When the integration industry talks about “convergence” it really should often be referring to access control.
More than a security category, access control at its core is really “an information capturing tool,” points out Mark Duato, integrated solutions specialist group VP for ASSA ABLOY and Yale Commercial.
After all, access control solutions live on customers networks and provide security and IT professionals with valuable information on the comings, goings, security and productivity of employees, visitors and students.
The challenge for integrators is providing customers with an access control solution that can grow as their needs evolve.
Duato chatted with CI editor Tom LeBlanc about how integrators ought to work with their customers to plan access control solutions.
What are some of the factors integrators should consider when choosing a single-door access control solution?
Duato: Scalability is probably the most critical element of access control. Customer needs change, and specific applications related to access control also change and mature.
You have to make sure that you’re choosing first, the right solution for the right type of opening. So, what’s the objective of providing access control into a particular area? Will those needs of the end customer change over time?
Typically, they do, so I think the first thing is an integrator has to be aware of is what challenges that might present, and ideally, be prepared to provide a scalable solution from the very get-go.
Security needs change, and there are other elements as an end customer’s enterprise changes that you might need to do, like integrate into other types of solutions as well, because access control in its purest sense is an information capturing tool.
You want to be able to tie other types of security information back to that information related to the opening. It’s really, truly about understanding the customer application first and foremost.
How complex is it for an integrator to migrate a customer into a larger system?
Duato: Sometimes, if they’re not thinking about scalability up front they’ll either be in a position where certain solutions are going to be cost prohibitive specific to the customer. You’re potentially buying a lot of features for access control that you don’t necessarily need to use for the needs of your customer. .
Having a solution that is both cost-sensitive and scalable over time is really an important element that integrators need to be thinking about, right up front.
What [customers and integrators] don’t want to do is inadvertently either overpay for something that they’re not going to use all the features of, or undervalue what they put on the opening, and not have the scalability in reverse.
You don’t want to be revisiting that opening again in a couple of years, and saying, “Okay, the only way for us to get to where you need to go is to rip out and replace.”
That’s really where the flexibility and uniqueness of the Yale Commercial nexTouch Lock can take that end user and the integrator, as importantly, from a truly stand-alone type application, where the lock is really designed to provide traffic control into secure areas, all the way into potentially, an integrated access control solution, based on how you define the personality of the lock.
The nexTouch product enables you to move from stand-alone, into more of an integrated application by, essentially, adopting and applying technology keys that allow its personality to change.
You move from a stand-alone lock into say, an integrated lock that may be integrated into the building-wide, or the customer’s intrusion system—all the way into a data-on-card model, or a cloud-based access control application, that can be used in a broader commercial type application.
There are a lot of ways to change that lock to get the customer where they need to go.
What makes the nexTouch product so different?
Duato: No. 1, the uniqueness of the Nextouch is simply that you do have the benefit of changing the personality of the lock. Therefore, as the customer needs expand, you open up a number of different options, without having to rebuy the access control at that opening. You just sort of upgrade it, let’s say, with the technology key, to enable it to integrate into a broader base.
There are a lot of other really important things related to the nexTouch lock that would be important to the integrator community. It really is designed as a very robust access control opening. It can work in very hostile environments—anything from -40 degrees Fahrenheit, up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, so almost any temperature range.
That robustness also ensures that the investment in the access control at that opening is protected for the long run.