Preventing unauthorized access to a business has evolved from locks and keys to sophisticated electronic equipment, but the goal of maintaining the integrity of a building remains the same. Access Control in Houston has evolved, utilizing the latest electronic systems that control entry to your business and secure internal areas. Early forms of security access for business security systems was introduced in the 1960s as business owners and managers looked for alternatives to providing keys and the need to frequently replace them when there was a change in key personnel.
Simple Key Pads
One of the earliest entries into the security access field, key pads allowed employees and other authorized users to enter a personal identification number (PIN) that matched data in an electronic device. The system provided minimal security, but it was more efficient than locks and keys. Forgetting an assigned PIN or sharing it with others limited the effectiveness of the system.
An improvement on using PINs for access control occurred with the development of a card that used Wiegand technology to read a magnetic strip affixed to a plastic card. Commonly called “key cards” or “card keys”, the system has some of the same defects that made the key pad system ineffective. Swipe readers require a user to slide a card through a long narrow slot, and they are frequently found in retail stores. An insert reader accepts a card in a slot and allows the holder to authorize transactions. Proximity readers are able to interpret information on the face of a card when it is within a specified distance.
Without intending an insult, developers called readers “non-intelligent” when they were only a means of relaying information to a control panel. They have no ability to interpret data, and they can take no action other than relaying it. When a user is authorized to enter a building, a central control unit sends instructions to release a lock on a door.
With the capability to release a lock, semi-intelligent readers need to receive an authorization code from a central control panel in order to function.
Operating independently, intelligent readers are equipped to recognize authorized users and to release a locked door. They do not require input from a central control panel, but they are programmed to send data back to the panel for recording.
IP Door Readers
Serving the function of a controller, IP door readers are intelligent readers that have decision making authority to open a door. Connected to a network, they do not need to access a central control panel through wires. Using network access control takes advantage of technology to provide security services to management.
Evolution in Less than Fifty Years
The sophisticated access control systems that are available today make the simple models from the 1960s seem weak and ineffective. Far from providing the authentication and authorization that is provided by the latest technology, they performed only simple tasks. Using technological advances to restrict access to a building as well as rooms or controlled areas provides a level of security that may exceed the dreams of the early innovators.
Office security systems in the Houston area and around the world are a necessity in today’s complex and competitive business environment. New technologies include digital video, photo badges and systems that empower smart telephones to obtain access. Businesses today have effective means to prevent theft and vandalism while using technology to increase worker productivity. The evolution of access control systems from PIN pads and card readers to highly sophisticated electronic equipment that is available today has taken less than fifty years. While systems now are highly developed, engineers continue to design concepts that can improve and expand the capabilities of access control security systems.