To increase their numbers of customers, provide end-users with more security for the dollar and boost repeat sales from present customers, locksmiths should stay aware of the latest electronic access control (EAC) innovations. Two major initiatives are helping locksmiths become more competitive and successful – leveraging open architecture suites, readying customers for hybrid credential platforms and deploying wireless access control infrastructures.
Open Architecture Platforms
Today, customers need EAC systems that are upgradable to provide a viable company-wide security system. They need systems that meet current safety and security issues, as well as accommodate emerging technologies that allow the system to expand and adapt as needed. Such solutions need to operate current technologies and those under development without compromising or risking investments in their present systems.
With a modular, open architecture locking hardware, security administrators can customize door openings with options, including credential readers and networking, to create a perfect fit. Plus, they can upgrade readers and network modules from an offline program to a networked solution, change credentials at any time, and use future innovative technologies as they emerge. Customers do not want upgrades to require replacing all the locks or even taking locks off doors.
Three major initiatives for cards and credentials are in place today.
- Smart cards will be the credential of choice. If your customer presently uses magnetic stripe or proximity cards, start planning with them for their switchover now.
- Although smart cards will become the dominant credential, key systems, PINs and various types of cards and biometrics will still be necessary in certain applications. Even though customers may use hybrid credentials, they still need one system to manage all.
- Prepare customers for new technologies such as NFC (near field communications). With NFC-enabled smartphones, they can use employees’/customers’ own smartphones as access credentials.
A smart credential, for approximately the same price as a proximity card, provides a higher level of security, more convenience and far greater functionality.
Smart credentials manage access, payments and many other functions much more securely.
Smart cards not only access physical locations, but also the organization’s computer networks and logical access control system. They match a healthcare provider with the patient to ensure safety during care. Company employees find them convenient for payments at the cafeteria or vending machines. They check out tools and equipment, facilitate time and attendance, and provide access to the IT system among other applications.
With these access innovations of today, what can we expect tomorrow? Working together, manufacturers and locksmiths will be able to help end-user systems evolve to an integrated but open electronics portfolio that builds value for the end-user with each component.
Today, we see primarily see electronic access control on the front doors of buildings. Tomorrow, it will also be found inside facilities as well through the application of wireless, multi-technology and cost-effective interior options. Locksmiths will also be able to offer customers systems that leverage alternative credentials for building users and property management while preserving the integrity of the key system for superior facility management. Implementations will provide EAC to more doors throughout the building, improve security and give customers the freedom to manage users and updates from anywhere.
To learn what is out there, keep in close touch with your manufacturer.
April Dalton-Noblitt is Allegion’s director of vertical marketing