Problem Solver: The Importance of Open Architecture

Nov. 1, 2013
With modular, open architecture locking hardware, locksmiths and facility managers can customize door openings with options, including credential readers and networking, to create a perfect fit.

An open architecture platform allows for easy integration into virtually any access control or other software system. Why is this important to a locksmith or facility manager?

Most frequently, security applications are installed in stages. Over the years, different brands with various operating mechanisms are installed. The products operate independently, without integration into one system. Oftentimes, the hardware and software systems are proprietary and not compatible with other components.

Facility managers today need to choose access control systems that can be upgraded to create a viable company-wide security system. They need systems that can meet current safety and security issues, as well as accommodate emerging technologies that allow the system to expand and adapt as needed. Such solutions should be able to operate current technologies, as well as 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. Upgrades do not require replacing all the locks or even taking locks off doors to retrofit.

By design, this modular type of open architecture easily accepts additions, upgrades and replacement of components to the security system. The structure eliminates proprietary constraints and employs open standards to provide access to critical data and information within the system.

It also helps to protect an access control investment for years to come. As security needs change, the access control system can be changed, by adding new credential technologies, a variety of network protocols, increased security levels and system expansions.

Components traditionally located around the door can be integrated into the lock itself to yield a smarter solution and more value for the investment. Locks can be configured to create a custom fit right at the lock. For instance, they provide multiple, interchangeable credential reader modules, as well as interchangeable offline, wired and wireless networking modules so that access control can be installed at doors where it had been previously unfeasible.

The modular, scalable characteristics of these systems allow the kind of flexibility needed for growing organizations. Users also can choose which openings should remain offline or moved to a network. They can manage both types of locks with the same software and database. As security needs evolve, a facility can have more locks on more doors and move more offline doors to a network solution when the budget allows.

The good news is that everyday actions can get you there. You can start making small changes now that will add up to a big impact in the future, while staying within budget.  Begin today to plan and implement the right open architecture solution for every area of your (customer’s) facility.

 April Dalton-Noblitt is director, vertical markets, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.