Access control is best defined as letting an authorized person go where they need to, when they need to, if they need to. In other words, let the right people into the right area at the right times.
Some locksmiths have gotten hung up on the unknown aspect of access control. These security professionals will install basic electric strikes to control access, but will not proceed to the next level of standalone and integrated access control systems.
If you're not doing anything more than electric strikes, you should seriously consider what you are missing out on — providing your customers with controllable access control.
STANDALONE ACCESS CONTROL
Standalone access control units are simpler to install than the basic electric strike. These battery-operated, self-contained locksets allow your customer to control access to a specific area.
Most standalone access control units install into standard door prep. Some require a couple of additional cross bore openings to accommodate mounting bolts or running the wiring from the exterior to the interior assemblies. Standalone locks are available in a variety of styles to replace existing lock configurations as well as finishes. There are even standalone units designed to replace unit locks.
Credentials used to activate these locks include standard 12-button keypad configurations, swipe card reader, proximity card reader, I-button and biometric technology. In addition to working on a specific credential, different manufacturers offer different combinations of credentials on a given lock. You may choose keypad/ prox , keypad/swipe, etc. Dual credentials provide the ability to require one person to have both credentials to gain access or can require two individuals each to have a specific credential in order to gain access. The customer can choose the level of security required.
Keypads in some units are used for programming the lock on-site. Usually a lock with limited number of users and no audit trail is programmed at the keypad of each individual lock.
As features increase, so does cost. The least expensive locks usually feature less than 20 individual lock user codes, no time scheduled functions and no audit trail. More advanced units offer addition user codes into the thousands, time scheduled functions and audit trail. Various versions are now available for narrow stile doors.
Programming some of the more advanced features can require additional software and is usually accomplished at a computer. Each user can be assigned a myriad of access possibilities including multiple time zones and management authorization levels. All user information is uploaded to the lock via a laptop or programming module. When an audit is required, the information is downloaded from the lock to the computer in the same manner.
While most standalone locks are designed to operate from one side of the door, there are those designed with a keypad on both sides to require a code or credential from either direction.
For a customer with multiple doors in the system, as many additional locks can be installed as required and serviced with the same software and hardware components.
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS
An access control system integrates a variety of components to make up the system. Considering the way a simple electric strike system works, this is just an expansion upon that basic concept.
There are four basic components to any access control system: access device or reader, locking device, egress device and power supply. While some manufacturers offer kits containing the three components, most security professionals use individual pieces to complete the working system. By choosing from a wide variety, you can better meet the needs of your customer.
Reader: The first component of the system is the access control reader. These come in a wide variety. All readers accomplish one simple function, they act as a switch to supply or deny power to an electrically locked device.