The Total Package

Tying access control, safe egress and building management makes financial and security sense

ELECTRONIC security products and systems play an ever-increasing role in managing access and egress in today's buildings. The broader spectrum and increasing sophistication of product choices has challenged the marketplace to provide easier integration of components. This has increased the economic value of a door opening taking it beyond security and redefining the term "total opening" in the security market.

Components Form Secure Door
The increased demands of building management, reporting of access and convenience of accommodating changes have required that all components work together to optimize security and safety. As more components become electrified -- even networked -- movement throughout a facility is monitored with access control functions and the use of electro-mechanical egress hardware. In a networked system, an unsecured opening -- whether due to a faulty latch or propped door -- is reported at once, which directs maintenance and security workers to where they are most needed.

The ever-growing list of electrified hardware and electronic devices makes it easier than ever to customize an opening for the exact functions and monitoring needed for its location and usage.

The ever-growing list of electrified hardware and electronic devices makes it easier than ever to customize an opening for the exact functions and monitoring needed for its location and usage.

Linking Openings into Building Networks
How can a building manager or owner get the most value for the investment in networked systems?

Value is defined in terms of total cost of ownership. The lower the total cost of ownership, the greater the value. If each door systems is managed by a dedicated security management system or one that runs on the building network or backbone, economic value increases. Where such networks exist, managing 50 doors on one system is easier and more cost-effective than managing each opening. Replacing locks or rekeying, which can be costly and time consuming, can be virtually eliminated with an electronic access control solution.

Integrated building systems also can be Web-based, providing remote monitoring of openings over the Internet from any location. This not only improves security, but may yield more efficient and consistent security administration with lower staff costs. Product development in wireless access, credential management, biometrics and DVRs have allowed for more effective remote capability.

Generating More Data
From a building owner or facility manager's perspective, viewing the secured opening as more than a collection of individual components enables the security manager to expand the usefulness of those components. For instance, biometric credential readers can tie directly to human resource management systems positively affecting payroll and personnel scheduling. Such systems are widely used in hospitality and other applications, where there are many people working disparate schedules from day to day.

Another example may involve remote wireless access readers used for mustering to accommodate large commercial or corporate campus settings. Such applications improve security, lower the total cost of ownership and increase workforce productivity.

Wireless Systems Speed Installation
Wireless solutions seamlessly integrate into the existing access control panel, eliminating wire between the lock and the access control panel interfaces, providing a complete solution at each opening. Implementing a wireless solution actually takes less time than its traditional hardwired counterpart.

Wireless systems can be applied anywhere a lock is installed. More importantly, there are certain applications that lend themselves particularly well to wireless. Older buildings that would be difficult or impossible to hardwire are naturals for wireless. Whether they are installed in new buildings or historical landmarks, wireless locking systems preserve the integrity of the architectural design.

Wireless systems work with any of today's access control systems. That means users don't have to replace their existing software or ID credentials. Such systems are an attractive alternative to off line, standalone locking systems because wireless access offers a real-time, online solution that is compatible with all brands of access control panels.

Given today's constraints on time and budgets, wireless solutions work well for airports, schools and universities, healthcare institutions and corporate facilities. Wireless locks result in substantial installation savings and significantly reduce the disruption that a facility experiences during the installation of security systems. Wireless systems are less invasive and can eliminate carpentry, patching and repainting, making them ideal for both difficult to wire situations and new construction projects. They also retain the integrity of historical buildings and avoid potential asbestos issues in older buildings.

Uses of Biometrics
Driven by both security concerns and the desire for efficiency, biometric applications are growing faster than ever. Hand geometry continues to be the dominant biometric technology for access control and time-and-attendance applications. It is especially well-suited for handling large volumes of transactions where a high degree of reliability is required.

Biometric devices, such as hand geometry readers and optical fingerprint readers, are used as an effective high-security solution, particularly where they can provide an additional layer of security to vital entrances or doors, assuring that lost or stolen cards are not later used to access facilities. These biometric technologies facilitate security management by making openings easier to supervise and monitor, as the access credential positively identifies the person seeking access.

Broadening System Integration
Both end users and dealers should look at openings as more than individual access points. Today, integrators design systems, specify components and recommend security management systems that provide the building owner/manager with higher levels of security and convenience than ever before. A coordinated system design employing a combination of wireless and hard-wired components, leading-edge mechanical hardware and a comprehensive head-end control panel will yield the highest level of security and the lowest cost of total ownership.

The up-front investment in system design and sophisticated access control products is more than justified by the increased economic value an owner derives. Access security and egress safety built into the latest products and services in electronic security are reshaping the role of the opening and providing solutions that can be "dollarized." The economic benefits of shorter payback periods and improved technologies, such as wireless access, are making electronic and electrified solutions more desirable. With the advent of open architecture, networking of intelligent openings improves building systems' efficiency, enhances security and takes integration of building systems to new levels of effectiveness.

This article originally appeared in the August 2006 issue of Security Products, pgs. 32-36.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .


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