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Dealing with competition in the Thai Access Control Market: Interview with ControlA’s Managing Director

Dealing with competition in the Thai Access Control Market: Interview with ControlA’s Managing Director
Mr. Pitsanupon (Peter) Artraksa, Managing Director of ControlA, discusses about market demands and how companies in the access control field deal in a highly competitive market.
As part of coverage of the Thai security market, we had a chance to interview Mr. Pitsanupon (Peter) Artraksa, Managing Director of ControlA, a distribution and integration company of access control solutions, and Suprema’s authorized distributor in Thailand. We discussed market demands and how companies in the access control field deal in a highly competitive market. 

Asmag: Tell me a little about your company’s history in Thailand: when did you start working in the commercial security field, what kind of projects to you usually do?

Artraksa: ControlA was established in 2006, initially we were an HR software company, then we also moved to device sales that can provide time and attendance and payroll. In 2016 we became the authorized distributor Suprema in Thailand and also started offering access control integration services. We usually work with the private sector, supplying solutions for factories and commercial buildings. Factories usually look for solutions that can assist in time and attendance and payroll, and commercial buildings are looking for access Control and visitor management solutions.  

Asmag: How is the Thai security market post Covid? Are there any notable changes you can see?

Artraksa: Covid’s biggest impact on the Thai security market was that it increased the acceptance of facial recognition and cards, whereas the use of finger prints went down. If pre-COVID facial recognition were only about 10% of our sales, they are now over 90% of sales. Mobile access control however is still not as popular. 
Many clients are asking for the facial recognition to be done using surveillance cameras, and not from the reader at the door, but this is still not practical for mass adoption. Instead we offer Suprema solutions that offer both facial recognition and other identification modes. Clients prefer facial recognition because it is touchless, or because there are specific demands that prevent the use of finger print readers. For example, one of our clients is a food factory, that couldn’t use finger prints to identify employees since their hands are constantly wet from water, so their finger prints are distorted.

Asmag: How would you describe the Thai end user? What influences their decision making the most?

Artraksa: Thai customers are open to all countries of origin, the market is very open and the brand loyalty is low. Customers easily change their mind. So we focus on simplicity, ease of use and after sales service. Each stakeholder in end user has different requirement, but they all need simplicity: The IT department wants systems that are simple to install and maintain. The HR department needs a system that can provide correct data, and the owner or decision maker wants a vendor that is simple to deal with: 1 stop service – One vendor that can do everything. As Suprema ambassadors in Thailand, we think Suprema is a good solution, since it only requires 1 network cable for installation, and has highest levels of reliability and accuracy. 

Asmag: What challenges do you face in distributing access control solutions in Thailand?

Artraksa: ControlA covers both distribution and Integration. It is difficult to do just distribution. The difficulty in the access control field is similar to the difficulties faced by video surveillance companies: there is a lot of price pressure from Chinese brands. The market knows that Suprema is a premium brand, but it is not easy to sell at high prices because of competition with Chinese products. The distribution model is difficult and requires a good match between the distributor and SI, since we have our own integration capabilities this gives us an advantage that we can sell directly to end users.

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