Although there are exceptions, these are in products and systems used
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 units.
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 same manufacturer.
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, ext. 2374)