Why the OSDP Access Control Spec Is Important

June 1, 2021
Locksmiths migrating into more-advanced systems have to understand how evolving standards drive technology.

The migration from mechanical locking devices to electronics isn’t new. Locksmiths have embraced business opportunities in electrified hardware and access control for more than two decades. Evolving door technology requires new skills and a basic understanding of device protocols. In the past, particularly when working with access control, the array of competing options could be an obstacle for locksmiths and a downright mystery for end users.

When working with their clients in recommending an access control solution, locksmiths often were confronted with the uncomfortable choice of providing security or ease of operation. However, in recent years, security pros and end users have benefited from manufacturers and industry associations joining to help to eliminate the technology minefield that stifled smart integration and open technology solutions.

Perhaps the most advantageous technology mandate pushed to the industry in recent years for access control and electrified door hardware has been the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) standard championed by the Security Industry Association (SIA). For the locksmith, it ensures the access control technology you choose for your clients will be compatible, expandable and easily integrated.

OSDP is important, because it belongs to the industry. The OSDP standard wasn’t government-imposed but originated from demands placed on manufacturers by their customers. OSDP can handle next-generation security applications and has been embraced by important segments of the industry. 

So, how does a standard such as OSDP affect the locksmith community? Obviously, if you offer access control and integrated electrified door hardware as part of your portfolio, you gain credibility from your commercial and institutional clients if you offer solutions that meet international technology standards. You also would set your business apart from competitors that aren’t OSDP-compliant. An OSDP solution is more secure than Wiegand, and it enables feature-rich security implementations from reader to panel, which means standard messages allow files to be transferred from the access control units to peripheral devices. This enables features such as reader firmware updates, logos or custom LED color sets to be sent directly from the control panel.

In 2020, the SIA OSDP Verified program increased the OSDP value proposition by providing security pros with an official listing of compatible security products that have been tested and proven to conform to the standard. As for training, locksmiths can attend SIA’s virtual OSDP Boot Camp (www.securityindustry.org/industry-standards/open-supervised-device-protocol/osdp-boot-camp). According to Joseph Gittens, the director of standards for SIA, the boot camp “walks you through the differences between OSDP and Wiegand deployments and covers everything from wiring to how to use the configuration tools supplied by various OSDP Verified vendors.”

Improving the compatibility of access controls systems through panel and reader communication is a welcome step for any locksmith just entering the electronic side of the business or even for those who are veteran installers. Staying current with evolving standards goes hand in hand with advancing technology.

Read our article, OSDP Takes The Next Big Step, on page 60.