Mustering Tutorial

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Apr 01, 2013

Access control can be used for more than just securing buildings. Among these powerful 'other' functions is mustering, which immediately accounts who is where in a building. However, a system has to be designed properly and carefully to use this. In this note, we look at mustering, and what it takes to implement in a typical system.

Mustering's Two Approaches

First, one must select / differentiate between the two types of mustering, depending on how much adminstrative oversight is required:

  • Area tracking
  • Checking In

Area tracking: The concept of mustering uses access control to generate a roster of occupants in a certain area. Every time an occupant scans a card to enter and leave an area, the access system logs the time, date, and credential holder of the credential. This data can be used to determine who is in the area at any given time, including emergency situations.

Checking In: Alternatively, mustering can be implemented in some systems as a 'opt-in' control, where a credential reader located at an evacuation point is scanned as cardholders reach that location. Then that list of names can be compared against the assigned list of evacuees who should scan into that reader during emergency. The report screen below is an example output screen from a 'mustering reader':

In either use case, the goal of mustering is to account for specific individuals, so if they are not confirmed present within an area, then additional action can be taken to investigate where they are. In an emergency situation, the resources to search for the unaccounted are limited, and having an accurate list of who is present helps bring focus to those efforts.

Where Is Mustering Used?

Aside from 'Emergency Roll Calls', mustering functions can be applied in several ways. In industrial or mining facilities, mustering can be used for 'Lock Out/ Tag Out' situations, where machinery should not be restarted or an area reoccupied until all maintenance personnel are accounted for. If even one maintenance person has scanned in to an area, but not yet scanned out, all machines are de-energized until everyone can be accounted for.

Likewise, in facilities where frequent headcounts are important, like prisons, daycares, or passenger manifests, mustering can be configured to ensure that all members of a group are present in an electronically logged system. 

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Depending on how mustering is implemented, it can send notifications or print reports to predefined locations. Not only can 'absentee reports' be sent to nearby printers within an evacuation area, it can send emails or text messages to current occupants alerting them to emergencies (ie: severe storms, bomb threats, or other emergency circumstances).

Additional Design Required

Depending on how a system implements mustering, additional software configuration and hardware may be required. If 'mustering readers' are used, then configuring this function may be no more than selecting a few checkboxes. This configuration often requires cross referencing other readers in the system to confirm occupants are not elsewhere in the system, or may even cross-reference shift or vacation schedules to confirm occupants are gone.

However, other forms of mustering may require additional readers. In order to take an accurate inventory of who is present in an area, occupants must 'scan out' when they leave. Most access controlled openings simply require 'scanning in' for access, so the addition of an out reader, even when hardware is not linked to it, adds cost and complexity to a system.

System Examples

Implementation of the feature varies by access control software, but is typically supported by enterprise level offerings. For example:

  • CCURE: Older versions of CCURE support mustering by way of designating specific readers as "Evacuation Points", however current versions include exception reporting that generate a list of names in an area on demand. 
  • DSX: This system supports mustering readers, as well as input/output linking that can be used to create 'mustering reports'. When 'Time & Attendance' readers are used, mustering reports can be filtered by who is currently present in a facility.
  • LENEL: OnGuard supports both reference readers and exception reports method in all versions, and can be integrated with other systems.

If mustering is important to you, make sure to check carefully check how it is implemented in your access control software as approaches and availability vary greatly.

3 reports cite this report:

Paxton Access Control Company Profile on Dec 07, 2015
This note profiles access company Paxton, our 3rd installment in an ongoing series, following our profiles of Tyco Kantech and DSX. Inside we...
Avigilon Access Control Tested on Jun 22, 2015
Avigilon aims to deliver an end-to-end solution of video surveillance and access control. But how good is their access control? In 2013, Avigilon...
The Coolest New Access Control Product In Years is from Tyco on Oct 22, 2014
Cool. Access control. Tyco. 3 things that you or I may have never contemplated together. In this note, we examine Tyco's new access control...
Comments (10) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Access Control Course Fall 2019 - Last Chance on Oct 17, 2019
Register Now - Fall 2019 Access Control Course. Thursday, October 17th is the last day to register. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
2020 Access Control Book Released on Dec 19, 2019
This is the best, most comprehensive access control book in the world, based on our unprecedented research and testing has been significantly...
Designing Access Control Guide on Jan 30, 2019
Designing an access control solution requires decisions on 8 fundamental questions. This in-depth guide helps you understand the options and...
Startup GateKeeper Aims For Unified Physical / Logical Access Token on Apr 04, 2019
This startup's product claims to 'Kill the Password' you use to keep your computers safe. They have already released their Gatekeeper Halberd...
ZK Teco Atlas Access Control Tested on Aug 20, 2019
Who needs access specialists? China-based ZKTeco claims its newest access panel 'makes it very easy for anyone to learn and install access control...
Access Control Time & Attendance Guide on Sep 24, 2019
Access control systems can do more than lock doors. With little or no extra equipment, they can be used to track labor hours for employees...
Access Control Mustering Guide on Sep 30, 2019
In emergencies, determining where employees are located can be critical for knowing whether they are in danger. Access systems can be used for...
Access Control Door Controllers Guide on Oct 22, 2019
Door controllers are at the center of physical access control systems connecting software, readers, and locks. Despite being buried inside...
Securing Access Control Installations Tutorial on Oct 17, 2019
The physical security of access control components is critical to ensuring that a facility is truly secure. Otherwise, the entire system can be...
Hotel Access Control Explained on Dec 23, 2019
Hotel access control does not work like typical commercial access control because doors in hotels are not typically directly connected to a central...

Most Recent Industry Reports

"Hikvision Football Arena" Lithuania Causes Controversy on Jan 24, 2020
Controversy has arisen in Lithuania over Hikvision becoming a soccer team's top sponsor and gaining naming rights to their arena, with one local MP...
Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019. The...
Multipoint Door Lock Tutorial on Jan 23, 2020
Despite widespread use, locked doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and thousands can be misspent on locks that leave doors quite...
Avigilon Shifts Cloud Strategy - Merges Blue and ACC on Jan 23, 2020
Avigilon is shifting its cloud strategy, phasing out its Blue web-managed surveillance platform as a stand-alone brand and merging it with its ACC...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...