Standalone Reader Controller (Email for availability: )
(2008/10/14)Some feedback. Some clients have come back with more requirements. The problem is the current design is packed to the brim, resulting in 800 cards max and 454 offline transaction storage. Some clients want to at least double that. Also the ICASA regulations forces maximum RF distances to maximum 80meters (5mW output power). Some clients want more distance.
My one major client listed the risk that if the unit is mounted outside that an intruder could rip it off the wall and manually connect the lock wires. That is completely possible. He suggested a split unit (controller inside, reader outside) for external use and a combined unit, like below for inside.
Some other clients are so entrenched in the conventional multi-port controller methodology with dumb readers that the entire meeting gravitates towards the old concept within 5 minutes, requiring me to rip out all the RF and intrinsic safety features of the Reader-Controller.
Another scary problem is that many of my clients don't seem to catch the novelty of this rather cheap (for what it is doing) design. The aim was to design a product that was cheap enough so that the end product could be sold for roughly R1200 ZAR (with all the people in between making their buck) and would still outperform any multi-port/wired system. It takes roughly 5 minutes for most clients to suddenly want (for the same price) some sort of biometric reader (like finger print recognition) in the same size package ... and also over the RF interface. It is like I am trying to sell a microlight aircraft and the client is insisting on putting 4x Pirelli tyres and 4000cc 8 cylinder on it to drive on a public road. This has proven the fact that I, as the owner and designer, should not talk to a client. I must send in a ignorant parrot to talk a client into submission :-)
So I have taken the split unit into consideration and will have to redesign, probably with a larger memory side (i.e. more expensive CPU, larger PCB size -> larger box, resulting in a much higher price.
Until further notice this project will be suspended (note not canned, just seriously thought about until everybody and myself are happy).
Minimum order quantity: 1 unit
This is the ultimate in cost saving for access control. The controller (with integrated card reader) can store up to 800 card numbers and store up to 450 off-line transactions. It runs off a single 12V power supply and only requires you to connect the wires for the lock/switch and up to 2 optional inputs. Some of the detail specifications will still be held confidential till the final release. What I can tell you is that this unit will be easy to install and will increase any capable installer's output tremendously. The PC interface is also a one-off +-$140 to $180 and close to zero cost software (conditions apply- see below).
The system uses a common 64 bit (32 bits effective) read-only tag. On certain sites it might be possible to add these readers (or replace old ones) and still keep all the cards. In 2007 we will release a compatibility list.
We are currently in talks with a few companies that are interested in distributing the system. This should be in full operation by March 2007.
What will such a system comprise of:
1) n x Reader-Controllers (as required) ( Zerksus supplies)
2) 1x USB network interface. ( Zerksus supplies)
3) 1x PC software. ( Zerksus supplies)
4) Access control cards. ( Zerksus supplies)
5) m x Repeaters (as required) ( Zerksus supplies)
6) 12V power supplies (Customer/installer supplies)
7) Locks, cables and other devices (Customer/installer supplies)
Regarding the PC software:
The product is volume driven, i.e. we are selling the reader units as the primary product. Selling enough of these makes it possible to lower the cost of the PC software. The PC software is, however, not free. In fact the majority of the work goes into the design and maintenance of the PC software. Our normal price for access control software ranges from R6 000 (< $999) to R10 000 (ZAR) per site license. We are currently negotiating with a major distributor on how to price the software. One of the options is to have a minimum order quantity(MOQ) of the reader units per site. The MOQ number currently stands at 16 units. When a client orders 16 units or more then we are prepared to knock off the majority of the PC software's cost. We still need to cover the media and registration costs. Suffice to say that 16 units (plus the rest of the Zerksus supplied system) will cost significantly (up to 15%) less than 15 units. There will obviously be further discounts, on a sliding scale, for larger quantities.
To further reduce costs we will not supply printed documentation with a standard system (only on demand). These will be available on the supplied CD or DVD (PDF, RTF and video files).
New clients will get free upgrades of new software releases for a year. After the first year special offers will be made to existing clients at far lower than the "under-MOQ" price. These and new clients will be considered to be under maintenance. When under maintenance the client will receive free email support. If a client opts out and wants the new software at a later stage the software will still be available for purchase, but at the normal "under-MOQ" price. Registered software will always be functional and will never timeout. If you like what you have and it works then the logical thing would be to keep it as is.
Unregistered software should be available from early 2007 but running in demo mode. In demo mode it will be functional with 2 readers, 10 cards each and limited to 500 transactions per report. You will still require the USB interface unit at about R1000 (ZAR) (which you can probably borrow from a sales person for a few days). This will allow would be buyers to play with the software and marketing people to test-drive a system for a client. Demo licenses (to get the USB interface to work) will be available from this site.
Keep in mind that the USB interface partly operates as a dongle. The license key supplied references the unique number in the device. BUT to improve security and avoiding some bright spark taking his USB interface to another site and then tries to reprogram their system we have designed the software to take the PC setup into consideration. I.e. the software, USB interface with a specific key won't run on another PC. If your own PC crashed and the software is reinstalled on another one we will gladly register the new one.
Encryption: Note that the readers are encrypted. As long as you keep your secret key "secret" your access control system should be safe. There are also ways that the software can detect unauthorized data modification attempts.
Regarding the Reader-Controllers schedule:
During January 2007 the major distributors are receiving their samples to install at their pilot sites. Also during this time the first demo release of the PC software will be made available on this site.
February 2007 is reserved for evaluation, other critical tests and code updates/bug fixes.
March 2007 the first major batch of units will make its way to the first set of customers.
From April 2007 we should be accepting the first orders from the general public.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Available options: Budgetary Prices
|Stock number||Available Stock||Unit Price|
|Standard Reader||0||$180 USD|
|USB interface||0||$140 USD|
|Easy Access software||See MOQ notes above||$850+USD|
|ISO Access card||0||$2.50 USD|