As solutions proliferate in the access control market, interoperability has never been a more pressing topic. A recent industry report finds: "91% (of professional respondents to a survey) agree integrating security systems with each other and with other building technology has become noticeably more important in the last five years."

Agreed standards are one powerful integration tool. Among the most important lock standards is the OSS Standard Offline (OSS–SO) from the Open Security Standards Association. Each lock manufacturer has its own approach to writing and reading cards, but customers installing offline locks from brands that subscribe to the OSS–SO are guaranteed interoperability. With the OSS–SO, offline locks from different manufacturers read the same access rights from a card and interpret them in the same way.

We spoke to a round-table of manufacturers and integrators about the standard’s importance and its future.


 What are the benefits of open standards for manufacturers and end-users of access control technology?

Open platform development dramatically cuts a customer’s dependence on a single supplier

Frederik Hamburg: Customers see huge benefits of an open standard like the OSS Standard Offline. Open platform development dramatically cuts a customer’s dependence on a single supplier, leaving them free to choose the best device for the job. Open standards offer more frequent opportunities to tender projects, because you are freed from compatibility concerns. Ultimately, that can be a significant cost advantage. There’s plenty of evidence too, that open standards are generally more secure than proprietary solutions.

For manufacturers, membership of the OSS gives them a seat at the table when it comes to designing the standard’s specification. All participating manufacturers are able to optimise development costs and by adhering to pre-agreed standards, time-to-market for new devices is reduced.


Why did you choose to get involved in driving the OSS Standard Offline forward?

Mattias Weiss: We were formerly using the SOAA standard, but decided together with Nedap, Primion, dorma+Kaba Group, Deister, ACS and others to find the OSS Association and use our combined industry leadership position to drive open standards like the OSS Standard Offline. We are already working with colleagues to take industry open standards beyond offline components, and into more areas of this exciting, fast-growing market.


Which ASSA ABLOY solutions are compatible with the new standard?

Mattias: The OSS Standard Offline was implemented into the Aperio firmware platform. This way, we ensure all battery-powered Aperio access control products, including cylinders, escutcheons and handles support this functionality across the EMEA region now and in the future.


 What do you consider the major benefits of the new standard for facility and security managers?

Ending reliance on a single proprietary solution makes installed access control more flexible

Mattias: Interoperability is critically important for any end-user investing in new or upgraded access control. They need to plan for eventualities they may not even see yet and open standards allow them to do that. Ending reliance on a single proprietary solution makes installed access control more flexible. You can add a new building, for example, and bring its access control into the existing system seamlessly.

Customers increasingly understand these advantages. In 'The Wireless Access Control Report 2018', a majority of security professionals polled say it is 'very important' (58%) that access control support open standards like the OSS Standard Offline in order to be flexible and future-proofed. A huge majority (91%) said it was at least 'somewhat important'.

The future is open.


Which Nedap OSS Standard Offline solutions are currently available?

Ruben Brinkman: The AEOS platform adheres to all the latest OSS–SO standards, meaning all current (and future) offline locks and updaters that also adhere to these standards seamlessly communicate with the Nedap system. That’s the beauty of it. Organizations secured by AEOS are therefore very flexible in choosing their offline lock solutions.


Thinking about your major new installation at Hospital Maria Middelares, in Belgium, what benefits did choosing OSS–SO devices bring to the project?

Nedap’s security platform AEOS allows for seamless integration with other OSS–SO solutions such as Aperio wireless access control

Ruben: Within the premises of the new AZ Maria Middelares Hospital, 700 doors were equipped with battery-powered offline Aperio locks and connected to the Nedap access control system. As one of the founders of the OSS Association, Nedap’s security platform AEOS allows for seamless integration with other OSS–SO solutions such as Aperio wireless access control. The joint solution between ASSA ABLOY and Nedap has not only secured Maria Middelares, but the scalability and cost-effectiveness of it have also made the hospital future-proof and ready to grow.


From an integration point of view, how does your business and your customers benefit from adopting the OSS Standard Offline?

Ray Phillips: As the manufacturer of an access control system that incorporates both software and hardware elements, we find an increasing amount of our development resource is consumed by adding to and updating third-party integrations. The business benefit to us is clear: OSS Standard Offline has meant our dev team can concentrate on enhancing our solution, instead of playing catch-up with third-party APIs that only benefit a small number of customers. The business benefit to our customers is that we can offer increased choice and the protection of a non-proprietary, open standards-based solution.


When new compatible locking products become available, there should be little or no work for us to do, save for some validation testing and documentation.

What integration plans do you have for devices that meet the new standard?

Ray: None! This is the main attraction of open standards. When new compatible locking products become available, there should be little or no work for us to do, save for some validation testing and documentation.

One example is the recently launched H100 Aperio wireless door handle from ASSA ABLOY. The entire development lifecycle of this product happened post-OSS but, because the firmware complies with the open standard, our systems support it already.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages
How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages

James Twigg is the Managing Director of Total Integrated Solutions (TIS), an independent life safety, security and communication systems integrator, specialising in design & consultancy, technology and regulatory compliance. Total Integrated Solutions work primarily with retirement villages, helping to ensure the safety of residents in numerous retirement villages across the country. In this opinion piece, James shares how smart technology is helping security teams and care staff alike in ensuring the safety and security of their spaces, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Impact of smart technology Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. From how we travel, to how we work, to how we run our homes. It’s not unusual to have Alexa waking us up and ordering our groceries or Nest to be regulating the temperature and energy in our homes. And while there’s a popular misconception that people in their later years are allergic to technology, retirement villages and care homes are experiencing significant innovation too. And the result is not only improved quality of life for residents, but also improved safety and security systems for management teams. Switching to converged IP systems I’ve been working in the life safety and security industry for over fifteen years. When I first joined TIS, much of the sector was still very analogue, in terms of the technology being installed and maintained. Slowly but surely, we’ve been consulting and advising customers on how to design, install and maintain converged IP systems that all talk to each other and work in tandem. I'm excited to say retirement villages are some of the top spaces leading the way, in terms of technological advancement. Improving the quality of life for residents A move into a retirement village can be daunting and one of the key concerns that we hear about is the loss of independence. No one wants to feel like they are being monitored or to have someone constantly hovering over them. One of the ways we’ve used smart technology to maintain residents' independence is through devices, such as health monitors and motion sensors. For example, instead of having a member of staff check-in on residents every morning, to ensure they are well, sensors and analytics can automatically detect changes in routine and alert staff to possible problems. Similarly, wearable tech, such as smart watches give residents a chance to let staff know they are okay, without having to tell them face-to-face. As our retirement village customers have told us, a simple ‘I’m okay’ command can be the difference between someone feeling independent versus someone feeling monitored. Simplifying and improving security systems Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents For the teams responsible for the safety of the people, places and spaces within retirement villages, smart technology is helping to improve and simplify their jobs. Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents, and ensures rapid response if notified by an emergency alert, ensuring they know the exact location of the resident in need. And without the need to go and physically check-in on every resident, staff and management can ensure staff time is being used effectively. Resources can be distributed where they are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who need extra consideration. 24/7 surveillance When planning the safety and security for retirement villages, and other residential spaces, it’s no use having traditional systems that only work effectively for 12 hours a day or need to update during the evening. Surveillance needs to be 24/7 and smart technology allows that without the physical intrusion into people’s spaces and daily lives. Smart technology ensures that systems speak to each other and are easily and effectively managed on one integrated system. This includes video surveillance, which has also become much more effective as a result of advanced video analytics, which automatically warn staff of suspicious behaviour. Securing spaces amid COVID-19 This year has, of course, brought new challenges for safety. COVID-19 hit the retirement and residential care sectors hard, first with the initial wave of infections in mid-2020 and then, with the subsequent loneliness caused by the necessary separation of families. As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed during this time, equipping residents with tablet devices to ensure they could stay connected with their families and friends. It allowed residents to keep in touch without risking transferring the virus. Thermal cameras and mask detection And now that we’re emerging out of COVID-19 restrictions and most residents can see their families again, we’re installing systems like thermal cameras and mask detection, so as to ensure that security will be alerted to anyone in the space experiencing a high temperature or not wearing proper PPE. Such steps give staff and families alike, the peace-of-mind that operational teams will be alerted at the earliest possible moment, should a COVID-19 risk appear. Thinking ahead to the next fifteen years, I’m excited at the prospect of further technological advancements in this space. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how complex your security system is or how you compete in the industry. It’s about helping teams to protect the people, spaces and places that matter. I see smart technology playing a huge role in that for years to come.

ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle protects Fylab physiotherapy practice with secure PIN-operated handles
ASSA ABLOY’s Code Handle protects Fylab physiotherapy practice with secure PIN-operated handles

In all medical settings, people are coming and going all day. Therapists leave their personal belongings in changing rooms, patients want privacy in consulting rooms, open or unlocked doors can be an invitation to opportunists. Yet keeping track of mechanical keys can be a tiresome task for a small practice. There is a solution: the Code Handle PIN lock from ASSA ABLOY. In Irun, in Spain’s Basque country, Fylab sought easy electronic door security for their consulting rooms. These rooms house expensive specialist equipment for the various therapeutic disciplines offered by Fylab. Requirements were straightforward: a simple, secure, keyless access solution designed to work in a facility that gets a lot of daily traffic from professionals and the public. They needed a locking device that is easy to retrofit and incorporates a contemporary device design to match with Fylab’s modern medical workplace. Adding electronic security to room doors The Code Handle PIN-locking door handle added electronic security to three consulting-room doors at FylabThe Code Handle PIN-locking door handle added electronic security to three consulting-room doors at Fylab – without wires or cables. Two screws fit a Code Handle to almost any interior door (between 35mm to 80mm thick). One doesn’t even need to change their existing door cylinder. “I am no artist or handyman, but I managed to fit the handles within 10 minutes,” says Fylab founder, Borja Saldias Retegui. Code Handle adds electronic security to almost any interior door without disrupting its aesthetics. If one needs to secure a door facing a public space, Code Handle does it subtly and with zero hassle. At Fylab, Code Handle devices locks both wooden and glass doors, keeping equipment and therapists’ personal belongings safe. Allows up to 9 different PIN numbers “We like the solution a lot because we can do away with keys,” adds Borja. Code Handle removes the need to track cumbersome keys or install expensive access control. Because every Code Handle allows up to 9 different PIN numbers (4 to 6 digits), all authorised staff at Fylab can have their own security code. Two standard batteries (CR2) slot inside the handle, typically lasting 30,000 lock/unlock cycles before replacement The practice manager cancels or amends PINs at any time using the master PIN. Two standard batteries (CR2) slot inside the handle, typically lasting 30,000 lock/unlock cycles before replacement. It’s simple. “Code Handle is unique in comparison to common code door locks: it has the code function and battery incorporated inside its handle, so you don’t need to make extra modifications to your door,” explains Lars Angelin, Business Development Manager for Code Handle at ASSA ABLOY EMEA. Auto-locking feature of Code Handle Auto-locking is another helpful feature. When the door closes, Code Handle locks it automatically. One doesn’t need to put down whatever they are carrying, and no one can open it from the outside while they are not looking. To keep the door open briefly, one can simply hold Code Handle down for 5 seconds and it remains temporarily unlocked. For convenience, Code Handle always opens freely from the inside. “Code Handle provides the simplest solution for access control in a small facility,” says Borja. To learn more about Code Handle please visit: https://campaigns.assaabloyopeningsolutions.eu/codehandle

What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?
What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?

There is a broad appeal to the idea of using a smartphone or wearable device as a credential for physical access control systems. Smartphones already perform a range of tasks that extend beyond making a phone call. Shouldn’t opening the door at a workplace be among them? It’s a simple idea, but there are obstacles for the industry to get there from here. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control solutions?