Openpath: Bringing security to access control

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Nicola Byrne

Access control companies are not new and there are many attempting to weave into the built environment, proving a challenge to owners and managers when it comes to choosing the right one.

Openpath is one of these companies, which emerged from stealth in June 2018 and boasts an impressive team of co-founders, including the company’s chief security officer Samy Kamkar, who shut down Myspace in 2005 with a virus considered to be the fastest spreading ever.

PlaceTech caught up with James Segil, president of Openpath, who has built and sold three successful technology companies over the past 17 years, to see what’s unique about the firm’s product.

Thought cycles

Having a shiny new app is all well and good, but how much time does it save compared to a card or fob? All you have to do is pull it out and swipe.

Openpath Thought Cycles

Extra steps and processes are often added in when changing access to mobile, users often have to get their phones out, select the app and then open the door. Openpath wanted to combat this by enabling touch entry without the need to open an app. Doors don’t open unless a pad is touched, preventing doors from openiing when people are in proximity but not necessarily wanting to go through.

Triple lock

“We’re really obsessed about making the user experience as friction free as possible,” said Segil. In fact, the company was created due to the co-founders’ own frustrations with access.

Openpath’s patented mobile technology is called triple unlock. It allows users to keep their mobile phones in pockets, walk up to a door and touch to unlock it simply by waving their hand or touching the reader.

The tech sends three unlock commands over Bluetooth, wifi and LTE, a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, which ensures a “reliable connection because one will always hit the access system and unlock the door, and the other two will be discarded,” according to Segil.

As a result, Openpath has a 94% mobile adoption rate amongst clients. What happens when your phone dies? “It’s a question I get asked often,” said Segil.

“You’re probably more aware of the battery on your phone than you are of where you left your car keys, key fob or badge. Most people will forget their bags well before their phone runs out of battery. It’s not a problem we really run into.”

Tailgating

What happens when someone follows you into your office behind you? It’s a regular occurrence and usually goes unquestioned, particularly within large companies or buildings.

This has the potential to cause a security risk. Openpath has integrated with firms Density, which counts people as they come through the door, and AI-powered video surveillance Camio to reduce tailgating occurrences. If someone enters unexpectedly, the person in front them will get a notification from Openpath on their phone asking them to identify the unrecognised visit.

Lockdown

Openpath also enables lockdown modes for situations such as natural disasters and active shooters, limiting and freeing movement throughout buildings. The firm also provides live camera feeds to first aid responders, taken from Camio’s cameras, through email or text as soon as a lockdown mode is triggered.

Openpath Lockdown Feature

The image depicts a lockdown which locks the buildings, keeping people safe inside, and opens entrances to enable responders to come in

Currently active in the US and Canada, Openpath is set to expand into Europe into 2020 with plans to go global. The firm is also investing in research & development, looking to offer new features and expand third party integration capabilities.

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