Access Control - The next big breakthrough

During its 31 years of designing access control products, Cansec has been working to resolve the single greatest threat to the industry. I am pleased to report that we are very close to perfecting a product which will totally change the landscape. It is called MELD.

MELD is a small portable device, about the size of a fountain pen, which emits a burst of intense red light that is modulated at a frequency which totally eradicates the good manners of the targeted individual.

MELD (Manners Eradicating Light Device) will, for the first time in the history of the access control industry, address the weakest link in every access control system sold globally to date - manners.

When you go through a secured access door and someone is coming in behind you, you hold the door open for them. If you see someone knocking on the glass doors in the lobby who looks like they belong, you let them in. Your Mom would be proud of you. The Director of Security where you work - not so much.

So after all the billions of dollars spent on electronic access control systems, it turns out your Mom is responsible for rendering them ineffective. Who knew!

I first realized this in the mid-seventies when I was working for the Bank of Montreal and was responsible for electronic access control systems for all the bank’s data centers across Canada. Way back then, there were only TWO major card access control players in the word - Rusco Electronics and Cardkey. Today I think there may be two on my block. One of the first sites where access control was deployed by the bank was the building in Montreal where I worked which housed the facilities planning group. We occupied 5 floors of a 12 story building.

On the first day the system went live (a Rusco MAC 540 for you trivia buffs), I came back in the evening just to make sure that all the readers and locks were operating properly. On each of the five floors there was a reader at each end of the elevator lobby securing the bank’s offices. I checked each of the 10 mag lock secured glass doors to make sure they were secure. Nikola Tesla held up his end of the deal in protecting the facility but Mom broke everything. At one of the lobby doors I was tugging on, a cleaner was diligently vacuuming just inside. I had never seen this person before nor was I known to them, although I probably “looked like I belonged”. As soon as he saw me tugging on the doors, he instinctively came over and hit the exit button to let me in. He did not ask for any identification. He was just being polite.

Some might say this was a result of not having employed a “systems” approach which would take into consideration not only the hardware, but would include teaching the people using the system to abandon their good manners and act like access control police. Good luck with that in any commercial environment.

Things are different in a military environment where security is paramount and anyone violating the rules knows they will be severely punished. I experienced just such an environment many years ago when Cansec was invited to exhibit its Zodiac fingerprint reader at a show at the Marine Corps base in Quantico Virginia. To enter the base, we had to place all our exhibit equipment on the ground and back off 10 feet while it was inspected by marines with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs. Inside there were signs that read “PHOTOGRAPHY PROHIBITED. LETHAL FORCE APPROVED”. Naturally, I took a picture of one of the signs. If I was threatened with death I would have explained that I had a problem with my short-term memory and did not want to forget what the sign said.

So next time you are designing a big, expensive, complex and high tech access control system for the commercial market, think of your Mom.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article titled “Elevator Access Control - Don’t waste your money”.

For the record

Although Cansec Systems Ltd. has been designing and manufacturing access control systems since 1987, it was preceded by Cansec Consulting Ltd., founded in 1979 which is still in operation. We take great pride not only in the quality of the products we make but in the quality of the advice which we offer freely on your projects.

Fred Dawber

Owner and CSO - Chief Simplification Officer Cansec Systems Ltd. 

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Emergency Lockdown

Emergency Lockdown

One subject which ALWAYS comes up when discussing access control at schools is the issue of emergency lockdown. The image is of a big red button which, when pressed, will lock all or select controlled access doors.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Turns out it is a big nasty can of worms.

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