6 May 2015

Online and Offline Locks: Making the Most of Both Options

Today’s access control customers expect more of their system than a one-size-fits-all solution that is cumbersome to operate and expensive to expand. Integrators are responding with more customized solutions that incorporate a blend of online and offline locks to better suit each customer’s needs.

In any access control system, the hardware itself usually represents the biggest percentage of the overall cost. It’s no wonder that end users today are seeking flexible lock options that allow them to start smaller and grow the system over time, rather than investing heavily at the initial installation.

Let’s take a closer look at the various lock options, and some of their benefits.

Online Locks

Online locks are networked with the rest of a facility’s access control system, so decision-making is done on the central hub, rather than at the door. These devices provide greater capabilities than offline locks, including remote management, automatic alerts and different user access levels. Online locks can be either wired or wireless, depending on the end user’s needs.

Wireless Locks

These devices use wireless protocol to communicate with a system’s central hub. Wireless locks provide an added level of flexibility, as they can be quickly and easily added to an access control solution without the significant financial and time investment involved with running wire.

Offline Locks

These are battery-operated, stand-alone units, so they don’t require wiring to the system’s CPU. Since offline locks aren’t network-enabled, they represent a much more affordable solution for many end users, and they can easily be added to an existing access control system.

By employing a combination of online and offline locks, integrators and end users enjoy several benefits:

A right-sized solution. By making use of multiple types of locks, the integrator can design a solution that is perfectly sized for each end user, based on the size of their facility, their access control challenges and the project budget. This means the end user won’t pay for additional locks and features that they don’t need.

Easy scalability. Each system can be easily expanded as needed with wireless or offline locks. This helps save the end user money, while also enabling the integrator to grow their customer’s system over time. The more doors a system includes, the more revenue it creates for the integrator.

Improved flexibility. Using a mix of online and offline locks and wireless devices gives the integrator flexibility to design the system in a way that best suits the facility and the end user’s budget. If additional doors need to be added over time, it can be as simple as installing a new offline or wireless lock.

Greater cost-effectiveness. Since locks can be added on an as-needed basis, end users can spread the cost of an entire system out over several years. And with wireless locks, the cost of wiring for the overall system is significantly reduced.