The Evolution of Electric Access Control Systems


May 5, 2023


The history of electric access control systems is a fascinating journey of innovation and technological advancements. From its rudimentary beginnings to the current state-of-the-art systems like Openpath, access control technology has come a long way. In this blog post, we'll explore the history of electric access control systems, charting their development and examining how Openpath represents the current state of the industry.

The Early Days of Electric Access Control

The genesis of electric access control systems can be traced back to the late 19th century when electric doorbells and locks first emerged. Inventor R. W. Sears patented the first electromagnetic lock in 1894, which was a simple device that utilized an electromagnet and a metal armature to lock and unlock doors. This laid the foundation for the development of more sophisticated electric access control systems.

In the 1960s, the invention of electronic keypunch cards marked the first major leap in access control technology. These cards used magnetic strips or punched holes to store access codes, allowing only authorized personnel to enter secure areas. Although they were a significant improvement over mechanical locks, keypunch cards had their limitations, such as vulnerability to forgery and wear and tear.

The Advent of Proximity Cards and Biometrics

The 1970s and 1980s saw further advancements in electric access control systems, with the introduction of proximity cards and biometric technology. Proximity cards used radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to wirelessly transmit access codes to a reader, eliminating the need for physical contact. This technology significantly improved the security and reliability of access control systems, as it was more difficult to duplicate or forge proximity cards.

During this time, biometric technology also emerged as a viable access control solution. Biometric systems utilized unique physiological or behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, iris scans, or voice recognition, to verify the identity of an individual. This provided a highly secure method of access control, as biometric data is nearly impossible to replicate.

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