6 Key Takeaways from Multifamily Tradeshows

Spring time always brings a world of new life with flowers blooming, graduations, spring sports and just people getting outside more in general (at least here in the northeast!).  So it should be no surprise that that there’s a lot of new life in the tradeshow world happening this time of year as well. Our team was most recently at the Bay Area Apartment Association annual trade show on April 13th as well as the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando annual trade show on April 26th and the Atlanta Apartment Association annual show on May 18th.

With around 1,000 attendees at the first two and almost 5000 in Atlanta, they gave us a lot of opportunities to connect with property managers, maintenance teams, owners and others to talk all about access control and visitor management in multifamily properties. Below is our list of the top 6 takeaways from these events:

  1. Unauthorized visitors: This one is pretty obvious of course and always rises right to the top of pain points for property managers. But what’s interesting is that the types of unauthorized visitors are evolving.  You still have residents harboring additional roommates who never filled out the application and living there illegally. But a new one presenting some unique challenges are unauthorized Airbnb or VBRO rentals – an influx of temporary renters using the space for shorter amounts of time.  When apartment buildings use physical keys, keypads or card system – these can be hard to track. The  registered resident meets the guest renter on day one, shares the physical keys/cards with them and typically has them leave them on the table or counter on the last day as they leave and lock the door behind them. A lot of the individuals we talked to were surprised to learn that smartphone access can be a solution to the problem. Because VIZpin credentials are unique to a user’s phone, they’re not easily shared with others.  In March we also announced a Residential Fraud Alert System – so property managers can be notified when unethical residents try to transfer Smartkeys back and forth.
  2. Property managers are done with cards/fobs: Just the mention of these access devices tends to elicit and audible “ugh”, the shoulders slump forward and we typically get a response – “I’m so done with dealing with these!”. Why have these become such a dreaded topic?  It’s simple.  Managing cards/fobs takes time, effort and contributes to other concerns on this list because they can be easily shared, lost or even stolen. Dealing with turn each month can be the source of a large headache as well.  We’ve reviewed the process with several property managers and estimate the average turn eats up about 120 minutes of their valuable time!  With Smartkeys – you can eliminate the hassle and save both time and money.
  3. Pool access is a headache: It’s coming soon – pool season! And with it comes the challenge of dealing with unwanted guests using the pool facilities.  With residents often paying an HOA fee or facility fee to use this amenity – they’re not happy when a bunch of unauthorized visitors become regulars at the pool. When credentials can be easily shared, like in the case of cards, fobs or keypad codes – they can and they will. When VIZpin Smartkeys are used they are unique to a user’s phone so handing off your access card to someone else to use is no longer possible.  Plus – if you need to do unexpected maintenance on the pool, property managers can easily login to their cloud portal from any browser to update a role and automatically adjust access for all residents with the click of a button.
  4. Maintenance teams are ready for smart access: While they may not be the primary decision makers in most apartment buildings, they’re certainly one of the largest influencers. Several of the maintenance team members we met with shared their frustration with locks outs, changing locks during turn, and managing vendors coming in for repairs or updates.  Every time you have one of these situations, these team members are pulled from other projects to step in and assist.  They’re getting bogged down with changing locks or managing keys.  Since Smartkeys can be revoked at any time for residents who move out – no need to change locks anymore.
  5. Product quality is critical: Whenever multifamily owners and property managers are evaluating hardware for their projects, seeing, touching and feeling those products first hand is a step that can’t be overlooked. It’s one thing to see the specifications in writing on a website or in a quote, but they want to evaluate it in person. It was surprising how many exhibitors don’t actually bring products with them to these events. We had our Entegirty Smart Locks and Bluetooth controllers on hand and users could see personally inspect them as well as see how they work in real time. (not to mention using the VIZpin Smart app to unlock our liquor locker!).
  6. Property managers and building owners need real quotes: While the world is at our fingertips with all the information on websites, it’s clear that information can often be misinterpreted. We heard a lot of frustration around the process to evaluate new projects. While gathering information on particular products or services is generally easy – getting the true cost to purchase them is not always the case. We let those we talked to about this know that VIZpin can turn around an official quote the same day that clearly outlines any hardware and services and can even provide future renewal costs. We want to make it simple for your team to find the right solution and we know that costs are one of the most important aspect of that.  We have a “Request a Quote” option on our site – property managers can fill this out and get connected with us right away.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement or saying “Yep.  The struggle is real” – we hear you!  We’ve provided access control options for building doors, apartment homes and amenities for apartment owners and managers across the country.  We would love the opportunity to share more about how our Entegrity Smart Property Systems can offer a solution that not only alleviates the daily stress of property managers and maintenance staff but can contribute to higher NOI and resident satisfaction.  Contact us today to get the conversation started.

The Top Benefits of Modern Access Entry Systems

Access control systems are among the most in-demand technologies nowadays — and for a good reason. According to Fortune Business Insights projections, the access control market could reach $20.02 billion by 2027.

These access entry systems control who gains entrance to an office or building – ensuring that only authorized individuals are allowed – these are also known as discretionary access control systems.

The gold standard in access entry many years ago had been the use of a deadbolt lock together with its brass key. However, the evolving technology and capabilities have had modern businesses demanding more.

What Is an Access Control System and How Does It Work?

Today, companies want complete control over who gets to pass through their doors while also having a way to keep track and manage overall access. The physical keys that were once widely used have now relinquished their hold on many businesses today by passing the torch to cloud-based keyless entry systems and smart locks.

Using a keyless access control solution provides convenient and quick access for authorized personnel and denies entrance to unauthorized persons.

It’s no longer uncommon to see employees using smartphone app to gain entry to secure locations. A business today can use a cloud-based access control system to restrict access to rooms containing vital data, employee workstations, and even essential hardware.

In some buildings, exterior access doors are often managed by a landlord or remote management, while interior office door access can be controlled by the tenant.

Since the goal of these access entry systems is to manage who can access a rental property, apartment building, condo building, commercial gym, office building, etc., it is typically done by assigning specific access levels to tenants, employees, freelancers, and members. Although each authorized individual may use their mobile access to get through the main security access door, not everyone can gain entry to specific areas containing privileged or secure data.

Now that you’ve learned what an access control system is about let’s take a look at the top benefits these keyless access entry systems have to offer.

Keyless access entry systems
A modern access entry system is a perfect solution to improve building security.

Benefit #1: Monitor All Activity

Most businesses stock valuable merchandise, assets, and other properties within their designated facilities. Unfortunately, this also acts as a temptation for people who have access to the location.

For instance, there is a high risk of the property being stolen each day in pharmacies, laboratories, and clinics where pharmaceutical drugs and high-value equipment can be sold on the black market.

Using an access control system can help these establishments monitor who has accessed their facilities. The technology used can log each entry, allowing security staff to backtrack and review access data in case of incidents.

Benefit #2: Improved Security for Sensitive Data 

Theft of valuable merchandise and assets is a common concern for many facilities, so is the potential for a data breach to happen. Common physical breaches include insider leaks, theft of physical hard drives, and personal property. 

These breaches result in the loss of company data and the theft and misuse of personal employee information. This is one of the reasons why companies today should implement effective discretionary access control systems in areas where data servers are located.

Using the right system provides businesses with the ability to generate specific credentials for different levels of access control. A cloud-based mobile access control system can help guarantee the protection and security of both employee and business information.

Benefit #3: Improved Safety for Everyone in the Building

Having a keyless access control system increases the safety of workers whenever they are in the building. This means that they can be protected from potential harm caused by outsiders.

Keyless access entry systems can also be used to improve the safety of apartment rentals, condo ownership, and their tenants. Security access door locks can be used as a more secure way of keeping furniture, appliances, gadgets, and other valuables intact.

Moreover, systems that use mobile credentials, for example, add an additional layer of security since credentials cannot be shared or copied, unlike physical keys.

Benefit #4: Avoid the Hassle of Using Traditional Keys

As you already know, physical key systems can be problematic in effectively securing company premises.

For example, whenever an employee loses their key, you’ll need to provide them a new one, so they can regain entry to your office and resume work.

In most instances, particularly those in high-security locations, losing a key often means replacing all corresponding locks to avoid potential, unwanted access. However, this also means that companies will have to issue all of their employees with new keys — all because one of their colleagues misplaced or lost theirs.

With modern Bluetooth access control readers, keyless access, and smart locks, there’s no need to worry about losing a key card or fob. No need to replace all of the keys and locks anymore.

A robust access control system can help eliminate many of the issues that are normally associated with restricted access areas that use traditional keys. It also makes it easier for you and those around you to ensure that the area is always secure.

Choosing the Best Access Entry System for Your Organization

Protecting your office, employees, owners, and tenants is top priority. A modern access entry system is a perfect solution to improve building security, whether it’s with keyless access, or with a commercial door entry system.

VIZpin provides Bluetooth access control systems and smart locks that allow you to open doors with your phone. Offering speedy integration with your building management system, VIZpin’s products make access control easier than ever and provide the best price-performance options for all situations.

Contact us to learn more about the pricing for our access solutions.

First-in Feature on Entegrity Smart Locks

First-in is now available on Entegrity™ Smart Locks using PLUS service.  The First-in feature allows doors to be open to the public set hours each day. By default, the VIZpin Smartphone Access Control System automatically keeps all  property doors locked and secure. However, lets say you want your doors open for anyone to enter during your regular hours, the First-in feature allows this. A First-in schedule is set on the VIZpin smart device using our cloud-based portal, then once applied the first person with a valid VIZpin Smartkey who triggers the device each day on or after the designated open time unlocks the door. The door will remain unlocked until the set close time and will automatically lock at the designated closing time. 

 

When might you want to use the First-in feature?

What are the benefits of using First-in?

  1. Convenience
  2. Flexibility to adjust the hours at any time
  3. Secure – at the scheduled closing time the door automatically locks so you don’t need to re-lock

This feature is also available on the VP1 Bluetooth Controller as well as the VIZpin Solar Kit.

 

Commercial Smart Locks: Top 6 Benefits for Your Business

Safety, convenience, and affordability are more important than ever when choosing a commercial access control system. With more employees working at home, temporary workers, and changing schedules, ensuring only those who should have access can get in and keeping those who shouldn’t have access out is critical. That’s where commercial smart locks come in handy.

What’s a commercial smart lock? By “smart lock”, we mean a door lock that can be unlocked with your smartphone (not a traditional key, keypad, keycard, etc) and where access to it can be granted/revoked remotely.

Why Commercial Smart Locks?

Using a smart lock on your office/co-working space, apartment building, gym/fitness center, day care center/school, church, self storage facility, retail store, or other business is an affordable option that adds immediate value to your business. Here are the top 6 reasons why:

1. Easy to Manage

Businesses increasingly look for ways to be more efficient and simple is usually better. Traditional access control has typically been complicated, requiring a lot of steps to make it work. These steps include creating hundreds of detailed user profiles, matching credentials/physical keys/keycards to users, and delivering those credentials to the user. Smart locks, dramatically shorten that process and eliminate one-to-one contact (especially important during this pandemic). Using a cloud-based access control smart lock – users can self-register with an app, eliminating the need to create a user profile. Access can be granted/revoked from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Building managers simply log into access control software and grant/revoke the appropriate access with just a few clicks of the mouse. Once granted, Smartkeys are available in (or revoked from) the user’s app immediately.

Building managers can enroll people even before the smart lock is installed. Scheduled access can be changed in a few clicks. Users can enroll themselves in the system and can deal with lost or new phones without bothering the building manager… all without any special training. The apps and management software on the smart lock are automatically updated and settings are applied whenever someone uses the app to unlock a door.

2. Improved Security

Smart locks eliminate the need for physical keys, cards, fobs, or pin codes, which are easily shared or copied. With smart locks, the user’s Smartkey is unique to their phone. Phones have passwords and people don’t share them. Smartkeys can’t be copied to other phones, making them a more secure solution. And if an employee or tenant leaves, or a user loses their phone, the building manager can simply revoke access in the cloud portal and the Smartkey is removed from the user’s app.

3. Affordable

It’s easy to forget the ongoing cost of access control systems. Sure, the initial cost of a traditional key lock is cheap, but what about the time and hassle it takes to rekey a lock when an employee leaves? You have to have an on-site employee to make the change. Keycard systems aren’t much better… the cost of replacing lost keycards and upgrading the software quickly becomes expensive.

4. Easy Installation

A smart lock can be installed by anyone in minutes with just a screwdriver. Just take off the existing handle, replace it with a new smart lock, and add batteries. VIZpin Smart Locks don’t need a local network or Wi-Fi connection. Best of all, you don’t have a complicated panel to program.

5. Scalable

Unlike access control systems with panels, you can build a system with smart locks one door at a time. There is no up-front expense for a larger system and no penalty for adding other doors. Just add more doors wherever and whenever you need them. When you add doors, updating everyone’s access is literally just checking a box.

6. Easy to Use

When you want to enter a door with a smart lock, you simply open the app on your phone and press a button. It’s that simple! There’s no bulky keys to carry around, no codes to memorize for different doors, and no card to carry with you.

VIZpin’s Entegrity™ Smart Lock

 

 

 

 

See specs & details about our commercial smart lock…

Conclusion

Smart locks allow building managers to grant or revoke access or view activity from anywhere without the hassle, expense, and security risk of other types of networked access solutions. A battery-operated smart lock is an affordable way to add convenient security to apartments, offices, utility rooms, and more. It fits into any standard door and installs in minutes.

Learn more about the Entegrity Smart Lock or contact us.

Multifamily Access Control Systems

Multifamily property owners and managers are continually looking to be more proficient in order to increase their NOI while at the same time providing a safe environment for residents. VIZpin is an affordable smartphone access control system for apartments and other multifamily properties that increases property value, improves security & convenience, reduces operating costs, and directly improves NOI.

Unlock the door with your phone or use a traditional key.

✓ For common areas: VIZpin makes it easy for property managers to provide secure access for building entrances, parking, amenities, and more.

✓ For individual units: The new VIZpin Smart Lock extends this convenience to individual rented/leased units.

This battery-operated smart lock is an affordable way to add convenient security to individual apartments, offices, utility rooms, and even common area bathrooms. It fits into any standard door and installs in minutes.

Adding smart locks or Bluetooth access control readers as your go-to multifamily door entry system is more convenient and secure, both for tenants and property owners/managers.

Benefits for Property Managers Include:

Increased Property Value: Today security is a requirement and low-tech solutions like lock and key, keypads and cardkey systems don’t cut it. Tenants want the latest Smart technology and to control everything from their Smartphones.
 
Improved Security: With keypad and key card systems, tenants can easily share the credentials and allow non-residents to use all the facilities. VIZpin Smart Keys can’t be shared, so the only people using the facilities are people on the lease.
 
Improved Convenience: Carrying a key, remembering a PIN number, or carrying a keycard are inconvenient. Everyone carries their Smartphone all the time.
 
Reduced Operating Costs: Keypad and key card systems are difficult to manage. You have change PIN numbers or re-issue keycards when tenants turnover or someone loses their keycard. Other systems can be very complicated requiring service calls or hours of training for new staff. With VIZpin you can issue or revoke credentials anytime from anywhere and tenants can securely transfer their credentials when they lose or upgrade their Smartphone without distracting the property manager. Plus, VIZpin is simple and requires no special training.
 
Automatic Updates and New Features: With traditional systems you have to maintain system software, network and ISP. VIZpin is cloud based so updates are automatic. It uses Bluetooth and your Smartphone to connect to the cloud so there is no local network, computer, software, or ISP required.

 

Learn more about our smart lock and access control systems for apartments or check out Resident FAQs.

 

 

How to Replace Access Control Systems

Replacing or upgrading an access control system doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Technology has made significant strides over the past few years. Now, most new access control systems are affordable, easy to install, and scaling up is nearly effortless. You’ll need a plan to find an affordable and effective access control system. Still, there is a system out there for your business.

Here’s our guide to help you change your access control system.

When should you replace or upgrade your access control system?

Perhaps your access control system failed or stopped working. Your current system could be vulnerable. You may want more control over your building’s security. There are various reasons for wanting to replace your access control system, but you likely have two main concerns you want to avoid: costly upkeep and maintenance.

What type of access control system is best for you?

When searching for an access control system, it should meet your goals. It should also fit the nature of your business, its security requirements, and the number of people at your establishment. After considering your objectives, consider the time required for installation and cost, as well as the time it will take to manage the system day-to-day. Take advantage of existing infrastructure and verify you meet the minimum system requirements. Next, focus on other features relevant to your business: who and how a manager will grant access, smartphone capability, or network requirements. For help comparing access control systems, read about the factors to consider when selecting an access control system.

How do you get started replacing your access control system?

The most critical step in replacing your access control systems is to create an upgrade plan. Having a plan ensures you don’t skip essential steps like exporting any existing data from your current system. Include a realistic budget that factors in costs for hardware, installation, and management. You’ll need a professional to install the access control system to ensure your business is protected.

Once you’re ready to install the new system, be sure installation is scheduled before or after business hours. You’ll need to test the system before employees, members, visitors, etc. start arriving. Help should be on standby if issues arise.

How is the access control hardware installed?

Most systems are installed based on the same methods. However, every access control system is different. Here’s a quick breakdown of what should happen:

  1. First, cables should run and all hardware and equipment should be inspected.
  2. Once any necessary cables are in place, electronic locks will be installed on any doors requiring to access the building.
  3. After the cables and locks are in place, all the access control components need to be connected.
  4. Once hardware in installed, programming the system settings and testing the keys will take place.

A professional should always install the system and read any provided instructions. For more information on how VIZpin handles installation, see our access control system installation guide.

How do you grant access to the system?

When it comes to granting access, implementing a new access control system is not usually a disruptive process. However, it’s necessary to have a plan to avoid stress and maintain efficiency. Be sure to communicate changes early and often. Plan for the installation date and share the time with the people you’re granting access too.

If you have a sophisticated setup, you may need to install your new access control system in phases. In this case, make certain to focus on the doors requiring the most security. When working in phases, you may need to temporarily leave the old system in place in the secondary locations. If you’re a smaller business, you should be able to replace your entire access control system at the same time.

Once you install the system, users will need hands-on training. Depending on the size of your organization, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes per person. This initial time investment makes a big difference in keeping your building secure.

One Last Thought

You may not need to replace your system altogether.  If you have a working access control system, upgrading it with modern technology may be a great solution.  You can easily add smartphone readers to an existing system with just a few wires and now offer the convenience of using your phone to unlock your door.

There are many moving parts when it comes to choosing an access control system to replace your existing one. Hopefully, this guide makes replacing your access control system much more accessible. Don’t wait for something terrible to happen as a system failure or theft. Keep your building safe from anywhere in the world with a VIZpin access control system.

Touchless Access Control Critical for Property Managers

Touchless access control (also known as a contactless access system or a touchless entry systems) is more important now than ever before. COVID-19 has raised awareness of how quickly germs can spread and it is forcing everyone to rethink their personal and work behavior. Going above and beyond to stop the spread of germs is now the norm.

So, how can property managers help residents feel more comfortable when entering common areas? A touchless access systems is the answer!

Doors in Common Areas Are Petri Dishes for Germs

Anywhere people congregate presents an opportunity for germs to spread and apartment buildings are no exception. How property managers and maintenance staff deal with common areas like pools, lobbies, and fitness clubs is critical. It is important to recognize those areas and have a plan for dealing with them.

Door Handles Need to Be Cleaned
Door handles are germ petri dishes.

Door Handles

The first place to start is door handles in common areas. They may be touched by hundreds of people each day and are prime suspects for spreading germs.

Temporary Options Aren’t Very Practical:
  • Cleaning wipes at the door. Have hand cleaners or wipes on the “pull” side of the door. But, that relies on every user to take action and staff to ensure supplies are constantly refilled.
  • Manually clean throughout the day. Posting someone at the door to sanitize the handles every time someone walks through is clearly too expensive. And even if you only clean the handles once/hour, that still requires an employee to do it and it isn’t clear to renters that the doors are being regularly cleaned. Most people would just rather not touch the door handle at all.
Touchless Access Options for Door Handles:
  • Leave the door open. Can the door be left open during busy times to minimize contact? Keep in mind this will still require an employee to manually lock up when access times are over.
  • Electric door openers. Can you install an electric door opener? If you have the budget, there are several electric door openers that can be opened with an app or motion sensor. These touchless door openers can be installed by a locksmith or even your maintenance staff.  Check out an example of one here.
Touchless Access Control Systems: Keycards
Even though keycards are touchless, they are often shared.

The good news is there are options for affordable products that don’t require residents or staff to touch anything unfamiliar.

  • Keycards & Key FOBS: Proximity card readers don’t always require contact, but tenants often share keycards and FOBs, which is not ideal. These types of systems also require property managers to have residents come into the office to physically exchange the keycard or FOB, exposing yet more people.
  • Biometric devices: Fingerprint, handprint, or facial recognition readers can carry a hefty price tag and still require residents to go into the office to register their prints or photo.
  • Smartphones using Bluetooth: It’s affordable, most people won’t share their cell phone with someone else, and it’s touchless (no physical key and no pushing buttons on a touchpad). Options include a commercial smart lock or a Bluetooth access control reader for a door using an electronic door lock.

If you have a card or fob system already – you can  update that system with a touchless access control system. It’s easy to add a Bluetooth access control reader for smartphones with smartkeys. These not only provide a lower-cost option than revamping your existing infrastructure, but they can be easily added to an existing system in minutes.

Touchless Access Control: Your phone is your key!

Smartphone access control systems also deliver these benefits:

  • Easy to use: Users simply download an app and self-register, the building manager is notified, and access can be granted from anywhere, anytime, without having to meet in person.
  • Users don’t share phones like they do key cards. Users will rarely let others use their phones, which limits any exposure of others, as well as delivers some inherent security by eliminating sharing.
  • 100% contactless setup. There’s no in-person setup needed to give someone a smartkey. Property managers don’t have to go into to the office or meet someone to issue or revoke anyone’s access. That can be done anytime from anywhere by simply using a cloud-based portal.

Residents will always want to feel safe where they live, especially in a post-COVID world. Smartphone access control makes it easy for property managers to provide secure, touch-free access to building entrances, parking, amenities, and more to ensure the right individuals have access and unwanted visitors are kept out.

How Much Do Access Control Systems Cost?

A reliable, secure, and convenient access control system is a must-have for your property or facility. There are a multitude of options with many different features and benefits, including keypad, key card, biometric, and smartphone access control systems. Depending on which access control system you choose, access control pricing can vary significantly from system to system.

Unless you are using a commercial smart lock or a traditional physical lock and key, remember that most access control solutions will need an electric lock and power supply. Those costs are not included in these estimates.

Here is an estimate of the average costs per door of popular types of access control systems:

Cost of Physical Keys/Locks for Access Control

physical key door knob lock installation cost
Rekeying locks & keys adds up.

The cost of rekeying locks and replacing keys can add up quickly. Keys are frequently lost, or users may leave an organization and don’t return their physical keys. When this happens, it is critical to ensure a safe environment and you will need to change the door locks or rekey the lock.

For an experienced locksmith, cutting a new key should take less than 2 minutes and replacement keys can range from $2 for a simple key to $70 for a coded key. Ultimately, you’re going to spend anywhere from $50to $2400 per door if you rekey. Changing the lock takes longer and costs more, and still requires new keys.  On top of that, if it’s an emergency or an after-hours situation, expect to pay even more.

Cost of Keypad Access Control Systems

Keypad entry systems range from $500 to over $1,500 per door and they need hardware to be installed on the outside of the building. Most keypad entry systems install quickly, but ultimately, it will depend on the wiring of your building. While keypad systems can offer one of the lowest cost options, they are also one of the least secure options, mainly because:

  • People can easily share codes with others.
  • Frequently used numbers on the keypad will wear out, revealing the numbers used in the code.
  • Many keypads can be easily hacked (watch the video below).

Changing the code on a keypad is not too difficult, but someone must physically be on site to do this. Another hidden cost with keypads is that when you change the code, everyone accessing the building must commit the new code to memory which often results in lock-outs and support calls.

Cost of Intercom (Buzzer) Access Control Systems

cost of intercom access control system
Door buzzer systems have to be actively managed.

Buzzer, telephone or video intercom access control systems range widely in price. You will pay around $750 per door for a basic buzzer system and up to $10,000 per door for a system that has integrated high-quality video storage and access control for the residents.  Installation will take at least 4 hours per intercom depending on the complexity of the wiring in your building. The systems have to be actively managed and it can take 15 minutes for someone onsite to add or delete a new user. On top of that, the more sophisticated systems can have hefty monthly support fees.

Cost of Biometric Access Control System

biometric door access control system price
Biometric door access control system prices are quite high.

The highest cost option and highest security option is biometric access control but these systems are often the least convenient.  They can range from $2,500-10,000 per door because in addition to your electronic locking hardware, you need a biometric scanner, a network connection and computer hardware and software. Installation of biometric hardware should take about 1-2 hours per door, but the setup of of software and connecting the system to a network can take several hours. Like most of the other technologies, they also need some hardware to be installed on the outside of the building.

Biometric systems use things like fingerprints, handprints, hand geometry, iris scanning and face recognition to control access.  They eliminate the cost of purchasing and managing keycards, however that savings is usually offset by the cost of enrolling and administering users. It is often a cumbersome process that requires each user to register at each door and setup and training can take more than 15 minutes per user.  If you have 100 tenants, that’s 1,500 minutes!

Lastly with biometrics, they are also subject to false positives (letting someone in who should be) or false negatives (locking someone out who shouldn’t be) which is something not found in other technologies.

Cost of Key Card and Key Fob Entry Systems

Cost of sharing keycards
People frequently share key cards, creating security gaps.

Key card and key fob access solution generally costs $1,000-3,000 per door. when you include the readers, panels, wiring network configuration and training.  On top of that, there is an additional cost of $3 to $10 per card or $5 to $50 per fob. They take more time to install than a keypad, but less than a biometric system and still need some hardware to be installed on the outside of the building.  Adding and removing users requires a physical interaction with the user because you have to get their card or fob to them which means someone will need to be onsite (or you are mailing cards/fobs to user).  If there is a network onsite, remote management is possible for many systems but that may come with service fees anywhere from $10 per month to $100 per month per door and many systems require the software to be upgraded annually to ensure you have all the latest and greatest features.

Every time a key card or key fob is lost, the property manager will need to spend time removing the lost fob and manually adding a new one to the system. On average a property manager will spend 15 minutes per tenant every year administering the system. With a pay rate of $20/hour, to cost of managing a system with 500 tenants, employees or residents would cost an additional $2,500 per year.

Cost of Smartphone Access Control System

Bluetooth Access Control System VIZpin
Scan your phone and you’re in!

Smartphone access control systems typically start around $500 per door, but the costs of smartphone access control systems can vary significantly, depending on brand and the type of access.  The options are either a smartphone reader that’s connected to an electronic door lock or a commercial smart lock that’s battery-powered.

Smartphone-based access systems offer an affordable option that eliminates the cost and management of keycards, key fobs and costly hardware.  If your smartphone reader users NFC, they have to be mounted on the outside.  If they use WiFi, ZigBee or Z Wave, you will need a property-wide network to support it.  If it uses only Bluetooth, it can be mounted on the inside and doesn’t need a property-wide network which can be a significant cost savings.

Many owners and managers are upgrading to a smartphone-based systems as they offer more security and convenience than keys, keypads, cards and fobs while significantly reducing the direct costs and administrative cots of managing and maintaining the system.  People have many reasons for changing, some obvious and some you may find surprising – you can read more here.

The VIZpin Bluetooth access door controller with built-in Bluetooth reader costs $299 per door. Installation is fast and straightforward and does not require a property-wide network or anything to be mounted on the outside of the building.

Every VIZpin Smart Lock and door controller includes our free Lite access management service which comes with 5 smartphone credentials also known as Smartkeys.  We also offer an annual paid Plus service which comes with 500 smartkeys.  For a low annual fee, you receive unlimited upgrades and electronics warranty for as long as you have the Plus service.

Compare Access Control Options

Searching for the ideal access control system for your company requires a mindful evaluation of all your options. You want to be sure you’re providing controlled access for your guests, employees, vendors, and business assets with the proper level of security. Once you review what’s best for your business, you can switch to a system that is both cost-effective and functional.

How to Compare Access Control Systems

There are various ways to classify and compare types of access control systems. When we work with customers, we discuss these 7 topics when comparing access control systems:

1. Local vs. Cloud

What’s a locally-hosted access control system? It requires a server, or the “brains” of the system, to be onsite. To run a local server, a dedicated computer that runs the software, as well as an administrator, must be onsite. Not only can this become complicated if you’re managing multiple buildings and have a limited workforce, but it can be very costly to maintain. Also, should you lose internet connectivity or experience an outage, it’s always crucial to have an alternate access method.

What’s a cloud-based access control system? That means the security permissions are not stored locally (on-site). Instead, the cloud (ex. a remote server) from the service provider hosts the permissions. With an internet or mobile connection and a web browser, your administrator can manage permissions anywhere, at any time. This system makes it easy to collaborate, manage multiple buildings, or complex security requirements. It also eliminates the maintenance and training costs of operating a local server.

2. Network Requirements

Internet Required: Many traditional access control systems use the same network as your critical business systems. A conventional system is wired into a central panel and needs a local network to operate. A traditional system requires expensive wiring, routers, an ISP, and, in many cases, you need an IT consultant to oversee installation.

No Internet Required: Using an access control system that doesn’t require a network also eliminates the risk of someone hacking into your company’s corporate network. Plus, managing an access control system without a local network connection affords benefits like a more effortless and cheaper installation.

3. Security

Matters of security are becoming more and more significant. A modern access control system should be flexible, and allow you to both customize and configure it for safety. The access control reader should be mountable in a secure area, far from weather and out of sight of burglars. Your access control system should use two-factor authentication (TFA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) to meet logical security requirements, as well as end-to-end data encryption (E2EE) during transmission of data.

4. Easy to Manage and Use

The access control system you choose should be easy to use, configure, and manage. With a more modern system, you decrease administrative tasks as you no longer need to organize physical badges, key cards, or fobs. Your administrator doesn’t require expensive training and can start managing the intuitive system right away. If you need instant access after regular business hours, an administrator can navigate cloud-based access control software from anywhere.

5. Scalable

What happens if you want to secure another area in your office, or you decide to expand your company? With many traditional systems, it doesn’t grow with your business. Often, you’ll need to retrofit wiring from the new location to the central panel. Depending on the number of readers your system supports, you may have to purchase an additional module to support your growing business needs. A more modern system makes expansion easy and cost-effective.

6. Future-Proof

When comparing access control systems, it’s important to think also about the future. Traditional systems are often maintained by dedicated IT resources, making costs rise. Updating hardware can require you to purchase all new equipment. Then, if you don’t pay for those updates, you compromise your company’s security. With a cloud-based access control system, future enhancements and new features are automatically available to you without needing to replace readers or pay for software licenses and additional features.

7. Cost

Traditional Systems: One factor that is top-of-mind is (obviously) cost. Traditional access control systems tend to require expensive wiring, as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs. Updates to the hardware, firmware, and software can add up when it comes to a traditional system. For example, see how much key card access systems cost or what the average cost per door is for access control systems.

Cloud-Based Access Control: While you may need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for a cloud-based software solution, it significantly lowers your up-front cost. Often, the subscription will include new features, future enhancements, and automatically-available firmware updates.

Conclusion

Whether your business is taking the first steps in comparing access control systems or you need help updating your current one, VIZpin can help you provide secure access control to your facility. Contact VIZpin today to learn more about cost-effective access controls system options.

Keeping Buildings Secure in the Wake of COVID-19

Business closures intended to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus bring with them the need for additional security measures. Having a smartphone cloud-based access system can help with two critical security concerns: getting people in when they need to and keeping people out when they shouldn’t be there.

Getting In
If your business is shuttering its doors for the next two weeks or even indefinitely, circumstances can arise in which you need to provide access to someone who simply has to get in, and who has to do so in a timely manner.

With a smartphone access system like VIZpin, if someone must get into your locked business, you can send them a virtual Smartkey quickly. You simply ask the visitor to download the app to their smartphone and request access. Then you grant them access –from anywhere you are at any time – and they can use their smartphone as their key. You even have options such as limiting their access down to a very short window (think minutes) and know exactly when they enter, and can revoke their access anytime from anywhere. Best part – no physical meeting or exchange of materials needed.

Keeping Out
If you do not have an access control system, when your non-essential business must close its doors, it’s impossible to ensure that employees who have keys won’t enter when they shouldn’t without physically collecting every key that’s in circulation.

If your business or facility has a keypad-based access system, you don’t have keys to gather, however, you do need to individually deactivate every code. If you have many active codes, you likely don’t know them all, so you need to access a list – and perhaps quickly. In addition, you must take the time to deactivate each code at the physical keypad.

With cloud-based smartphone systems, should your business need to close quickly, you can simply revoke access from all users from anywhere at any time. Then, when you get the greenlight to reopen your doors, you can easily and quickly grant access again, too.