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Access Control

How Can Access Control Systems Help Me?

Access control systems have now spread into many diverse applications; entry can now be restricted to not just properties and buildings but to areas, specific rooms or cabinets and lockers. Although it is a mature market it is still projected to grow from $8.6 billion in 2020 to $12.8 billion by 2025.

Some of the reasons for the accelerating growth come from the ongoing technological advancements in areas such as wireless systems and cloud-based computing platforms on IOT-based security systems.

Whilst biometric readers are gaining momentum, card-based readers are expected to rise rapidly as they are proven to be more reliable than either electronic standalone locks or biometrics, and can be used to monitor and record employee data

On the back of this growth, Universal Smart Cards has invested in supporting manufacturers, OEM’s, and integrators with high stocks of popular proximity and smart cards for popular brands such as Mifare Classic, Mifare DESFire, T5577, HID Prox / HID iCLASS / HID Crescendo and Paxton. 

Universal Smart Cards also supports our partners with additional services such as key configuration between cards and readers, printing services, and personalisation of keyfobs and wearables directly from our technical centre in Portsmouth.


Are you confused by the proliferation of access control cards on the market and need help?

It is not surprising to hear this and Universal Smart Cards are constantly engaging with both access control providers and users with evolving technologies. Currently, the market has two common frequencies:

Low frequency (125khz) known as ‘Proximity’ or ‘Prox Cards’. Due to their low frequency, low power consumption and low data exchange the cards are less affected by other radio signals and materials such as water or metal which makes them a reliable choice in rugged environments.

Prox cards therefore have an excellent reading range of up 10cm and there is plenty of choice between access control systems, installers, readers, and cards making pricing competitive. This is sadly negated by their low data exchange capability (i.e they can only read a single card number) that limits their frequency for single use. Their security has also been compromised in recent years. 

Please visit our shop for some of the common proximity formats in stock like TDSIHIDPaxton and Salto.

High Frequency (13.56Mhz)  commonly known as 'Contactless Smart Cards'. These types of cards are becoming more popular due to their more open standards and inter-operability (ISO/IEC 14443A/B or ISO/IEC 15693); they offer a medium read range distance up to 7-10cms and greater security using higher level encryption keys.

Higher data communication speeds are possible allowing full reading and writing capability that supports multiple applications. Please visit our shop for some of the common high frequency formats like Mifare, HID Iclass, CiPurse and Legic.

In addition to our large inventory of card stock, Universal Smart Cards is supporting clients with card design and printing, card initialisation, full card personalisation and key management. All these services are directly supported in-house from our technical centre in Portsmouth. Our full range of Services can be found here.

If you need help specifying a particular card, please get in touch and our sales team can help you.

Do you need help defining the key structure between card and reader?

There are many differing levels of encoding used for access control solutions. Whilst some solutions can use a chip in its factory state, many require extra information to be added to the chip for higher levels of security and functionality.

By helping to map the architecture between the card and reader layout, this helps with flexibility and future ownership. Please see our SMARTControl solution as one of the many areas where we can support.


Are you looking for an access control system?

Access Control Systems can range from simple one-door controller to large fully integrated pc-based corporate systems. Some manufacturers install and support directly whilst others have

partnerships with key installers. You will find that certain vertical markets lend themselves to certain suppliers.

Whilst Universal Smart Cards does not install end to end systems, please give us a call, tell us what you are looking for and we can recommend trusted partners with a proven track record.


Access Control Readers

Access Control Readers, either Proximity or High Frequency, identify an employee or a visitor by reading the data on the card that is checked and authenticated by the access control system. Both card and biometric access control readers can be fitted inside or outdoors.

Please check our on-line shop here including weather-proof readers, vandal-resistant units, and readers with contemporary aesthetics in mind to seamlessly integrate with the most modern architecture.

Making sure that your access control readers work with your smart cards is a vital part of the implementation of an application. We have relationships with most of the leading reader manufacturers and can support our installers with full key configuration between your card and reader. Please see our SMARTControl solution that expands on reader configuration and helping with an architecture to future proof how multiple applications can reside on the same smart card.

As an HID Platinum partner, we can offer the full range of HID access control readers at very competitive pricing. Please contact us if you need more help or you wish to discuss further.

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