Worst Access Products 2015

By Brian Rhodes, Published Feb 18, 2015, 12:00am EST

100 integrators told us which access product lines gave them the biggest problems in the last year.

This is the counterpart to the Favorite Access Control Software 2014 and Favorite Access Control Credentials 2014 reports.

In this note, you will review their direct, in-depth feedback.

Variety of Problems

Unlike video surveillance, no manufacturer really stood out as being the 'worst'. The majority of responses described issues with both small minor players and huge familiar incumbents alike. 

Complaints ranged from poor tech support, bad product management, buggy hardware design, to systems that offer dubious values in contrast to high selling price and upkeep costs:

  • "Honeywell Pro-Watch. Even though our techs are certified and we are an HIS Gold Dealer, you have to install/deploy 25 of these before you can begin to understand all of the install/config options. The build history of this product has "bolted on" features that do not always flow in the software architecture."
  • "Supporting some customers old Honeywell NS2 Panels running NStar. Honeywell has dropped support unless upgraded to WinPak. This is understandable as all equipment and software at some point reaches a sunset on support. For other products they do have great support though."
  • "Honeyell Northern Systems. Winpak is clunky and difficult to use. When the factory trainer cant tell you what the different icons mean on the display tree, that is a bad sign.""I have had many issues with Honeywell/Northern N-1000 panels and Winpak software."
  • "Securakey needs alot of help."
  • "S2. Boasts they are an enterprise system, however they are far from it."
  • "S2 has been pretty bad. They have shared customer/project information with a competitor. Claim to be open (mercury), but their micro nodes are actually proprietary. Isn't that why they left Software House?"
  • "Genetec SC. The issues from this product on a programming standpoint makes it very difficult to troubleshoot remotely as well as program. However, you do have an option to uncheck automatic updates/synch to a panel but that shouldn't even be an issue. There were times when people were locked out for 5 minutes waiting for a synch change to a single reader. That's just the tip of the iceberg for issues in this system. Another is the anti-passback in virtual zones which allowed access on interior doors even though exterior doors had not been accessed."
  • "Bosch. The functionality options within this system is zero. It is impossible to categorize their system as access control - rather an option to not carry keys around."
  • "Bosch access control system was sold to a major customer, which has no option for live monitoring badge events / alarms, however the customer wants these features badly..."
  • "Bosch, for our retail customers with basic rules its a good system. But when we got involved in more complex system it simply wasn't capable. We're new to access control and unfortunately I took the sales reps word for it when he said that the Bosch all-in-one panel was capable of doing what we wanted it to. When we reached out for support it took days for them to respond with a solution that wasn't sufficient."
  • "The Bosch DS160 is a terrible REX motion in that is sees everything including temp changes not just people."
  • "Lenel - their tech support sucks!! If you don't update your certification, they won't even speak to you!"
  • "Lenel, we found the tech support was lacking, no concept of a global solution if you are outside of the USA."
  • "FC Wnx, UTC decided to stop selling and supporting the product with no upgrade path."
  • "Primion access control product: - Challenges are not up to date technology - Limited Integration possible - Bad credential Management - Not as per industrial standard - Off course SUPPORT Last but not the least LENEL - Lack of web enabled facilities - Bad Support - Worst Support - Even Hell Support Sorry for using unprofessional words!!!"
  • "Kantech. It pretends to be a medium level system but is poorly coded and has been overtaken by entry level competitors."
  • "Johnson control ...lacks integration with Video Management System"
  • "We had our worst experience with HID edge controllers - what a mess. Poor production quality and bad code."
  • "Chubb AFX system, proprietary system is BAD.I would like to get away from any proprietary system as you are at the mercy of manufacturer/integrator.In this case being Chubb who dp not have qualified stuff. They are "brain washed" with "our product is the best" without being able to see and compare other solutions out there."
  • "Although we're happy with the open platform hardware, we continue to have issues with HID Edge controllers. Relays sticking (not unlocking doors when required, interface locking up, etc.)"
  • "Keri. Their tech support told us we had to do a major upgrade on a customer's system in order to be able to use a Windows 8 PC to administer the system. After messing us around for several months and charging several thousand dollars for a database conversion they told us we would now have to pay another several thousand dollars to upgrade firmware in all of the system controllers."
  • "I like the Securitron/HES components but have had some ridiculous lead times, 8-12 weeks. That long wait can make customers very grumpy."
  • "Andover Continuum, specifically, the webClient interface. The webClient is based on .NET and many of the Microsoft updates break the functionality causing the customer to not be able to use the system. Product support recommends not installing the Microsoft updates, but IT departments want the systems patched. We have also had alot of issues with schedules not downloading to controllers. Many times product support does not have answer, other to uninstall/reinstall the software, which doesn't seem to fix the issues."
  • "DMP installed the equipment and DMP pulled our dealership and gave to it a larger company that does more security but less access control. This took away any tech support."
  • "DMP Entre. Customer installed software updates on their own. Had installation glitch in the process which caused system to crash and could not be restored as their backup had been corrupted. Had to assist customer in rebuilding system from scratch. DMP support has always been great for their IDS products but I feel like they are over their head with a server based access control system."
  • "Rossalaire, theres no buffer, every activity is live. One panel didn't get the updated program. Anything else we program until we hit save and send or send the changes aren't made."
  • "Safran Morpho's biometric reader. According to all of the documentation we should be able to connect it to our access control manufacturer, however this is not the case. We have spoken with Safran tech support and we are still struggling to get the two devices to communicate"
  • "IDenticard has been the worst for me this year. It is a good product, but the software has had glitches, expecially when using older 9000 controllers."
  • "Next Level Security Systems. End of story. Constant issues with stability, new firmware re-introducing old problems, tech support taking days to respond. And we had a random system meltdown near Thanksgiving that almost got us fired as a vendor from our customer."
  • "Next Level....taking on more than they are ready to handle..i.e. elevator control, database integration, other growing pains. But we pulled it out like integrators always do."
  • "Kantech, we got stock on an issue, and their technical support is awful. It takes forever to get them on the phone and then they are so stuck with reading their script, that they don't listen... We hung up and figured it out by ourselves."
  • "Kantech - trying to integrate with a KTES (intercom) and using the reader input on the KTES - means a completely different database within Kantech's software. Also Kantech again trying to get information in integrating a SQL database. Each tech rep gives a different response."
  • "IMRON. We agreed to setup a demo to discuss more, exchanged a few emails with our contact info, then I never heard back. After sending them three different emails to the same address I had been communicating with, I just gave up on the company.
  • "Axis A1001. They advertise inputs and outputs that aren't configurable/usable, they cheaped out on the relays so only one of the door relays can act as a dry contact to fire an external power supply without providing an intermediate relay. The web interface is perplexingly annoying."
  • "ADT's Focus 200 system. With the philosophy of this company that we OWN you they will not release information on it trying to lock the client into upgrading with them only (Tyco). If they lose the bid they turn their back on the client and provide no assistance. The philosophy is so antiquated its hard to believe a company (and a publicly traded one) gets away with these hostage tactics."
  • "DSX controller. When this controller loses power, it loses all memory. This has become an issue with short power outages. On board memory retention would solve the issue."
  • "Tecom\Interlogix - poor support from local integrator."
  • "We were just using a low-cost OEM PRODUCT. It was very similar to the popular brand in India (Essl). But the user interface part and shift allotment was too confusing."
  • "Finger print combo with pin access where the power failure affected the e-lock and the system hang. Had to re-done the wiring. It was more of a power line coordination partly due to the field installer even though already added UPS into the whole scenario but when not wired properly then still happened."
  • "Maxxess, we have had major issues with scalability on their platform and support from them. They have continuously let us down to the point where we no longer sell the product into new solutions. One very large client with over 3000 readers has made a decision to move to Honeywell as a result of this."

No Troubles

However, not everyone has something to complain about.  A minority sample of our responders said things have not been bad at all, and the trouble-free nature of their offerings validate good product selection on their part:

  • "We are very deliberate with product selection so our worst experience isn't all that bad. "
  • "I can't say I had a worst experience with any access control product that wasn't our fault (ordering wrong locks), but I've had some issues with an integrated visitor management/turnstile/access control systems."
  • "Why so negative with only the worst product? We only deal in the same products day in and day out, so our worst are also going to be the best. We primarily do Genetec with SMCs and V100's, or V1000's with V100's, or EH400 edge controllers."
  • "We have had no series problems as all are well proven."
  • "We currently utilize Avigilon, Genetec and Isonas as our offerings and have had great success with them all."
  • "No real problems. We stick to our fundamental packages. Very rarely will we install a software package we are not familiar with- we will generally pass up on the job if there is no other option."
  • "Nothing bad happened"
  • "None -- we stick with Brivo for everything."
  • "I didn't have a bad experience with AC this last year."
  • "On the flip side have had very good traction in the past year with Genetec Synergis."
  • "We haven't had realy bad experiences last year."
  • "We haven't had any bad experiences with access control in the past year. For the most part, we only sell Software House, and it's a great product."
  • "We have been using Honeywells Net-Axis 123 and have not had any issues with programming, installation or failures."
  • "No bad experiences. As a company, we have intentionally limited the breadth of offerings in access control, due to the complexities of trying to support too many systems. We have used HID on Genetec head end with no issues. We have also used the Axis controller with the free Axis Entry Manager. Though limited in features, this product line serves a niche for small deployments."
  • "Overall nothing has escalated to disaster level on the access control side that isn't part of normal issues."

Small Tolerance for Problems

Compared to video surveillance where certain brands can build a long-term negative reputation, access control troubles can be tragic since life/safety is a factor. Design and Engineering is very conservative, but only because failures can cause people harm.

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