Clearing the fog between security & access control

London, UK

As solutions proliferate in the access control market, interoperability has never been a more pressing topic. A recent industry report finds: “91% [of professional respondents to a survey] agree integrating security systems with each other and with other building technology has become noticeably more important in the last five years.”

A high profile group of companies has spoken out together to campaign about the benefits of open standards and interoperability in the access control sector.  And they agree that standards are one powerful integration tool.

Among the most important lock standards is the OSS Standard Offline (OSS–SO) from the Open Security Standards Association. Each lock manufacturer has its own approach to writing and reading cards, but customers installing offline locks from brands that subscribe to the OSS–SO are guaranteed interoperability. With the OSS–SO, offline locks from different manufacturers read the same access rights from a card and interpret them in the same way.

Frederik Hamburg, Chairman of the Open Standards Security Association explains the benefits of open standards for manufacturers and end-users of access control technology. "Customers see huge benefits of an open standard like the OSS Standard Offline. Open platform development dramatically cuts a customer’s dependence on a single supplier, leaving them free to choose the best device for the job. Open standards offer more frequent opportunities to tender projects, because you are freed from compatibility concerns. Ultimately, that can be a significant cost advantage."

There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that open standards are generally more secure than proprietary solutions.

"For manufacturers, membership of the OSS gives them a seat at the table when it comes to designing the standard’s specification. All participating manufacturers are able to optimise development costs and by adhering to pre-agreed standards, time-to-market for new devices is reduced." concludes Hamburg.

Mattias Weiß, Product Manager Aperio at Assa Abloy EMEA talks about why the company chose to get involved in driving the OSS Standard Offline forwards. "We were formerly using the SOAA standard, but decided together with Nedap, Primion, Dorma+Kaba Group, Deister, ACS and others to found the OSS Association and use our combined industry leadership position to drive open standards like the OSS Standard Offline. We are already working with colleagues to take industry open standards beyond offline components, and into more areas of this exciting, fast-growing market. The OSS Standard Offline was implemented into the Aperio firmware platform, and so, we ensure all battery-powered Aperio access control products support this functionality across the EMEA region now, and in the future.

Weiss continues,"Interoperability is critically important for any end-user investing in new or upgraded access control. They need to plan for eventualities they may not even see yet, and open standards allow them to do that. Ending reliance on a single, proprietary solution makes installed access control more flexible. You can add a new building, for example, and bring its access control into the existing system seamlessly."

Ruben Brinkman, Alliance Manager at Nedap Security Management believes the future is open.  He explains that the AEOS platform adheres to all the latest OSS–SO standards, meaning all current (and future) offline locks and updaters that also adhere to these standards seamlessly communicate with the Nedap system. "That’s the beauty of it. Organisations secured by AEOS are therefore very flexible in choosing their offline lock solutions," he says.

"For example at our new installation at Hospital Maria Middelares, in Belgium, the project benefited from choosing OSS–SO devices in various ways. Within the premises of the new AZ Maria Middelares Hospital, 700 doors were equipped with battery-powered offline Aperio locks and connected to the Nedap access control system. As one of the founders of the OSS Association, Nedap’s security platform AEOS allows for seamless integration with other OSS–SO solutions such as Aperio wireless access control. The joint solution between Assa Abloy and Nedap has not only secured Maria Middelares, but the scalability and cost-effectiveness of it has also made the hospital future-proof and ready to grow."

Ray Phillips, Managing Director at ACS Ltd explains the benefits of adopting the OSS Standard Offline, from an integration point of view based on his business and from the stand point of his customers.  "As the manufacturer of an access control system that incorporates both software and hardware elements, we find an increasing amount of our development resource is consumed by adding to and updating third-party integrations. The business benefit to us is clear: OSS Standard Offline has meant our development team can concentrate on enhancing our solution, instead of playing catch-up with third-party APIs that only benefit a small number of customers. The business benefit to our customers is that we can offer increased choice and the protection of a non-proprietary, open standards–based solution."

One of the main attractions of open standards for integrators is that they do not have to plan in advance for integration of new devices. "When new compatible locking products become available, there should be little or no work for us to do, save for some validation testing and documentation," says Phillips. " One example is the recently launched H100 Aperio wireless door handle from Assa Abloy. The entire development lifecycle of this product happened post-OSS but, because the firmware complies with the open standard, our systems support it already."


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