Genetec Synergis brings together IP video surveillance and access control into one easy-to-use solution
Decision-making and investigations are faster if operators don’t have to navigate among different applications

Overwhelmed by too many choices for an access control system? Where do you start? Always seeking to help, SourceSecurity.com asked access control suppliers to describe what differentiating characteristics set their systems apart from others in the market.

AMAG: Easy Migration, Simple Pricing Model

AMAG’s Symmetry platform includes access control, photo ID badging, visitor management and digital video server software, all standard in an integrated solution. The pricing model is easy – up to 512 readers can be added to the software platform; most options are covered with the base charge. The platform is cost-effective, even for small systems. The Symmetry Retrofit program provides easy migration (without a screwdriver) from legacy or end-of-life products such as Casi/GE systems. Options include the Threat Level Manager, which can customize system settings based on a selected level of threat. Symmetry is also compatible with G4S’ One Facility workflow management system, and Symmetry Web thin client application enables use of mobile devices. AMAG’s new true two-door PoE controller includes two reader ports, two lock relays, two REQs and two door status inputs. AMAG has a long list of third-party integrations.

Brivo Systems: A Truly Cloud-Based System

Brivo Systems provides access control in a truly cloud-based system in a software as a service (SaaS), recurring revenue model. All firmware and software systems are updated automatically. The cloud service works with Brivo’s IP door controllers. End users only pay for what they use.

Continental Access: From One Door to Ten Thousand

CardAccess 3000 software by Continental Access is easy to use and yet enterprise class – able to control access to one door or to ten thousands of doors in locations worldwide. Designed by Continental Access in the United States, the robust hardware continues a legacy of the company founded in 1961. Total cost of ownership is low; Continental Access does not charge mandatory end user support fees to integrators. Additionally, CardAccess 3000 is integrated with video management systems and other systems such as visitor management, time and attendance, gated community software and several sister companies’ products – Napco intrusion products and Alarm Lock wireless Networx and ArchiTech Locks (with Marks locking hardware).

S2 Security access control products use a web-delivered user interface
Web-delivered user interface benefits end users and integrators in terms of lower total cost of ownership as well as ease of operability

Frontier Security’s Deep Integration with Video

Frontier Security’s access control system features deep integration with video, providing a more efficient and powerful process to correlate access events and transactions with corresponding video. Another capability is advanced alarm filtering and routing to provide alarms to the appropriate parties. Frontier also provides powerful capabilities to filter and view card transactions. The new HTML5 web interface provides an easy way to access common functionalities from browsers and tablets.

Galaxy Control Systems: Easy to Upsell

Galaxy Control Systems' System Galaxy software solution is not “brand”-dependent and is easily implemented in existing systems to enhance functionality. Improvements in performance and efficiency available with new and evolving access control technologies are even more valuable to integrators and end users when they are interoperable with earlier generations of systems. System Galaxy enables systems integrators to cost-effectively upsell business. The backwards-compatible software enables future business development with new customers who have old systems. The advanced architecture also allows dealers and integrators to offer access control as a managed service. Multi-client functionality can manage and control several systems on a single backbone, much like the approach found in facilities that have multiple tenants. 

Genetec’s Unified Security Center

The Genetec access control system, Synergis, is built into to the company’s unified Security Center platform, which brings together IP video surveillance and access control into one easy-to-use solution. Common security operations from multiple systems are standardized, including monitoring, reporting, alarm management and configuration. Within a single intuitive client application, operators can see corresponding video each time a cardholder touches their card to a reader. The cardholder information is displayed automatically. In case of an access-denied alarm, operators can quickly address the situation by confirming the cardholder’s identity and assigned access rights. Decision-making and investigations are faster because operators don’t have to navigate among different applications to understand what took place.

PCSC’s Fault Tolerant access controller uses a patented process for automated system recovery
Redundancy is achieved at the controller level, not simply from a redundant network server

Honeywell: A Choice for Anybody

Honeywell offers two access control systems – the ProWatch geared toward enterprise customers and the self-contained WinPak for entry-level to mid-market applications. Sold through dealer/integrators, ProWatch implementations are customized for each customer and include the Honeywell SDK to ensure integration with a wide range of existing equipment. Customers include enterprise, Fortune 500, and multi-city and countrywide applications, including multiple points of control. There is no limit to the number of doors and card-holders – one center manages 10,000 doors. WinPak comes in three “flavors” – the XE entry level for 1 to 16 doors, the mid-range SE for 16 to 32 doors, and the PE (professional edition) geared toward multiple locations, including field offices or satellites. WinPak has dozens of native integrations.

PCSC’s Fault Tolerant Controller

PCSC’s flagship access control product, the Fault Tolerant access controller, uses a patented process for automated system recovery. If a primary controller should fail, an alternative controller automatically takes over the duties of the failed controller. Redundancy is achieved at the controller level, not simply from a redundant network server. The Fault Tolerant Controller also uses a Hydra Protocol to use peer-to-peer communication to keep the system updated. Ethernet and PoE are standard, and optional wireless mesh communication is also available. For integrators, the system provides better reliability with fewer problems both from a system network and physical security point of view. Result: Lower installation and operating expenses and better performance and security.

S2 Security Features Web-Delivered Interface

S2 Security access control products use a web-delivered user interface. Customers can access their systems without requiring an installed client, whether in a fixed or mobile environment. Credential-based access control, intrusion detection and video applications are integrated seamlessly for a unified management and administration experience. The web-delivered user interface benefits end users and integrators in terms of lower total cost of ownership as well as ease of operability. No software installation or client license fees are required. The system can be accessed from any authorized computer, and key access control functions are also available on mobile devices using S2 Mobile Security Officer.

Security is more unified because
both physical and logical security
apps can share a common database

Tyco Security Provides Plenty of Options

Software House’s C-Cure 9000 combines its iSTAR Door Controller with enterprise-level access control features. A scalable, fully distributed and robust architecture – empowered by iSTAR controllers – can meet complex regional, global and enterprise access control challenges. Kantech access control solutions from Tyco Security Products offers low installation cost and ease of use. Minimizing installation time and need for product knowledge decreases total cost of ownership, both related to software and hardware-based solutions. CEM Systems’ AC2000 access control system differentiates itself by its IP Edge devices, such as the Emerald reader, a terminal at the door that has the ability to run applications like a smart phone or tablet. This capability allows customers to post announcements on the keypad or even add a checklist to access control decisions for things like health and safety or hazardous areas.

Viscount Systems Emphasizes IT

Eliminating proprietary panels altogether, the software and databases of Viscount Systems’ Freedom access control system are hosted on physical or virtual servers. Multiple synchronized servers provide higher security, built-in resiliency and the ability for IT departments to leverage existing infrastructure. With the Freedom solution, integrators and end users can utilize native IT software that resides on a non-proprietary server and is deployed virtually across multiple servers or in the cloud. Updates are done in real-time and under the control of the customer. Leveraging existing IT infrastructure and resources also makes the Freedom solution cost-efficient and scalable. Security is more unified because both physical and logical security apps can share a common database.

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Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SecurityInformed.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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