Touch controls, hybrid models, TCP/IP and system linking are advancing the access control line.
Data verification is at the core of product upgrade efforts among China makers of access control and time attendance recorders. RFID continues to be the mainstream technology of choice, but biometrics systems are increasingly adopted, particularly in the T/A recorder segment.
|Anviz’s OA1000 URU model stores up to 3,000 or 5,000 fingerprints and 50,000 records.|
RFID is expected to dominate the entire access control line because of its capability to read cards and transponders regardless of distance or position. Selections include ID and IC cards carrying EM, Mifare and other compatible solutions and running on 125kHz or 13.56MHz frequency. Suppliers also offer products that work with both card types.
For tighter security and wider interoperability, some manufacturers are introducing CPU cards that conform to ISO 14443-A/B standards. These are used in car park management and POS systems, in addition to access control and T/A recording.
In the biometrics arena, fingerprint recognition is the leading technology, especially in the T/A recorder sector. Ninety percent of releases in this category adopt the platform. Even with the emergence of other biometric types, suppliers expect systems based on this setup to remain popular in the next three to five years.
Several makers are undertaking R&D on hybrid devices that adopt RFID and biometrics verification methods. Most China companies accept requests for customized devices that combine nonbiometric and biometric modules. They use industrial designs that allow for any component to be added or removed easily and reworked within at least 14 days.
The T9 model from ZKS Technology Inc. supports fingerprint recognition and RFID verification. It has a 3.5in color TFT LCD with 320x240-pixel resolution and a 1.3MP camera.
All these support TCP/IP for online communication and USB interface for offline management. Makers are starting to offer Wi-Fi or GPRS modules to enable wireless online mode.
To enhance user convenience, manufacturers are creating designs that offer more control options and component flexibility. System interoperability is likewise emphasized for boosted security.
Suppliers are incorporating large LCD screens, touch controls and built-in cameras for a better interface. They are also making aesthetically pleasing cosmetics.
User experience is further enhanced through flexible software platforms and improved hardware architecture. An increasing number of companies are using Linux or Windows CE programs. These allow customers to add new functions and manipulate the system easily.
Arm 9 processors are also preferred for new models instead of the Arm 7 variants that were the staple of older access control products. The first heightens the speed of the device, allowing it to handle about 3,000 to 5,000 fingerprints per second. This is supposed to be 20 percent faster than the Arm 7.
China produced $922 million worth of access control devices in 2010, accounting for 35 to 40 percent of global shipments and increasing 15 to 20 percent YoY.
|Guangzhou Comet’s E90 model supports EM, Mifare, HID, Wi-Fi and GPRS.|
TCP/IP networking and security system linking is another key R&D direction in this line. The latest releases are hybrid platforms that use the TCP/IP network to connect the access control host and PC management unit while retaining the EIA-485 bus between the host and reader.
This architecture offers greater bandwidth and scalability and can be wired easily from the TCP/IP network, yet remains compatible with existing peripherals such as readers and electronic locks.
Some manufacturers equip their access control devices with both TCP/IP and EIA-485 bus for parallel reliability and maximum flexibility. Others provide protocol converters for easy upgrading.
The pure TCP/IP system anchored on the browser-server architecture is regarded as an emerging solution. This is because traditional models are largely based on the client-server setup. The majority of China suppliers, however, prefer to wait on the side before pursuing the first. They think further evaluation is needed to determine technology maturity and level of market acceptance.
For a more holistic approach to security, some access control installations are being connected to surveillance, fire alarm and intrusion detection systems. Major players such as Shenzhen Coson have introduced similar products. Information exchange and software improvement are the key R&D activities in this sector.
|The S768 model from Well (Yantai) Data has 60MB IDE memory and an 8in color TFT LCD.|
To strengthen their foothold on the industry further, makers of fingerprint verification devices are improving efficiency and accuracy rates through enhanced solutions.
A few companies, including ZK Software and Miaxis, are developing proprietary algorithms in-house. The rest source from third-party vendors, especially internationally recognized providers.
China manufacturers are also adopting modular designs to allow buyers to select various components as required. Over the years, the proportion of locally made modules versus imported ones has increased according to interviewed suppliers because of greater market acceptance and improved price-to-performance ratio.
Foreign-made algorithms, however, continue to be popular among overseas buyers, particularly in developed countries, for their brand recall.
Next to fingerprint verification systems, face recognition devices are gaining ground. Manufacturers of these equipment are boosting accuracy and efficiency. ZKS has released the F11 model, a T/A recorder that resolves facial image capture problems caused by eyeglasses, caps and moustaches. The company plans to launch sub-$200 versions to stimulate sales further.
Guangzhou Comet Technology Development Co. Ltd and Well Yantai have rolled out face recognition devices. The first continues to improve the algorithm of its products to achieve a better recognition rate. The latter is enhancing the verification speed.
Some suppliers are likewise exploring iris and vein recognition technologies to give users more options. Anviz has been working on models based on the former for the past three years, with new products set for launch in the US this year. According to Clark Ruan, overseas department manager at Anviz, the company’s iris verification solutions are comparable to those of South Korea, Japan and US suppliers. “We’re considering vein recognition as the next step,” he said.
Most China makers, however, are not keen on developing iris and vein recognition access control devices in the short term. The high technology threshold and production outlay vis-a-vis low demand are the main reasons cited for the lack of enthusiasm in these types.
A typical access control system from any of China’s 700 suppliers consists of a terminal, an access control host, electronic locks, software clients and accessories. The terminal can be a keypad, or an RFID or fingerprint reader.
The host supports one to eight gates, multiple terminals, and EIA-485 or TCP/IP network. The split-type models require professional installation. For small and midsize operations, there are all-in-one systems that integrate major modules into the terminal.
T/A recorders also adopt the all-in-one design. Mainstream versions provide RFID or fi ngerprint verifi cation and have 2MB internal memory. These can accommodate 1,000 users, 100,000 log records and automatic attendance analysis. The user and log record capacity are customizable depending on the built-in memory.
RFID-based variants support EM and Mifare cards with a reading distance of between 2 and 10cm. Fingerprint varieties offer 1:1 or 1:N verification mode, shorter than 1s identification time, under 1 percent FRR and less than 0.0001 percent FAR. It also accepts up to 1,500 fingerprints.
Prices start at $20 and can exceed $300. Entry-level all-in-one models are available for $20 and provide RFID card and password verification, offline mode and single-gate control.
Midrange variants with RFID and fingerprint technology, EIA-485 or TCP/IP network compatibility, single or dual-gate control and T/A recording are from $50 to $200.
Upscale products, quoted above $300, boast multiple verification modes. These also support TCP/IP networking, multiple-gate control, T/A functions and optional system linking.
Model: OA1000 Iris
Model: OA1000 Mercury
Note: This article "RFID strong, biometrics gaining ground in access control and T/A recorder lines" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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