Security is naturally a key factor in venue management, especially for gaming floors with their inherent issue of being a cash-heavy environment. There are various contemporary access solutions to help ensure entry into sensitive areas is restricted to those who have the right to be there, but have you considered going wireless?
The days of a venue manager being the only person ‘with the keys’, wandering around a hotel or club with a weighty bunch of jangling metal hanging from their belt, may well and truly be in the past. There are now more convenient and safer ways to access secure buildings but misconceptions are still present.
In a modern and well-organised venue, a foolproof access control system is necessary not just for staff but also for all venue stakeholders. They need to be able to enter certain places at certain times and, conversely, the premises need to be safe and secure at all times.
Perhaps you’ve heard about wireless access control but still have your doubts? Let’s look at some of the myths surrounding this technology.
Myth #1: Wireless systems and locks cost more to run
Because wireless locks are battery-powered and only ‘wake up’ when a credential (badge, keycard, etc.) is presented, they consume only a fraction of the power used by ‘always-on’ wired magnetic locks. However, there are still reservations regarding battery life when considering a move to wireless products – in particular, a fear that battery-powered wireless locks go flat.
Many believe lithium ion batteries that power wireless locks drain quickly. Allay those fears, as battery-powered locks by leading manufacturers can have a battery life that exceeds two years. Bear in mind, however, that Australian standards require systems to be maintained annually and, therefore, moving to a battery-powered wireless system should not require more cost, as checks and replacements are part of the annual service carried out if management adheres to standards for servicing.
Then there’s inflation to factor in. Keep in mind that estimated running costs of traditional magnetic access systems may rise alongside the rise of electricity costs that can be dependent on fuel prices. The cost differential between wired and wireless locks are expected to increase over time so sticking with an older system of wired locks may result in more of the operational budget devoted to maintaining access control systems.
There’s also the question of sustainability. A lot of businesses are big on sustainability and inevitably they question how ‘green’ it is to employ a battery-based system.
First, there is a significant cost-saving in moving away from a reliance on electrical power. Second, modern recovery processes in battery recycling also ensure that over 95 percent of lithium ion batteries can be recycled, and the end result is a much-reduced carbon footprint.
Don’t fall prey to ‘fear of the expense’. Factoring in major savings on energy costs and maintenance bills, even a fairly small venue could save thousands of dollars by making the switch to a wireless system.
Myth #2: Wireless systems can’t integrate with existing wired systems
Many people believe that fitting a wireless system will be disruptive to an existing traditional mains-powered wired system. The truth is, wireless access control systems have the ability to be integrated with a wired system and also incorporate CCTV (closed-circuit television) or energy management functions.
Integrating with existing wired systems may help mitigate risks in terms of access failure, as error messages and notifications show up in real-time on the hard-wired access control systems user interface.
Myth #3: Wireless locks can’t support multiple keys
If you thought wireless locks don’t support multiple credentials, that’s another misconception. There’s a multitude of products offering multi-authentication via PIN, smart card or smartphone. Look for a range of wireless locks that will support a majority of credentials. This will mean existing access control credentials can be used with new wireless locks.
Gaming venues can certainly benefit from wireless lock technology. Management of keys (key records and ordering replacements, etc.) can be time-consuming, in an administrative sense, for venue managers. Transitioning from traditional key control to an electronic access control could streamline key management and, additionally, provide a high level of security with the ability to remotely monitor and manage access passes.
The Final Word
With hardwired access control still common, the market has been slow to adopt wireless lock technology. There hasn’t been much of a push by the industry to introduce this shift in security, with building owners and venue managers left to educate themselves.
However, as demonstrated in busting these three myths, there can be multiple benefits to moving to a wireless system. Security upgrades usually fall to the wayside when it comes to expenditure for building upgrades, and are usually reactive in nature with upgrades only commissioned after a security breach.
Why risk it?