ISJ Exclusive: Going wireless


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By choosing wireless, businesses can make energy savings throughout the access control system life-cycle, reports ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA.

Installation, daily operation and extending: Electronic access control uses energy over its entire life-cycle. Yet, the energy used at each stage is not fixed.

The type of system an organisation commissions or extends has a huge impact. One access control technology has a clear advantage in energy efficiency: Wireless.

Wireless access control offers the same security and usability benefits as wiring doors and other openings. However, because it is easier to install and is powered by batteries or energy harvesting technology, every wireless lock deployed represents an energy saving over its equivalent wired device.

The efficiencies add up, beginning at the installation stage. Wire-free installation is much faster; it is also less intrusive. Most wireless locking devices require little or no drilling around the door, whereas every wired lock needs cabling through and partly around a door.

By choosing wireless devices, businesses upgrade their security without inconveniencing staff or disturbing everyday work routines. Typically, a wireless device can be fitted without damaging walls or doors, which is a crucial factor for businesses operating from rented office space.

Quicker installation means fewer installer journeys to and from premises, another energy saving in unnecessary fuel consumption.

Unsurprisingly, installation of a wireless system is also more cost efficient: In calculations for an in-house benchmarking report, ASSA ABLOY experts projected costs for a typical medium-sized access control installation of 100 doors*.

The labour cost savings from choosing wireless over wired locks were a staggering 82.5%.

Energy savings in use

According to the Harvard Business Review**, energy efficiency has now become one of the “key levers for business success”. In use, battery powered locks consume less energy than traditional wired locks, which normally work via magnets connected permanently to mains electricity. To remain secure, they are “always on”.

Wireless locks work differently. They only draw power when presented with a credential to make an access decision. This translates into another potential energy saving: More than 70%, according to ASSA ABLOY’s benchmarking study.

Other related energy and material costs are also lower for wireless. For maintenance, wireless locks require just a battery change – once every two years (approximately).

These efficiency benefits were a major reason why the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, chose Aperio wireless escutcheons to secure almost 1,700 student bedrooms across multiple halls of residence***.

Zero energy consumption: A new breed of energy-harvesting access devices

Self-powered access control uses energy harvesting technology rather than mains electricity or batteries. In a self-powered locking cylinder, the kinetic energy generated by inserting and/or turning a programmable key is harvested to power the device’s digital security. This energy source – keyholder input – is 100% renewable.

One access control solution powered by energy harvesting is ASSA ABLOY PULSE. Businesses issue each authorised user with one PULSE key pre-programmed with all their cleared access rights, no matter how many doors they need to open.

Premises can equip almost any opening from the PULSE range, including door cylinders, cam-locks, furniture locks and padlocks which work outdoors even in harsh climates.

“A PULSE energy-harvesting digital locking solution can be managed via the cloud as part of the Incedo access control ecosystem,” says Joachim Mahlstedt, Head of Commercial Development Digital Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA.

Each PULSE key also has an RFID chip inside for readers on wireless locks or mounted on a wall. As a result, there’s no need for a user to carry two credentials.

The convenience of this feature was one reason why Denmark’s new A Place To housing development chose PULSE: Residents unlock apartments with a PULSE key which also operates RFID readers to open communal areas****.

Fitting PULSE locks is energy efficient, too: An installer simply swaps out its existing mechanical cylinder and slots in a PULSE device.

The flexibility of wireless locks enables changes in space use and work patterns

Wireless systems provide flexibility when office space must be expanded or reconfigured.

High quality wireless locks can typically be reinstalled at another door without impacting reliability. They give access control another stage in its life-cycle, because they are much easier to move than wired devices.

In this way, wireless locking can give businesses the flexibility to adapt without burning through energy or cost. A 2022 Future Forum survey found that 58% of knowledge workers already follow a hybrid work pattern: “Flexibility is the expectation — and increasingly the norm,” the report concludes*. Further growth in flexible working is a certainty.

These changing work patterns make flexibility in security ever more critical for organisations.

While the task of relocating a wired door is complex and energy intensive – or even impossible – wireless devices are simply moved to wherever is convenient. They help businesses rebalance their space between offices, co-working or hotdesking, for example.

“Walls cannot usually be moved,” says Richard Sharp. “However, wireless locks can. ASSA ABLOY’s report estimates typical cost savings on an office relocation or space usage change can be around 30% with wireless rather than wired locking. Once again, the energy consumed by moving wireless locks is minimal when compared to many alternatives.”

Extending an existing access system with energy-efficient wireless locking

Aperio wireless locks are designed to save money through their life-cycle. Battery-powered Aperio RFID-equipped cylinders, escutcheons, handles and locks – for doors or server racks – can be fitted as a new access control system or extend an existing installation by linking new doors to the same system wirelessly.

“Autonomous or ‘offline’ devices don’t even need a wall-mounted communications hub,” explains Joachim. “This makes them an ideal energy-efficient solution for doors which are hard to reach or whose security level doesn’t require real-time control.”

Extending an existing system with Aperio means there’s no need for staff to swap smartcards, nor for anyone to carry more than one credential.

Aperio devices work seamlessly within almost any major access control system, from over 100 different manufacturers. One control panel manages everything, Aperio alongside legacy locks.

“Aperio installation is quick, because there’s no cabling around the door, no invasive building work, and no need to change door hardware,” adds Joachim.

“These wireless locks can play a significant role in any security department’s energy strategy.”

Find out more

For more details and calculations, visit:





At every stage of its life cycle, a wireless solution reduces the energy used by your access control system.

This article was originally published in the November edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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