Brian Sims

Programmable key access systems enable smarter working

AS EMPLOYMENT patterns become more flexible, businesses face a growing challenge. What’s the best way in which they can both enable and control the movement of people given that static mechanical security wasn’t designed for this task? ASSA ABLOY has developed a neat solution for security and facility managers.

Metal keys are ‘out there forever’. A key holder can either unlock a door or they cannot. Further, it’s almost impossible to track who’s using such a key and when. If that key should happen to go missing, there’s a risk posed to the premises. That risk can only be mitigated by changing the locks. An expensive process for organisations and, ultimately, a time-consuming one for security and facility managers.

Programmable electronic keys provide a modern solution. Partnered with software, which itself enables easy auditing, they offer more efficient and streamlined access control than a mechanical system. Intelligent keys deliver the powerful features of electronic access control in a convenient technology. They have the advantages of traditional ‘lock-and-key’ security in terms of familiarity and the fact that they’re user-friendly. They’ve also evolved.

Using the keys remains as simple as ever. The holder simply turns it in a cylinder. The important difference is that every unlocking decision is made electronically – and, what’s more, will be logged – by the software. Audit trails generated by these logs then simplify incident investigation.

This type of electronic locking solution further minimises risk as keys can be ‘blacklisted’ if they’re lost. Locks will not need to be changed. Using intuitive software, security and facility teams can manage everyone’s access from anywhere and at any time.

Advantages of CLIQ

ASSA ABLOY Group’s CLIQ system is based on wireless locking devices and intelligent keys. Easy to install and extremely straightforward to run, this solution simplifies security for premises of any size or type.

With CLIQ, every security and facility manager is able to decide who goes where and when by dint of issuing individual access for each site user. Keys remain under their control. They can be reprogrammed at any time using the software and a range of updater devices.

Installation and operation are simple. An installer swaps out the mechanical cylinder for a CLIQ electronic or electromechanical cylinder. There’s no wiring or drilling involved. CLIQ keys run on standard batteries with a long lifetime and so ‘take electronic access control anywhere’ (and far beyond the reach of power cables). Thanks to multiple software options, security personnel can manage user access rights in their preferred way.

Key holders also enjoy convenience. Everyone carries one key programmed with cleared access permissions. They no longer wrestle with keyrings or waste time trying to hunt down the right key.

Configuration process

It’s very straightforward to design and deploy a CLIQ system for each individual location. First, the end user can choose from a range of cylinders and padlocks. There’s a CLIQ device for almost any opening: interior and exterior doors, gates, cabinets, lockers, vending machines, alarm housings and more.

Second, every authorised employee or contractor is then issued with a programmed key. All keys work together seamlessly in any CLIQ system. Each is protected against the potential impact of the weather, dirt and dust. Last, but not least, a choice of easy software options tailors system management to the needs of the business.

“Unlike traditional electronic access control systems, CLIQ uses no mains electricity,” explained Stephan Schulz, CLIQ product manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA. “Relying on energy-efficient battery power minimises disruption when making the switch to CLIQ. No cabling is required around the door so there’s no need to schedule – or pay for – invasive electrical wiring.”

Running CLIQ is equally straightforward. Keys are programmed with the easy-to-use software and either locally installed (thanks to CLIQ Local Manager) or via the Internet (using CLIQ Web Manager). The CLIQ Web Manager administers keys and users securely online. It takes multiple administrators and multiple sites in its stride and can run in a self-hosted IT environment or with a choice of Software-as-a-Service packages. It offers optional integration capability with many types of business management software, in turn helping to automate tedious processes and boost efficiency.

For smaller premises, CLIQ Local Manager software can run from a single PC. It manages up to 3,000 locking cylinders. Keys are updated via a desktop programmer or with CLM Remote via a wall-mounted programmer.

Operating either version of the software is intuitive. Missing keys are quickly de-authorised, thereby cutting the risks associated with loss or theft. At any time, security and facility managers can generate an audit trail to find out who has opened which locks.

Trusted devices

CLIQ devices filter entry through doors and many other openings. Robust and durable cylinders and padlocks in multiple sizes and formats protect lifts, server racks, furniture, gates, mailboxes and cabinets.

The cylinders operate safely between -25°C and 85°C. Waterproof padlocks work outdoors in almost any environment, however harsh it may be.

Keys are equally durable, compact and waterproof. They are easy to program, enabling time-limited access permissions for an employee or contractor. When a key’s standard battery runs low, it’s easy to replace without tools. However, with a typical battery lifetime of ten years, most keyholders will never need to be replaced in any case.

Case Study: Vincennes

To deliver effective services, public institutions need more than just innovation and accountability. They require flexibility and agility as well, including in terms of how they approach security. Filtering access intelligently has become part of security’s job description.

For this reason, Vincennes city administrators in Paris sought a modern replacement for a master key system with almost 4,000 keys. Several locations around Vincennes – among them schools, childcare centres and the Town Hall – relied on this complex solution. Mechanical security did not have the flexibility to adapt. The costs and risk involved when keys went missing were becoming a growing burden.

Vincennes officials tasked their security director with finding a more responsive solution. The desire was for an electronic locking system that’s easy to install, doesn’t require power to be cabled to every lock, assists municipal staff when it comes to issuing access rights for different people, traces key holder and lock interactions and amends or otherwise revokes access permissions when required.

“A wired access control system was rejected as it required too much work to bring the power to each door,” explained Fabrice Pain, director at Vincennes’ Municipal Technical Centre. “Now, eCLIQ delivers access control without the need for any wiring at all.”

Interior and exterior doors at the Hôtel de Ville, 11 nurseries and 12 schools are locked with eCLIQ cylinders, which is the fully electronic version of CLIQ technology. Rather than 4,000 static mechanical keys, 1,000 intelligent eCLIQ keys have now been issued to members of staff. Simpler and far more flexible city management is the end result.

*To learn about how your organisation can benefit from a programmable key access solution, download the free eCLIQ guide online at

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