Has it ever happened to you? You leave the key to your house with a friend so that he or she can water the plants while you’re away. Upon returning, you find out that the key has been lost. Or the regular cleaning person gets a key so that they can enter the home while you’re at work. After a few months they move to a different town—along with your key. Should you go to the expense of installing new locks just to be safe?
Example of an electronic lock that can be operated by a card or tag. (Illustration source: Dom)
There are in fact solutions which are more efficient, safer and more flexible: access control.
First, the electric lock
An electric lock is the first requirement when setting up an access control system. These locks can usually be installed in the door jamb. The lock is opened by means of an electric impulse. The problem with these kinds of locks is that they usually only serve as a single lock: they only secure the door in one place. Yet there are also electric locks that are built into the door and which are fitted with a small motor that systematically engages the double lock. From inside the home, the occupant can always exit by using the door handle. Once the door closes, the double lock is automatically activated.
An access control device must be installed on the outside of the home. In most cases this is a keypad that requires you to press four numbers and (if applicable) a confirmation key. This is especially convenient when many different people need to have access to the same building. Everyone should be assigned a different code so that all of the number keys get regular use. If everyone uses the same code, these specific keys might become noticeable over time due to dirt and dust that collects on the unused keys. By changing the access code, people who at one time had access to the building can be denied access.
We can also replace the standard key lock with an electronic version which can be operated by holding a card or tag close to the lock. Each card or tag has a different code. This makes it easy to remove a card from the system or to make a new card.
Using a smartphone
If the home is equipped with a (video) intercom system, this obviously allows you to grant someone access from inside the home. However, there is new technology that makes it possible to forward the intercom call to a mobile phone. You answer the intercom as if you were at home, and if you like you can open the door for grandma or grandpa who is coming over to wait for the kids to come home from school.
A proximity reader is similar to an electronic lock, the difference being that the lock and the reader are separate components. When combined with an Integrated Home System (IHS), however, we can use it to perform more powerful functions. The proximity cards can, for example, be associated with a specific person. When mom, dad or the kids present themselves to the system different functions can be performed via the IHS, based on their preferences. This might include whether it is light or dark, the time of day, et cetera.
For single occupants
In the previous pitch book story we discussed the PAS (Personal Alarm System). When an alarm is activated, any emergency responder must be able to enter the home without first having to break down the door. The occupant and the emergency centre associated with the PAS can arrange in advance for these responders to be equipped with a badge that grants them access via electronic locks. In certain cases the emergency centre can also opt to unlock the door remotely as soon as emergency responders indicate via telephone that they have arrived on scene.