Access Control Systems

From mankind’s very first access control system to today’s modern electronic access control, there has always been a need to protect people and assets by limiting access to sensitive areas. Early humans had their methods, but these have since evolved to more manageable solutions in the industrial age with the use of doors and guards, then locks and keys. The practice of installing electronic access control systems began in the 1960s to eliminate the problems associated with lost keys, having the ability to instantly add,
allow, restrict or deny someone’s access, and to be able to immediately generate an activity report on people’s “comings and goings.”

Early systems used simple keypads with PIN (personal identification number) codes, followed by “swipe” or insert cards such as magnetic stripe or Wiegand technology. These were called “card keys,” or “key cards,” which are terms still in use by people today. In the late 1970s, non-contact “proximity cards” or RFID technology became popular because of its many advantages.

These access cards are used in conjunction with an access control card reader. This card reader is connected to an intelligent door controller which contains stored programming information from the access control software about who is allowed where and when, as well as other functions that the system can perform. Not only do these access systems grant or deny access, they maintain a history of system activity that can be used to generate management reports.

Today’s products have come a long way from those early systems of the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas systems then could cost as much as $5,000, $10,000, or more per door installed, now they cost just a fraction of this cost and perform a greater number of functions. Keri Systems’ latest offerings include integrated photo badging, digital video, telephone entry, and more. And though there is typically an initial outlay of cost for a system, it can provide a Return-On-Investment by preventing costly thefts, vandalism, and other crimes, and increased worker productivity via video-verified reporting of tardy and non-productive behavior by employees.