The Future of Electronic Access Control: Two Perspectives

Both Salto Systems’ Lindstrom and Grah Safe & Lock owner Younger sees continued replacements of keys by smartphones and other electronic credentials.

Founded in 2000, Salto Systems is a leading manufacturer of RFID locks. Salto was recently ranked #8 worldwide for access control. Salto, a Spanish word that translates as “jump” or leap, as in the Salto leap of technology with the Salto Virtual Network (SVN). The unique read/write SVN technology uses Smartcards in wireless, hard-wired and wire-free configurations. SVN makes access control affordable for many doors that have been designated as mechanical key access only. For more information, visit


Q & A: Glenn Younger

What is the future of electronic access control from the point of view of a locksmith who sells electronic access control products to end users? Please discuss your thoughts on new products, credentials and software.

We define access control as the ability to do three things:

  • Lock or unlock a door
  • Provide an audit trail and/or
  • Allow for scheduling

Using that definition, the primary limiting factor on the number of doors that have access control has been cost. I have heard estimates that between 2-5 percent of all commercial doors have some form of access control now with average costs of between $2,000 and $5,000 a door.

Access control will continue to grow and cost will continue to be a limiting factor. So, I believe that the future of access control will come from growth in three main areas.

  • Lower cost per door
  • Different types of credentials and readers
  • Wireless or wire-free door controls

For your company is electronic access control growing?

Yes; a real growth area for us.

How is your company responding to the challenge?

We are growing our access control business in a few areas.

  • Customers who have existing mechanical key systems upgrading to higher levels of access control.
  • New customers who are looking to add access control and they do not have a supplier already.
  • Installing door hardware for others who do access control acting as a sub-contractor. Generally we do the installation onto doors, gates and frames for alarm companies, integrated and building management companies who do not have the door hardware experience to handle these installations

What is your company doing to provide your customers with the ability to restrict unauthorized access?

As a part of any access control, we also offer a few things such as:

  • A variety of credentials to control the door or gate. Cards, Fobs, Biometrics, and more recently smart phones and smart credentials are some of the options we will suggest. Smart Phone and Smart credentials are offering some unique and flexible options.
  • Making sure the doors close on access control doors by adding Door Closers. It always amazes me to see doors with thousands of dollars of electrified hardware standing open. Although this is generally not a problem on exterior doors, we see it all the time on interior doors such as server rooms.
  • Adding restricted or key control cylinders to the mechanical lock that is the mechanical bypass for any electronic access control. We believe that it makes no sense to spend $2,000 to $5,000 per door and then leave a cylinder and key that can be duplicated at any swap meet or big box retailer with no verification.
  • When restriction is a top priority, the audit trail is a critical feature. We often suggest is adding video or CCTV. That gives an additional level of confirmation and accountability.
  • I have to mention smart phones again. Bluetooth and NFC work in concert with the one credential that we work very hard to not lose - our mobile phones.

Do you see the security level increasing by implementing biometrics or a second credential?

When there is a real need to restrict access, a second level of authentication is important. This is especially important when using a “dumb” credential such as a basic Prox card or fob. Most credentials will give whoever has it the authorization to enter the door. This is a problem when a credential is lost. Smart credentials can also have schedules and audit trails built into the card or require the credential to be re-authorized on a timely basis. This help when a credential is lost as it becomes invalid in a short amount of time.

What kinds of training have your employees participated in for electronic access control?

From the very basic such as electronics 101 offered by distributors and manufacturers up to certified network engineer training. We make classes and training time available for people at all levels.

Where do you see electronic access control in five, 10 and 20 years?

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