Industry Perspective

A conversation with Jack Graves

ACCESS control should be a cutting edge technology, and the opportunity to visit with Jack Graves of DSX Inc. came in the form of lunch near the company's headquarters in Dallas. DSX offers a system with 32-bit Windows® applications coupled with the latest in scalable hardware. Now, the company has the ability to integrate with different DVRs. This allows stored and live video from the DVR to be accessed within the DSX software as an integrated solution. All video is transmitted across a LAN connection.

DSX offers a system with 32-bit Windows® applications coupled with the latest in scalable hardware. Now, the company has the ability to integrate with different DVRs.

Q. Access control is an important ingredient to employee security and safety. How critical is the maintenance and upgrade of the software you offer?

A. The software a WinDSX customer would buy today will be able to meet their security needs for many years to come. Of course, there are obvious performance and feature advantages to doing regular updates or upgrades to existing software.

However, the end user has to set their own rules and priorities for determining the software update policy. Will it be based on considerations such as the following?

  • System performance improvements.

  • Improved software operation in administration tasks.

  • New requirements triggered by operating system upgrades or changeovers.

  • Enhanced feature options that provide truly valuable improvements.

  • Or any combination of all of the above.

The first reason a customer buys a particular access control system is because they believe it provides a total solution for their access control needs. Contained within the customer's expectations is the trust that the basic functions will be stable and strongly engineered to meet long-term security and performance needs. An abundance of software "bells and whistle" features are a strong attraction, but it always comes back to the long-term integrity and performance of the product. Will it maintain backwards compatibility while simultaneously providing a migration path for upgrades and enhancements with minimal cost?

Q. Talk about DSX software and DSX hardware. How do they interface with each other, and what are a few distinct features of each product?

A. WinDSX software and hardware can communicate via a combination of methods through direct serial port connection and dial-up phone modems locally or over LAN/WAN networks.

The WinDSX system is a PC-based building/facility management and monitoring system used to control and monitor personnel and alarm activity. By making extensive use of distributed processing, the DSX system integrates access control, alarm monitoring, elevator and HVAC control, guard tour, time and attendance, and video imaging into a single, Windows&reg-based system using an ordinary PC.

WinDSX software is ideal for multi-location central station use, as well as single-location proprietary use. The multi-user, multi-location capacity allows customers to manage their own building or buildings nationwide from a central location. It also provides opportunities for DSX authorized dealers to manage multiple locations from their central station.

The DSX system control panels offer various combinations of card reader and keypad inputs, relay outputs and alarm inputs. All DSX panels use a fully distributed architecture with all real-time processing performed at each DSX panel. By distributing all information, the DSX system provides significant advantages:

  • Instant response to card read or keypad entry, regardless of system size.

  • No degradation of system performance in the event of a communication loss. All time zones, access levels and holiday schedules remain operational.

  • No loss of transactions for system history files. All panels automatically switch to buffer mode, storing up to 25,000 events per panel.

Instead of all processing power being centralized in one computer, it is distributed throughout the system to make for a much more efficient and secure system.

Q. DSX Access Control recently introduced the 1022-PKG system bundle. What are some of the highlights and upgrades of this product?

A. The new DSX 1022-PKG is a product-value package being offered to first-time and small-system customers. This bundle is priced to compete. A big plus is that it contains more capabilities than others, including the full, feature-rich version of WinDSX software, a DSX-1022 two-door controller (eight inputs, four relay outputs, two reader ports), DSX-MCI communications device and transformer, two Prox readers and 50 Prox cards.

With this economical package the customer can grow their system as one's needs grow. The software is the complete operating program, not a limited or scaled-down version. The hardware design can be expanded to meet any future system need by using additional DSX-1022 controllers or by adding DSX-1042/1048 scaleable controllers.

All systems are flexible and expandable as the owner's needs and demands change. DSX maintains interface compatibility with all previous versions of their control panels. Control panel I/O is scalable and, based on the individual requirements of the customer, it too can be expanded as the need arises. DSX provides a two-year manufacturer's warranty on all control panels.

Q. What course or direction do you see the access control market turning to in terms of IT convergence?

A. IT convergence is a pretty broad term. Ask 10 people and you will get 10 different answers on what IT convergence is. Access control systems operate over the LAN more these days than in years past. There will be a changes to the systems to make them better citizens on the LAN. Access control will have to conform to the same standards as other LAN systems in order to be accepted by the IT departments.

Basically the industry is transitioning from running on private networks where everyone can make their own rules, to running on shared networks where everyone needs to follow the same rules. The problem is that the rules are not exactly set in stone just yet, and different IT departments have different rules.

DSX's software and hardware engineers are constantly developing and testing new product concepts.

This article originally appeared in the September 2006 issue of Security Products, pg. 58.

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