Q & A with Shannon Davis on Cloud-Based Keyless Entry from Openpath

In our last blog, we covered the risks of not having an access control system. In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits of not only having access control but having the new cloud-based access control from Openpath, brought to you by Midwest Alarm Services. 

Our Q & A with Shannon Davis will take you through a deeper dive into keyless entry from a user’s perspective. Shannon, boasting nearly 30 years in the security industry, is our Technical Support Specialist in Kansas City. 

Open path

Q: What sets Openpath apart from other access control providers? 
A: The readers are touchless which is even more important in this day and age. Your reader can stay in your pocket or purse. You can swipe your hand or use your smartphone or smartwatch as a keyfob and save the expense of cards or keyfobs. You can adjust the range usually up to a couple of feet, which is handy if your hands are full! 

Q: My facility requires physical badges; can key cards and key fobs still be used? 
A: Yes! If an employee forgets their badge, smartphones are a great backup since those are rarely forgotten! 

Q: What does it mean to have a cloud-based access control service? 
A: You don’t have to worry about having a server on-site, so it’s one less thing to buy and maintain. This is all done remotely and software updates happen automatically. 
You are almost never without a connection to your reader, which operates using Bluetooth, wifi, and cellular. 

Q: Can I lock all of my doors at once? 
A:
Yes. The feature is called Lockdown, allowing you to hit a button to lock all of your doors at once. This has been prevalent in schools but a lot of businesses use it too. 
You can also manage the presets if you want to section out the doors and create different events. So, say there is a situation on the east side of campus and you’re on the west side; you can customize it to lock down the east side doors only. 
It’s one of those great features that is there if needed but we hope never has to be employed. 

Q: Can I let visitors in remotely?
A:
Yes. It’s called Guest Pass and is very useful when you don’t want to give out a badge or if someone doesn’t have their phone or badge on them. 

Q: What about my smart locks? 
A: Openpath has partnered with Schlage locks to integrate with their technology using Bluetooth. This brings your cost down significantly (probably by half) of a traditional door that you want to wire for access control. Hardwiring is always better and more reliable, but this is an option if it’s just not in your budget. Or, sometimes there are obstacles such as marble walls, which you’d rather not cut through or damage. 

Q: How user-friendly are the reporting features?
A:
Reporting is done in real-time via any web browser. You can see which events are happening now, track occupancy, and more. So, in the event of an emergency, you’ll know exactly how many people are in any given area of your campus. 

Q: What other integrations are there? 
A:
The Openpath software uses webhooks, so a lot of integrations can be set up fairly simply and inexpensively. Normally, it takes someone writing code behind the scenes but webhooks have changed all of that. You can create a predefined event and tie it into another third-party system, too. Slack (one of the first ) and Google are examples. You can limit occupancy in your fitness center or cafeteria, for example. 

Q: What do you know about the hardware side of things?
A:
The back-end hardware and control boards are affordably made in the U.S.

Q: What about Managed Access Control (MAC)?
A:
It’s still possible but probably less likely you’ll need it based on how easy cloud-based access control is! Midwest Alarm will maintain access and can set up alerts in case the controller goes offline. So far, our customers love managing Openpath themselves. 

Q: I have a lot of employees; how easy is it to sync them? 
A:
New and existing employees can all be synced using Active Directory (new hires will be added automatically). A good alternative to Microsoft’s Active Directory is Okta. 

Q: Does it integrate with our Midwest Alarm video cameras
A: Using the Milestone app, yes. A new access control reader is coming out that has the camera built into it. So, if someone shows up who wouldn’t normally have door access (or who forgot their badge), you’re able to visually verify them and let them in. Alternatively, if anyone leaves a secure door propped open, you can easily identify the guilty party. 

Q: What else does Openpath offer?
A: 
They offer wellness checks via a third party. It’s fairly expensive but could be useful for the right business. 

Shannon is clearly a fan of Openpath keyless entry! But that is only because his customers like it so much. Property managers especially love it because they are likely to have multiple properties in various locations so it makes their lives easier. 

The convenience of this new technology has been a game-changer and Midwest Alarm is happy to bring it to you. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation!