Originally developed by Senso Engineering in 1970 the original Weigand system used very secure cards which had embedded pieces of wire into them so when swiped through a magnetic field the card would produce a series on 1’s and 0’s on separate wires and was very secure for its day.

In the early days all readers were wired back to a central computer, which processed each access request. Over time people demanded cheaper programmable cards working with current hosts, so Mag Swipe cards and readers using the Weigand protocol were developed. Now the Weigand network is an industry standard around the world so many biometrics readers have a Weigand output.

But let’s look at what is happening with home automation market, which is quite definitive from the security market. The security industry believes it owns the access control market and wants to own the home automation market. Consequently more and more demands are being placed on their controllers but are the controllers coping?

Access control systems generally use the Weigand protocol, to connect alarm panels, (host or network controllers) to readers. Typically all card authentication’s are done at a host controller, which generally manages 256 access points as well as alarm zones, building automation outputs, smoke detectors and in some cases even control CCTV. It is not surprising then to hear that some systems just cannot cope with the requirements of today’s educated technology savvy clients. This is where Australian company Axeze comes into its own.

Axeze has developed a powerful distributed network. Axeze believes that alarm (or security manufacturing companies have added access control t o their systems and have not developed solutions for other requirements, such as Point of sale terminals, computer security or machinery enablers, because it has been considered to be out of the scope of the business. The result of this is that while RFID is becoming widespread, users are needing multiple cards to operate multiple systems contradicting the benefits of RFID one card does all philosophy. It is not uncommon to have sites where employees need three or more cards. A Weigand card for the front door entry, a swipe card for the point of sale system and a punch card or I-button to clock on as well as a key for the cash box.

Axeze can fulfil all of these needs and more using the one card from walking in the door, logging on to a point of sale terminal and opening cash box. Also in the Axeze system the card is no longer restricted to one site, unlike Weigand cards, so you can use the same card to unlock the car and open the house, office, parents or children’s doors and holiday house, No longer is there a need to carry multiple cards.

In an Axeze network all that is required is a RS232 to RS485 converter to connect to a computer for programming and real time monitoring and a single door control unit for each access point to be monitored. This makes the Axeze network truly the most flexible and expandable system around.

All Axeze systems do away with expensive host controllers and local controllers requiring only a single door controller at each access point. Each controller has all the memory, connection points and processing power to completely control the door it is attached to. Currently the Axeze system is capable of connecting 62 single door controllers per network and capable of monitoring a self-imposed limit of 256 networks per system. That’s thousands of Access points per system. At most all you will need to expand a system at a later date is an Axeze RS485 to 232 converter and a single door controller.

This number of access points per system is achievable due to Axeze’s intelligent controllers, distributed processing and modular design system. Each single door controller is able to store: – 1,000 card numbers along with what time and days the card is allowed “entry”, – 30 public holidays and – 1,000 access events including card number date and time and weather or not the card was authorised or denied whilst offline, online the system is unlimited. The date and time used comes from an on board real time clock. Other events also recorded in the log include: – door forced, – door left open – request to exit button being pushed recording the date and time

There are many advantages of having each controller monitoring only one door and making all the decisions itself. One advantage of this is that the processing power required to monitor one-door is much less then the power to monitor 256 doors, as well as all the alarms and handling building automation and the like.

Every interface or additional feature is designed on a single module, so clients only have to pay for the features they want in a system. At a later stage if they want you to add to the system, you only have to buy the extra module and attach it to the network without having to replace anything else. (Current systems are often so expensive to upgrade that clients elect not to upgrade.)

This principle is carried through to system upgrades, so if a new technology is developed Axeze can easily develop a module, which can be added to an existing network. All the processing is done at individual modules, the network connection between modules is only used for programming and sending network messages. Such messages may include authorised card or a forced door, which is picked up by a real time computer based monitoring software program and any other device, which is programmed to listen for network events. Suddenly integrated systems become quite easy, not requiring expensive controllers, for example lift control no longer needs expensive lift control modules but simply a reader/controller and a basic I/O module. In a distributed systems adding more readers to a network or more interfaces to a network will not degrade the performance of any other module.

A distributed system ensures that if at any time a module needs to be taken off the network for repairs all other modules will continue to work exactly the same as before.

The advantage of having cheaper hardware is that clients can afford to choose to use more expensive read only pre-programmed 10 byte cards with built-in security. So even if someone steals an Axeze card number from a person they will not be able to program a blank card into the system and will not be able to defeat the system. This is because all Axeze readers and controllers only accept read only cards programmed at the Tiris factory. The cards Axeze use are guaranteed to be unique and contain 264 different combinations, with no information stored on the card, meaning that if the card is stolen, personal information cannot be obtained.

Axeze competes in the both the residential and commercial access control industries. These two markets are about to boom for two very different reasons. 1. The commercial market has become very security aware and are wanting to replace there outdated systems to a more secure easy to manage system which operates on the same network as their work stations. 2. The Residential markets want the space aged homes promised to them in the 60’s. In the Commercial industry clients want all systems to work together providing an easy to use integrated system which can be programmed and monitored from any computer connected on the corporate network with the appropriate password login. A big requirement is asset management control integrated with access control. As technology has become smaller and more portable the ability to track such things like laptops has become a very difficult task, but not for Axeze.

Integrated asset management and access control Axeze is able to detect a person walking up to a door with a laptop and lock the door while the laptop remains within the area of the exit. Integrating this system with access control would enable people who are authorised to take the equipment out of the door to badge their card at an access reader and override the lock.

This system will also then register that the cardholder has that piece of equipment and integrated CCTV could have video footage of the cardholder carrying the unit out. When the cardholder returns to the building, the system could register that the equipment has been returned.

A simple building scan with fixed readers on each floor would tell the IT department where that piece equipment is located in the building. Such an integrated system would abolish the need for employees to sign in and out equipment and at any time any person with access to the system could find out where an asset is.

To achieve such an integrated system every system must be able to speak to each other on the same network either directly or through a secondary control unit. There must either be a single program running everything, or distributed systems sharing information and passing data messages. With the introduction of fast wireless and even faster optical networks with very high level of encryption, it is becoming very affordable and obtainable to connect everything together on a computer LAN.

Many years ago fibre-optics were considered expensive and no-one would have considered putting everything on a single LAN because the sacrifice of available bandwidth, but with high-speed networks and emerging technologies, but all this is changing. With Quality of Service protocols being introduced this is no longer an issue. The cost of having a individual network for security, fire, CCTV, Access Control, Intercom, computer, and lift control has become has become far less expensive and with the added benefits of full integration even more money is saved in not having to enter data multiple times.

The residential market is starting to demand the smart house they have been promised for many years. A smart house, which recognises who we are and what we like even before we have entered through the front door, is just around the corner. The benefits of Home automation are being acknowledged with many developers like Delfin insisting on every new house having a basic level of automation.

The use of long-range proximity systems or Biometric systems would enable a user to walk up to their door, which recognise them as the owner of the house and unlock it automatically. After recognising the user as an authorised person of the house it could automatically play their favourite album, set to air conditioner just the way they like it and show all e-mails on a wireless tablet PC whilst dinner is being prepared. The reality of this is a lot closer then most would think. Systems like this are already being installed here in Australia.

A common comment that we hear from installers in the high-end markets is that homeowners and more so architects don’t want to see any light switches, power points or readers on their walls. With long-range antennas installed in doorway walls it is possible to do away remote controls, switches and other controls as the house can sense who is in a room and adjust the environment accordingly.

Access control also offers the ability to remotely open the door so that clients will never get locked out of their home again. “Imagine having the doorbell linked your mobile phone so when someone comes to your house and you are not at home you will be able to see and talk to him or her through video conferencing, you could let the plumber in while you are at work. Then through your own private web site you will be able to follow them around the house to check on them and even have there whole visit recorded on your digital CCTV unit.”

As homes become more and more automated access control will play a big part in identifying who is in a room or at the front door, weather it becomes Biometric or some other technology the back end to program the readers and interface with other systems will always be needed. At Axeze, we constantly hear of security panels that cannot cope with the demand on I/Os for home automation. This is a breeze for Axeze as the distributed nature of our system means that several networks could be dedicated to handling I/Os. Additionally there is no chance of collision or delay because each controller is handling the task allocated, rather than sharing or placing demands on a single controller.

The Axeze design fits in to the current and future market and in many cases even compliments the future fully automated system by taking away some of the overheads and processing required by the a host control unit. The distributed nature of Axeze fits well into the growth of the market.

As people are demanding more and more from there access control/security system the systems which are based on a host controller controlling everything developers are going to need to develop faster, more complex and more expensive host controllers. This is going to be more important over time, as more and more technologies become mainstream. In a distributed system there is no limit to the number of access points connected to a LAN so cost is not an issue. As new technologies are introduced and become widely accepted host controllers will have to redesigned whereas Axeze only has to produce a new module to connect to the system maintaining complete backwards compatibility.

Axeze can move with the times because Axeze only needs to redevelop a network protocol and/or module, which connect directly onto a computer LAN. Thereby reducing the cost of wiring a building for access control and also providing the advantage of programming modules on or off site through the corporate network. As there is not an open protocol standard used to integrate all aspects of home and building automation at this stage, developing products that can seamlessly integrate with others whilst maintaining security on the access control network, provides many benefits for users today and tomorrow. In the short future Axeze will have to continue on its path developing interfaces to other systems to help the end user get the most out or all systems installed at a site. Slowly as a widely accepted open protocol is developed on a computer LAN Axeze will only have to add the Access control messages to its protocol!

Axeze is Australian owned and designed and is seeking distributors and installers for their world leading products. Enquiries to sales@axeze.com.au or telephone –61-8-83408200.