Promote Open Architecture
As dealers and integrators that have taken this step have learned, EAC becomes self-promoting. Once the client starts to implement EAC, there is often the demand for more and more features. You’ve probably noticed the customers themselves will start requesting progressively more access control options. That’s when the customer becomes a prospect for a true EAC system. That is also when you want to start promoting open architecture for more flexibility, scalability and a growth path for even more sales. Remind your customer that security applications frequently are installed in stages. Too often, through the years, different brands with various operating mechanisms are installed. The products operate independently without integration into one system. Oftentimes, the hardware and software systems are proprietary and not compatible with other components.
Security directors today need to choose access control systems that can be upgraded to create an enterprise security system. They need systems that can meet current safety and security issues, as well as accommodate emerging technologies that allow the system to expand and adapt as needed. Such solutions should be able to operate current technologies, as well as those under development, without compromising or risking investments in their present systems. For instance, while 125kHz proximity is common in today’s access systems, 13.56MHz smartcard technology is the choice of tomorrow since it provides more security and storage for access control systems. The cost of a smartcard is comparable to that of the standard, traditional proximity card, which is the most used card in physical access control today.
The smartcard, however, provides much higher security than a proximity card along with the ability to handle a wide variety of applications from holding biometric templates to being used for cashless vending. The comparable cost alone removes a major impediment to the use of smartcards. It is very important that all organizations be prepared for smart credential deployment, even if that facility wants to install proximity at present.
Multicredential readers are perfect for these locales. Besides aiding implementation, multitechnology readers are available to create flexibility in the transition while allowing your customer’s organization to leverage the lower cost of smartcards. With a multicredential reader being installed at every new door, they are able to flexibly plan for the future.
Since multitechnology readers work on both the proximity frequency and the smartcard frequency, they can still use prox credentials today while migrating to smart credentials at their own pace. During the transition, they can use both their old credential and the new smart credential, upgrading on their preferred timelines, not due to the whim of technology that forces a “now or never” alternative. When their switch to smartcards comes about, they will not have to tear out and reinstall all of their facilities’ readers.
Near Field Communications (NFC) technology is now being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to eventually enable access control as well as many other applications. More than 40 million phones are expected to be NFC-enabled by the end of 2012 and in excess of half the phones sold in 2015 will be NFC-capable. In some cases, existing 13.56MHz smartcard/multitechnology readers are already compatible with the new NFC technology, which allows your customers’ users to use their own smartphone as their credential to enable secure access into their facilities. NFC is one of the key technologies on the horizon.
Open Architecture Options
With a modular, open architecture locking system, security administrators can customize door openings with options including credential readers and networking to create a perfect fit. Plus, they can upgrade readers and network modules from an offline program to a networked solution, change credentials at any time and use future innovative technologies as they emerge. As earlier mentioned, upgrades do not require replacing all the locks or even taking locks off doors to retrofit.
By design, this type of open architecture easily accepts additions, upgrades and replacement of components to the security system. For instance, components traditionally located around the door can be integrated into the lock itself to yield a smarter solution and more value for the investment. Locks can be configured to create a custom fit right at the lock. You can provide your customer with multiple, interchangeable credential reader modules, as well as interchangeable offline, wired and wireless networking modules so that access control can be installed at doors where it had been previously unfeasible.
Users can choose which openings should remain offline or moved to a network. They can manage both types of locks with the same software and database. As security needs evolve, a facility can have more locks on more doors and move more offline doors to a network solution when the budget allows.
Get your customer to rely more and more on you while you increase revenues and profits. It may seem like they are simply asking for a pushbutton lock but a great relationship starts with you knowing what is available so that you can create a custom, long-term solution for both you and your customer.
Drew Alexander is a Product Manager for Schlage Electronics, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.
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