Wireless Access Lock Use Growing, Stats Show

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 04, 2014

With more access companies supporting or producing wireless locks than ever before, are they disrupting traditional hardwired access doors? With everything combined into a single lockset, this access type often installs in minutes, and typically takes no special skills or experience.

In this note, we examine how integrators answered:

"What percentage of openings/doors are controlled with wireless/wifi locks? Has this percentage grown/declined in the last three years?"

**** **** ****** ********* supporting ** ********* ******** locks **** **** ******, are **** ********** *********** hardwired ****** *****? **** everything ******** **** * single *******, **** ****** type ***** ******** ** minutes, *** ********* ***** no ******* ****** ** experience.

** **** ****, ** examine *** *********** ********:

"**** ********** **********/******** ********** ************/**** *****? *** **** ***************/********** *** **** ***** years?"

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

Low **********

******* *** *** ********/**** locks ** ***, **** only **% ** *** integrators ********* **** ****** the **** ** ***.

** *****, ~**% ** all *** ***** *** wireless *****.

***** ****** **** ***** from ********** *******:

  • ********** ** ******** ********
  • ****** **** **** *** not ****** *******
  • *********** *** ********** ***

Security ********

**** *** ** ****/******** locks ** ***, *** leading ****** ***** *** the **** ** ******** and ********* *** *** type *** **** '******** access' ** * **** security **** *** **** end-users:

  • "** ** ******* ***** wired ********* *** ** aspects **** *********, ******* cycle *** *********** ******."
  • "*** ********* **** ** interest ** ******** ******* they ***** **** *** more ***** ** *******."
  • "****** *** *** *********** so *** **** ******** wireless. **** ******** ** a **** *******."
  • "**** ********** * **** with ***** ***** ********* a ***** ********."
  • "** ** *** ******* wireless/wifi *****. **** ****** than *****. ********* ** not ***** ****."
  • "** *** ***** ******* the *** ********* **** locks **** *** ******** system. **** ** **** they *** ******, ******** and ******* **** *** compared ** * ***** solution, ** **** ******* them ** *** ********* as * ****** ******."

** *** **** ** 'hacking' ********, ***** ***** are ****** ****** ** uncertainty ****** **** ****** events, *** ** *********** are *** ** *** front ***** ********** ***** 'risks', **** **** ****** persist.  **** **** ********** WiFi ***** ********* ****** encryption ** **** ******, the '*******' **** ** marginal ** ****.

Not ****** *******

******* *** ***** *** wireless ** *** **** common ** ******* **** are *** **** ********* that *********** '*********' *******:

  • "*** ********** **** ** hardware ***** ******* *** labor *******, *** *** we **** ********* **** require *******."
  • "******* ***** ***** ******** AAA ********* *** *** ability ** *********** ** 802.11 *** ****** ******* spike ********."
  • "**** ******* *** ** costing **** **** ********* doors ** *********** *** upkeep."
  • "***** **** ***** *** if ********* *** *** solution *** ***** *** have ** *** ******* to ** ** *** door ** ** ****."
  • "*** *** **** *** bigger, *** ** ********* on ********* *** ********* regularly."
  • "*% ********* ******** **** the *** ** ***.** lock ****. [*********** ********] was **** ********* **** all *** ****."
  • "*** **** *** ******* cable ****** *** ********** cost *** ******** *** the ************* ** ***** not ****** ** *** experience."

***** *** ******* ************ costs *** ** ***** for ****/ ******** *****, integrators ****** **** *** most ****** ** *** over ****, ********** ***** that *** *********** ********* or *********** ****** *** networking.

Not ********** *********

******* *********** ******** **** WiFi/ ******** ***** *** not ********** ***** ********, or *** ********* ** non-integrators *** ***** ******* *** skillsets ** ******** ******* hardwired *******:

  • "** ***'* *** **** technology, **** ***** *** very *** *** *** professional ****** *******."
  • "** **** ******* ***** to ******* **** ******** and ***** ** * professional ***. **** ***** are **** *** ** guys *** ***** ********* to ***."
  • "** ** ********** ********. There's ** **** ** need *** ******** ***** in *** ****."
  • "** ** ******* *** leaves * *** ** be ******* ** ** mind!"
  • "** **** *** ******* but ****** ***** ****** with ******** *****, **** sell **** **** ** them."
  • "** ** *** **** wireless ** **-** ***** are ******** *** **** of *** *************."

** *** **** **** as *** **** **** soften ** ***** *****, with **** '********** ********' brands **** **** ***** and ******** ********* ********, *** brands **** ***** ********** wholesale ********** ****** ******* using ******** ********.

But *** *******

***** **** *** *********** make ********** *** ** these ***** ***, **** of **** **** **** acceptance ** ******** *** they ** **** **** in *** ******:

  • "********/**** ***** *** * nice ****** *** **** to ***** ***** ** where *** *********** **** such ** ******. ** do **** ****** ** this **** *** ** I *** ** ***** it ***** ** ***** 10-15%. * ***** ** the ********** *** *********** grow **** ****** **** continue ** ****."
  • "**% ***, *** **'* growing."
  • "** *** ******* ****** control ******, *** ********/**** locks **** ****** ************ popular."
  • "**%. ******* *******."
  • "*** **** *** ***** tremendously. ** *** ******* them ** ******* ******* 25% ** *** **** now *** ***'* **** to *** **** ***** yet."
  • "**% ** *** ******** use ****. *** *** has ***** *********."
  • "***** **%, **** *** grown *** **** **** likely **** ****."
  • "***** ***** *** ****** off, **** *** *** really ******* **."
  • "**** ***** *** ******** big.  ** *** ***** more *** **** ****** with ****."
  • "* **** ********** **** seen **** **** ******** in *** **** ***** years. * ******* ** will *** **** ***** be ******* **** ***** as ****** *** **** comfortable **** ********."

Compared ** *** ****

*******, *** ********* **** 'WiFi/ ******** ***** *** becoming **** *******' *** the ********* ****** *****. Indeed, ********** **** *** and ************ **** ***** ago **** * *** rate ** **** **** ~2% ** *****, *** fact **** ******* ** 15% *** **** *** indicates * **** ********.

** *** **** ***** continuing ** **** ** a**** ** ****** ****, as ************* *****-**-******* ***** are ******** ** *** to ******* ****** *******.

Comments (17)

This probably warrants a closer look - there are some major differences between the products in this space.

I agree with you, especially in the (sometimes dramatic) difference between wireless locks vs. wifi locks. There can be big cost, reliability, and management issues between them. "WiFi" may use 802.11 routers/networking while "wireless" may require proprietary radios, etc...

Anecdotally, what are some of the contrasts you've seen?

Just off the top of my head...

  • Proprietary wireless vs wi-fi is a big one
  • Active vs passive - as in, some can receive a lockdown signal in real time, and some can't
  • Battery power variations
  • Ability to convert to a wired unit at a later date - or vice versa

The trend I am seeing from the design side of the business is moving to integrated locks, where the electrified lockset includes the reader, REX and door position sensor all in one device. It may be wired or wireless, but the trend is moving away from having all these separate devices, which all need conduit, wire and field panels – migrating to a single device, which may not even need wires. For new installations, integrated locks will reduce labor, and if we are to believe the manufacturers, will reduce the overall installation price.

The model I see in the future: is that all, except a few specialty applications, will use integrated locks. For new construction, that will probably be a PoE integrated locks, existing installations may have more wireless locks. The payoff will be the elimination of a good percentage of field panels, and a lot of security infrastructure. When all of the locks talk directly to the EAC server or network appliance, there will be big dollar savings for the owner.

So if my crystal ball is correct, (which is not so clear, that it alleviates my need for continued employment), then installers will need to change their business model to keep ahead of the downward spiral of slimmer scope and margins. The future integrator will be providing security head ends, licenses for integrated locks to talk to their software, commissioning of the system as well as the service work. The supplier of the integrated locks is likely to be the door hardware supplier, and the cabling will be by the data infrastructure contractor. A good strategic move of an integrator might be to become the door hardware supplier, selling both the hardware, and EAC commissioning along with the warranty of the hardware and electronics. As well, the security integrator should look into being the data cabling contractor, if they want to wrap up the whole project.

When the edge of the security network moves from above the door, to the door handle, there will be big changes in many business models!

Fuuny you would say that. I have been scoping the HES integrated electric strikes routinely for the last year. They take less time for me to scope and are easier to install. I order most access control through Security Lock Distributors and they told me recently that I was the only one ordering them!?

One down side is no multi-class reader - Prox or iClass.

I would beg to differ with the statement "this access type often installs in minutes, and typically takes no special skills or experience."

There is more door prep and alignment work to do with the wireless/wifi lock than with a standard lock. It's not like putting a strike or mag or even a lever/hinge - these locks are less forgiving if you make a mistake.

Another thing no one is talking about with this new revelation and godsend to the industry (the clouds part and Jesus comes down and sits on our access panels) - is when these parts fail, the cost of replacement is actually quite high.

Normally if your electrified lock fails, you replace the cylindrical or mortis lock, send out a $600-700 bill and the customer cringes but pays. Now imagine the shock when their all inclusive lock fails. "Im sorry mister customer, here is your bill to repair your door for $2500."

I love the wireless locksets, but there is a pain issue that is yet to be felt that people aren't addressing yet.

$2500? Not sure how a wireless door lock could cost this much. Perhaps more in the line of $400 for the device alone. Labour differs from region to region. Even if we included the wireless transmitting device I don't think it's more than $220.

Setting it up is real easy as well. I think the security and IT industry is becoming fairly cross-polinated.

"We have trained staff to install door hardware and locks in a professional way. WiFi locks are good for IT guys and cable companies to use."

Yes, for now wired is probably more secure although a lot of it is what people make of wireless as a technology in their own minds. 10 years ago people were reluctant to make online purchases. Today it's much less of an issue.

Conventional wireless is easy to get access to if you really want to, but it should be noted that these wireless locksets are to be used primarily in non-critical access control areas. You would not use it for a safe door as an example. Small businesses on the other hand don't like all the wiring and for simple entry this technology is great for these kinds of customers.

Where are you buying your locks from that allow you to sell them for $350?

Are we talking about the AD400 from Schlage or the S2 series from Assa Abloy?

Yes, $2500 may be a bit much, but after troubleshooting and a new replacement install, $2k really isnt.

I'm not talking about offline locks like an omni-lock.

Hi Scott,

I work for a distributor in South Africa. The prices I mention are roughly prices end users could expect to pay after the product has passed through the integrator. This obviously does not include labour and pricing is only a rough estimate.

As for the product itself, I'm happy to share the brand in private. I don't like promoting products in public.

Ulrich, you can certainly mention brands if it is the context of a detailed discussion. That's your choice.

What we do not allow is hit on run comments like "Buy LoserLock!"

Hi John,

Certainly!

However, I'd rather refrain from making mention of brands the company I work for is involved with wherever possible.

Any wireless encryption is easy to crack in ten years, given the advance of speed of new computer-hardware.

I don't know the customers expectations of life span of these locks but you might get recurring business in less than 10 yrs.

Compared to 'traditional' access devices, installing stand-alone wireless locks is simplified. Hardware fits into existing door preps, there are no wires to fish and hide, and seldom require frame/leaf cuts maybe beyond drilling holes.

Now I agree, doing it right can be a complex task, especially given the finicky interaction of door locks and frames.

However, less experienced installers and even end-users might swap out locking hardware where they would not consider piecing together a controller-based access opening.

Your comments about service and replacement are interesting, and I can see there being problems due to 'all-or-nothing' unitized designs.

RF Notes:

WIFI v Wireless - Wireless usually means 900 mhz freq hopping spread spectrum. At this time i consider wireless superior because it IS more secure, uses less power than WiFi. Alarmlock Trilogy is such a lock and should give lower cost of ownership. Thats what im testing now.

"We have trained staff to install door hardware and locks in a professional way. WiFi locks are good for IT guys and cable companies to use."

Slightly off topic, but this comment struck me as slightly odd... isn't this post sort of comparing traditional wired access control with wireless/wifi access control options? After your "trained" staff installs the door hardware in a traditional wired system, wouldn't you have an IT guy come in after and program the access control?

Maybe I'm taking it out of context, but as an IT guy, I feel insulted that its assumed I would be incapable of installing door hardware as well...

In regards to the batteries and wireless, as an Alarm integrator as well, battery replacements aren't really all that uncommon... and wireless sensors are all over the place in the alarm industry.

All that being said, I do agree that wireless locks are still too early with too much misconception to be utilized in commercial environments

"After your "trained" staff installs the door hardware in a traditional wired system, wouldn't you have an IT guy come in after and program the access control?"

Interesting question. I expect that for most, access system programming is performed by the integrator, not an IT resource.

As an integrator, I can't remember one time where this was handed off after the door hardware was installed. Even menial data entry tasks stayed with the installer.

As an IT guy, don't be too insulted. The perception that an IT guy might flub or hack a lock install is the same an IT guy might have that a low-voltage guy or locksmith would leave a software install a steaming mess.

Hi,

I don't think the phrase was meant as an insult to IT people. For the most part I think the intended message is that "IT guys don't usually/necessarily install access control on a regular basis, therefore having a wireless option saves them time because it is a technology they are familiar with as opposed to Wiegand or RS cabling with maglocks etc."

So yes, an IT guy will definitely be able to install an access control system, but it may take them longer to decipher if they have not done it before.

At least, that's how I see it and this is the audience targetted by many security industries of late.

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