Opening New Opportunities
The market is wide open for cloud-based access systems
- By Tom Potosnak
- Sep 01, 2018
As demand for controlled access communities continues
to grow, so does the demand for secure and flexible
access solutions. While many communities are
still using traditional telephone entry systems, where
information resides on localized hardware, a cloudbased
environment that allows integrators to control systems from
anywhere has elevated entry access systems from a stand-alone function
to an integrated security feature. Upgrading to a cloud-based
entry access system can be a win-win move for all involved, with compelling
benefits for both community managers and integrators alike.
The Benefits of a Cloud-Based
Increased functionality and scalability. Keeping up with multiple
requirements for gaining access in gated communities and multidwelling
units can be quite complex. Managing the entry/exit of permanent
and part-time residents, renters, visitors, guests, deliveries,
and service providers, while satisfying basic security needs presents
a significant challenge. Resident databases, including names, contact
information, and most importantly access codes, change frequently.
With legacy analog technologies, databases are maintained at the
entry unit itself, in some cases requiring a physical connection at the
unit in order to make updates. This is often a time-consuming process
for the community manager and, depending upon the location of the
unit, potentially dangerous, especially in high traffic areas. Since it
can be so time-consuming, many community managers tend to update
their databases less frequently, which means that active access
codes are available to former, unauthorized residents.
Given these challenges, community managers are turning to
cloud-based entry systems.
Rather than storing resident database information solely on the
unit, new connected systems will also store the database and approved
access codes in the cloud. System functions, including adding,
modifying and deleting users, assigning individual access levels and
other vital access control actions can be performed remotely, when
and where it’s convenient for the community manager. Since the data
is stored in the web, the information is less likely to become corrupted
or lost. Additionally, cloud-based solutions enable temporary or onetime
access codes for visitors, guests and service providers, helping to
prevent unauthorized sharing of codes. Plus, real-time activity tracking
and the ability to monitor access 24/7 makes it easier to detect potential
violators and provides the ability to more rapidly de-activate
However, it’s not just user databases that can be updated remotely.
As new system functionality is introduced, software and firmware updates
can also be pushed remotely. This eliminates the added expense
and hassle of physically interfacing with the telephone entry system
to install updates manually.
Yet another benefit associated with cloud-based systems is added
customization and scalability. Cloud-based systems are typically
driven by web or mobile applications. Both methods easily lend themselves
to customizable user settings, such as the type of information
users receive, alert messaging, reporting, dashboard views, etc. Further,
these applications simplify the addition and modification of new
access points, making it easier to scale as the community expands.
Value-add service for the integrator. Often times community managers
elect to have their service dealer (or integrator) maintain not
only the physical system itself, but also the database, access codes, etc. In such cases, all of the above benefits are also realized by the
dealer. Having the ability to remotely perform these updates means
fewer truck rolls to communities, a higher service level to community
managers and more time to focus on prospecting new business. That’s
just the beginning!
Cloud-connected systems also enable the dealer to capture and
report back a greater depth of data from the community’s perimeter.
For example, a host of gate operator status codes can be collected
by the access control system and reported back to the dealer via
alerts. This real-time status monitoring translates to faster situational
awareness by the dealer, greater responsiveness to the needs of a community
manager, and less downtime at access points.
By responding faster to the community manager, cloud-based
systems can actually help increase customer loyalty between dealers
and community managers. The higher level of service that these systems
deliver affords dealers the opportunity to monetize recurring
monthly revenue as part of their service contracts.
Factors to Consider
Cloud-based computing has opened up a world of possibilities for security
and access control, which means that security dealers will want
to look to partner with best-in-class access solution providers who offer
robust and scalable systems with seamless integration capabilities.
Some things to consider when looking for a trusted partner include:
Ease of use. Ease of use is typically the most important factor
to take into consideration when looking to implement an access
control system. A reliable cloud-based access control system should
provide an intuitive interface for residents as well as easy programing
capabilities that allow system integrators to add or update data
from anywhere. Additionally, a system that installs software updates
automatically can help eliminate the need for manual downloads or
Customizable. It’s important to select an access control system
that aligns with a community’s needs. Providing a system that is scalable
and flexible will allow users to specify the level of control they
need now and easily add more access points later. The access control
system should also provide robust diagnostics that can be customized
to provide alerts and notifications that are relevant to the community’s
Versatile. Selecting an access control system that plays nice with
other security systems allows dealers to enhance a community’s safety
through a seamless over-arching solution tailored to specific needs.
Seamlessly integrating entry access and security solutions allows security
dealers to provide a stronger and proactive service relationship
The Future of Cloud-Based Control
Access control plays a big role in how secure a community is, and the
need to control access points is a fundamental part of a community’s
overall security solution. Updating an outdated entry system with
a cloud-based system provides a robust, full-featured
access solution that delivers enhanced functionality
and easy integration with other security
solutions, ideal for integrators who are looking to
improve and expand their service offerings.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Security Today.