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Today’s technology-rich doors and windows have many responsibilities—namely protecting inhabitants from the weather, sunlight, sound and intruders.  

Government, university and municipal clients in particular take building openings seriously when selecting a security system. Options abound in today’s market.

For example, Marvin’s Lock Status Sensor can seamlessly integrate with new or existing wired/wireless security systems. It is compatible with third-party home automation and security service providers. 

It conceals within the jambs to gather and show information on when a window or door is in the unlocked, closed or locked positions. Marvin’s double-hung sash lock also automatically locks when the sash closes. 

Then there’s an all-around access control system like Hager powered by Salto, also known as HS4. This electronic access control system by St. Louis-based Hager Companies manages up to 65,000 openings and four million users in a single software package. HS4 enables virtual and real-time monitoring. 

Essentially, it’s a customizable electronic access control solution that uses different platforms for various door openings, and it can be formulated to work with virtually any combination of offline, networked, wired and wireless components within a single intuitive software system. It’s easily adaptable to each building owner’s requirements and scalable to building growth. 

“Back in the day, electronic access control was all hard wired,” says James Stokes, Hager’s vice president of access controls. “Nowadays, it’s much easier to communicate with a lock via wireless or a virtual network; therefore, initial installation is far less expensive.” 

Commercial Applications

There’s a big difference between the residential and commercial market when it comes to security, Stokes adds. 

“Access control on a commercial plane is moving slower than on a residential plane,” he says, noting that homeowners can simply buy a security package from a big box store, easily hook it up and control it from their phone. 

Still, major changes are coming to commercial applications too. Hospitals in particular are focused on security for both convenience and access control. For example, some areas require security, but must be accessed by hands-free methods (rather than keypads or lanyards) so doctors don’t have to take off their gloves after they’ve scrubbed in. A similar case could be made for pharmacies or other areas that contain medications. They definitely require enhanced protection, but can’t involve cumbersome access methods. 

On commercial office projects, businesses want the IT/server room doors and HR department to have more restrictive access than other areas. They also want to be able to instantly delete the credentials of employees who have been terminated. 

For these and other cases, owners may choose a virtual network that requires information sent from another card (e.g., one that has been fed an updated employee list overnight). Doors on a wired or wireless system, however, have information updated instantaneously and can lock a door as it closes behind an employee.     

One of the biggest benefits of Hager’s new system is its cost effectiveness. “Other systems can cost $1,000 per door,” Stokes says. “With this, you don’t have to overspecify on every door. It’s just not necessary.” 

Additionally, upfront investment is substantially less than with traditional wired access control solutions.

Security Measures

AES128-bit encryption is another major advantage. It makes hacking significantly more difficult than access control systems using magnetic or proxy credentials. The virtual network option of the HS4 platform, for instance, allows standalone locks to read, receive and write information via an encrypted and secure data-on-card system that utilizes RFID capabilities. All access data is stored on and distributed by its operating smartcard. When presenting a smartcard to an offline standalone door, it controls access rights to that door. 

Through two-way communication, the lock also writes data like an audit stamp or battery status back to the smartcard. The smartcard then transmits this information back to the server via online wall readers capable of updating and receiving information from the cards anytime at strategic high traffic points in the building.

“Virtually networked locks can be used on doors where real-time monitoring and remote locking is not necessary, but you still want to control access,” Stokes says.

Wireless locks provide instant control. Even from remote locations, the system’s software monitors the status of all doors and can generate audit trails. It gives immediate visibility into who is accessing the door, when and which credentials were used. This can save countless hours of sifting through video surveillance.

In an active shooter situation, wireless components enable lockdown eight seconds after the command is sent. School authorities like the fact that the system can be programmed to send messages to emergency crews, and trigger a camera to take a picture of every person who enters a building or each time certain doors are accessed. 

Windows and doors are no longer passive building components. They’re potential life-savers, and now they’re part of the IoT of workplaces, schools, hospitals and homes. 


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