Access Control

Openpath Access Control System Review, Pricing and Comparison

Openpath Access Control

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 the products and features.

Product Overview of Openpath

Openpath Key Card Access System

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

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.

Openpath 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.

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We have compiled the Top 5 Access Control Trends from 2020, factoring in the shift from the COVID-19 pandemic, and projections for the year 2021.

Openpath Touchless Access Control 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. 

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. 

Considerations Around Openpath Wave to Unlock Features

  • Wave to unlock provides a touchless access control option as it does not require touching a keypad or tapping a keycard. This is a COVID-safe approach to safe access. 
  • Wave to unlock requires constant access to smartphone background location. There is concern among the general public about the privacy of their location. 
  • Because the app has continuous access to your location, it can significantly drain smartphone battery. If your phone battery doesn’t last through the day, this can become an inconvenience. Further, it can pose an access control concern for those trying to access the building with a dead phone battery
  • 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.

Main Concerns With Openpath

Battery Drain Issue

Openpath access control system 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. Alternative solutions, like Swiftlane, provide three different forms of access: mobile app, face recognition and pin access, eliminating risk of lockout. Additionally, Swiftlane Access Control also does not require continuous background location from the user’s phone.

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

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.

Swiftlane Mobile Access Control

Swiftlane Mobile Access Control takes proactive measures to overcome the potential challenges posed by mobile access credentials. 

  • The Swiftlane app only reads user location when the app is open
  • The Swiftlane app does not require turning off battery optimization functions, which avoids battery drain
  • The Swiftlane mobile app requires the user to press a button on the app, showing clear intent that an authorized user is accessing the door

Openpath Access Control Software

Openpath provides a cloud-based access control system that can be managed via a cloud-based 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.  In the post-COVIDworld, companies are trying to have systems that work remotely and require minimal in person interaction.

Openpath Hardware

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 Readers

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 and Video Intercom Systems

Openpath access control does not have the capability for  a video intercom system for visitor management. Other systems, like Swiftlane Access Control, come with a built in integrated video intercom to easily manage visitors. Built-in video intercom is a consideration for businesses looking to deploy a visitor management strategy while also reducing cost of installation, operations, and hardware.

Openpath and Visitor Management

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 Commercial Real Estate Use Case

Commercial real estate has specific considerations for an access control system, like ability to handle multiple tenants and access management specifications. Physical security for CRE requires various physical security functionality, like access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection, visitor management and intercom to all work together with the rest of the building infrastructure. 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 Reviews

Openpath offers a cloud-based access control 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. 

In contract, 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. 

Openpath Pricing

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. Openpath basic pricing includes the core access control offering along with mobile credentials. Openpath Premium Pricing includes additional features like Occupancy Tracking, Role management, openpath rules engine, and VMS integrations. In order to find the openpath cost, you have to request a quote on the website.

Openpath Security

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 Door Access

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 Multifamily and Residential Use Case

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. Swiftlane’s integrated access control and video intercom enables secure access for tenants and guests via a single system and managed platform.

UL294

Openpath access control system is UL294 listed, for fire and access control safety.

Openpath Section 28 A&E specs

Openpath provides section 28 specs on their website for new building contruction. Openpath system supports installing in new buildings and these specs can be used as a template for Section 28 access control specifications for design and construction. You can find Swiftlane Section 28 A&E specifications for access control and intercom on our website as well.