What are the best reader technologies for SMEs in the current environment and what should installers and integrators have front of mind when making safe, secure and future-proof decisions for their customers?

The usual considerations apply – future expansion, budget, security levels and legacy infrastructure, but COVID safety and the intrusion of new technologies, including face authentication and smart devices as credentials are now serious considerations.

According to Andrew Zafra of Hills if he was installing an SME access control solution a key consideration of reader technology would relate to communications to ensure flexibility in the future.

“There are a vast number of different reader technologies available,” Zafra says. “What I believe a reader technology should have is OSDP functionality, it should be Bluetooth-ready and must feature multi-technology. This allows the option of the spectrum of different credentials in the market, allowing transition and adoption of new technology future proofed.

SALTO’s Scott Fraser agrees.

“For a truly future-proof and secure solution, businesses need to consider platforms that support the latest encryption technologies in a single reader to meet whatever requirements they have now, as well as in the future,” Fraser says.

“They should be able to, for example, upgrade to mobile key credentials without having to swap out every reader. That is why SALTO builds into every reader Mifare, Desfire, NFC and Bluetooth communication protocols.”

Gallagher’s Karl Harris also says if he was installing an SME access control solution today, flexibility would be a key element, with a sharp eye on reader communications’ security levels.

“I would be installing a reader technology that offered choice of credentials like our multi-tech readers that can do 125KHz through to DESFire EV2 and Mobile Connect BLE credentials, giving SMEs the flexibility to grow their sites with secure credential technology,” Harris says.

“A great example of this is a Gallagher solution to a high school in South Australia where the students were provided with a DESFire cards that doubled as their bus pass, thereby giving a lot more value to a credential.

“I would strongly recommend not providing 125KHz or MIFARE Classic technology to clients. These credentials are compromised and able to be copied from devices purchased from eBay or an Android phone.”

Meanwhile, Steve Mitchell of Inner Range says frictionless access control is the current hot topic.

“Being able to utilise technologies such as facial recognition or mobile credentials looks to become very popular as it has the potential to reduce the transmission of viruses,” he says.

“For this to be effective it would be essential to also have automatic door openers. AI could play a big part in future access control systems. It could be used to intelligently detect behaviours such as patterns of access which could be used to allow or deny access, rather than the traditional time-zones which are used today.”