A primary function of an access control system is to replace key locks and reduce all the associated difficulties of managing keys. However, I have recently been involved in projects where this concept was extended to cabinets that have traditionally been locked with a key.
Beyond just putting a reader on the door to enter an IT or server room, door controllers and mini readers are now even being added to cabinets inside these rooms. The IT manager is then able to know who entered the room, and also who accessed the server rack, at what time, in which location and if they were truly authorized to do so. Unified video and access control also makes video verification possible in these circumstances.
Similar applications are also being used in law enforcement facilities for firearm cabinets, hospitals and pharmacies for controlled access to prescription drugs cabinets, and stores for jewelry counters, etc., ensuring audited access and reducing vulnerability or misuse.
These types of applications have become more cost-effective through the use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) IP door controllers that have a smaller physical footprint than traditional controllers. And, instead of having to run wiring back to a master controller, all that is required is an Ethernet cable for power and connectivity.
IP access control can also be used to authenticate a user on a computer. The traditional way to gain access to a computer is with a user name and password. By adding a USB smart card reader, you now have dual authentication for a high-security computer terminal. This specific application is starting to roll-out in some government offices and high-tech firms, where logical access to information can be just as important as restricted access to their building.
Another more traditional application that has been simplified and enhanced by IP access control is guard tours. Instead of using a guard tour system that includes a wand with a chip with data to be downloaded at a workstation after the tour is complete, access control systems can be used to monitor a guard tour in real-time. Tour checkpoints such as readers and dry contacts are connected in real-time to the IP network. So whereas a traditional access system has more complex wiring and traditional guard tour systems do not offer real-time statistics, the IP access control system reduces wiring costs, is more flexible and provides real-time data.
Similar to IP surveillance, IP access control allows integrators to go beyond traditional applications. And the smaller IP controllers and reduced wiring costs make IP access control more cost-effective than traditional systems. By thinking creatively, IP access control can open up many new doors for integrators.
Steve Bocking can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org