“Edge devices, honestly, are not that new,” says David Barnard, director of dealer development, RS2, Munster, Ind. “But they have really started to gain acceptance and traction as the IT industry has matured rapidly over the last several years, making edge devices much more viable.”
The reason for that is that IP edge devices rely heavily on the existing power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities inherent in a company’s LAN or WAN. When this capability is there, the simplicity of plugging into the existing network – instead of running multiple wires and cables back to a central location – makes access control edge devices very attractive to dealers and their customers.
IP ACCESS AT THE DOOR
IP devices are network-based, first and foremost, says Dave Adams, senior product manager, identity and access management, HID Global, Irvine, Calif. “What I mean by that is it is a network appliance that happens to control a door. It reads cards, opens the door and monitors the door. There are a lot of IP controllers that are really serial devices first and have been adapted to the network. True IP access is something that is designed to first be on the network.”
Rick Focke, product manager, Software House (a Tyco Int’l Company), Lexington, Mass., agrees with both statements. “IP access means the panel doing the controlling has native IP Ethernet connection. IP edge access control, by my definition, is mounted at the door doing the controlling at that door.”
Mounting is accomplished in one of two ways: either a controller/reader combination installed outside a door, or a separate controller that controls one or two doors, but is placed on the “secure” side of the door.
“There are two distinct use cases,” Focke says. “One is they want to have a secure device on the outside of the building, so they split the read head and controller device. The second is not as critical and they can put all the functionality into one IP reader that gets mounted on the outside of the door.”
Either method results in the same end result, he adds: “Now you are monitoring and controlling the door strike, opener, request-to-exit all right there at the door. That is what I mean by true edge devices: doing it at the door.”
DOING MORE AT THE DOOR
For example, HID’s next generation of its Edge product, EdgeEvo (scheduled for launch in 2010), is designed to be modular in design, giving dealers and end users more options but only what they need. EdgeEvo uses Hi-O bus technology to provide this modular architecture, Adams explains.
“The end user is only going to have to pay for what they have to do today,” Adams says. “They may only want basic brass-key-replacement access control, and this can be a very simple edge reader with the means to control the door strike only. If they want to add more sophistication later, they can add it right onto the device.”
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE FUTURE
“I would say that about 10 percent is fairly accurate, but that is probably up from three percent two years ago,” Barnard says. “It’s definitely gaining steam. I would envision that we might see even as much as five percent growth in the next year or two.”
Are IP Edge Devices Changing Traditional Access Architecture?
Already some manufacturers are looking at things differently than in the past.