Video Helps Access Add Up

End users in the market for an access control solution may be open to integrating video surveillance to enhance security in all or certain areas of their facility.


When a customer inquires about controlling access to their facility they may be thinking only of credentials such as cards or key fobs, plus readers and software that allow them to set time schedules and permissions.

Their only questions may be how many users, doors and workstations the access system supports. Of course, access control technology has come a long way from these types of basic capabilities. It behooves the installing security contractor, therefore, to educate the customer on the more comprehensive solutions that are available.

Customers may understand their basic needs and wants, but they look to their system design and installation partners to be the expert who will tell them the best way to address these requirements. If they come to you with a specific system in mind, ask them a few probing questions to get them thinking in a new way about their current and future needs. For example, ask the customer that is looking for a basic system if there are areas within their facility or specific doors that are higher risk or require extra security. These areas may present you with upselling opportunities.

It is up to you to raise the customer’s awareness of how the latest access control technology can better meet the needs they have currently and those they expect to have in five to 10 years. After all, no one wants to invest in a system that will lack the ability to scale with them as their facility or organization grows and their needs become more complex.

Access Control and the Video Sell

If the customer appears open to the advanced capabilities of access control systems, ask questions that will lead them toward video integration, a powerful way to add an extra layer of security for their facility. For example, ask if they’d like to be able to see the person presenting the access credential before granting entry to high-risk areas or a visual log of who entered the facility after-hours.

While gaining essential access control capabilities, customers with integrated video can also avoid common risks such as tailgating and the unauthorized use of credentials that standard access control systems do not address.

Presenting hypothetical scenarios, such as the ones found in this article, can more readily explain the benefits of access control with video integration. These advantages center on greater overall control of the facility, the means to investigate access events through live or recorded video, and the ability to respond faster to security risks.

The result for the customer is a much more streamlined way to examine invalid badge use, door forced open, door held open or other alarm events. And they can view live or recorded video and control pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras directly within the access control user interface.

Many Benefits of Integrated Video

Integrated systems provide alarm verification that instantly displays live video images from nearby cameras upon an alarm event at a door, such as when a person presents an unauthorized credential or when a door is forced open. With this capability, the operator does not need to know which camera to select to investigate the event as the system automatically displays the appropriate video on the screen.

This level of instant response can improve the overall performance of a customer’s security staff. Security personnel do not need to go to the site of an event to investigate an alarm. They can view video of the event from their workstations and positively identify the cause, only going to the alarm location when follow-up is necessary. This reduces the amount of time security personnel spend away from their workstations and better prepares them with an understanding of the situation when they do need to visit the location.

Linking the time and date of access events to recorded video also facilitates easy identification, retrieval and playback of past events and alarms. For example, if a system operator is not at his workstation when an alarm occurs, he can quickly find out what triggered the alarm by viewing the recorded video. Operators can do this right from the system’s event log with just a mouse click. Pre- and post-alarm recording options also enable the operator to see video from immediately before and after the alarm event.

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