Security access control systems combine some type of physical barrier with an electronic system for identifying an individual, determining his authority to gain access to that location at that time, and to record the transaction for future evaluation. Generally speaking, an electronic access control system consists of a personal identification device (numeric keypad, card or key reader, biometric sensor, etc.), a control system, a source of power and an electrically controlled locking/unlocking device. All four of these parts might be combined in a standalone electronic lock. In more advanced systems, these separate components are combined to form a system that controls multiple openings, manages thousands of users and stores extensive transaction information. Some electronic access control systems can be integrated with CCTV, alarms, building automation, photo ID and other systems.
Numeric keypads are used to identify individuals based upon a password that, presumably, only they would know. These are usually lower security systems where reduced cost and/or greater convenience are important. Many access control systems use a form of card reader (magnetic stripe, proximity, smart card, etc.) to ensure that the person seeking entry has a valid credential. The highest level of security is usually obtained with biometric readers which confirm a unique physical feature of the user (fingerprint, hand geometry, iris, etc.) or with systems that combine two or more means of identification.
Control systems can enhance security with a number of features. For example, unlike a mechanical key that either operates the lock or doesn’t, an electronic “key” may be programmed to grant access only on certain days of the week, times of the day or number of occasions. Many systems also create an audit trail of card uses that can be compiled into reports for investigative or management purposes.
Electronic locks are available in a wide variety of form factors, each designed for specific physical requirements. In many cases, electronic and mechanical hardware are combined to provide total control of an opening. DG Safety Security Consulting, as a product manufacturer's African distributors, has extensive experience in both electronic and mechanical hardware. Our professionals are available to help design the right system for your security application.