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Video access control systems currently utilize 3 types of core technology in order to transmit the information necessary to provide both access control commands and video of access events:

  • Hardwired internet connection
  • Wi-Fi-based internet connection or
  • Cellular network

Hardwired internet connections can be the most difficult type of system to install in a new building or location, because they can require trenching and cabling plus the installation labor.  While the up-front expense and hassle may be high, hardwired internet-based video access control systems also tend to be very reliable, and thus are highly appealing for many security applications.  Most installers would recommend a hardwired internet connection for commercial applications vs residential ones, because commercial customers are more likely to have the IT support requirements that such a system can demand.

Wi-Fi-based systems can be very quick to get up and running, but reliability is a concern with such systems because Wi-Fi can easily go down for periods of time and/or its signal can be degraded periodically due to heavy usage on the connection.  Thus Wi-Fi-based systems are typically not recommended for most security applications for that reason; however, they may be appropriate in a limited number of other settings where backup access options are available if Wi-Fi went down. Unfortunately, the highly inconvenient nature of not being able to access a location in a timely matter makes Wi-Fi video access control a “no-go” for most applications.

Cellular-based video access control systems are simple to install, but there is currently only one manufacturer of such systems, CellGate.  This is likely due to the complex development requirements of a cellular-supported system, which many companies have attempted but have not been able to do successfully.  CellGate’s first single-family cellular video access control system was first released in 2016, and their initial multi-family system came out in 2017. All of CellGate’s video access control systems have been very well received by users since their introduction.  Cellular-based systems do have nominal ongoing monthly recurring costs that cover: utilization of the cellular network, server costs from web portal administration, and ongoing technical support.

Video access control systems are highly appealing for security because they can allow users to both see and speak to whomever is requesting access, truly confirming the identity of the visitor.  In addition, some of these systems will automatically capture and record any movement that happens near the video camera, often catching nefarious activities that other systems without video capabilities would not have been able to capture.  Similarly, CellGate’s cellular video-based systems can also integrate up to 3 external cameras in addition to the native camera included in each system, allowing for even more views of key access locations, and greater security and control.

Video-based systems are also in high demand because many can be controlled by a smart phone app or from a web portal, meaning the system can be monitored or controlled from almost anywhere.  This allows for significant flexibility for system owners who need to keep a location secure, but cannot always be on the premises when visitors arrive.

These systems are expected to increase in popularity and usage in the coming years, as the ability to transport video images via the various technologies becomes easier, faster and less expensive.