Selecting an industrial access control solution

April 2003 Access Control & Identity Management

Access control is a mandatory issue in operating a business today - people, property and equipment have to be protected. Global access control technology has evolved to provide a spectrum of solutions to meet the specific needs of companies of all sizes.

Most small to medium operations set up their access control as standalone systems, while the larger industrial concerns might go the more complex route of integrating process control with access and fire detection systems.

Integration is a costly exercise and is usually only initiated by very large operations where the benefits of integrating multiple systems justify the cost. The major benefit of integration is that there is one operator interface for the control of all plant activities and these activities can be monitored and analysed on one console. The system can also be programmed to allow the transfer of data between systems, eliminating duplication and saving time.

Honeywell's Advanced Business Solutions manager, Frank Fowles, says access control systems must integrate as comfortably as possible with the company's management information systems. "Most companies have some kind of ERP system already in place to cover resource planning. All ERP systems have a human resource (HR) component and ideally the access control system should integrate with the HR portion of the existing ERP solution. This eliminates the need for two separate data systems - one for HR and one for access control - which can create problems such as old data on one database, or overlapping redundant information."

In addition to integration another important consideration when selecting an access control solution in industry, especially for companies operating with high risk activities, is the system's mustering and reporting capabilities. This can be critical in the event of a crisis to identify staff that are in the area and to then check that all are present. "In southern Africa, Honeywell works in close partnership with installation companies and system integrators providing them with the equipment and technology they require to implement control solutions for heating, ventilation, humidification, airconditioning, security and fire detection and building management systems and services," concludes Fowles.

For more information contact Frank Fowles, Honeywell SA, 011 695 8000.

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