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Single Switch Promises Lower-Cost RFID Access Control

FEIG Electronics is selling a Wiegand switch with its RFID readers to enable companies and communities to deploy a single reader for two gates or lanes, thereby reducing the cost of RFID deployment.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 14, 2018

As vehicle access-control systems utilizing UHF RFID are gaining traction among gated communities, parking lots and other controlled areas, the cost has still been challenging. Readers deployed at each gate, entrance and exit can add up, since many readers for that purpose cost upwards of $1,000 or more apiece. FEIG Electronics has developed one way to reduce that cost and thereby lower the cost threshold for installations: a Wiegand switch that enables a single reader to cover two access-control gates.

The new product is aimed at a growing market, says Mike Hrabina, Feig Electronics' executive VP—namely, intelligent and networked access control. The technologically simple switch is intended to provide companies with an affordable RFID-based solution, he explains, without the high cost of infrastructure based on an RFID reader for each access point or gate.

Traditional access-control systems consist of independent hardware installed at a facility to provide entrance and exit coverage, but without capturing or storing data or sharing that information online. Increasingly, though, technology has been enabling companies to change that model so that they can manage or view what is happening on their premises via access control, even when no personnel is present.

According to the Security Industry Association (SIA) and London market-research firm IHS Markit, the access-control market for cloud-based systems is seeing strong growth. In fact, they report, global sales of cloud-based access-control technologies is expected to exceed $530 million this year and reach $1.8 billion by 2025. Currently, the firms found, 5 to 12 percent of new access-control jobs tend to be Web-based or hosted.

While RFID installations in most applications can employ a single reader with multiple antennas for multiple gates, access control has unique requirements. A reader must interface with the access-control panel to identify and authorize each unique tag ID, and then prompt the gate to open—which means one reader for every gate. That can prove expensive for many of Feig's customers, Hrabina notes, who are often mid- or small-sized communities or businesses.

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