||Siedle Access was presented for the first time in 2010 at the Light+Building. What stage has the development now reached just a few months prior to the market launch?
Jürgen Eschle (pictured above): We have actually arrived where we wanted to be. The hardware is ready, the system is capable of running and it has now been given a face: The user interfaces are now operating in their final layout. Since June, we have been supporting system implementation in a number of pilot projects in order to gain practical experience. At the same time, we will be running parallel field tests in Furtwangen under real conditions. Siedle Access has left the laboratory.
Fred Penzin: That also applies to the sales side of things. We have already succeeded in closing our first contracts with Access – not as pilot projects but in the real market against some tough competition.
You are already receiving enquiries prior to the market launch?
Fred Penzin: Every day. Moving forward into the summer, we have already submitted several hundred quotations.
What do you think is the reason for all this interest?
Fred Penzin: Many customers trust our IP system to live up to the quality standard they have grown to expect from Siedle. We are actually receiving a lot of positive advance press, but we are also getting the impression that Access simply hits the mark. The system is open-ended and scalable, it fits in ideally with a whole raft of different requirement profiles. Its design quality and design versatility are unique. Potential buyers are impressed by the server-based principle and functional scope, and importantly too Access is well positioned price-wise.
Isn't it slightly unusual for a new development to offer pricing benefits?
Jürgen Eschle: The system benefits make themselves clearly felt. Greater standardization, less equipment diversity, fewer non-standard developments, vastly simplified quotation and planning process – all of these factors weigh into the calculation, as do higher sales expectations compared to the Siedle Multi system which used to cover comparable requirements in the past. In the field of video systems, on average with Access we are able to come in 20 per cent below with our quotations on a like-for-like comparison with the Multi system.
Fred Penzin: Even more impressive is a comparison of the planning time required: For a medium-sized office building, the planner's work would previously take some six or seven hours with Multi, while with Access this process can be completed in just an hour.
How is that possible?
Jürgen Eschle: Thanks to the open-ended nature of the system, we don't need to take every minor detail into consideration in advance. This slashes the work and time involved in the initial phase. We no longer have to extract every detailed requirement from the customer, because changes can be implemented simply at a later stage. It's like configuring a power mains system: To be able to plan it, an electrician doesn't need to know precisely what appliances are going to be connected up later. He prepares the mains system and the interfaces and the sockets. The user simply plugs in whatever he needs.
Fred Penzin: An example: Whether you opt for audio or video makes no odds when planning with Access. The wiring, connection technology and the devices themselves are the same. The customer is given an audio system with video capability and can simply enable video transmission by purchasing a licence – also at any time afterwards. In a conventional system, the customer is required to take this decision right at the start of the process, and any subsequent changes are very costly. Not only for us, for the customer too.
Are you receiving predominantly enquiries about large-scale projects?
Jürgen Eschle: Yes. Particularly from abroad, we are receiving enquiries about on a scale bigger than we have experienced before – for instance for a chain of petrol stations with location networking. We would not have been in a position to submit quotations on this scale at all without Access. The IP system has opened up a whole new market potential – that is what we had in mind right from the start.
Fred Penzin: On the other hand, we are amazed at how many enquiries we are receiving about Access for high-end private detached properties. Planners in the high-end home sector envisage enormous potential for IP. They have a great affinity for technology and are looking to make the most of integration with building management and media control to create totally interconnected systems. At the same time they – or their clients – have high aspirations when it comes to design, top-quality materials, perfect workmanship and simple operation. This is a requirement profile we are ideally placed to meet with Access. Right from the start, customers are offered an almost unlimited choice of all the design lines, materials and surface finishes through to individual designs, both for door stations and indoor stations.
Jürgen Eschle: In terms of networking, we are helped by the link to KNX, one of the most widespread automation systems. It is integrated in Access, and can be activated by the customer at any time by the purchase of a licence. The system is also prepared for connection to a telecommunication system.
Doesn't total networking also represent a risk? What is the security situation as regards property, which mostly falls into the high-end segment?
Fred Penzin: This type of high-end property is generally very secure. We comply with this requirement by linking the door stations via a controller. This effectively blocks any way of physically gaining access to the network from the outside. This concept is gaining wide acceptance. Alongside this, it also lifts the range restriction: Generally speaking, there may be no more than 100 metres between the network switch and the socket. With Access, up to 200 metres are possible between the door and the controller. What may seem only a minor difference has worked enormously in our favour in the competitive environment.
Is Access the Siedle system of the future?
Jürgen Eschle: It isn't possible to say that exactly. Siedle Access is a powerful system for special, generally speaking very complex requirements. For many other applications it is over dimensioned. In these cases, a conventional bus installation is the more economical alternative. If required, with the addition of Siedle DoorCom as an interface to the network. However, we believe that the target sector in which the strengths of Access are most keenly felt is growing all the time, particularly in the project business. Here, IP-based, open-ended and flexible systems are without doubt where the future lies.
Pictures: Jürgen Eschle (above) is the Head of Engineering and was involved in the system development. Fred Penzin (centre) heads up project sales. The concierge software (below) illustrates the cohesive design and operating concept of all Access components. The screen design attaches importance to clear structuring and simple operation.