Years ago, wired alarms were the standard as wireless technology was being perfected; however, the roles have reversed. Not only has wireless equipment dropped significantly in price, especially compared to the ever-climbing copper and labor prices associated with wired systems, but the technology is as close to bulletproof as you can get.
Regardless of which system you choose, be mindful of the overall cost. For wireless, you must consider the cost of the unit sensor, any necessary repeaters to get the signal back to the office, and the office receiver. Wireless units also work off batteries, so be sure to ask your security company how long the batteries last, how long it guarantees them, and how much replacements cost.
For a wired system, there is the cost of the door contact, wiring from each unit to a multiplexer, the multiplexer and the office receiver. With wired, the biggest cost of the system is the labor required to run the wiring to each unit. In addition, you’ll need to allocate additional funds for conduit. Weigh the pros and cons of each system carefully before making your decision.
Access controls have come a long way since the days when a green light admitted tenants and a red light locked them out. Access control at your facility is not only your first line of defense against unauthorized people, it also helps with rent collection. Tenants can’t get in if they’re behind on payment.
Though most owners first think of a gate and keypad, there are other points throughout a facility that can be used to restrict access. For example, if you have a multi-story facility, consider adding keypads in the elevator cars. The keypad ensures the elevator only stops on the tenant’s floor. This helps keep tenants contained to the areas for which they have access and assists you in tracking their movement if an event does occur.
The same goes for access doors. If you have several buildings with interior hallways, consider adding keypads to control access to those buildings. Most access-control systems will allow you to set zones so tenants can only access specific keypads. By simply adding a few strategic access-control points throughout your facility, you can better control tenant access, which could reduce break-ins and other crime.
The more sophisticated systems today have LCD screens to provide feedback to the tenant if he tries to use the incorrect keypad. For example, it might say, “Mr. Jones, you do not have access rights to this location.” Or if payment is due, “Your rent of $75 is past due. Please see the manager.” If a tenant is current, it can remind him when his next payment is due.