FAQ

Access Control Systems


I want to control some of the doors at my offices. What are my options?

You have a variety of options. Firstly, you have to decide how many doors you want to control initially, and how many you are likely to want to control in the future. You need to decide if you want to link a variety of sites together, so that a person can be given access rights to a variety of doors in a variety of properties – the ‘One Badge’ principle.

There are a whole host of solutions, from a single door keypad, to 1000+ door, IP networked systems. Here are some of the pros and cons.

Single Door, Stand Alone Electronic Code Keypads -
You have to consider how effective door control will be if everyone gets to know the code. Also, how much aggravation is involved if you have to change the code or codes every time someone leaves? In our opinion, these kind of locks can give a false sense of security, as anyone could be given a code.

These are great for stock rooms or file rooms, where only one or two people need access. They are not good for a main entry door.

Multiple Door, non-PC controlled Access Control systems –
These systems are cost effective, but once again, can be time consuming to control. Each use is issues with a fob or card. You ‘enrol’ users onto the system using a master fob. When someone leaves, you can disable their fob or card form the main controller. These systems give very little reporting, and it's impossible to find out who came in at a certain time. They are ideal where very few users need access to 1 or 2 doors. They are more convenient than having 2 separate stand alone electronic keypads, and more secure as codes are not given out. They are not good for a large amount of doors or a larger amount of users.

Wire-free Stand Alone (or Networked) Euro profile lock replacement system -
This system is brilliant. Essentially all the technology is actually built in to the lock. If you have Euro profile locks fitted, we can install a system very quickly, and very cost effectively. Individual doors can be controlled by a small key fob radio transmitter. There’s even a finger printer fob too! The system is scalable, which means it can be expanded up to 1000+ doors and can be controlled by PC. It’s a very difficult product to describe here and needs a demonstration to understand it's true capabilities.

PC controlled Access Control Systems –
there are many manufacturers of these systems, and a wide variety of ‘bolt on’ options. It’s critical to choose the right system or ‘platform’ as you will be stuck with it in the future. Once you have made the investment in the software, training, badge technology and hardware, its prohibitive, in terms of cost to switch to another manufacturer.

The principle of these systems is that from a central location, you can truly control who goes in or out of any particular door, anywhere on the system, during what hours. There are a variety of alerts that can be enables, such as if a door has been held open, or forced open, or if the emergency break glass has been broken.

Typically, there is a reading device at each door, which accepts swipe cards, or more typically is a proximity reader. This device is able to ‘read’ the information on a badge or fob from 2 or 3 inches. There are other readers with a longer read range, that help people comply with the Disabled Discrimination Act.

How many people can I control?

From one person to thousands of people. There is no limit, in terms of technology, to how many people, or how many doors you want to control.

Isn’t it simpler to have a mechanical code lock on the doors?

No. These locks fail regularly, are difficult to change codes and give very little protection. You are better off giving individuals a key to the door.

I already have an intruder alarm, can this control some doors?
Yes - Some more advanced alarm systems have the capacity to control doors as part of their standard feature set. Changes to Police requirements have meant that most of the users of our Intruder Alarm systems have been given fobs. The fobs are attributed to an individual within the software of the system so you’re halfway there. These systems are clearly not as advanced as a full blown PC controlled system, but are ideal for controlling up to 8 doors in an SME sized company. We have some software that will help you log people on and off. It is a very cost effective solution.

If my alarm is no good, I need a dedicated Access System then?

Again it depends on how many doors and people you want to control and also how much money you have in the budget. You could upgrade your alarm system, or invest in a PC based system. Our Surveyors can advise you of the most cost effective and practical solution.

Do I always need a PC based system?
We think so. Stand alone systems are a pain to manage. By having the software on a PC, you have total control and easy access to reports.

What do people need to carry with them?

There are a variety of options. ID badges, key ring fobs, stick on fobs (ideal for sticking on the back of mobile phones) and others. We just need to find a solution which suits your needs best.

What about finger prints?
Finger print readers and other Biometric solutions are becoming more reliable and cost effective. If you have over 200 users, a finger print reader becomes less effective as the sole means of identifying a person. This is because it has to trawl through the database trying to find a match. This can add a delay in opening the door which becomes tiresome. Typically these types of solutions are for enhanced security applications and we install combined finger print and PIN number readers, or combined finger print and proximity card readers. This speeds up the process as the badge or PIN number only has one person’s fingers associated with it.

For any other applications or technology, such as Palm Recognition (which is excellent) or Retina Reading, please contact us.

If we want badges, how do we get badges printed?
This is simply a numbers game. Allcooper have a Badge Printing Bureau, and can design and print badges incorporating your logo. If you have a large number of staff, or a large turnover of staff, you can invest in your own Badge Printing Bureau.

What else can a PC controlled Access System do?
It depends on the sophistication of the system you choose, but some features are: Visitor Management, Time and Attendance, Asset Tagging, Asset Management, DDA Compliance, Turnstile Control, Cashless vending, Log-on to PC control, Car park Management, Vehicle and Freight Management, Alarm Control, CCTV, Membership Control and so on. It’s almost the case that whatever your problem, we have a solution – try us out.

So I don’t need a stand alone CCTV system anymore?
Not really. If you choose the right platform, you can record into your Access System. The real benefit is that you can link video footage to any event on the Access System (as long as there is a camera covering the area concerned). This means that if someone props a door open, the Door Held Open alert would come up on the PC. There is a camera icon attached to event. Just click it and you can see who did it. You can then email the person or his boss with the footage and a request to close the door and desist from this activity. Traditional Access Control systems would just show that there is a Door Held Open. The security officer would physically have to go and close the door, and investigate a VCR or a DVR. The chances are that this would actually be ignored.

So is this what would described as an Integrated System?
You’ve got it. The Access Control system is the major component of your security system. You can keep adding features listed above to the system as you require it – as long as you have chosen the right platform in the first instance.

Who can access the information?
Anyone who has access to your network with the correct level of authority.

What are the options for locks?
Locks are critical. Your access control is only as good as the lock is. There are a massive variety of locks available, depending on what your door is constructed of, what locks are existing, whether the door is on a fire route, what level of security you need, and the aesthetic impact on your property. Our Surveyors will be able to advise you of the best solution for you.

What damage is going to be done to my doors?
Again it depends on which locks you go for. The Euro profile locks we fit simply replace your existing barrels. That’s it. Other locks, such as maglocks need surface fitting to your doors and frames.

 

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