Since September 11th, access control has been one of the leading categories of products purchased, or a top priority for security personnel looking to bolster their facility security. Depending on the size of the facility or the magnitude of security, access control can range from a single door lock to Web-based features to multiple readers and door panels.

"There is a good match between today's hardware advances and development side. Unfortunately, for advanced features to be leveraged, customers might need to step up to new, higher capacity machines. This is even a bigger issue as a company's database grows. In good economic times this might not be an issue. Today it takes a little more convincing. Still, options do exists to buy complete bundled systems as well as software-only options," says Andy Lowen, former product manager, Software House, Lexington, Mass.

SECURITY examines some of the hottest access products of the year.

Software plays a fundamental role in the overall scheme of access control.

Remote Monitoring & Software

ThresholdAccess Version 3.0 from Checkpoint Systems, Inc., Thorofare, N.J., built for use with Microsoft Windows 95, this graphical user interface (GUI)-based system offers a host of features including: image history and posting, signature capture and display, cardholder location, data mining, universal card acceptance, image link and automated database backup. Managing and tracking cardholders is facillitated with the addition of image history and posting. Selecting any card reader event allows operators to automatically generate the cardholder's image associated with the selected events.

PCSC, Torrance, Calif., upgraded its version of LiNC-PLUS integrated access control and enterprise security management software. LiNC-PLUS, the original version, is designed to integrate electronic security products and subsystems from multiple manufacturers into a single, centralized and functional security system. Integration components can include access control, programmable logic controllers, video badging, burglar alarm, fire alarm, CCTV, paging and parking/gate control. The LiNC-PLUS 3.5 version native digital video recorder (DVR) provides for the capture of video events. Video events can be constructed from pre- and post-alarms, event actions and even manually. The event images are easily transported as video clips over networks or the Internet.

The new version 5.9 of ReadykeyPRO, from Bosch Security Systems, Fairport, N.Y., unites an access control software package with alarm monitoring, an identification management system with integrated badge designer functionality. It has receiver, guard tour, mustering, cardholder segmentation options and standard Microsoft data engine database. The receiver option interfaced with the D6600 gateway receiver accepts intrusion events into the ReadykeyPRO alarm monitoring software.

The Internet has played a fundamental role in security and its growth is exponential. For example, Scott Morton, Brivo Systems, Arlington, Va., believes that in the near future there will be integration of Web-hosted systems like Brivo ACS with hosted CCTV systems. "This means a specific event that shows in the Web-based activity log of Brivo ACS will have a video icon beside it. This allows the administrator to pull up the DVR video record of the moments before and after the time stamp of a specified event. The convergence of these two systems provides an efficient indexing solution for the video that focuses on a specific event," says Morton. The administrator can manage all sites and doors from a standard Web-browser. Because of this hosted-system architecture, there is no on-site PC, no local software.

Infrasafe Inc., Orlando, Fla., has its Web-based access control product called the iCast access controller. Unlike the traditional method of access control administration (using a dedicated computer) iCast users can monitor and administer the system directly from any PC equipped with a standard Internet browser.

There has been significant progress made in integrating logical and physical access control systems.

True Integration

While the two systems still appear to operate quite separately, there has been a lot to enable the two systems to "talk" to each other. A successful implementation will ultimately give companies complete command over their security by ensuring that the person they've let into the building is also authorized to log onto a computer within the building. Used by both security and IT managers, Software House's iSTAR controllers represent a new way to organize and deploy security management solutions by seamlessly integrating with an existing network infrastructure. Using industry standard dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), iSTAR allows users to automatically assign IP addresses for each controller.

"Access control is becoming easier to use if the skill set of the operator is increasing. Security operators need to know more about such things as where video is located within the enterprise and from where all their alarms are originating. The operators need to learn only one software application with one set of rules, because every element in the system is treated the same way," says Michael Regalski, vice president of software development for Lenel.

Increasingly, organizations are requiring operators to expand their skill sets to encompass more systems that they're monitoring. "We simplify that task by presenting everything to them within a single user interface," Regalski says.

System Galaxy from Galaxy Control Systems, Walkersville, Md., is a network-capable system, which integrates sub-systems including badging, CCTV, digital video recording, event video verification, elevator control, key control, guard tour, time and attendance and facility management. System Galaxy can control and monitor multiple worldwide sites under a centralized database using existing network infrastructure. The Windows NT/2000/XP-based software uses an open database connectivity compliant database that can interface with other standardized databases.

Hirsch Electronics, Irvine, Calif., offers its Rapid Deployment Kit, (RDK) a high security, transportable, intrusion detection system designed for temporary use where quick installation and immediate operation are critical. The RDK is intended for covert or emergency applications, executive protection, crime scenes, and situations where costs and logistics prohibit stationing of temporary guard personnel.


Sometimes the best security for a particular application can be as simple as the hardware at the door.

Ingersoll-Rand's Security & Safety's Electronic Access Control Division (EACD), Forestville, Conn., boasts its new Schlage open-architecture locks for increased flexibility. Future budgets can concentrate on expanding or enhancing the locking system rather than replacing it. The Schlage open-architecture locks offer seamless integration with third party access control systems. The access control panel maintains control of the lock status and status indication on the locks as it would in an electric strike or electromagnetic locking system.

YSG Door Security Consultants offer its Yale 8790FL electric mortise lockset. Yale's 8700 FL electric mortise lockset can now be supplied with a new latchbolt monitor (LBM) switch, the request to exit (REX) switch, or both.