Specifying a "non-proprietary" access control system

April 20, 2012 Steve Bocking

Non-Proprietary:  This is a term that can apply to a few different aspects of an access control system. The first and most important, in my opinion, is that the system is available from several different sources (integrators) for procurement and servicing.  There are still several products on the market that are the integrator's "house brand", meaning it is only available from that one integrator for procurement and servicing. I am not knocking the quality of these proprietary systems in any way; I just believe it is not ideal for an end-user to be locked into one supplier - especially when there are several enterprise class access control manufacturers who make their product available through a roster of integrators for procurement and servicing.  

The second application of the non-proprietary term applies to the selection of software and door controllers. The classic model for a manufacturer was to have their door controllers work exclusively with their software and vice versa. This is slowly changing with a few software manufacturers opening up to several door controller manufacturers and vice versa. This means not only will an end-user be able to procure his access control system from several integrators, he will also have the flexibility to potentially switch to a different software or door controller (for new doors), without having to do a "rip and replace". 

Lastly, the system should have the ability to integrate with other third party software and devices, such as intrusion, asset tracking, human resources software, etc..

Here is a caption I think sums it up nicely come time for a specification:

The Access Control Software (ACS) shall be nonproprietary, based on an open architecture and able to support multiple access control hardware manufacturers. The ACS shall be able to integrate with multiple non-proprietary interface modules and controllers, access readers, and other third party applications.

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