Introduce Yourself to Open Architecture

Introduce Yourself to Open Architecture

Looking at strategies well into the future

The concept of Open Architecture Access Control is taking on a lot of traction. Much more than a buzzword, Open Architecture Access Control is an idea whose time has come. And, with good reason.

Between the ongoing mass-migration from analog to IPbased systems and the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is now connecting more devices than ever before, the benefits of open architecture systems have never been more apparent. Among the headliners: An open architecture system provides and accepts services from other systems, connects multiple components from different suppliers without the need to change any components, is agnostic to changes and guarantees interoperability— making systems scalable and upgradeable well into the future.

The Forecast Looks Bright

In a recent report by IHS, a premier provider of global market, industry and technical expertise, highlighting the trends and drivers in Access Control, Open Standard was forecasted to provide some of the highest growth opportunities. They state that open standards help to increase innovation and product quality and several manufacturers are now building products to what are emerging industry standards that include Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) and ONVIF Profile C. In the future, end users will have the ability to choose best of breed solutions that meet current needs and are flexible enough to expand and adapt to their changing environments.

The IHS report goes on to say that the ability for end users to have one user interface (OUI) to manage security and risk is now a necessity. In a world where so many devices now connect to a network, the ability to connect logical and physical security with HR and access databases, BMS, elevator control and other devices or sensors to one user interface is now possible. These integrated solutions are often limited by the partner integrations and can be based on proprietary technology. Be cautious in choosing just any solution as a proprietary solution could impact future usability with limitations and increased costs.

With so much being put on the network, IT departments are more involved and have begun to manage and in some instances, dictating, access control installations. Their preference is to avoid any proprietary constraints and, as a result, is seeking open platform solutions. They want software, controllers, readers and door hardware that will accept additions, upgrades, and component replacement. Some end users are asking their integrator partners to provide for life-cycle management of the system and, in a proprietary world, that becomes a difficult task. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How are you preparing your business for these changes?
  • Are you able to pull forward your existing legacy access control system, maintain your investment in access control hardware and provision with an open solution?
  • Do you have disparate access and video systems managing your security today?
  • Are you looking to have a single user interface to manage all your security needs?

Embrace New Technologies

One of the benefits of open platform design is the ability to quickly and efficiently integrate newer technologies like wireless locking hardware, biometrics, and mobile devices both for system administration and for use as a credential. Other advantages include combining traditionally architected access control systems with IP connected edge devices all on the same system software.

Do you want to use your video management system as your single user interface? That too is a possibility, where you can bring in the day-today management functionality of your access system and combine those features with analytics and other sub-systems. Imagine access control plus people counting or access control plus loitering. It is all possible with open design.

Arm Yourself to Manage Proactively

Many end users with disparate security systems force their security managers to be reactive to isolated events or alarms, such as: a door forced alarm, a glass break sensor, motion detection, unauthorized access, video monitoring, etc. Monitoring these systems often requires increased personnel costs to manage. Connect all these devices on a single system over the network and you have the means to be proactive and reduce costs with your security management.

Imagine an environment where a glass break sensor triggers, a motion sensor triggers, a lighting sensor triggers, and along with video of the event, we see an intruder and are able to lock down that area of the facility thus isolating the event. Perhaps you have analytics running, and with the combination of triggers, the system sends video and an alert to your mobile device and you are able to lock down the facility, activate the mass notification system, and alert local authorities all from that same mobile device. This real-time information provides for better management and better security.

  • What capabilities do you have to be proactive today?
  • Is your system providing you with actionable real-time information?
  • What are you missing that you would like to have or need?

Leverage all the Uses, Benefits of an Op en Architecture

Do you want to ensure compliance or avoid liability? Before an employee operates a piece of machinery or operates a vehicle, you want to be sure the system is able to check the HR database to ensure the employee is trained, certified, or licensed and will only provide authorization on confirmation that the conditions for operation were satisfied? Maybe you need real-time location in a facility or mustering capability or have need for non-traditional uses of your access control system? Solutions like these are available today.

With open architecture, open standards and open field hardware, you are no longer limited by what you are told the system can and cannot do. The choices are yours.

For dealers and integrators, there are many options and choices available promising them, and their end users, system flexibility, increased cost benefits, ease of installation, ease of integration, and the re-use of existing door, reader, and controller hardware. Education is key to understanding all these options, and the best ones for their particular needs. One way dealers and integrators can do that is by familiarizing themselves with, and adhering to, standards such as ONVIF, the first interoperability standard for network-based physical security. This will help teach how to build systems that are scalable and cost-effective well into the future.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.

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