introduction to access control and access control systems main

The Problem
Your building is secure at night, but during the day there are several doors that have to be open. Anybody could walk in. What can you do?

The Solution
You need to purchase and install an Access Control System.

What is an Access Control System?
Access Control is an electronic security system which permits or restricts access to specific areas within a premises. It not only protects property against unwanted visitors but ensures the safety of both the property and of the people inside. In simple terms, an Access Control System provides control of entry (or exit) through chosen doors via a control panel and some form of electric locking facility / system. An Access Control System can vary from a simple system to a more advanced and complicated system as deemed necessary and appropriate, but in each case the solution will provide an easy passage for permitted persons around the building.

Door Entry or Access Control?
Door entry is commonly associated with a single door or gate, whereas Access Control is more suited to multiple doors or entry points. Access Control can also incorporate a host of other features which enhance other areas of the building. Some residential buildings choose a combination of both a Door Entry and Access Control, usually in the form of a Smart Intercom System.

Access Control / Door Entry Technology
There are a number of ways that a permitted user can open a door that is fitted with a system, these include:

    • PIN Code Entry – the most common unit is the keypad system, which is comprised of a control unit with a series of numbered push buttons, or a touch-sensitive pad, connected to the lock release mechanism via a control unit located at the entrance.
    • RFID and NFC Readers – each reader uses a wireless communication link when the user “swipes” and encoded card or fob tag. It retrieves the unique ID in an encrypted secured form. RFIC Cards or Fob keys offer multiple layers of encryption making it harder for anyone to steal the information. These cards typically utilize frequencies of 125kHz and 13.5 MHz.
    • Bluetooth – one of the most common technologies used for access controls nowadays is Bluetooth. A terminal with Bluetooth capabilities is usually installed, where users can simply wave-to-unlock the door or “shake” their phone within 10-20 feet of the reader.
    • Long Range Readers – long range proximity readers (of approximately a meter or so) automatically unlock or open a door when it detects the card. This is particularly suitable for compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) as no action is required by the card bearer.
    • Smartcard Readers – for systems that use cards or tags, these cards can also carry additional information which can be used for other building services; for example, time and attendance functions, integration with payroll systems, car park management and even vending machine applications.
    • Biometric Readers – a Biometric Reader system uses unique human characteristics such as finger prints or a retina scan to clearly identify those who are permitted access. As there are no cards or tags which can be stolen or lost, or open to misuse, this type of system significantly increases the level of security.
    • Temporary Keys – Some smart access controls also allow visitors to gain entry to selected areas by providing temporary keys in the form of QR codes. Residents or building staff can set the parameters and determine the frequency when these QR codes can be used.

introduction to access control and access control systems ways open door

What about Visitors?
You will want to welcome most of those who visit your building, so it must be easy for them to let you know they are there.

The most common means of attracting attention from visitors are:

    • A simple door bell system which alerts that there is someone waiting outside.
    • An audio intercom panel which allows the visitor to have a direct conversation with you and, if appropriate, the door can be remotely released.
    • An audio intercom panel with a camera facility which allows you to see who wants to enter the building before permitting access.
    • Temporary QR codes or PIN codes to visitors.

Once access has been permitted, the visitor can either be escorted around or issued with a card or pin number for the duration of their visit.

Things to Consider
When planning for purchase and installation of an access control system, you should consider the following:

    • The number and location of your entry/exit points
    • Records of log events
    • Smartphone App capability
    • Level of security desired
    • The movement of staff around the building
    • Method of operation
    • Future growth of building
    • Frequency of residents moving in/out of the building
    • Disability access
    • Interface with other systems such as the fire alarm or elevator controls

Academy Intercom are experts at helping people through the entire access control system selection process along with purchase, installation and long term support  Please contact us @ 1 (212) 539-1000 by phone or click here to contact us via our sales inquiry form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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