What are some of the key features of a capable SME access control and alarm solution from the installer point of view, in SEN’s opinion?

We’d be looking for a modular topology with 4-8 doors of access control, expandable to 32 in the box, more on the LAN; 8-16 zones of alarms expandable, 8 areas expandable, a large event log, automation including lighting, lift control, air conditioning, and potential for CCTV integration, probably but not necessarily, cloud-based.

Other nice features include a mobile app, support for multiple touch screen or tactile keypads, a browser interface with multi-factor authentication for maintenance, management and reporting, support for multiple comms types, including Z-wave and C-bus, PoE and RS-485 comms, cloud services, technical training and a thoughtful cyber security programme. Think about monitoring comms and look at monitoring partnerships, too.

SME vary in size and complexity, so you want access control setup and management to be capable, yet simple, offering time zones, holidays, ease of installation, ease of use, easy upload of cardholder details. Importantly, SME access control solutions are very mature, so choosing something with a history will guarantee the inclusion of operational evolution over decades.

Something else we’d be thinking about as an integrator, is selecting a solution that has well developed technology partnerships with key players in areas like biometrics/face recognition, CCTV management, locks, gates, AI functionalities and more. If the product is not locally made, be sure you select a distributor which has been around a long time and will be around for a long time to come.