There are three parts to an electronic lock, the mechanical mechanism, the electronic parts and the software that controls it all. I will discuss each part in this article, however I will spend more time with the software that controls everything. There is really software in two places, the controller inside the lock and the external software that tells the lock what to do. This second program con be a traditional program that runs on a desktop laptop, or an app for a smartphone or tablet. Commercial installations will have the programs running on a client server configuration. Now let’s discuss the different parts of an electronic lock.
The mechanical part is what actually holds the door shut, it allows the door to be open or locked. Depending on the lock it will have a locking bolt and either a knob or lever. On some models there is a key override.
The electronic parts are located inside the lock and may consist of various mini circuit boards and sensors, There will be either a mini motor or solenoid to control the locking bolt.
The software is want is used to program the lock to allow or deny access to users. It also provide a history of the dates and time of entry and can be used to remote program the lock or the electronic key.
For residential locks change the software is usually contained in an app and is usable by a smartphone or tablet. This app will be able to program the lock usually through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Below are some features:
Allow or deny access to certain users.
Allow access to users only at certain times or days.
Keep a history of door opening and closings.
Ability to lockout a particular user.
Grant some immediately access through a smartphone.
In commercial installations the software is usually located on a dedicated computer or in larger facilities a server will be used. In these applications keying levels will normally be used, this means that a user will be granted access to certain doors but not all. The software used in these installations is complicated and much more detailed then the residential software. In addition to the above features this software will have audit and scheduling capabilities. It will also be able keep track of a user throughout the facility. The ability to lockout a user is a key feature.
As technology changes these locks will grow in their ability to become more connected and even smarter.
George Uliano is a security professional with years of law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds three U.S. patents on different locking principles. This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide its customers with the correct security at an affordable price.