Favorite Access Control Software 2014

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 16, 2014

What are the favorite access control software platforms? Is it the elder incumbents like Honeywell, Lenel and Software House? Or can newer providers like Brivo, Genetec or S2 make a dent?

Just like we did with favorite IP cameras and favorite VMS software, in this report, we take the first ever look at integrator's preferred brands for access control. 

We asked integrators an open-ended question: "What is your favorite access control management system?" to find out who they prefer, and why, among a market crowded with potential options.

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**** **** ** *** **** ******** ** ******* *** ******** VMS ********, ** **** ******, ** **** *** ***** **** **** at **********'* ********* ****** *** ****** *******. 

** ***** *********** ** ****-***** ********: "**** ** **** ******** access ******* ********** ******?" ** **** ********** ******, *** ***, ***** * ****** ******* **** ********* options.

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***** *** *** ***** *********, **** *********** ****** *******'* **** compatibility ** ****** ********, ***** ***** ***********, *** ***** ****** manageability ** ****** *** *********:

  • "******* ******** ******. ** ** ******** *******, "****" ******** ********, and ** ******* **** ** **** *****.
  • "*******. ***** ** ** **** **** ******** ** ********* ***** the ******* ***** ** *** ********."
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  • "*** ***** *******, ** ** **** ******* *** **** ** *****."
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  • "******* ******** ****** - ********** **** *****, ****** *** *** of ******** *** ********."
  • "******* ******* ** **** ***** *********** **** *** **** ****** and **** *** ******** *********."

***********, ****'* ****** '*****-*******' ********** ********** **** * **** ******* for ******, *** *** *** ** *********** ****** ******* **** ******** both ***** ********** *** ***** **** ***** *******.

**

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  • "** ************. ** ****** **** ********* ******* *********. *** ******** offer ** **** ********* ********. ***** ********** ******* ********** ** incredible."
  • "** ******* ******* ** ****** *******.  *** **** ** *** ** the ** ****** ***** ** ** ********* ****** *** ******* customers - **** ** *** **** *** ********* ** ******** a **** ******** ******."
  • "** - *********** *** **** ** ************* **** ** ********* perspective *** **** ******** *** *** **** ***** **** **** pick ** ** ***** ******."
  • "*-* *** ********** ***** ************ *** ******* ***. **** **** IP ********** ******** ** *** ********* *******. **** ** * big **** ** *** **********. *** *** ******** ** ******** in *** ****** ** ** *** ** ******* **** ********."
  • "** ******. **'* ****** ********, **** ** ***, *** *****'* require *** ****** ** *** * ***** ** ********* ******* and ****** ***."

***

***** *** ******, ***'* ********** ***** *** ********** ** ****** installation, **** ** ***, ******* ****** ** **************** *****, *********, ********-***** **** *******. 

  • "***. **'* **** *********."
  • "***, ****** *** ** *****. *****'* **** * *** ** resources ** ***."
  • "*** ************. ******* ************. ***** *******. **** ** ***."
  • "***. * **** ***** ***** * **** *********, **** ******** that ***** **** **** *******."
  • "***, ****** *** ** *****."

***** ***** ********* **** ***** *** **'* **-******, *************** ******** **** **** Mercury ******** ******** *** *** ** ********** ******** **** ***'* line ** ********* ******.

Software *****

* ***** ********* ****** *****, ******** *****'* ****** ****'* ****** a ******* ****** ***** *** *********** *** ***** *** ********'* power ********, ********* *******, *** ***** ***** ***** ***** ********** customers * *** ****** ** **'* **********:

  • "******** ***** ********* **** ***** **** ******. *** *********** ** the ***** ****** ** **********."
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  • "***** **** ** ** ********* ******. ** ****** ***** ***********, tons ** *******, *** ** ******* ** **** ********* ************, easy ** *******, **** ********, *** **** ** ******."*
  • "**** ** *** ****** ******* *** ******** ***** *********. * **** the ****** ** *********** ******** **** *** ** ***** ********* and *********** *** ********* ** *********."
  • "******** *****. *********** ************, ******** *********** *** *********, ************ ********** in **** *** ******* *********** *** *** ********* ******* *********."

****** 

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  • "****** ****** ****** **** ***********, ***** ** **, **** ** use / ********."
  • "****** ****** (** ************) **** ** ***, **** ** ***********, Milestone ***********, ***** *******."
  • "* ****** **** ******** *** ******* ********."

*******

** '***** ****' ** ******, **** ***** *** **'******* ***** ********** ************, *** *****'* ****, ************ ************ ** ******** ************ *** competitive ******* **** ** ******* ***** ** *********** **********:

  • "*******. ** ******* *** **** ******* *** **** ******** ** as *** ******* **** *** *****. ** **** *** ******* other ****** ******* ******* ** ** ** *** ********* ** train *********** ** ******** *******."
  • "******* - **** ** ***, ***********."
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*****

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  • "*****. ****** ******. **** **** *** **** *********** ************."
  • "***** - ******* - *******, ********** **** *****, ******."

************, ***** *** *** ******* *** ****** ** '********' ******** of ***** ***** ******, ******** *** ******** *** ********** ***** as *** ***** ********** ** ***** *******, *********:

  • "***** *** *-**** ****. **** ** ** ******* *** *******; it ** *** **** ******* **** ******** **** ** **** has ****** ** ****. ** ***** ** ******* **** *****."
  • "**** **********, **** ****** ***** ****, ************* ******* **** ***** bombproof ******** *** ********, **** **** **** **** ** *********, unlike ***** **** ***** ******** ****."
  • "** ******** **'* ** ****** ** **** ** ********* *** licenses *** ****** ***. ************ ********** ** *****."

*******

******* **** *******, ******* ** ** *********** ******** **** * large ***** ** ********** *******. **** *******, *** ****** ************ (including ***** *** *****), *** **** ** **** ******* ***** integrators ********* ***** ******* ****** ***********, ******* ***** ********** ******* to ******** *****.

  • "*******, ** *** **** ****** *** *****, **** *** ******* and ******** ********** **** *** ****** *** **** **** ** limit ** ****** ** ******* **** *** ******** ********."
  • "*******. **** ****** ***, **** ** ***** ******* ** ********."
  • "******* - **** ********* ******* ** *** **** ** ** and *********."
  • "*******. **** *** ******** *** **** **** *******."

Honeywell ***-***

***** ********* ****** * ****** ** ****** ******* ********, *** most ******* ***** **** ** *** *** ********* ***-***** ********, but *** ***** ******** ******** ***** ********* ** ********* ******* into ***** ********* ****** **** ********* ** *** ** *** most ******* *********: 

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  • "***-*** ** **** ** **** ** *** ***** *********. ***** systems ****'* ***, ** ** **** ***** ***** **** ****."
  • "******-***, ******* ** **** ****** ** *******."

********* ***** *** *****, *********, *** **** ************ *** ***** reasons ***-*** ******** *****.

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******** *** *** *** **, ******** ****** ** * ******** ***** the *****'* ****** *******, *** ***** ****** *******, *****-***** ********** compatibility, *** ** ******** *********** ** **** ** *** ****'* popularity:

  • "********'* ****** ******* *******. **'* ********, ********* *** **** ***-*********** hardware."
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  • "*** ***** / ********. ***********; ******* ****; **** ******* (******* PCBs *** *** *******) **** *** *** ********* ******** ******* IT *********** **** ** ********** *** *******."

************ ****** ********, ** *** * ******-***** ******** **** **** ******* *** ******* market *****. *******, *** ***** ******** ****** **** *** ******* started ** ******* ** **** ***** ********.

Multiple ********* ******

**** *********** **** **** **** *** ********** *** ******, **** ******** platforms ********* ** *** **** *** ***** ** *********** ****** with ***** *******.

The *****

******* ~** ****** ** ********* ******** ** ***** * ***** mention. ***** ***** **** ****** ********* ****** ****, *******, *** DSX, *** ******* *********** ****** ******** **** *** ***** ****** ** break *** *** **. 

****** ****** **** ****** **** *****, ******* *********** ****** ***, **** *** not ****** ****** *******.

Comments (22)

Favorite manufacturer posts are always controversial, especially when one's preferred vendor does poorly. Moreover, since IPVM's roots is on the video surveillance side, I suspect the results are skewed somewhat to video centric access vendors.

Take these findings for what they are, feel free to disregard. Most importantly, do not use these for marketing. They are meant for informational purposes only.

This is part of a series of survey reports we are doing on access control including Favorite Access Control Credentials, Lifespan of Electronic Access Control Systems, and Maglocks stats. We will be releasing another 10+ later this summer.

Surprises me how many of the respondents favor Software House. Familiar lines I suppose breeds complacency. Or does it? They do indeed have a large installed base and that is fact. Too expensive to forklift..although I know of some end users that did just that. Some people do not take kindly to extortion.

I have a long history (20+ years) with SH...when they were actually a "software house" - no hardware that they called their own. I could write a whole long post on how the "APC" or originally "DPC" and reader interface hardware came to be, but not now.

As any SH dealer knows, the almighty SSA is the big stick installing companies have over the end user. If an end user is reading this now, your head is certainly nodding yes. Expensive too, ha? Again, the head nod.

Unfortunately, you have NO choice but to keep that SSA current.

While attending a certification course for SH (10-12 years ago maybe), the instructor proclaimed that they write a date code into an .ini file tied to the SSA. If the server keeps running past the date in the .ini file, no problem. But if the server gets rebooted after the date without a new SSA and subsequent .ini file, the program will not start!!! rendering the system stalled.

I loudly voiced my opinion in the class. "you have to be kidding me"? What kind of BS is that? Every integrator in the class looked at me...hey job security. Its a source of recurring revenue others said. I created an analogy - Go buy a car, drive it for a year but opt not to purchase the warranty. On the 366th day, you turn the key..but nothing. Same thing, right? The instructor moved on. No more discussion on that issue. I got the feeling he felt like a smacked ass ;))

Even as an integrator that stands to benefit from such a tactic, this disgusted me.

End users who do not renew should not receive tech support past the SSA expiration. I get it. But shut them down??? Extortion.

Ironically, I just ran across a site where the property manager was livid and wanted the Access Control system out. He felt the incumbent was raping him on costs. Low and behold, CCURE. 36 Reader multi tenant office bldg / parking garage. The PCserver would not boot so he could not add or delete cards.

Wow, what a shock.

Now in all fairness, maybe things have changed. Maybe someone will shed light on that very dark practice....

Micheal,

You are incorrect about SWH. the C-Cure license does not expire with the SSA on any typical system. The system will keep on chugging along w/o an SSA. the only time a system will stop w/o and SSA is if you have 800 running a Zero Sentinal license, and if thats the case then this is clearly stated on the VM addemdum form that you and you customer signed t get the zero sentinal License.

the SSA simply prevents you from geting software upgrades and support.

Undisclosed A

I do not write fiction, especially in this professional forum. Every word in my first post is true and factual. I was there at SH in that training room. I have seen this occur in the field.

As I mentioned, this was 10 years back at least. I will dig up my certification for actual dates.

there were no zero sentinel licenses or addendum forms. No signatures. Seems like an odd thing to even offer. Why would anyone agree to have there systems shut down?

how long have you been a ccure tech? My guess is you work for a large company and you have 5 Years in field. Maybe what I speak of predates your tenure? Yes/No?

Michael,

you are correct that I’m not in the industry 20years. I work for a medium sized company. Dealing w SWH for 6 years. You may be correct that the SSA thing predates me.

Sorry if I came across as offensive.

We are evaluating vendors now. It seems like I go through this every year. I am looking for a very intuitive system. ~50 READERS or less. A lot of vendors claim to be intuitive, but are not really. My definition of intuitive are enrollment screens with a "Next" button at the bottom, and required fields marked with a red "*", just like you might see when opening an account with an on-line vendor. I have not seen one. Not one. Given that I likely will not find what I want, I am taking a long look at IMRON. They are hardware independant and already interface with HID access boards, Axis boards, Mercury boards, Honeywell Prowatch, Bosch, Elk and DMP door modules. They incorporate alarm controls for the last three, and have a robust VMS interface that includes Milestone and others already on the market. It does not have the GUI I am looking for, but offers far more in terms of off the shelf interface with other equipment. Anyone have any experience that can offer the negatives?

By the way, I got the IMRON tip from someone on this board. I have forgotten who, but thanks.

I have dealt with a few different card access manufacturers and Software, and I have to say Keyscan has been the easiest for me. That compares to Kantech, Honeywell (Garbage software, personal oppinion), Maxxess (to be fair, the software was 15+ years old) and Viscount (age was also a factor in the one system I saw)

I briefly saw a little bit of Genetec's access control, and I have to say that looked pretty good.

I am a little biased to Keyscan, I was trained with it, it was what we sold most of the time, tech support and sales team (Andreas specifically) have always been good to me, but I do believe from all the software I have seen, Keyscan is the easiest.

John,

Interesting to know end user favorite systems and why. Perhaps something to look at down the track unless you already have.

Cheers, Matt

I don't think end users will have much to say about favorite systems, simply because the typical end user only sees / deals with one system.

That said, it would be interesting to see what end users are using and how much they like theirs. We will consider this for a future survey. Thanks!

I am surprised that Hirsch Velocity did not make the list. I am not a huge fan of being locked into a certain hardware but when the software is FREE**... that is a hard component to dismiss. They have recently released some new hardware options (MX Panels) that eliminate the need for many of the components previously required. Software is very intuitive as well.

I have done many side by side cost comparisons. Keep in mind that a majority of all access control systems sold and installed are less than 32 readers. I can sell a client on installing Lenel OnGuard 32ES into a virtual environment using the PoE controllers EP1501 and offer a VERY cost effective solution while keeping the overall architecture / footprint (panels / power supplies) to a minimum. This also reduces the labor cost which is what....40% of the project? The licensing structure of Lenel is a love / hate relationship. I love the fact that they do not charge for advanced features - minimizing the entry level cost... but I hate the way that they nickle and dime you on features that IMO should be included such as Remote Terminal Services. From a sales perspective, with Lenel, I cannot think of many access control features that Lenel does not have.

**Even with the free software from Hirsch, my Lenel options come out cheaper due to the versatile and open hardware options.

Speaking of options - were there any votes for 'Open Options'? Another feature rich platform (Mercury based) but with fewer software fee's.

Hello Mike:

There was 1 vote for Open Options. Not a strong showing.

Hirsch was not even mentioned! I don't know if that dealer base has eroded over the years, but it seems that many dealers who fit the stereotypical Hirsch profile have moved to other 'first tier' offerings like SH, Lenel, S2, or similar.

Has anyone ever heard of or had experience with an access control product from OSSI? The enterprise version?

Thanks,

Frank

Frank,

The only time I have ever heard of OSSI is when I see their booths at trade shows. At first, I thought it was OnSSI mis-spelled.

Maybe Brian has some experience with them but they definitely appear to be a minor vendor as I cannot recall anyone before you even mentioning them to us.

At my last gig we used OSSI access (and Intelli-Site PSIM before they called it PSIM) on a couple of projects. They bought a company called Compass which was specified on a bunch of projects here. From what I remember back then, it was bad. All the techs hated it. It was expensive, the interface was clunky, and I remember it having stability problems. Granted, this is was 5-6 years ago at the least, so it may have improved by then.

Right, Minor at best. They appear to have a product that is being sold to replace an access control product called Compass. I have a client that just made some fairly significant investment in the product with a vendor that has never used it before and it is an unmitigated disaster.

That sounds about right for a Compass install.

Hello Frank:

There were no mentions or votes for OSSI. I have no experience with the system beyond trade-show demos, but perhaps another member can shed light on their platform.

Any votes for Keri Systems?

Keri Systems received several votes, and came in tied with AMAG for #12 on the list

Any votes for Feenics or Anodver Continuum?

No votes for either.

Feenics is essentially new and would not register significantly regardless. However, being a hosted platform renders it a player in a niche category, and I'd not expect it to show up as a general favorite in a market dominated by stand-alone, 'locally hosted' systems.

Continuum has low market share, essentially being Andodver's access offering in their Building Management portfolio. Because you need to be a Schneider/Andover dealer to sell or maintain the platform, I also not expect it to ever show up in this list.

Most of the questions asked on IPVM about Continuum relate to whether or not it is still being supported by Schneider/Andover. The answer is yes, but that's not a good sign if that is the central theme of questions.

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