Favorite Access Control Software 2014By 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.
No Clear Favorite or Top 3
Of the 85 responses, 36 vendors were selected by integrators. And, unlike most manufacturer integrator surveys, in this one, there was no clear top choice or even top 3. Here's what the distribution looked like:
The 5 'top' manufacturers combined did not even receive 40% of the votes, showing that there is no dominant choice / favorite amongst integrator surveys.
The 5 with the highest votes received were:
Rounding out the top 10 were:
Our detailed analysis and integrator commentary follows in each section below.
Among the top voted platforms, many integrators stated Genetec's open compatibility of access hardware, tight video integration, and large system manageability as reason for selection:
- "Genetec Security Center. It is software centric, "open" hardware platform, and is already tied in with video.
- "Genetec. Since it is very user friendly to customers after the initial setup of the software."
- "I like to use Genetec because of the video integration and enterprise abilities."
- "For large systems, we go with Genetec for ease of setup."
- "Genetec....ease of use and integration with a very good VMS on a single platform. No integration issues."
- "Genetec Security Center - integrated with video, stable and lot of features are included."
- "Genetec because we have total integration with the CCTV System and uses HID hardware perfectly."
Undoubtedly, IPVM's strong 'video-centric' readership translates into a high ranking for access, but the mix of integrators voting Genetec high included both large enterprise and small door count systems.
Another clear favorite is S2, who integrators cited as a leading favorite because of IP-based controllers, web-based management, and products for both small systems and enterprise level deployments. Several integrators mentioned S2 is versatile enough to use for both enterprise or small systems.
- "S2 Technologies. S2 offers many different product offerings. The products offer so many different features. Their technology support department is incredible."
- "My smaller systems S2 Netbox Extreme. The ease of use of the S2 System makes it an excellent system for smaller customers - that do not have the resources to maintain a more involved system."
- "S2 - familiarity and ease of configuration from an installer perspective and from training the end user seems like they pick it up quite easily."
- "S-2 for enterprise level capabilities and feature set. They have IP appliances residing on the customers network. This is a big plus in our estimation. All the software is imbedded in the system so it can be managed from anywhere."
- "S2 NetBox. It's really powerful, easy to use, and doesn't require the client to buy a bunch of dedicated servers and client PCs."
While not flashy, RS2's reputation among our responders is simple installation, ease of use, and wide number of integrations with video, intrusion, and stand-alone lock vendors.
- "RS2. It's very intuitive."
- "RS2, simple and it works. doesn't need a lot of resources to run."
- "RS2 Technologies. Mercury architecture. Great support. ease of use."
- "RS2. I have never found a more versatile, open platform that works with more devices."
- "RS2, simple and it works."
The US based company is best known for it's no-frills, straightforward platform that uses Mercury Security hardware and can be integrated directly with DMP's line of intrusion panels.
A large incumbent access brand, Software House's C*CURE line's proved a popular choice among our integrators who cited the platform's power features, technical support, and brand clout among large enterprise customers a key factor in it's popularity:
- "Software House CCURE9000 with iStar Edge panels. The flexibility of the CCURE system is phenomenal."
- "Right now C-Cure 9000. Half of my reasons are selfish; it is the most feature rich platform that my firm has access to sell. It helps us compete with Lenel. The integrations are strong."
- "C-CURE 9000. Powerful & flexible - plenty of scope to add value."
- "CCure 9000 is my preferred system. It offers great flexibility, tons of options, can be adapted to many different applications, easy to install, high security, and easy to manage."m
- "Most of our larger systems the Software House CCure9000. I like the number of integration partners that the SW House Ccure9000 and reliability and longevity of equipment."
- "Software House. Integration capabilities, software performance and stability, manufacturer investment in both the ongoing development and the technical support resources."
While a UK company, Paxton had a significant number of votes from outside Europe, including US integrators. Most recognized as an IP-based system, integrator responses claimed system integration options, low cost, and license-free software as advantages over other systems.
- "Paxton is our favorite right now. The controllers are edge devices so we can bring them out to the door. The software is free and there are no licenses. Setup of the software and the system in general has been smooth. You can get a system up and running from start to finish in under an hour."
- "Paxton Access Single Door Controllers, Built in IP, ease of use / learning."
- "Paxton Access (UK manufacturer) Ease of use, full IP integration, Milestone integration, local support."
- "I prefer Net2 software for smaller installs."
An 'older name' in Access, best known for it's serial based controller architecture, the brand's wide, unrestricted availability in national distribution and competitive pricing make it popular among US integrators especially:
- "Keyscan. We started out with Keyscan and have retained it as our partner over the years. We will not install other access control systems as it is too difficult to train technicians on multiple systems."
- "Keyscan - Ease of use, versatility."
- "Keyscan System VII. It is available to everyone. It goes in easy and starts up very easy. Additions are simple. There are a number of system features that are good for those customers who need more than a simple system."
Another huge multinational brand, Lenel's reputation for strong technical support, broad integrations, and enterprise stability make it prominent among it's VAR base:
- "Lenel OnGuard - I have always found that Lenel OnGuard provides me the flexibility in programming and user friendliness needed to satisfy both the basic end user as well as enterprise accounts. Also, the fact that it is Mercury based, I give my clients peace of mind that should Lenel ever fail to satisfy them, there are other options available without fork-lifting the entire hardware set."
- "Lenel. Market leader. They have the most integration capabilities."
- "LENEL - OnGuard - complex, integrated with video, stable."
Surprisingly, Lenel did not receive the number of 'favorite' mentions of other major brands, although the platform was frequently cited as the major competitor of other systems, including:
- "Right now C-Cure 9000. Half of my reasons are selfish; it is the most feature rich platform that my firm has access to sell. It helps us compete with Lenel."
- "AMAG Technology, been around since 1987, international company that makes bombproof hardware and software, they make both with is appealing, unlike Lenel that makes software only."
- "S2 security It's IP system It easy to configure The licenses are simple not. Economically attractive vs Lenel."
Another Tyco product, Kantech is an established platform with a large group of installing dealers. With limited, but simple integrations (including Exacq for video), the line is most popular among integrators reporting small average system deployments, leaving large enterprise systems to Software House.
- "Kantech, It has been around for years, they are forward and backward compatible with all panels and they have no limit on number of readers with all software packages."
- "Kantech. Good mobile app, easy to train enduser on software."
- "Kantech - only favourite because we are used to it and certified."
- "Kantech. They are reliable and have good support."
While Honeywell offers a number of access control products, the most popular among them is not the venerable Pro-Watch platform, but the small business platform often installed as expansion modules into VISTA intrusion panels were mentioned as one of the most favored platforms:
- "Winpak Honeywell, We use it mostly for our installations and it has all features included."
- "Win-pak is easy to sell to our alarm customers. Those systems aren't big, so it just makes sense cost wise."
- "NetAXS-123, because is very simple to install."
Responses cited low price, expansion, and easy installation the prime reasons WIN-PAK received votes.
Rounding out the Top 10, Avigilon Access is a favorite among the brand's dealer channel, who cited simple pricing, third-party controller compatibility, and no software maintenance as keys to the line's popularity:
- "Avigilon's Access Control Manager. It's flexible, versatile and uses non-proprietary hardware."
- "Avigilon - web based controllers and interface, simplicity of pricing, no software maintenance agreement, built in tech features such as hot failover redundancy."
- "Red Cloud / Avigilon. flexibility; feature rich; uses generic (mercury PCBs and HID readers) easy use for replacing existing systems IT departments like it especially VMs capable."
When Avigilon bought RedCloud, it was a little-known platform with tiny revenue and minimal market share. Clearly, the loyal Avigilon dealer base has already started to respond to this added offering.
Multiple Platforms Common
Many integrators have more than one preference for access, with multiple platforms depending on job size and level of integration needed with other systems.
Another ~35 brands or platforms received at least a token mention. Among those were access incumbent brands AMAG, Stanley, and DSX, who despite substantial dealer channels were not cited enough to break the top 10.
Hosted access with brands like Brivo, despite emphasizing dealer RMR, also did not garner enough support.