Assa Abloy Aperio Wireless Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 22, 2012

Cabling and installation are the two biggest expenses in access control. With many locations difficult to wire, and multiple devices required at each door, adding access control to many areas is cost-prohibitive. Wireless access products aim to reduce these costs, by integrating separate functions in a single device, requiring no cabling to the door. Assa Abloy is the latest entrant in this space, with their Aperio technology [link no longer available], offering greater variety in locking devices and some novel features not found in other lines. In this note, we overview the Aperio technology, announced models, and how it compares to Schlage's AD series wireless locks.

Overview

Aperio is not a specific product. Rather, it is a wireless platform which Assa Abloy is building into various products produced by its brands. Some features will be common:

  • 900 Mhz wireless transmission. Previously, Assa Abloy offered only Wi-Fi locks. The Aperio platform eliminates the need for networking knowledge, and interference problems with other wireless Ethernet devices.
  • Full online wireless capability, in contrast to non-realtime communication of the v.S2 Wi-Fi line. This means the locks may be used for lockdown, responding in a few seconds, a feature not possible with Wi-Fi locksets.
  • All Aperio field devices report to a wireless receiver, called a hub. The hub is mounted in the ceiling or on the wall, and handles all control functions for the door. This device is then physically wired to the access control system.
  • The hub will be available in three versions: RS-485, Mercury-Powered RS-485 [link no longer available] (emulating a Mercury MR52), and Wiegand-output. The RS-485 version will control up to eight doors, but requires custom integration by the access control platform. Mercury-Powered hubs are compatible with any platform with Mercury integration.

This overview video shows illustrates the basics of Aperio, as well as applications for differing models:

Models

Aperio has been announced in a number of Assa Abloy's product lines, so far:

  • Sargent: Sargent has released two models, the PR100 and IN100. The PR100 [link no longer available] is an integrated lockset, building the reader, request-to-exit switch, and door position switch into the lock, available in mortise, cylindrical, and exit styles. The IN100 [link no longer available] separates the reader and lockset, and is available in mortise and cylindrical only.
  • Adams Rite: Adams Rite has announced the A100 [link no longer available] narrow stile hardware, for use on aluminum storefront doors. The A100 builds reader, DPS, and RTE into the lock.
  • HES: HES has announced the K100 [link no longer available] cabinet lock, which is intended for installation in drawers and cabinets. This may be useful in various applications, such as pharmacy and chemical storage, evidence lockers, and others. 
  • Medeco: Medeco has announced the M100 e-cylinder [link no longer available], which is a direct replacement for keyed cylinders in mortise and exit hardware. The M100 requires less installation labor than other methods in these doors, as the mechanical trim (lever and latches) remain in place.

Currently, only the Sargent models are shipping, with others expected in Q2/Q3 2012. the Sargent PR100 has an MSRP around $1,800 USD depending on options and finish. The Wiegand-output Aperio hub has an MSRP of ~$250.

Competitive Positioning

The most direct competitor to the Aperio line is Schlage’s AD Series, as few other open platform options exist. Schlage’s offering is not as varied, however, consisting of integrated locksets and panic hardware only, with RS-485 and Wiegand output receivers, with no options for e-cylinders, narrow stile hardware, or cabinet locks. Pricing between the two manufacturers is similar, on average. Sargent Aperio locksets list for slightly more than Schlage AD locksets, while the hub is slightly less than the Schlage panel interface.

Assa Abloy’s decision to include a Mercury-powered hub provides the ability to instantly integrate these devices to the numerous access control systems which currently utilize Mercury hardware, with no additional integration. This simplifies wiring, requring only a single RS-485 cable, instead of four separate cables for all door functions with Wiegand versions. 

A potentially major difference between the Schlage and Assa Abloy, is door capacity. Schlage’s panel interface modules (PIM -- the receiver side of the system) come in two versions: a Wiegand-output two-door model and an RS-485 connected 16-door model. All Aperio hubs except the RS-485 version handle only a single door. The RS-485 version is available in an eight-door capacity, as well. With Schlage’s PIM’s handling twice the number of doors, we wonder how many dealers will choose the Sargent line if pricing is similar.

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