Best of 2017: Technology Trends

Dec. 4, 2017
Today’s standalone locks offer easy installation with a fast-growing, high-tech feature set

When I think of the word “trend,” I think of a technology or product that is part of a progression, building upon a previous technology or product, finding a new application for something previously introduced that inspired additional development. The security industry has witnessed and also took a leadership role in this technological evolution.

So when selecting Security Trends for 2017, we selected Standalone locks, a category of hardware, software and credentials which are an excellent examples of how products, technologies and the access control industry can redefine and reinvent itself to supply better solutions to meet the growing demand for security.

The locksmith’s wish list is for a product that is:

  1. Easy to install
  2. Convenient to use
  3. Self-contained or able to connect to external locks
  4. Scalable to provide a cost efficient solution for any job from one to thousands of doors and able provide security communications that spans multiple sites and multiple continents.
  5. Provide multiple authentication measures to assure the highest level of security
  6. Highly robust and reliable

A pretty tall order, but that’s pretty much where the industry has achieved and the kinds of products we have reported on to our readers during the past year.

The many locks and products in our showcase all possess feature sets which provide some if not all the requirements set forth above.

Easy to install: Wireless or hybrid technology makes installation easy by eliminating the labor associated with running wire or installing multiple components to control an opening.

Traditional access control typically required numerous components to accomplish door control: reader, locking device,  power supply, controller and associated software.

Depending on the application and site conditions, different permutations of those elements are required; and our vendors have engineered products and partnerships so the installer has the maximum advantage and minimal encumbrances.

Convenient to use: Systems, software and credentials that are easy for owners to manage and easy for end-users to deal with result in more concise tracking of personnel and a greater acceptance and respect for the security provided by the end-users.

Self-contained: Most of our vendors offer the standalone form factor with which we have all grown accustomed. This form factor is extremely convenient as it works in a majority of applications and requires a minimal door prep.

Some vendors also have a narrow stile version of their lock for storefront jobs.

Many Locksmith Ledger readers are thinking about all those situations where the standalone form factor does not work, such as doors with existing electric locking hardware, or openings which require alternative control such as a door operator or electromagnetic lock.

Some vendors offer the electronic controller with reader/keypad as unit assembly which they use on their standalone as a separate device without the integral cylindrical/mortise lock & latch.

Other vendors design their locks to work with other manufacturer’s door controllers and software. Those doors which use the standalone form factor are bridged over to the other system’s network using an adapter. All doors in the system regardless of form factor appear the same to the software and the system administrator. Some vendors have formed multiple partnerships with other EAC hardware and software manufacturers making integration a smooth transition rather than a long painful conception, gestation and birth.

Products with this flexibility also fulfill another important feature on our wish list

Scalable: By scalable, we mean able to provide a cost efficient solution for any job from one to thousands of doors and able provide security communications that spans multiple sites and multiple continents). Components on a network topology generally share this highly connective trait.

Systems can be compartmented to a set number of doors, or as required be scaled to include the number of doors the software is designed to manage, or reach to the extent of the network being used.

Multiple Authentication: Multiple authentication technology can assure the highest level of security. Access control started out using keypads, and often a single code was used by everyone. This was mostly due to the limitations of the technology at that time.

Although a single code for all might be acceptable in some situations, generally a single code is not considered the best arrangement.

Modern security management favors multiple authentication factors, and the modern standalones offer different authentication factors depending on the model device you are using:

  • Unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) for each user
  • Unique credential for each user
  • Biometric feature authentication
  • Mobile credential

Each of these authentication factors has strengths and weaknesses, but by combining them multi factor authentication greatly improves the level of security.

Robust & Reliable: You can judge the products based on your own experience, the reputation and history of the manufacturer, and also possibly by the strength of the warranty and factory technical support.

Following are some of the innovative standalone locks on the market.

E-PLEX 7900 RFID Electronic Lock

With an aesthetically sharp design, this heavy-duty electronic lockset is built for performance. The most versatile E-Plex model to date, it functions in standalone or wireless modes for mortise, cylindrical and exit trim applications.

The E-Plex 7900 offers more compatibility and greater performance in virtually any access control credential environment. Models are available with variable modules each designed to function with a designated list of credential types.

The E-Plex 7900 wireless model integrates with Keyscan Aurora software using a ZigBee wireless network, which creates a two-way communication from lock to Aurora software.

This allows installation of up to 25 locks per gateway and two router hops to a maximum of 100 E-Plex 7900 wireless locks per gateway on any system running Keyscan Aurora version 1.0.15 or later.

E-Plex 7900 can also function on networks utilizing other E-Plex wireless locks using the same credentials.

E-Plex 7900 added benefits:

  • Integrated wireless access control
  • Functions with Keyscan Aurora software
  • Can be utilized in conjunction with E-Plex 5600/5700 wireless locks
  • No push buttons -- new integrated RFID reader
  • Streamlined design for less projection off the door
  • More secure batteries and wireless antenna on the secure side of the door
  • Top mounted LED indicators

Typical E-Plex 7900 integrated wireless application

• One gateway per mesh

• 100 locks per mesh

• 25 locks per gateway or router device

• Up to 8 routers per gateway

• Locks can be up to 2-hops from gateway

• Locks will ping and look for closest gateway/router

More Info:


Alarm Lock bills its Trilogy Networx as a wireless access system-in- a-box, with no wiring, no splitters or repeaters, no hardwiring to the host/server, no extra power supplies, no access controller/panels and no software or user licenses to purchase.

To the best of my knowledge, AlarmLock created the category which has come to be called the electronic standalone lock, and I was probably among the first dealers to install them.

These locks come with a tool kit of components in the box so you can assemble the lock to suit your door. Bearing mind the Trilogy.

The comfortably sized easy to read metallic keypad poses minimal problems to most individuals, even if they are in a hurry or the lighting is not ideal. Of course the Trilogy comes in many configurations.

Napco also offers the keypad/controller as a standalone to operate external electric locks, or other equipment requiring a contact closure or opening to actuate (door operators, electric strikes, copy machines, etc.)

Trilogy provides a seamless upgrade path using NAPCO’s proprietary NETWORX, and can also be integrated with their Enterprise grade Continental Instruments product group, making this a ultimately scalable standalone.

Trilogy also supports multiple authentication when a unique P.I.N. doesn’t fill the bill.

Over the several years, I’ve serviced Trilogy locks installed in some relatively harsh environments, and this product is designed and manufactured to survive. Install it with pride and confidence. If you encounter problems, call Alarm Lock, who has one of the best technical support organizations in the industry.

Trilogy Networx Locks bring many eliminate door-to- door programming and audit trail retrieval by communicating wirelessly via Ethernet or 802.11B/G, while providing all original Trilogy standalone lock’s functionality.

Trilogy also retains the popular receptionist remote release feature without having to run wires with its unique Trilogy Remote Release Kit which enables remote release for any Trilogy cylindrical lock.

The Trilogy also operates as a standalone system and doesn’t need to be on a network to deliver most of the essential access control features required for typical installations.

Wireless locks are fully keypad programmable and can be up and functioning even before their wireless network is configured, so IT departments don’t have to coordinate with physical security departments or locksmiths.

Trilogy provides an access system with advanced features & functions, like automatic schedules, event logs and support for 2000 doors and 5000 existing Prox. ID Cards/Badges, without wires to run, and no access panels or power supplies to buy or install.

Free Alarm Lock DL-WINDOWS software doesn’t require a dedicated computer or a special computer network or costly server software licenses, it simply runs as a secure Microsoft Windows-based application, on any computer system (as basic as a desktop or laptop PC), a wired or wireless router, and a gateway module or on a an internal LAN with static IP address (recommended). MS XP and Vista supported (v4.01 or higher).

Trilogy support up to 5000 users with 3-6 digit numeric PIN codes and PDL-Series also support prox ID card users (virtually all HID™ format proximity technology ID cards, fobs, credentials.)

The Trilogy is a Grade 1 durable wireless lock per door, installed in about an hour, all communicating to a single Gateway (each gateway controls up to 63 locks), networked to any non-dedicated Windows-based PC.

Trilogy/Networx offers exceptional battery-life which exceeds 5 years

Trilogy features new network-wide capabilities, executed from any lock or the network’s PC, including emergency priority global lockdown or unlock deployed in seconds, and you can activate (non-priority) system-wide free-passage or locking modes from the PC.

Trilogy installations can include both original standalone and new Trilogy Networx locks and seamlessly share one common database hosted on free Alarm Lock DL-WINDOWS software.

Trilogy Networx and gateway modules have an integral transceiver for highly-efficient 900MHz bidirectional communications, for longer range and less interference than with more common 2.4GHz spread spectrum devices.

More Info:

Schlage’s NDE lock with ENGAGE

Schlage’s NDE lock with ENGAGE technology offers intelligence and control to transition from mechanical keys to electronic credentials with technology that’s easy to install, easy to manage and easy to use.

Solutions featuring ENGAGE technology are scalable from a standalone system to the sophistication of fully integrated access control.

Schlage® NDE series wireless locks with ENGAGE technology are designed to fit into a standard cylindrical door prep, making it easy to upgrade without having to replace the door or modify the frame.

Installation is complete in minutes using just a Phillips screwdriver, with no additional holes to drill or wires to run to the opening.

The NDE is the first from Schlage to feature a built-in door position sensor on the lock and strike plate, eliminating the time and cost to install and wire separate components. And since lever handing can be changed in the field in a matter of seconds, you can easily accommodate a left- or right-handed door.

NDE series wireless locks are powered by four AA batteries with a battery life of up to two years under normal usage.

NDE series wireless locks meet the highest industry standards for reliability and durability, including ANSI/BHMA A 156.25, ANSI/BHMA Grade 1, UL 294, UL10C, Industry Canada and FCC Part 15. They also meet ADA, RoHS, and LEED certifications

For basic standalone applications, the ENGAGE apps are used to manage locks, add and delete credentials and view lock history from anywhere. For applications where more advanced capabilities are required, the ENGAGE mobile app is used to configure and connect the locks to an access control alliance partner system.

Building IDs and NFC-enabled smart phone devices are common electronic credentials that work with ENGAGE technology. Both proximity and smart credentials are held up to an electronic reader to initiate the validation process and gain access. For basic access control applications, either type of credential works.

The ENGAGE™ Gateway is designed to be used with devices that feature ENGAGE™ technology.

Each ENGAGE Gateway can support up to five wireless devices for a wide range of applications including interior suite entries, offices, conference rooms, sensitive storage areas and more.

The ENGAGE Gateway provides the ability to leverage existing IP based or RS-485 infrastructure for maximum flexibility. Built in PoE provides the ability to connect to the network for real-time access control directly from an in- or out-of- network host; to further simplify installation the gateway can be powered over ethernet (PoE). Additionally, the ENGAGE Gateway is designed to work seamlessly in an existing RS-485 environment to extend access control to more doors.

Regular, frequent communication between the Gateway and linked ENGAGE™ enabled devices—like the NDE Series wireless lock—enable the Gateway to send commands such as lock, unlock and lock down from an ACP or IP host in real-time (commands are executed in  5 seconds).

More Info:

YALE nexTouch

With a heavy-duty design and ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 certification, nexTouch provides durable and reliable security from a brand trusted for over 170 years.

Featuring fully modular technology, nexTouch can be easily upgraded from a stand-alone lock to accommodate more advanced technologies, for more complex applications including multi-family and small business.

For multi-family properties, its user-friendly data-on- card wireless technology and effortless integration make nexTouch a door access control system with high security and low maintenance. Yale Multi-Family Lock Solutions give property managers high security door locks and wireless electronic access control technology that work together as a complete system – all backed by ASSA ABLOY.

Yale Accentra™ Multi-Family Software offers user-friendly, cloud-based wireless access control technology for remote management from any device – anywhere and anytime. Manage access rights for residents, visitors and staff easily and securely.

The Yale wireless and keyless door access control system is scalable to adapt to changing requirements, easy to deploy, convenient, user-friendly, cost-effective and adds value to your property


• Easy Traffic Control: Engineered to provide a comprehensive, easy-to- use access control solution to protect your facility and personnel

• Modular Technology: Unique and versatile design enables upgrade of the lock’s technology when needed

• Key-free Convenience: Reduces investment and maintenance costs

• Modular technology allows users to upgrade to Data-on- Card or ZigBee/ZWave wireless technologies as system requirements change and grow

• Capacitive touchscreen or pushbutton keypad available, for tactile environments and ADA compliance

• Privacy mode enabled by a button push

• Up to 25 user codes in keypad only operation

• 9V battery power backup prevents lockout even if the batteries fail

• Available in four finishes and three lever designs

More Info:

Westinghouse RTS-Z

The RTS-Z is perfect for security-sensitive business, government, and institutional environments that value easy- to-use and easy-to- install access control. Set access control rights for each individual user to each individual lock and upload these access rights in seconds. Register users as fingerprint only, PIN code only, or a combination of both on any lock or lock groups.

 It combines a large user capacity, audit trails, built-in scheduling system and weatherproof design. A Z-Wave Static Controller is optional for the RTS-Z and can be purchased separately. For futureproofing, regular firmware updates are applied wirelessly via secure encrypted Z-Wave or via USB.


  • Made in America
  • Up to 3,000 users per lock
  • Administrative Levels: 2 (3 Administrators, 4 Managers)
  • Multi-modal options with PIN codes, fingerprint and mechanical key (RIM cylinder)
  • Z-Wave Plus 5202 chipset with integrated Z-Wave controller
  • Mesh network extends range of other devices
  • Fourth generation advanced CMOS optical fingerprint sensor
  • Easy-to- read OLED screens (tested successfully with the visually impaired) Keypads are backlit for easy night-time operation 
  • Program at the lock or use optional software, including scheduling and holidays
  • Capture, review, and transmit audit trail history 
  • IP56 tested ensures resistance to humidity, dust, and rain
  • Rugged, automotive grade Zamak 5 enclosure
  • RS-485, USB and an included relay
  • Long battery life and can operate on a hard power tap
  • MS1 optional management software tool allows administration of 9,999 locks
  • FCC, CE, UL, ANSI, ROHS Certifications, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 Compliant
  • 2 year warranty from date of purchase

Many options are available for almost any mount and latch. These include Grade 1 cylindrical, Grade 2 tubular, American Mortise, Exit Device version and mounting adapters so replacing locks is easy.

Westinghouse MS1 LITE software makes managing anywhere from 1 to 1,000/3,000 users a snap and can control up to three locks.  WESTINGHOUSE MS1 software can control any number of locks.

These software systems will allow you to:

1. Manage users for one or more locks, including adding fingerprints, PIN codes and all individual user permissions, allowed entry times and more.

2. Query and analyze audit trails from any lock in your network.

3. Quickly copy locks to new locks, saving you time and money.

4. Backup and restore all of your lock databases.

5. Edit global lock settings for each lock, including global access times and much more.

6. (WESTINGHOUSE  MS-1 ONLY:) Allow each lock to have a different set of 1,000/3,000 users and allows you to cut and paste individual users or even groups of users to any lock in seconds.

More Info: