3 Common Hurdles to Overcome on the Path to Wireless Access

Here are three of the most common issues end customers have with wireless and how installing security contractors can overcome them.

The transition to wireless access control solutions is on the rise. A study by Transparency Market Research predicts the wireless access control market will grow nearly 8% by 2025. And ASSA ABLOY’s 2018 Wireless Access Control Report, which surveys professionals across the security and access control industries, found that fully wired systems are on the decline, falling from 57% to 41% in the past three years.

However, many customers remain hesitant to embrace wireless, despite the fact it offers many advantages. In fact, ASSA ABLOY’s Wireless Access Control Report found that while wired systems are indeed dwindling, only 6% of currently installed electronic access systems are fully wireless.

Security dealers and systems integrators are in a unique position to help customers navigate their options and identify if wireless is the right solution for their needs. Understanding and addressing the concerns customers have about wireless is crucial to developing a trusted partnership and ensuring they are maximizing the efficacy of their access control network.

Here we examine three of the most common issues customers have with wireless and how integrators can overcome them:

Wireless Requires Costly Infrastructure

Transitioning to wireless can seem like a daunting feat that requires a complex infrastructure and significant cost. However, a key benefit of wireless locks is that they are battery operated and able to leverage a building’s existing IT or security infrastructure to connect locks to the access control system.

With wireless locks, there is no need to drill into drywall, make cuts into doors, find junction boxes and route wires. This reduces installation and deployment time, delivers significant cost savings and requires no additional wires. As a result, wireless solutions are a good option for expanding advanced access control in existing or historic buildings, as there is no need to disrupt the current structure.

Another key benefit of wireless locks is they require fewer components than traditional access control systems, and therefore can be easily installed at any stage during construction or renovation projects.

Traditional wired systems require the lock, wires, potentially a door controller, access control panel and then the electronic access control (EAC) system itself to control the network of doors. However, WiFi systems simply require the lock, the WiFi network that is most often already in place, and the EAC system.

Other wireless solutions, such as ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio wireless technology, utilize wireless communication between the lock and a communications hub to combine the ease of wireless with the real-time communication of traditional access control.

This enables easy expansion of panel-based security infrastructure and offers greater flexibility to address non-traditional applications such as cabinets, lockers and drawers, as well as glass and server cabinets.

For customers that remain conflicted, however, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is another option that’s relatively easy to install and low cost. Although it’s considered a wired solution, it offers similar benefits to wireless.

Like WiFi, PoE sits on the existing IP network. A single network cable is connected to the lock, supplying both power and data communication. No separate wiring to the building’s electrical system is needed, significantly simplifying installation compared to standard wired solutions. PoE locks offer notable energy savings too, drawing up to 86% less power than a traditional electromagnetic locking system.

Wired works. Why change?

As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” With numerous facility priorities competing for budget and resources, this mindset is common among customers who figure if the wired system is working, why bother upgrading it?

While wired solutions are certainly an effective option for some facilities and certain openings, wireless opens the door to new possibilities and benefits not otherwise possible, such as adding advanced, layered security to non-traditional openings.

For example, technology companies can add credential-required locks to data centers and server cabinets. Hospitals can apply them to drug storage units or file cabinets with confidential documents. And government offices can secure evidence lockers, dangerous weaponry closets and other high-risk openings.

Further, a wireless solution allows users to expand their access control network from the core of their building all the way to the curb of their property, including security entry gates and parking facilities, without costly and disruptive trenching.

This gives an end user with proper access rights a seamless access experience. They can use the same card at the security gate to drive onto the property, to enter the building, to access a secure floor in the building and to open specific rooms on the floor.

Today’s Innovation Will Be Obsolete Tomorrow

The pace of innovation is accelerating at an exponential rate, meaning today’s technology will inevitably be out-of-date tomorrow. This has caused customers to be understandably hesitant about investing in new solutions until absolutely necessary. But the good news is that there are solutions on the market today that are equipped to be easily upgraded with tomorrow’s advancements.

For example, some WiFi-enabled solutions that use card readers can quickly, conveniently and cost-effectively be upgraded to support mobile access, biometric access and other emerging technologies without having to implement a new infrastructure in the future.

The great feature about wireless locks is that because they work on a WiFi system that most buildings already have, they can be added quickly, conveniently and cost-effectively to a system of doors, even just one at a time, which allows you to make the investment over time.

Additionally, open standards make scaling-up more cost-effective and future-proof any large investment in access control, like wireless. Using a platform and components from manufacturers that subscribe to standards developed by the Open Standards Security Association ensures interoperability and seamless communication across the system, making future upgrades that much easier.

Lisa Corte is Senior Product Manager, Electronic Access Control, ASSA ABLOY.

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