Openpath is a provider of key card and mobile access control systems. Openpath’s proprietary system provides access control panels and readers, as well as mobile apps for accessing buildings. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of Openpath Access Control, including:
Product Overview: Software, Hardware, and Readers
Key Features: Access Credentials, Security, Visitor Capabilities, and More
Review: Considerations, Use Cases, and Alternatives
Openpath Access Control: Product Overview
Openpath access control is a cloud-based system that can be managed via web browser. The Openpath dashboard provides the convenience of granting or revoking access from the web dashboard. Openpath access control software provides the ability to add users via the web browser dashboard. The mobile credentials allow a user to send a link to enable access. Key card access can be done within the system by assigning a key card number to a new user and distributing accordingly.
Openpath provides various access control panels that meet the needs for different sizes of deployments. Openpath access control panel can be configured to connect to weigand or OSDP based key card readers. The panels come in various form factors, which can configure a single door using a small panel, or configure larger projects with large panels that can be extended. Openpath provides expansion boards that can connect more door relays or elevators into the system.
Openpath provides door access for most types of electronic doors. The hardware includes door relays, which can work with any form of electronic door lock. This includes electronic latchs, maglocks (electromagnetic locks), and electric strikes.
Openpath access control system is UL294 listed for fire and access control safety.
Openpath provides section 28 specs on their website for new building construction. It supports installation in new buildings and these specs can be used as a template for Section 28 access control specifications for design and construction.
Openpath Mullion Smart Reader
The Openpath Mullion Smart Reader installs on a small door frame.Since many mullion frames have less than 2 inches of space, they are useful when there is limited space next to the door.
Openpath Standard Smart Reader
Openpath Standard Smart Reader supports key cards and mobile access. It can be used with 13.56 Mhz encrypted key cards and comes with the wave to unlock feature mentioned above.
Openpath Key Cards
Openpath provides their own key cards, which work with desfire ev1, mifare classic and a few other formats. If you have an existing 125 Khz prox card or existing key card readers, it would be advised to replace them with the Openpath reader and key cards.
Openpath Access Control: Key Features
Openpath provides a touchless access control option for building access. The feature is called wave to unlock and can trigger door unlock by waving in front of a door.
Key Card Access
Openpath provides a key card based access control system. The Openpath key card reader is installed on the door, which then supports key card and mobile credential access. The readers come built with a button to activate the access, which triggers the unlock signal between the user’s phone and the reader. Openpath uses proprietary key card readers, which are required for compatibility with the Openpath card and mobile credentials.
Openpath mobile access provides the ability to perform door unlock via the mobile app. Openpath access control provides the ability to send a mobile unlock signal via bluetooth low energy, or cellular and WiFi.
Touch to Open Access
Openpath readers come built with a touch button for triggering unlock. The touch to open functionality activates door unlock after confirming the connection between the user’s phone and the reader. This requires turning on background location all the time, which can be a privacy concern for many users.
Openpath integrates with visitor management solutions in order to provide visitors with temporary access. Openpath integrates with the Envoy visitor management system to send credentials via a link for temporary access.
Openpath implements security into their system by utilizing encrypted card formats. These high frequency card formats have higher security than traditional prox cards that can be cloned easily with cheap key card cloning devices. Openpath utilizes encrypted credentials in order to improve physical security.
Openpath Wave to Unlock
Openpath introduced the wave to unlock feature in 2020. Wave to unlock is designed to avoid the button click on the reader, and trigger unlock by waving your hands in front of the reader.
How Does the Openpath Wave to Unlock Work?
Once the Openpath mobile app is downloaded on the user’s smartphone, he or she walks up to the door and waves a hand in front of the Openpath reader. The Openpath proximity sensor detects the wave. If there is an authenticated person nearby, it triggers the door unlock function.
Openpath Pricing: How Much Does Openpath Cost?
Openpath pricing model includes two different types of pricing tiers, based on the feature set needed by customers. Openpath doesn’t list the pricing on the website. Basic pricing includes the core access control offering along with mobile credentials. Premium Pricing includes additional features like Occupancy Tracking, Role management, openpath rules engine, and VMS integrations.
For pricing, you can request a quote from their website.
Openpath Access Control: Review
Main Concerns With Openpath
1. Battery Drain Issue
Openpath access control requires continuous access to background location in order to perform wave to unlock and automatic background unlock. This can require OS level battery optimizations to be turned off, which can cause other apps on the phone to drain battery on the phone as well. If the smartphone battery dies, it is not able to transmit credentials to access the building.
Further, many Openpath features require turning off battery optimization on an Android. Battery optimizations are system features on an Android smartphone to prevent overuse of power by certain apps. Turning this off can cause all apps on the phone to drain the battery faster, not just Openpath.
2. Privacy and Location Settings
Smartphone location information is considered private data to most users, which is why most Smartphone apps will generate a pop-up asking for enabled location. Running continuous location tracking is a privacy concern for many people, as they are worried about misuse of the location data, and battery drain impact. If a user would like to opt out of the mobile app credential, key card access is still an option however, there are significant drawbacks to key card access.
3. Background Bluetooth Unlock Risks
Many companies, including Openpath, provide the ability to automatically open the doors as soon as you are near the door. Openpath access control leverages wave to unlock however there are several considerations to account for.
Accuracy Issues With Proximity Measurement
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based signals are used to measure distance of the person from the door by capturing and measuring “signal strength” of the BLE wireless protocol. This indicator is called RSSI. The RSSI indicator is a measure of how far the device is, based on the strength of the wireless signal between the user’s phone and the reader. Many access control companies rely on this signal in order to define how close a person is to the door.
Unfortunately, this distance signal can have many errors:
- BLE distance measurement is highly dependent on the device type,the strength of the antenna and the type of hardware emitting these signals. Every model of a phone might have different measurements for this signal at the same distance.
- BLE signal is affected by physical interference. For instance, the signal strength can be different if the phone is in a pocket versus in a bag, or even by the direction the phone is facing.
Unauthorized Background Unlock
There is no definitive way to verify the person performing the wave to unlock function is the same person with the authorized mobile credentials. For example, an authorized user could be standing on either side of the door and another unauthorized user could perform the wave to unlock function to trigger access. This poses a risk of granting unauthorized access with continuous background unlock.
Is Openpath the Solution for You?
Openpath access control offers a loud-based system for enterprises. Enterprises have extensive existing deployments and investments in physical security. The Openpath hardware is proprietary, and not built upon current open architecture standards like HID vertx, HID Aero and Mercury. Open architecture for hardware allows enterprises to use their current panels and infrastructure instead of replacing it with a newer system. If enterprises want to switch to a proprietary panel, they would need to incur the significant capital expenditure in order to replace their infrastructure to try out a new product.
For commercial real estate…
Most building management systems are moving to IP based intelligent building design. POE and IP based connectivity is changing the way commercial real estate gets developed. Openpath readers are based on Weigand and OSDP protocol, not IP based communication.
Openpath access control technology provides the same key card and mobile access management functionality to residential and multi-tenant buildings. They offer a health-conscious and secure solution for tenants by way of touchless unlock, however there are drawbacks when it comes to visitor management. Residential properties see a high volume of visitor traffic, and the lack of built-in video intercom for visitor management purposes neither meets current tenant needs nor appropriate security parameters.
Alternatives to Openpath
There are several alternatives to Openpath in the access control market. Alternative solutions, like Swiftlane, provide three different forms of access: mobile app, face recognition and pin access. Alternate forms of access eliminate risk of lockout, particularly from a dead phone battery.
Swiftlane Access Control also does not require continuous access to background location from the user’s phone.
Swiftlane’s mobile and face recognition technology is designed to integrate on top of current enterprise access control infrastructures, providing them with a path to enable touchless and face recognition access options, without incurring massive capital expenditure.
You can also get a comprehensive overview of the best access control systems for every need.
Learn More About Access Control Systems
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