So what is a significant driver behind the increasing deployment of wireless communications in electronic security applications? The answer is simple. A technology that used to create unmanageable pain points is now solving problems.
Engineering breakthroughs in recent times have made wireless systems, especially in access control and forthcoming in intrusion and video systems, very reliable and much easier to install.
Yet there are many aspects to wireless communications that some dealers and integrators don’t understand, one of which is there is more than one version to consider. Read on to discover how wireless saves money versus hardwired systems, plus end-user customers discuss how their organizations are benefitting from wireless technology.
Seamless Integration With Panel
Perhaps Doug Vanderpoel, director of auxiliary services for Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., explains it best why customers find wireless so versatile. The campus utilizes wireless systems in resident halls, office areas and other locations that are difficult to hardwire, such as the main doors on some buildings and other exterior entryways.
“In all, we have 320 wireless doors and the numbers will continue to grow,” he says.
Vanderpoel relates how it was a real balancing act to coordinate the numerous tradesmen needed to install wired locks for the college’s access control system.
“You need an electrician to install the conduit for the wire. Then, a communications person pulls the wire while a carpenter must hang the door, a locksmith mounts the lock and the low-voltage technician connects everything,” he says.
But that’s not the end of it.
“If a door is not hung properly, the carpenter must come out again. To do the job, the wire must be cut and so on,” Vanderpoel says. “Our staff has enough to do without going through that over and over again.”
That’s why wireless or radio frequency (RF) online locking systems are one of the fastest growing implementations in access control, as well as in intrusion and video systems. These solutions seamlessly integrate into the access control panel, eliminating wire between the lock and the panel, thereby providing a complete solution at each opening. Wireless does likewise between sensors and accompanying alarms, as well as between cameras and the controllers.
Achieving New Cost Savings
Security contractors should consider wireless for every application, if for no other reason than to take advantage of installations that can be one-tenth the time required for a wired solution. Savings in materials cost is realized since there is no wire to install. Also noteworthy, there is no business interruption caused by contractors’ noise and dust common to wired projects.
Even in situations that might once have seemed impossible or impractical, retrofitting is made easy and affordable with wireless solutions. For instance, Parker Fire District (PFD) in Parker, Colo., has deployed wireless access control to provide increased security at four of its fire stations. Previously, the doors were accessed via standard mechanical keys.
At several of the PFD buildings, the “day room” is on one side of the apparatus bays while the dormitory is on the other. To hardwire the facility, PFD would have had to pull wire over the apparatus bays and through three different attics to get from one side to another. Gaining attic access to the two-story bays can be a cumbersome task.
“Hardwiring would have been too lengthy and difficult,” says Robert Krause, PFD director of technology. “We had inaccessible locations, issues with using surface mount conduit, grouted doors, difficult-to-reach head-ends and other problems that were easily overcome by using wireless access.”
With wireless access control, it took less than two weeks to install the system in the four fire stations.
“We saved several thousand dollars in costs per station by using wireless, something our taxpayers ought to appreciate,” Krause says. “Versus our previous system, our wireless locks notify us of their status. They have a polling feature in which information pops up on the management screen, telling us if a battery is low, a door is propped open or if there are other situations we need to resolve.”
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