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Crestron and Access Control Part 1

It seems everywhere you look nowadays you see advertisements for products that claim to give you remote access to someone at your front door. Everything from deadbolts you can open with your phone to video doorbells promises you the ability to grant access to your home from anywhere in the world. We recently covered the rise of so-called “out of the box” automation systems and how Crestron control systems provide true automation for a luxury home. Today we want to address the ubiquity of these access control products and how this technology can be properly incorporated into a luxury home Crestron automation system.

The truth, as you might imagine, is that these consumer level devices, be they wi-fi video doorbells or Z-wave deadbolts, while cool, simply don’t hold a candle to the types of access control technology and integration available in a customized Crestron system.  The near limitless possibilities of Crestron automation systems allow capable integrators to create custom access control solutions that go above and beyond the limited capabilities of these off the shelf solutions.

How It Works

The most similar Crestron solution for residential access control to these Z-wave devices are deadbolts equipped with Crestron hardware itself. Crestron door locks operate in a similar fashion Z-wave devices but use the Crestron wireless infrastructure called Infinite EX, which is a much more stable form of wireless communication. Another advantage of using a Crestron deadbolt is it is pre-built for integration into a Crestron system, and can be set to trigger any number of automation events. These systems are is oftentimes tied directly with the camera system, allowing luxury home owners to view who is at the door prior to triggering the lock to open and allowing access.

Taking It To The Next Level

For those clients who are looking for an additional level of security and control, we take it to the next level with a biometric reader. These devices will read a user’s thumb or fingerprint and use it as identity verification to trigger the door to unlock. When your access control system is integrated to your larger Crestron automation system using a biometric reader, it can be programmed to trigger events based on who specifically is opening the door. For example, the system can be programmed that when the house cleaning crew arrives and uses their fingerprint to access the home, only certain features of the Crestron system will be made available to them. You can also program your connected audio devices to play a certain playlist or album automatically once a certain user triggers the lock and enters the home.

How GMI Does It Better

One of the other ways we do things the right way, and not the easy way, is the method in which we install and program these access control solutions. Many integrators who deploy access control systems with either keypad or biometric readers will wire these devices directly into the lock itself, creating a significant security vulnerability. When wired in this fashion, ripping the access control panel out of the wall or destroying it in any way will trigger the door to unlock and grant access to the home. To prevent this we build the lock directly into the centralized Crestron control system. The keypad or reader will talk to the control system, which will then send a command to the door to unlock, creating a secondary level of security. In this scenario, any tampering with the reader will simply will not only keep the door locked and secure but also trigger the alarm and alert the authorities of a potential invader.

As you can see there are many unique ways that Crestron automation systems can be integrated to your access control system, providing much more powerful and robust solutions to those that you would find coming out of a box. In part two of this feature, we will talk about some real life applications the #DoneRightNotEasy crew has put in for our clients.


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