SJUK Masthead Black

Assessing the move towards integration in access control

May 19, 2021


Security Journal UK speaks exclusively with Tim Purpura and Amy Worthy of Morse Watchmans Inc.

The past 12 months have provided some of the most challenging business conditions that organisations are likely to face. The implementation of measures such as remote working, social distancing and regular national lockdowns have created a very difficult trading environment for businesses in the security industry and beyond.

More than ever, it has been critical for organisations to provide cutting edge and innovative products as well as maintain strong and honest relationships with their customers. One company that has done just that in the UK market is Morse Watchmans Inc.

The company was founded in 1882 and is leading provider of key control, key security and key and asset management solutions. Its products include the KeyWatcher Touch and KeyWatcher Fleet Key Management Systems, both incredibly popular all over the world.

Security Journal UK caught up with Tim Purpura, VP Global Sales and Marketing and Amy Worthy, Area Sales Executive to discuss the company’s recent success in the UK market and the direction of travel for the wider access control industry.

Staying strong

Similar to many other organisations across the UK, the initial impact of the pandemic in early 2020 created lots of uncertainty for Morse Watchmans Inc. Purpura, who is approaching three years at the company, stated that things have improved significantly since then: “I think every company will say that COVID-19 had a big impact.

“We were doing really well in Q1 of 2020 and then we were hit hard when COVID struck. However, we have increased sales month after month since that initial challenge and Q4 of 2020 was the best quarter we have had in many years, we are busier than we have ever been.”

Worthy joined the company in July 2020 and echoed the thoughts of her colleague: “I would say the sales were balanced when I first joined in July but since then, it has been absolutely crazy. The first quarter of 2021 has been absolutely fantastic as well.”

One of the innovations that has led to such a strong sales performance was the introduction of an anti-microbial powder coating for KeyWatcher and AssetWatcher systems. Now a standard feature on all new cabinets at no added cost, the coating is designed to resist the spread of microbes. It retains its highly effective anti-microbial properties through regular cleanings, while providing the durability and scratch resistance that Morse Watchmans’ customers have always appreciated.

Purpura explained: “The anti-microbial coating has been a huge success and something that customers have been really interested in learning about because it can mitigate the transmission of microbes through the cabinet. Our systems are made of stainless steel which is highly resistant to microbes and then the addition of the coating makes them even safer.”

Interestingly, Purpura revealed that while Morse Watchmans did introduce a facial recognition feature to their cabinets in 2020 as well, customers still prefer to use fingerprint readers for access. He said: “We introduced the facial recognition capability to ensure that our customers had the best available options to choose from but I would say that 90% of the products that leave our facility are fitted with fingerprint readers.

“Our fingerprint readers are fully integrated into our system so they are very simple to use. There seems to be a misconception that facial recognition is capturing sensitive data so maybe that’s why customers are deciding against it.”

Worthy believes that the speed and convenience of fingerprint readers is also a deciding factor: “Fingerprint readers can reduce the time required to open a cabinet from one minute (with traditional physical credentials) down to around six seconds. We work with a number of large hotel chains and if they have a queue of around 20 people waiting to access the key cabinet, this instant key release makes a huge difference.”

Keeping the pressure off

When an organisation assesses their security strategy, the value of effective and reliable key control can often be overlooked. According to Worthy, getting this part of your security right can help employees avoid a lot of anxiety further down the line.

She added: “I think it alleviates a large portion of the stress and pressures that senior employees feel. For example, heads of department are already under an immense amount of pressure, even more so in the current environment with the added demands that COVID-19 guidelines are placing on them. These individuals need to focus on what they are paid to do rather than chasing missing keys.

“Our systems provide true accountability as well. If there was ever to be an investigation because of a security breach, the KeyWatcher products can generate automated reports which can’t be manipulated, unlike manual signing in books. The systems can even be linked with surveillance cameras so that there is clear visual evidence of who accessed the cabinet and at what time.”

Worthy is responsible for coordinating Morse Watchmans’ sales network across the UK and is excited by the fantastic reaction that the company’s products have received in recent times.

“I’m very honoured to be part of the leaders within the sector and I am aiming for the UK division of Morse Watchmans to be the shining star in the company globally. Some of the vertical markets we are targeting in order to make that happen include food distribution, manufacturing and logistics.

“In addition, we have a number of existing clients within the NHS and we are looking to expand upon that. Accountability and traceability are crucial in the National Health Service and we are keen to continue assisting that.”

The move towards integration

The access control industry is developing at an incredible rate and Morse Watchmans has been at the forefront of it for many years now. In the eyes of Purpura, the current shift taking place towards integration is only going to gather pace in the coming years.

“Access control is an incredibly competitive marketplace with many providers involved. I think that integration within access control is vitally important and that we are going to see technologies begin to seamlessly work together. Systems such as key control, video surveillance and intruder detection are going to integrate easily with access control to become one platform.”

From a Morse Watchmans perspective, the plan is to continue the incredible success they have enjoyed over the past 12 months. Purpura concluded: “We are extremely busy which is fantastic. We will be increasing the number of staff in our production facility and we are looking to expand the sales team in the USA.

“In terms of technological development, we will be moving to a Microsoft Windows 10 platform for our next generation software which is hugely exciting. We are also working towards our next KeyWatcher system, currently we are liaising with our dealers and clients to see what it is they want from this new system. We can’t live in a vacuum and the opinions and needs of our clients are paramount.”

The pandemic has highlighted the need for businesses to be agile and responsive to the requirements of their customers. The introduction of its anti-microbial powder coating showcased exactly why Morse Watchmans Inc. has been at the forefront of its industry for such a long time. After speaking with Tim Purpura and Amy Worthy, it is obvious that the company will be staying at the top for a long time to come.

For more information, please visit:

This article was originally published in the May edition of Security Journal UK. To read a free digital copy of the magazine, click here.

Read Next

Security Journal UK

Subscribe Now

£99.99 for each year
No payment items has been selected yet