongoing health and safety concerns, shifting schedules and the implementation of more hybrid/satellite offices and hub-and-spoke strategies is that your security system needs to be as adaptable as it is secure.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
JS: Historically speaking, innovating in any legacy industry is challenging. As with all category disruption, when there is a generally accepted way of doing things that hasn’t been questioned before, there is a lot of education to be done in order to meet people’s traditional expectations and help move them along on the journey to a different way of thinking. However challenging these hurdles are, when you see this thinking start to shift and larger populations of people become more receptive to adopting a new way of doing things, it can benefit an entire industry, as well as end users, leading to more innovation, more competition in the category and more market growth overall.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
JS: Openpath keeps people safe and has become a critical part of the return-to-work conversations. We reduce germ spread and keep buildings secure, which has become an essential service and one that plays a more critical role in the future than ever before.
We wouldn’t have come as far as we have so quickly without the open architecture of our system, which has allowed us to innovate quickly and roll out new features via firmware at a moment’s notice. Working with a team who shows up every day ready to tackle the next big thing and won’t settle for “good enough” is extremely fulfilling and motivating. It allows us to be proactive in our product development and continuously offer our customers ways to make their lives safer and easier. The feedback that we receive from our customers, especially about our customer support and features, is something that makes me proud every day.
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?
JS: SIA offers the team at Openpath the opportunity to engage with and lead the conversation around physical security and access control technology. A membership with SIA would allow us to connect with other experts, integrators and installers throughout the security industry and foster meaningful discussions around how to advance the technology and make a real impact for businesses around the globe.
How does your organization engage with SIA? What are your plans for involvement in the next year?
JS: Currently, Openpath participates in ISC West events and SIA webinars, which we plan to continue. The engagement from these events is paramount to our mission to make the world safer and more secure. In addition to continued participation in SIA events, with an SIA membership, we can contribute to more thought leadership articles and discussions, as well as join educational and development opportunities.
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.