Salto Access Control Reviewed

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 07, 2013

Salto's access control system, using credential based networking, claims to be at least 50% less expensive than traditional access control offering. While the company's strongest market has traditionally been Europe, the company is pushing into the Amercias and beyond. Will Salto's credential based networking disrupt the access control market? In this note, we examine the company and weigh its strengths and weaknesses.

Overview

The feature Salto most distinguishes itself on is its use of credentials as a 'virtual network'. We will dig into the particulars of the system, but watching the manufacturer's video first provides a good overview:

Key Claims

The 'data on-card' system has several differences compared to 'traditional' hardwired access systems:

  • People Transport Data: While the credential card itself stores system information, movement of that data through the system and to the head-end database use the movement of people within a facility and combinations of hotspots/offline locks to update.
  • (Mostly) Offline: The majority of door locks can be kept offline and powered by batteries, with only a few strategic online 'hotspot' control units to 'phone home' to the head end management system.
  • Global Updates: System configuration changes, like turning off lost cards or updating schedules, are pushed to each user's card and subsequently pushed to individual doors, even when those changes are not related to the specific user's ID.
  • Inexpensive: Because traditional system infrastructure is not necessary (ie: controllers, interfaces, cabling, power supplies), a Salto system is less expensive than those platforms. We break down those costs in a section below.

While mixed deployments of both offline and online wireless locks are possible, the way Salto uses the credential card as 'read/write' media to update the locks within a system is where it differs compared to other systems.

System Design

Salto recommends placing a 'hotspot', or a wired (online) controller placed at primary entrances. Doing so allows the access system to push updates to each user as they enter a facility.

The updates pushed to the card from these hotspots include:

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

  • Renewal: The user's credential is renewed as valid for another 24/36/48 hour period. Cards automatically expire after a predetermined time, so lost or stolen cards are automatically invalidated.
  • User Access Level/Schedules: Changes to each user's access levels are pushed at the hotspot, updating special or temporary permissions.
  • Global User Updates: If users/cards have been turned off or disabled in the system, these details are pushed to each credential for subsequent push to door locks.

However, updates about the system are pulled from the cards as well:

  • Audit Trail: A door lock uploads it's catalog of events to each card, and the card dumps this catalog back to the head end at each hotspot.
  • Battery Status: All Salto locks are battery powered. If the battery level is low on a respective door, an alarm noting the door's ID is pushed to the card, and the card uploads this alarm at the hotspot.

From there, each door in the system must be furnished with a Salto specific lockset. This hardware typically replaces existing hardware on the door, and includes a reader, handles, and latching hardware, but does not include mechanical locks. The hardware is battery powered and typically offline. However, certain locks are available as 'online' models using a proprietary Zigbee type network.

Retrofit Cylinders

Full hardware replacement is not always required. Salto offers replacement 'retrofit locks' for rim and mortise hardware sets like exit devices and sliding glass doors. However, switching over to the Salto system removes the potential for mechanical keys:

Credential Formats

Salto cards are proprietary, and one must buy replacements from Salto for use in a system. However, credentials are compatible with all major data formats, including iClass, MiFARE, and DESfire. Systems other than physical access can be configured to work with these formats (ie: Logical Access, Financial Systems) and Salto credentials can be used for these integrations.

Pricing

Salto claims that its uncommon use of the credential eliminates much of the infrastructure typically needed by an access control system.

  • Software: Salto's management software ranges from ~$1600 - $2800, depending on simultaneous online hotspots. The least costly version supports four online points, while the most costly moves to unlimited points.
  • Hotspots: The cost of 'control units' varies between ~$800 and ~$1000, based on whether or not they are furnished with enclosures and power supplies. While ethernet connected, none of the hotspots support PoE power.
  • Locksets: Most Salto locksets cost less than $1000, with an average of ~$550. Cost is driven by credential format, ZigBee network compatibility, and device trim type (ie: exit device, levers, or padlocks)
  • Lock Cylinders: Retrofit cylinders are priced at ~$350, and once installed function as standalone (offline) locks.
  • Credentials: Salto specific cards range in price between ~$3.50 - $12.50/ each, with the most expensive format being HID iClass.

Salto offers a blanket one year warranty on all products, although extended warranty periods can be purchased.

Comparative Costs

Outfitting most doors for a Salto system will range between $800 - $1000 per door. By comparison, most 'hardwire' access systems range between $2000 - $4000 per door, however neither cost figures in credentials.

By comparison, Salto credentials are higher per unit than generic offsets. For example, Salto's iClass card costs ~$12.50, while non-specific alternatives cost ~$5.00 each.

Pricing is a relative strength of Salto's system, with the average door costing ~50% - 80% less per door. Salto offers the ability to control doors without the expense of expanding power and data networks.

Drawbacks

However, the system will not be the right choice for all applications. Several notable drawbacks include:

  • No More Keyed Access: A potential showstopper is that Salto completely removes mechanical locks from all controlled doors. While some may view this as a great way of taking mechanical keys out of service, traditional door cylinders often provide security redundancy and a backup method of entry should the access system fail.
  • No Lockdown Feature: Because the lock is only updated when it interfaces with a card, features like 'facility lockdown' of all doors are not possible with offline systems.
  • Weak US Presence: Salto's traditional home market has been Europe, and while global expansion into North America and Asian markets have taken place in the last decade, the company is still scaling. Distribution, tech support, and sales support may not be fleshed out in all regions. Compared to incumbent EAC providers, Salto is still relatively unknown to many specifiers, architects, and consultants.

Hotel Style Access

In many ways, Salto's system can be compared to hotel-type access, where the credential carries data and essentially is what instructs a door whether or not to open. Both systems rely on the credential to update the settings in the lock, both are offline, and both rely on battery power. For more details, see our Hotel Access Control Explained post.

However, Salto's system offers key advantages over the traditional hotel system, notably:

  • Hardware Compatibility: A hotel system requires exchanging existing hardware over to a specific system, while Salto allows retrofitting of existing hardware when using the 'Geo' series locks.
  • Lock-based Notifications: Salto's system queries the lock and 'pulls' audits to the credential, noting important conditions like low battery or invalid entry attempts. A hotel system only 'pushes' commands to the lock and there is no polling back to the credential.
  • Credential Format: Many hotel systems are essentially limited to magstripe cards, based on cost. While the ultra-low-cost of contact magstripe cards make sense for temporarily issued credentials, commercial access systems use durable contactless data formats, and credentials that encrypt and store sizeable amounts of data.

2 reports cite this report:

ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are...
Solar-Powered, Smart-Phone-Based Access Kit (VIZPin) Examined on Nov 02, 2018
Cloud-based access control company VIZPin is releasing a solar-powered and...
Comments (12) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Euklis Presents AI Analytics on May 05, 2020
Euklis presented its AI facial recognition, LPR, and object recognition...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM...
Milestone Presents XProtect On AWS on May 04, 2020
Milestone presented its XProtect on AWS offering at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Cast Presents PoE Perimeter Lighting on Apr 28, 2020
Cast Lighting presented its PoE powered Perimeter fence system during the...
AndroVideo Presents Edge AI Face Recognition Cameras on Jun 26, 2020
AndroVideo presented its AI at the edge face recognition cameras at the May...
NetApp Video Surveillance Profile on Mar 09, 2020
NetApp is increasing its efforts in video surveillance and told IPVM...
IDIS Presents 12MP IR Panoramic Fisheye on May 26, 2020
IDIS presented its 12MP IR panoramic fisheye camera at the April 2020 IPVM...
JCI "Fever Camera" Partners With China TVT on May 19, 2020
Johnson Controls (JCI) is the next big player to get into the 'fever camera'...
Idemia Presents AI Facial Recognition Access Reader on May 18, 2020
Idemia presented its VisionPass AI Facial Recognition Access Reader at the...
Camio Presents Coronavirus Social Distancing Analytics on Apr 20, 2020
Camio presented its social distancing analytics for responding to coronavirus...
SAFR Presents AI Facial Recognition on May 18, 2020
SAFR presented its AI facial recognition at the April 2020 IPVM New Products...
Ivy League Grads Present Percepta Shoplifting Detection on Jun 17, 2020
Ivy League graduates of the University of Pennsylvania presented their...
Oyla Presents Low-Cost 3D LIDAR Alternative Camera on Jun 23, 2020
Oyla presented its low-cost LIDAR alternative camera at the May 2020 IPVM...
HID Presents Signo on Apr 23, 2020
HID Global presented their new Signo readers they claim read farther and...
Verkada Raises $80 Million, Triples Valuation To $1.6 Billion on Jan 30, 2020
Verkada's rocketing valuation continues. 9 months ago, they got a...

Recent Reports

Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Access Control Online Show July 2020 - On-Demand Recording of 45+ Manufacturers Presentations on Jul 30, 2020
The show featured 48 Access Control presentations, all now recorded and...
Face Detection Shootout - Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jul 30, 2020
Face detection analytics are available from a number of manufactures...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
Ink Labs Relabels China YCX Fever Camera And Steals Dahua's Marketing on Jul 30, 2020
A US company marketed a 'thermal temperature scanner' as its own, selling...
Genetec and Dahua-Backed Intelbras Split Examined on Jul 29, 2020
China is the cause of the breakup between Canada's and Brazil's largest video...
This YouTuber is Now Selling ThermoHealth Temperature Screening on Jul 29, 2020
An enterprising 20-year old is mass marketing medical devices on Facebook and...
Hikvision Returns To Growth Driven By Overseas Fever Cameras on Jul 29, 2020
While Hikvision's revenue fell in Q1 2020, it rebounded in Q2 attributed to...
Brazil's Biggest Domestic Surveillance Company Intelbras Profile on Jul 29, 2020
While Intelbras is not widely known outside of Latin America, Intelbras is a...
The Kiosk Market Pivots To Temperature Screening (Interviewed) on Jul 28, 2020
Video surveillance is not the only market that has pivoted to medical device...
Integrator Acquisitions 'A Good Market' During COVID-19, Says Greybeards on Jul 28, 2020
Industry broker Ron Davis of the "Greybeards" says that the integrator and...