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ADT Commercial Access Control review

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ADT Commercial Access Control
(Image: © ADT)

Our Verdict

ADT offers a full range of access control services suitable for a variety of facilities. The standout feature is the managed access control.

For

  • Toll free phone support
  • Real time background checks
  • Can integrate with existing system
  • Option for web-hosted monitoring

Against

  • Very opaque pricing
  • Potential automated calls from sales
  • Missing support options

Certainly not a recent startup, ADT draws upon its nearly 145 years of security experience in all of its offerings, that range from intrusion alarms, fire security, and access control systems. Its customer base exceeds a staggering 6 million, which are installed and serviced by a workforce of 17,000 strong. 

For those curious what ADT stands for, it is American District Telegraph. This was a reference to an early ‘Call box’ that connected a handful of homes via a telegraph based system to a central office so help could be obtained in response to an overnight break in. What resulted was the first residential security system network. 

Features

While ADT is a household name in home security, its access control solutions should not be confused with its residential security equipment. In fact, the access control offerings fit under ADT’s commercial umbrella, and endeavor to do more than just unlock doors via an access card, with capability to control an entire facility.

Choosing a new access control system can be a challenge. Thankfully, ADT makes this step easier as it can reportedly work with existing access control systems to integrate in the upgraded capabilities.

For example, a feature offered is Visitor Management, which refers to the identification and logging of each and every person that comes into a facility. In order to better know your visitors, the ADT system can actually perform a “Quick background check against federal and state crime databases” to identify folks prior to entering the building, prior to printing them a visitor pass. This is all accomplished swiftly and easily via a graphical user interface that can be used by users of all skill levels.

The access cards are a fundamental piece of any access control system. ADT offers a variety of options, which include MIFARE and iCLASS smart cards, with additional options for biometrics for an even higher level of security, and wireless access control devices.

ADT also provides options for monitoring, and specifically offers a web-hosted solution that can be used remotely. There is also the option for a professionally managed solution, allowing it to be done professionally without the burden and responsibility of keeping it in house. 

The web-hosted option can be attractive as it provides a full range of options, such as to manage permissions, obtain reports, and control the access cards, yet it eliminates the need for your IT department to run a server locally, or provide IT backup on a 24/7 basis. The web-hosted solution is compatible with a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Unix. The web-hosted option additionally has the option that it can be controlled remotely, allowing an administrator to change the permissions for users while out of the facility.

With a managed access control solution, the burden of running the day to day of the system is offloaded to ADT. This includes no dedicated server, or in fact any computers in house, and also the need for IT support and database management. In fact, ADT can take over full system management, as it can handle the drudgery of software related updates, the implementation of new hardware, and administration of cardholders. There is an option to connect the access control system to HR, which allows for changing a card’s expiration date, or changing a person’s access rights. Cards get created and sent out from the ADT Network Operations Center to users.

Support

The first option for support is a toll free number. A plus of the service is that hours of operation get specifically listed for 24/7.

The second option is the predone answers to questions. This can be accessed via the ‘Search support’ bar, or via the list of questions to select from. For example, the questions include “How can I obtain an Alarm Monitoring Certificate?,” and “How can I update information on my account?”

A third option is to connect via social media. The popular options are available, which cover Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, although we could only peruse the last option without a login. On the ADT Twitter page, it was mostly company posts, and not interactive with user issues. There is also a social media presence on Pinterest and on YouTube.

Missing options include an online portal, a direct email address, and online chat.

Pricing

(Image credit: ADT)

Pricing

If you are guessing that we are going to ‘Zonk’ yet another company for too opaque pricing, then you would be correct. We have been up and down the ADT website for its access control products, and can’t locate the price of anything.

Instead, there is an online portal, and after entering required credentials, including a name, email address, phone and zip, you can use this tool to “Start a conversation.” Then again, we find it annoying that in the fine print when you click on the “Call me back” button, that you are consenting to calls using automated technology. We would suggest to just call directly with the toll free number provided and skip the automated robo calls.

It does appear that the pricing is determined by both the hardware needed, and also by the ongoing support. 

Final verdict

ADT is a veteran of security, and that comes through with their access control products. We do note the limitations such as the missing support options, the completely opaque pricing and that too much info needs to be provided to initiate contact with sales. However, we appreciate the web-hosted and managed access control options, the toll free phone support, and the opportunity to integrate the access control directly with HR.