Clear: One of the Biggest Threats and Mainstream Plays the Physical Access Control Industry Has

April 7, 2020
Inside Visitor Management

After using Clear today, I received a follow up note thanking me for using the service. While waiting to board my flight, I decided to click around their website. As I dug deeper, it dawned on me…we, as an industry, are ignoring one of the largest threats to our industry. Now I am sure there are some that are engaged with them, but as a whole, they are overlooked. If you were to get industry friends together and do a whiteboard session to chart the “industry disrupters,” I bet you would hear the names like LenelS2, Johnson Controls, or Brivo. You’ll probably also hear new names like Openpath, Proxy, or more recently, Verkada. Two of them likely will be but, I believe a name that is never mentioned and should be is Clear.

#1 on my list and here is why I believe so:

They are focused and winning the high security authentication and biometric space at very public settings - airports, stadiums and campuses. Their mission is "to strengthen security and create frictionless experiences for consumers." And they are doing it. Those verticals and experiences are very sticky and will convert nicely to others like hospitals and the enterprise markets. “The company claims to have 3 million members using CLEAR to get through more than 40 airports, arenas and stadiums around the country.”

Most importantly they are building trust and a track record of executing. They are not executing on technology of yesterday but on technology of today that builds a base for technology of tomorrow.

With that, they are building brand name recognition with consumers world wide and they value mainstream marketing. They have demonstrated the ability to communicate true added value to consumers.  I suspect they will continue to do this as they expand to new verticals.

They are well funded by traditional backers and I would not be surprised if they are already making money.  They also have some big time strategic investors which is only going to help accelerate their adoption.

They will and are attracting talent. They are also tipping their hand on where they are focusing. If you look at what job reqs they have open on their website, you would see they are hiring for Director of Strategic Partnerships, Healthcare and Strategy Manager, New Verticals.  They are not hiring those so they can open up more airports and stadiums. As the job description mentions: “Imagine a world where you can do virtually everything you need to – breeze through the airport, buy a beer at the game, check-in at the doctor’s office, access your office building, and more – without ever pulling out your wallet or phone."

Notice, I did not get into the technical viability of their solution? The reason for that is, I do not think that matters. Experience, Trust, Marketing, and Talent matter just as much, if not more.  

I predict they will make a major move and roll up a big player in the commercial access control space. Either a well known integrator or access control provider or both. This will expedite their growth by eliminating the fragmentation and friction of our industry.

Lee Odess

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 start-up who pioneered the 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 a Growth Studio 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.

Labeled as an uber-networker by the Washington Post, Lee Odess has over 18 years starting, building and leading businesses with an exceptional track record for sales growth and marketing effectiveness.

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