Access Control – More than Just Doors

Kate Rose

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On April 22nd In Access
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What is an Access Control System? Controlling doors right? That could be how your customers think of it. But in addition to traditional applications, there are several, less obvious, uses for physical access control, and it’s important to make our customers aware of both traditional and non-traditional applications for Access Control products.

Hospitals

There are many ways that hospitals can, and do, use Access Control in a traditional sense. However, there are applications beyond doors where hospitals can employ access control products as well.

A non-traditional use for, access control in a hospital is to protect and monitor the distribution of medication. An access point may be attached to cabinets that will only grant access to employees who are qualified to administer medication. For increased security, a two point system may be implemented which requires the swipe of a badge followed by a PIN code or the use of a Biometric Reader. This non-traditional application can be extended to limiting access by managing expiring certifications & qualifications.  An access control system can be programmed with the expiration dates of the Hospital staff’s certifications literally “locking out” those whose certifications have lapsed.  A two-point system may also be used in an nontraditional way for ambulances carrying large amounts of medications and expensive medical equipment that needs to be kept safe.

When your customer is a hospital, there may also be some solutions that rest on the more traditional side of access control, but the customer may not have considered, or may not be aware of the advanced capabilities that access control can provide. These opportunities could prove to be valuable to a savvy integrator who knows how to sell them.

A more traditional application of access control is its use in “Clean-rooms,” which must be kept clear of all external contaminants or pollutants. To ensure the clean-room remains sanitary, the hospital uses airlocks that consist of a series of interlocking doors that prevent external pollutants from entering. An Access Control system can be programmed so the control unit will not allow the internal door to be unlocked until the exterior one is completely shut. The Access Control system can also be programmed so that the interior door will not unlock until a certain period of time has passed since the exterior door was sealed, for example, the length of time it takes to purge out contaminated air in the air lock. Other common applications are R&D environments where the goal is to eliminate cross contaminants from different experiments .

Another more traditional opportunity is the part that access control has to play in senior care facilities, such as locking hardware used for memory care facilities. Delayed egress is a great solution to prevent patients from mistakenly exiting protected units.

Manufacturing & Retail

Most manufacturing facilities and retail locations employ hourly waged workers. Verifying who is actually “clocking in” is crucial, so using biometrics for time and attendance provides two benefits: tracking time and verifying the employee who punched in, leading to greater profitability and accountability for the end user. While utilized for a long time in governmental institutions, because biometrics are now so simple to program and set up, their usage has greatly expanded to manufacturing and retail chains, and as a result, have taken on the characteristics that are required of time and attendance systems. For example, it is required that the clock of record appears on a time and attendance recording device. The clock must be part of the system, usually based on a time server, and it must display the current time on the device itself. The Suprema Biostation T2 has such a function and even has a display where the user can select “Login” and “Logout” functions. Most access control systems have software that allows the end user to drill down in order to track more than just the times that   each and every employee punch in and out. This software can help track how many hours were worked by staff during certain time periods, or track how much time was worked by certain teams or departments. This goes a long way to ensure that payroll and access rights are always accurate. An audit trail keeps record of who entered and the location of entry in case of any serious breach or issue.

Technology in Access Control continues to grow, with more advancements coming every day. By understanding the many uses of Access Control, security dealers can reap the rewards of added business, and become their end user’s security advocate.  For more information contact the ADI Systems Support Group at 1-800-ADI-SYS1.

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