Todays Telephone Entry Systems – By Jeff Harris
By Jeff Harris
In todays world of rapid technological changes, customers have grown to expect a great deal of functionality from their electronic devicesespecially those dealing with access control or security of any kind. With PCs, cell phones and PDAs commonplace, consumers are accustomed to interacting with and programming all types of devices.
Telephone Entry Systems (T.E.S.) are also changing and adapting to technology by adding functionality, versatility and user friendly programming. Some commercial T.E.S. can act as the control center for a full-fledged access system. This can include card readers, digital keypads, radio controls, vehicle identification and much more. Residential phone/intercom systems employ much of the sophistication of commercial phones at an affordable cost to end users.
Commercial T.E.S. are found everywhere including apartment buildings, gated communities and offices. With security being such a predominant concern, perimeter access control is the first line of defense. These systems should not be sold as security systems unless theyre able to interact with alarm and fire panels. Most often, theyre used to gain or restrict access to gates, doors or elevators. The majority of systems can interact with any device that can output a signal using Weigand technology.
By linking T.E.S. together or by using add-on boards, many systems can control several access points. In a gated community or apartment complex, the automatic gate, pedestrian gate, pool gate, exercise room, elevators and more can all be controlled through software programs. As people move in and out of units, the managers can add and delete information with a few simple keystrokes.
Access points can be monitored by downloading information from the T.E.S. to the software program. This enables the user to see times, dates, names or access codes for every entry. Depending on the customer, the jobsite and the amount of coverage needed, a system can be configured to meet all their needs. Some installation companies keep the databases for their jobsites on a PC at their shop and have the ability to make changes for the customer, typically for a fee. As technology advances, the manufacturers of T.E.S. continue to add features without adding cost. In many cases, the cost for T.E.S. has decreased significantly.
Residential phone systems allow visitors and vendorssuch as delivery personnel or landscapersto access gated homes by calling the residents from outside the automatic gate or by inputting an access code provided by the owner. Most residential phone systems use the homeowners existing phone line. The system is wired in a series to become, essentially, another phone in the home.
A unique feature in residential phones is the double ring. This allows the homeowner to differentiate between a regular phone call and the access system. When the owner receives a call from the system, they can pick up any phone in their home and speak to the person at the gate. They can then grant access by touching a preprogrammed number on their phone or deny access by simply hanging up.
Most systems offer remote programming, which allows users to call their systems from any phone, including a cell phone, to make changes in programming, such as opening or closing the gate, adding access codes or other features. Many systems provide call-forwarding to allow the owner to receive calls wherever they are. Software programs are available for most residential systems, but are not as complex or feature-rich as commercial systems.
As demand grows, manufacturers are adding more options and accessories to all systems. Many now offer several finishes including stainless steel, brass and even gold. Units can be surface- or flush-mounted, and come with varied screen sizes and types. Light kits, heaters or fans are only a few of the wide range of available options.
Manufacturers can be your best bet for information when considering adding T.E.S. to your product line. Product information sheets are available for all systems, and the specialists at distribution companies can help you configure an access-control system that will fit your needs. Many distributors and manufacturers also offer free training classes on configuring, selling, installing and servicing their equipment.
The Internet is another valuable tool for information. All manufactures now have websites with product information, and some even offer installation manuals available online.
This article reprinted from Professional Door Dealer