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Electronic Locks

An electronic lock (more precisely an electric lock) is a locking device, which operates by means of electric current. Electric locks are sometimes stand-alone with an electronic control assembly mounted directly to the lock. More often electric locks are connected to an access control system. The advantages of an electric lock connected to an access control system include: key control, where keys can be added and removed without re-keying the lock cylinder; fine access control, where time and place are factors; and transaction logging, where activity is recorded.
  

Security tokens

Another means of authenticating users is to require them to scan or "swipe" a security token such as a smart card or similar, or to interact a token with the lock. For example, some locks can access stored credentials on a personal digital assistant (PDA) using infrared data transfer methods.

Biometrics

As biometrics become more and more prominent as a recognized means of positive identification, their use in security systems increases. Some new electronic locks take advantage of technologies such as fingerprint scanning, retinal scanning and iris scanning, and voiceprint identification to authenticate users.

RFID

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. This technology is also used in modern electronic locks.


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Numerical codes, passwords and pass-phrases

Perhaps the most prevalent form of electronic lock is that using a numerical code for authentication; the correct code must be entered in order for the lock to deactivate. Such locks typically provide a keypad, and some feature an audible response to each press. Combination lengths are usually between 4 and 6 digits long. A variation on this design involves the user entering the correct password or passphrase.