Although there are exceptions, these are in products and systems
Cards and Readers
Access cards and access-control readers usually are supplied by
a single manufacturer. A card from one manufacturer usually will
not work with another's readers. The biggest manufacturers of cards
and readers are not access control system manufacturers.
Smart-Remote Boxes and Application Software
Smart-remote boxes are generally manufactured by the same organization
that creates the application software for the access control system.
The relationship of all card-to-door relationships, the timing,
and system security must be connected through the smart-remote box
and the host application. It is uncommon for a company to sell smart-remote
boxes to a company that only develops software. Buying smart-remote
boxes and software from separate manufacturers limits flexibility
and development of new applications.
Computer Hardware, Operating Systems, and Database Engines
There are many common operating systems, platforms, and database
engines in use today. The application software usually is installed
in an off the-shelf hardware platform running an off-the shelf operating
system, and probably with an off the-shelf database engine. Very
few products now use proprietary operating systems or central processing
Most manufacturers do not install their products. Instead, authorized
dealers or business partners are trained to install the products.
Some manufacturers merely sell boxes. Some manufacturers provide
more support to dealers and installation contractors than others.
Service support is judged best by existing customers and programs
and the size and breadth of the service organization.
Some manufacturers who also install equipment sell the concept of
one-stop responsibility. Some individuals prefer being able to change
installation service providers without having to change all of the
installed system base. There is no right way to operate. Each way
has merits and must be evaluated based on the situation. A company
that has many sites that are widely dispersed might be served best
by a large one-stop shop that has service at many locations. Another
company with several large sites spread across the country might
do better with independent installation companies that all use the
The decision to buy a system should be made on the technical assessment
of the features and reliability of the systems and software. Find
the most economical and reliable way to purchase the system based
on overall life-cycle cost analysis.
Reproduced with permission from the National Safety
Council. Accident Prevention Manual for Business & Industry:
Security Management. Itasca: NSC Press, 1997.
(For more information, please contact the National Safety Council
at www.nsc.org or 800/621-7615,