Axis vs HID vs Mercury Access Controllers

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 06, 2015

In the access control market, there are many software platforms, but only a few companies that make non-proprietary door controllers. Historically, the most well known two have been Mercury and HID, with Axis joining the field in 2013.

In this note, we contrast the three providers, examining:

  • The offerings of Axis, Mercury and HID
  • How their product models compare (with chart)
  • How their pricing compares
  • Which of 22 notable access platforms support each of the three (with chart)

** *** ****** ******* market, ***** *** **** software *********, *** **** a *** ********* **** make ***-*********** **** ***********. Historically, *** **** **** known *** **** *****************, ******** ********** ***** ** ****.

** **** ****, ** contrast *** ***** *********, examining:

  • *** ********* ** ****, Mercury *** ***
  • *** ***** ******* ****** compare (**** *****)
  • *** ***** ******* ********
  • ***** ** ** ******* access ********* ******* **** of *** ***** (**** chart)

[***************]

Open ********** *******

** *** ****** ******, the ****** ** ************* producing **** ********** ******** is ************* ***** ** the ***** ****** ** vendors ******* ********** ********. While **** ********* ***** to ******* ***** *** proprietary ********** *******, * significant ******* ** *** market ******* ** ********* with '****' *** ***** devices ************ ** ******.

*** *** ****** ******* market, *** **** ****** recognized ***-*********** **** *********** are ******** ** ***** companies:

  • *** ******: *** *********** ***** also ************* *** ***** series ** ***********, **** and *****, **** **** a ******** ****** *** be ***** ** **** 10 ********* ****** *******.
  • ******* ********: ***** ******** ** OEM *******, *** ******** manufacturer ******** **'* ***** of *********** *** ********* modules **** * ****** firmware *********.**** ** ************ ******* ******** ********, or ***** ******** ***** Mercury's ******** ********. ***** endusers *** ****** ** buy ******* ******, *** resold ******* ** '****' and *** ** **** without ***** *************** ** any *******-***** ********.
  • ****: *** ******** ** the ***** ** ****, who ** **** *** launched **** *** **********: the *****. *******, **** two-door ********** ** ***** using *** ********* ***** ******* ******* ** video ********* *** ** the ***** (*** ** far ****)********** ** ***** ***** C ***********- * ****** ****, but ***** ********* *** 'open' *** ** ***** platforms.

***** ********* ******* *********** all *** '****' ********** options ** *** ******. Of ****,********'* ** *** ***** Panels*** ********* ***** *** use ** ***** *********, but **** *** *** 3rd ***** ** *** sense **** *** ** readily ***** '**-**' *** are *** ************* ******* platforms.

Comparison *****

**** ** ***** ** offsets, *** ******** ** not ** *************** ** comparing ***-***** ***** ** card *******, ***** *** controller ****** *** ** scaled ** ******** *********** according ** *** ******** location ** ***** ** a ********. *******, ** general **** ** *** a *******'* ********* ******** to *** ******:

********:** *******, *** ********** features ** * ********** is *** *** ******** factor ** ***** *** is **** ******* ** better ****** *** * job. ** **** ****** the ********** ******** ********** with ****, *** ***** features *** *********, ** however.

** **** ***, ********** options **** *** ***** vendors *** ** ***********, have ******* ******* *** many ********* ** ****** and ***********, *** ******* pass-thru ***** *** ********* devices **** ******* *** strikes.

*******, *** *** ******** are **********, *** *******, or ******* **** **** a ****** ******. *** specific ******** ** *** controller, ********* ****** *******, exact ****** ** ******* stored *******, *** ************* boards *** ******* ** the **** ****** ********** integration.

Cost **********

***** ******* ****** *** each **********, *** ******** cost ***** *** **** be ******* ** ********** software *********. *******, ** a ******** **** *****, pricing ***** ****:

  • **** *****:**** ***-**** ********** ** widely *************** *** ~$***.
  • *** **** ***:*** ****** **** ********** is ********* **** ************ with * ****** ***** of ~$***, **** ******* for ***** **** ********** readers *** ~$***.
  • *** *****:*** **** ********** *** two-door ********* ****** ** available ******* ********* *** ~$650, *** ***** **** varies ********* ** ***** base ********** *** *** many ********* ******* *** used.
  • ******* ********:**** ** ***** ******** are ********* ** ****** purchases **** ******* ** through ************. ****** **** controllers ******* ***** ** price **** $*** - $400, *** *** ***** cost ** ***** ******* negotiated *** ***** *** projects **** ***** **** counts.

Compatibility *****

*** ***** ***** ******** a **** ** ******* access ******, *** ***** door *********** **** **** with:

****** *** *** ********* use ***** ***** ******. For *******, ***** ********* like ****'* ******** ***** use *********** ***********, ***** differ *** *** *** compatable **** ***** **** access ********, **** *** distribution ****** **** ******* that **** **'* *** proprietary ******.

Takeover ********** *****

***** ********* ********, '*********', where *********** ********** **** one ******** *** ******** to *******, **** **********. One ******* ** **** Lenel's *** ******. ***** near ********** ** ******* designs (**** ** ******** ** ********** * lawsuit ** ********** ****** ************), **** are *** ****-** *********** for ***-***** *******. ** other *****, **** ********* Prowatch, ********** ******** **** on *** ******* ***** may ** ********.

** ***** *****, ********** platforms *** *** ******* specific **** *******, *** do ******. *******: *** system *** *** ******* the ***** ******* ********* to ** ****** **** is **** *******. ** individual ******** (**** *****-*******) may ** ********* ** the ***** ** *** system, *** *** *** other. *** ******* ****, and **** **** ************, they *** ** **** complete ** **** ********* more **** ******.

***** **** ***** *** uncommon **** '****' ***********, field ************ ** *** component ****** *** ************* is *******.

Comments (28)

It may be worth noting the HID Edge Evo devices are capable of having a second reader attached to them via the Hi-O Canbus.

That's a good point, but the second reader is still associated with a single door for read in/ read out applications.

(Avigilon partner here.)

Avigilon does not support HID Edge controllers, to my knowledge. There were some news releases about RedCloud working w/ both Edge and VertX, but the Avigilon site says nothing about Edge: http://avigilon.com/products/access-control/hardware/

Nor does it appear that they offer it for sale.

That's interesting. RedCloud indeed claimed Edge support, but I'll confirm to see if this has been dropped in ACM.

No support for HID Edge controllers with Avigilon yet.

Thanks for the feedback. I've updated the chart to drop HID Edge from Avigilon ACM support.

It will be nice to add Paxton Net2 to the Mercury, HID, Axis comparison.

Paxton Net2 is proprietary to Paxton access.

What type of comparison do you mean?

Apparently I missed the "non-proprietary" part in the article. Net2 does have an API but I have no idea if it allows direct access to the door controller or it simply communicates with their server software to manage users and doors. Milestone integrates with Net2:

http://www.milestonesys.com/Global/Msp/Paxton/Documents/PaxtonIntegration_Plug-in_Users_Guide.pdf

As far as comparison I meant things like cost.

I really wish the word "open" was not (mis)used in this context. If these things were "open" there would be PSIA (ONVIF? IETF?) standards to talk to the panel. There are also wild variations in what you can do with these panels. Apparently the HID products are dumber than a bag of hammers whereas the Mercury API has features that half their OEMS haven't found yet. It's also interesting to note which vendors have found enlightenment and built a next-generation Linux panel (many have, some haven't, it's a good metric because it shows signs of life on the engineering deck, a rare commodity with PACS vendors...)

Eh, they're "open" in much the same way as x86. That's better than being completely proprietary, at least.

Wholeheartedly agree on the modern panels, though. Almost like their time is better-spent innovating rather than re-doing the same plumbing that's been done better already, eh?

It makes me laugh when people talk about "open" access controllers. The key benefit they claim is you don't get locked into a single access control vendor since you could switch to another software platform that supports the same "open" hardware. First of all, that switch would be very painful depending on the size of the deployment and number of records. Also, it doesn't address the fact that some custom relay wiring could have been put in place that required some programmable functions that may not be that obvious.

Instead, seek out access systems that have a reputable and plentiful dealer network. Do your homework and look for systems that will fulfill your needs or that scale and can provide current and future functionality.

It makes me laugh when out-of-touch manufacturers think so highly of themselves that not only do they ignore the enormous cost difference between importing data (while possibly re-doing some custom programming) and ripping out and replacing every single door controller; not only do they exist in a world where their system will never be replaced or their company sold; not only do they ignore every other industry that doesn't lock end-users to a specific system; but they do it all in a condescending manner!

So Apple is so out of touch and that's why they're the largest most successful company in the world?

Don't know what car you drive but I guess you look for one that is compatible with a BMW infotainment system, a Toyota Prius transmission and a Maserati exhaust... Nice...

So you're comparing consumer electronics with custom, professionally installed physical security systems? Even the car comparison is hardly apt. Tell yourself whatever it takes to make you feel better about forcing users into crappy situations, but please do so somewhere else.

So just because a vendor designs their own software and hardware you automatically deem it a "crappy" situation? You make it seem that every access system that gets installed runs the risk of having to be replaced due to someone going out of business or because of friction between the end user and the integrator. You`re so wrong.

Also, Tyler, hardware doesn`t last forever. You WILL have to replace hardware in the field at some point.

It's a crappy situation any time an end user can't do something because they own closed hardware. The only thing your approach does is reduce choice and flexibility. And I'm sorry, are we not in the midst of a massive consolidation in the security industry, for both manufacturers and integrators? Not exactly the best time to be going all-in on hardware that will only work with one company's software. Nor is any time for anyone who thinks ahead. Because you're right: hardware does fail. Better hope you can still get compatible parts when it does.

Technology is moving so quickly that your analogy of finding compatible parts is somewhat dated. You brought up the topic of consumer electronics and I find it interesting that consumer technology is what`s driving changes in our industry. My flat screen TV doesn`t support 4K programming and yet I don`t expect a field upgrade to allow my TV to display 4K res. I expect to go out and buy a new 4K TV. Consumers (the techie one`s at least) refresh their smartphones every 2-3 years. It`s a modern fact that tech gets dated and replaced with newer, better technology.

Consolidation in our industry is needed and is what`s providing opportunity for everyone whether you`re a manufacturer or an integrator. Think of GE (now Interlogix), Honeywell etc. These companies have made many acquisitions in he security space and yet it`s the smaller forward thinking companies that can make an impact and introduce some ground breaking technology.

I can provide end users with incredible, cost effective solutions. That`s what will make a company successful. It`s not promoting whether or not the hardware that they never see is compatible with some other software that they will need to learn and trust.

Your approach increases the upfront cost to the end user in many cases to the point where they could have replaced all hardware and still come out cheaper going with a vertically integrated solution.

You are absolutely beyond help if you still fail to realize how sub-$10k, consumer-grade electronics are not even remotely comparable to custom-designed, custom-installed building systems. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you must be selling some direct-to-consumer "cloud" solution, in which case the only question that remains is: why are you here?

You`re incorrect Tyler. I`ve been in the security industry for 20+ years and I sell through distributors and certified integrators - never direct to the end user. Our systems are deployed in banks, multi-site retail - basically all verticals.

I`m on IPVM because I`ve got extensive, extensive experience in all facets of physcial security - Intrusion, Access Control, Surveillance and Audio and can and will refute opinions of others that don`t line up with what I encounter in the field every day. That`s the whole purpose of a site like this.

I also have many design engineer friends that give me the added advantage of being able to truly discern ground breaking tech and creative ways of solving security related issues.

You`re entitled to your opinion and I`m entitled to mine.

Just goes to show that experience and judgement are two very different things. Have fun "refuting" people. Might want to tone it back on the obnoxious condescension.

Tyler, you need help.

Ok, enough back and forth on this. Clearly neither of you is convincing the other.

I am new to IPVM and while it is not my intention to use this forum as a promotion tool, was curious why Open Options was not listed as a compatible product as we have been a Mercury OEM for over 18 years and take full advantage of Mercury's extensive API and feature set.

We have always been exclusive Mercury and are one of 5 Mercury Platinum Elite Partners, however we also have a development partnership with Axis and will be releasing our initial software integration to the A1001 panel in a few weeks. In addition, ISONAS has opened up their hardware to software providers such as Open Options and that integration will debut mid summer 2016. See Isonas Opens Up Access

All and all, I like what I am seeing on here as it appears to be thoughtful discussion. I look forward to contributing from an access control perspective.

Hello Brent:

Welcome to the site. The list above is not nearly comprehensive. It was developed from the results listing of a 2014 member survey: Favorite Access Control.

There are a number of Mercury partners missing from that list, and like you mentioned Isonas has 'opened' itself up so a new option could be emerging.

However since we last ran that survey, our coverage of access has deepened and readership interest has as well, so when we re-run it that list is likely going to include new, different names.

Hey Brian,

Thanks and no worries. I just noticed the original date of the article. It is definitely an ever-changing landscape these days.

Looking forward to participation on the site!

Brent

I'll get the original list in this post updated in the meantime. Thanks!

Hello all:

The chart above has been updated and several platforms added. Thanks.

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