Schlage, Mercury team up to make wireless easier

Monday, February 22, 2010

CARMEL, Ind.—Ingersoll Rand has announced that its Schlage wireless panel interface module now integrates with Mercury Security access control panels via RS485, eliminating the need for wireless gateway modules. Now, a single Mercury Security access panel can manage up to 64 Schlage wireless devices and is not limited to a specific number of PIMs. Mercury is the OEM manufacturer of Lenel, RS2 and other popular access control panels, and claims the most installed panels in the world.

Derek Bischoff, technical services manager at Intelligent Access Systems in North Carolina, said he happened to be working with Schlage wireless locks and Mercury panels (RS2) on a job right now and, unfortunately, he has to treat each wireless device as a separate entity right now. The elimination of the gateway modules, he said, “is probably something that would save us a lot of time and money, and, of course it will come out right after we complete this job. That’s how those things go.”

However, according to a release by Ingersoll Rand, “customers with existing Mercury Security access control panel installations can obtain this additional value with Schlage wireless devices by simply upgrading the firmware on their panel.”

Frank Gasztonyi, CEO/CTO of Mercury Security, said the integration will make it so “the access control device doesn’t even know that this is a wireless door vs. a wired door ... we try to normalize all the peripherals.”

Gasztonyi said he expects to offer similar integration with other wireless lock makers, as wireless is becoming more popular in the large access systems with which Mercury typically works. “Typically, wireless applications have been more concentrating on standalone door openings,” he said, “not so much the building management or large-scale access control world ... We think what Schlage is doing here will add a significant amount of doors to be secured.”

Bischoff said the wireless locks are attractive because, “for the customer, they’ll save on wiring and it simplifies the implementation. They can use their normal lock employees to replace them and to deploy them in the future. For us, it’s similar cost savings, but there are some issues that have to do with connectivity to the system and proximity to antennas.”

Brad Aikin, product manager for Schlage Commercial Electronic Locks, said “we’ve seen significant growth in the last three years continuously” for wireless locks, and “we’ve moved well past the early adopter stage in the market.” Despite this, there are still plenty of panel manufacturers where integrators have to use a gateway device or translator to make Schlage’s PIM talk to the panel. That said, “our intent is that the platforms that we manufacture are open architecture, so that they work with multiple panels.”