11/21/2005

In the Know on Access Control

Questions to ask when considering an access control system

 

What About Product Support?

After-sale support is a critical element of any technology purchase. Support includes warranties, response time, customer service capabilities, and the ability for the end-user to interact directly with the manufacturer to resolve problems. Some manufacturers offer extended or even lifetime warranties on their products, and usually invest heavily in the personnel and infrastructure necessary to provide such service.

Ask suppliers about how they expedite solutions and resolve problems. The true measure of a quality product is how the manufacturer reacts when things go wrong. Verifying references of other product users - with an emphasis on how problems are resolved - is another good step to take instead of focusing only on the product’s functionality. Find out what happens when things go wrong.

 

Are these access control products and system components proprietary in nature?
Most access control systems and/or components are, to some degree, proprietary. Certain proprietary products/components only work with associated products/components within a given manufacturer’s product family. For example, many access control field panels are proprietary to their manufacturer’s access control software - Brand A panel works only with Brand A software and is not compatible with Brand B software.

Proprietary factors are problematic when end-users migrate to new technologies or upgrade/replace all or part of a system. The proprietary dependency between components often forces replacement of much of the system, resulting in extra costs. This can handcuff end-users to access control system solutions that they are not happy with because the financial impact to improve the situation is too great.

Some card-reader manufacturers have developed products that are agnostic to any specific access control system brand. Such readers work with nearly all mainstream access control system products, allowing end-users to reuse card readers even if the access control system hardware/software is replaced.

Also, the concept of universal compatibility is taking life. Several industry efforts, including one by the Security Industry Association (SIA), are under way to develop standards that will help drive interoperability between diverse manufacturers’ products.

Are these access control products available from multiple sources?
Obtaining products with a single source for procurement, installation, and service presents a high degree of risk and limits future end-user choices. Too often, end-users make decisions based on specific access control technology without considering their options for providers. It’s often better to ensure multiple local provider options rather than selecting good technology that offers a single, or very limited, procurement and service source.

Multiple providers also provide benefits for those purchasing access control systems. A solid channel of multiple local, trained, and authorized providers makes it possible to implement a procurement process that will evaluate capabilities in relation to price. This helps ensure end-users can buy systems at a fair, competitive price.

Does this system provide the scalability that your organization may require?
It’s pretty much impossible to predict how access control needs may change in the future. With this in mind, how the system can grow and/or be enhanced to meet the demands of the future becomes more important.

Many modern systems are designed to allow end-users to purchase systems that address their current needs but also can be expanded and enhanced while preserving their initial investment. Be sure to understand details relating to future capacities, such as number of cardholders, readers, and number of alarm inputs, as well as how such an expansion would be deployed.

Does the manufacturer incorporate new technologies as they become available?
Increased competition forces manufacturers to leverage new technologies to increase system capabilities as they seek to boost their market position. System end-users benefit directly from the increased functionality these new technologies provide.

However, rarely are these benefits realized when new technologies cannot easily be integrated into existing systems. If the system must be replaced to allow integration of a new technology, the cost may not be worth the potential benefit.

Mark Peterson is director of iTechnology Design Resource at Irvine, CA-based HID Corp. (www.hidcorp.com).

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 
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