As technology advances, end users want higher levels of security and technology to protect their property, personnel and assets. These advances have led to higher security lock cylinders and keys, and now is transforming into a rapidly growing market for electronic access control. Building owners and management companies continue to rely on professional locksmiths to provide them with a safe and secure environment, and go to them for guidance. As locksmiths are presented with this shift from mechanical towards electronic security, many are looking for ways to learn, install, operate and sell electronic products.
Many of today’s access control security systems are geared towards large enterprise organizations with onsite Information Technology personnel, and other dedicated security professionals accommodating complex security needs. Some of these conventional access control systems are over-featured for the needs of a significant portion of the market. Over 70 percent of all access control systems comprise facilities with 1-25 doors.
Locksmiths looking to sell and install electronic access control can sometimes feel overwhelmed, and may even turn down sales opportunities. However, the majority of the demand for access control is in fact for smaller, end user friendly systems.
This is what led to the creation of bright blue™ from Schlage, an open architecture, web-based access control system that lets users access, monitor and manage their access control system from any computer running a standard web browser. bright blue has been designed for applications having 1-32 doors and up to 5,000 cardholders and/or user codes.
No specialized software or dedicated PCs are required. The bright blue system uses state-of-the-art embedded intelligence technology. The system application comes on the control panel, which is network-ready and connects into the facilities’ existing Local Area Network (LAN).
The bright blue system software incorporates configuration wizards and help tips for programming and system navigation. Some of the features include setting up doors and assigning access based on time schedules. Up to 5,000 users can be added and deleted individually or by groups.
bright blue is designed to operate in the same way as a web page on the Internet. Changes can be made quickly and do not require dedicated personnel. Once the system has been installed, authorized users can use any networked online computer to access and manage their system.
For facilities utilizing wireless lock options, the bright blue head-end installation includes three basic components - bright blue controller, 12 and 24VDC power supplies and Panel Interface Module (PIM). The 12VDC PIM provides the interface between the wireless lock and the bright blue controller. The PIM provides the connections for credential data, door status, request-to-exit and troubleshooting. Monitors assess battery condition, reader tamper and RF communications in real time using five visual indicators.
Each Panel Interface Module has an indoor range up to 200 feet in typical building construction on the same floor. The outdoor range is up to 1000 feet line of sight. With the optional gain antennae, range is up to 4000 feet line of sight.
The bright blue controller’s network Ethernet connection provides an easy hookup into the onsite network. If there is no existing network onsite, there is also an option to connect directly into the board from a laptop with a special crossover cable. The software is accessed through a standard web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
The system design image shows how different components of the bright blue system connect. bright blue has the flexibility to use a combination of opening solutions. Schlage single credential WA Series Integrated (wireless) and Schlage VIP Lock Series wired locksets’ open architecture platform directly connects with the bright blue controller. The WA Series Integrated and the VIP locks are available in cylindrical, mortise, and exit trim. The VIP locks are designed to provide access with HID compatible proximity or magnetic stripe cards. The WA Series locks provide access with HID compatible proximity cards.
Single credential Schlage proximity, magnetic stripe and keypad readers and any single credential readers with a Weigand output are compatible with bright blue. These readers require a Reader Interface (RI) that connects the components at the door for transmission to the controller.
New features released in 2009 include a Network Reader Interface and Video Integration of up to 32 cameras.
As a result, credential data and door status information required by the access control panel, such as door position or request-to-exit status, are passed via RS-485 communication from the lock to the panel. The bright blue controller panel maintains control of the lock status and visually indicates status of locks, electric strikes or electromagnetic locks. All monitoring is captured in memory on the panel and viewed by a PC.
The Network Reader Interface (NRI) has a network Ethernet connection built in to connect into the Local Area Network just like the bright blue controller. The door data and status information communicates between the two through the network.
The Schlage wireless WA Series Integrated Locksets and the wired VIP locks come with a proximity reader, door contact, request to exit, and electrified lock all built into the lock. The wireless locks communicate the card data and door status information back to the bright blue software through the Panel Interface Module. The VIP lock is hardwired and communicates directly into the bright blue controller panel.
Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies offers bright blue training classes in a number of locations to help locksmiths understand and compete in this market.
Igor Telyatnikov has experience with mechanical and electronic security products, and has worked as an access control systems integrator. He is currently an opening solutions consultant for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies in Southern California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.