Pro Data Key – Training
Pro Data Key immediately got my attention as a strong access control solution. I think the brand and image a company portrays gives an insight into the mindset that drives their products and services. Pro-data-key is a fun company. Bright yellow boxes, fun YouTube videos, and an understanding of what customers want. Cloud based access control is a going to play an even bigger part in the access control world. I believe Pro Data Key will be at the forefront of that movement.
Like it or not, cost is a huge factor for businesses. The price point of PDK’s hardware makes sense for many small businesses. The monthly cost of their cloud based subscription service is surprisingly low. Even their 99+ door tier is really accessible. The cost of their card readers makes you scratch your head and wonder why other companies sell them for twice the price.
The cost of the cloud subscriptions gets you more than just access to, well of course, their cloud. You get all of their updates. It’s also very easy to scale and add doors, add/delete/modify permissions, and keep track of what doors have been accessed by which person and when.
PDK is about cloud and mobile based access control which makes them at the forefront of tech. While using Bluetooth isn’t completely new, I think they implemented it in an intelligent way. People lose fobs and cards. People absolutely panic if they misplace their phone and I don’t think anyone leaves home without their phone. Personally, I don’t like the idea of only having cell phones for access. People lose phone, set them down somewhere, or the battery dies. PDK offers keypad readers which I think should be the go to choice unless their is a reason not to (like the size of the stile.)
PDK offers a lot to buildings that are hard to wire. The door controllers communicate wirelessly to the cloud node. This is a huge advantage to buildings that are difficult to wire, expensive to wire, and for tenants that can’t modify certain parts of their building. Access control in the real world often has challenges like tenants not being allowed to modify walls. It’s fairly easy to drop a door controller above drop ceiling and call it a day. They have repeaters in case the distance is too far or obstructions block the signal.
The Achilles heel of PDK is that the controllers must connect to the cloud node. If the cloud node goes down that’s bad news. The door controllers do not store the information on board. Meaning, if the cloud node goes down the doors won’t work. I truly don’t understand why the system was designed like this. Most controllers keep permission records on the door controllers in case of a failure like this. Of course, the controller couldn’t communicate to the main panel to add/delete/modify users but it should keep all of the permissions status quo.
PDK has a solution to this. In my opinion, it’s an absolute band-aid. Each controller can handle up to 10 emergency cards that will work in case of an outage. Distributing these cards seems like a logistical nightmare during an outage. I sincerely hope that PDK comes up with a better solution that this. I think an integrator needs to do their due diligence and disclose this to any potential customer.