If you’ve stayed at a hotel recently, you likely weren’t given a traditional room key. This is because there is a growing shift toward digital locks, including among commercial businesses. More companies are seeing huge value in converting to electronic door access through standalone, all-encompassing networked, or hybrid systems. Why Standalone Locks Really Stand Out Standalone electronic locks have become a cost-effective and convenient way to add access control to a facility. Aside from added security, convenience, and efficiency, electronic locks also allow customers to reap the benefits of a basic access control system. This includes eliminating keying costs and obtaining audit trails from each individual lock. Five years ago, standalone electronic locks were just starting to become commonplace in the market. They have remained innovative without any need to be wired to a central access control system, making them easy to install. Entry-level standalone locks are an affordable opportunity for implementing access control. An entry-level solution often uses PIN access credentials rather than cards. When PINs are programmed, all of the intelligence is housed at the lock. Most of these locks are self-powered, allowing them to generate lock power with every turn of the lever. Standalone locks are also ideal for various settings. They’re suitable for small sites with only one or two critical doors to secure, or at remote sites that can’t be networked to an existing system. They also work well as an introductory control solution. The downside of standalone locks is that all intelligence is housed at the lock. Any updates, such as adding a new user, must be made at each individual lock. Comparing Standalone Locks to Comprehensive Systems Networked access control allows users to manage a comprehensive system of secured door locks within a centralized software platform. The intelligence is in the software. Networked systems monitor every door status and send alerts for abnormal conditions such as a propped-open door or possible tampering. System changes are recognized and applied immediately, and the software offers centralized reporting and audit trails. What about a hybrid approach? What we’re seeing a lot of today is a hybrid approach to access control. This type of system combines the best of both options for one highly effective system. Standalone locks are better suited for a small number of users and openings, and for clients who can visit the lock to make changes and retrieve data. Networked access control is for more sophisticated systems that involve making changes and retrieving data, status updates, and alerts from a centralized system. The hybrid mixes both options conveniently and offers an attractive, cost-effective solution that should allow for system growth. The Bottom Line No single system is right for every business or security need. Be sure to consult with the right technical experts, especially a systems integrator with experience in access control, to determine which type of system would work best for you. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely Keyscan's. They do not necessarily represent WESCO’s views.